OK, I admit it – I LOVE RACING! I love the action-packed excitement and speed and I really love bringing that fast-paced thrill to the classroom! Racing activities get the students up and moving and excited about learning and fluency practice just lends itself to racing. I’m going to show you how I incorporate racing with sight word fluency practice.
Sight Word Speedway
In this activity students get to be a race car driver and race their way through the Sight Word Speedway. Set up a race track using your sight word flashcards. You can choose to set up a road coarse
or an oval track
or any type of track you wish. For safety, it is best to tape the flash cards to the floor so students do not slip on them. I like to give students a steering wheel cut from poster board to hold as they drive through the course. Students hold the steering wheel and on my signal they “drive” the track by stepping on each card and saying the sight word. If they have “car trouble” (they don’t know or get stuck on a word) I or another student will act like the spotter (a spotter in a race helps the driver and alerts them to what is happening on the track) and tell them the word.
You can create one large race track or several smaller ones and split students into groups. I involve the other students who are not driving by having some of them be “race officials” who watch a certain area of the track and ensure the driver says all the words and does not miss any. Each driver also has a spotter that helps them with any words if necessary (we have a 5 second rule – if the driver can’t figure out the word in 5 seconds the spotter can help them). One student is the timer and runs the stopwatch. Students rotate through the positions.
My students love to be timed during this activity. I will usually give them 1 practice lap that is not timed and then time each lap after that. Each student keeps a record of their times and then writes their best time of the day.
Head to Head Races or Side by Side Races Down the Straightaway
For this activity 2 students race each other the length of a table or specified start and finish area. They stand on opposite sides of the table and flip their sight word flashcards one at a time, say the sight word, and advance towards the finish. The first student to reach the end wins.
Students can race individual practice laps by flipping through sight word cards that are attached together with a binder ring. They flip through the cards and say the sight word on each card. My students really enjoy being timed for this activity too. The cards can be placed in a center and students can work in pairs (one student flips through the cards while the other times them and then they can switch roles). These cards can also be differentiated for each student. Each student can have their own set of cards with which to practice.
Pit Stop Practice
I got this idea while visiting the NASCAR Hall of Fame. They have a pit stop simulation that is so engaging and fun and I knew I had to make it into a learning activity somehow! I decided since racing pit stops have to be fast, fluency practice would be perfect for this activity. I printed out 2 sides of a race car and made tires and gas cans that contained sight words. To set up a pit stop, I place the cars and tires as shown below on a table or desk with enough room for the students to run from one side to the other.
To complete a pit stop students stand in a designated starting area. On my signal, they run up to one side of the car and change the tires by reading the sight word on the old tire (the tire on the car), removing it, placing a new tire on and reading the sight word on the new tire. They do this for each tire. If they are on the side with the gas can they read the word on the can and place it on the car as shown:
They then pick up new tires for the other side of the car and run around to the other side of the car and change the tires in the same manner as described above. After all four tires have been changed and gas put in the car, they run back to the starting area.
Here is a time-lapse video of a pit stop being completed:
This is such a fun and engaging activity which can be differentiated by changing the tires and gas cans for each student or each group of students. The pit stops can be timed as well.
I not only love these activities because they involve racing but because they get the students up and moving and involved. If you are interested in the sight word cards and pit stop cars, tires, and gas cans from this post they are included in my Sight Words Fluency Practice Bundle. They are also available separately.