My Silly Whacky Word Machine

I do not know how nonsense word practice goes for you (if you, too, are a part of the DIBELS parade) but some years my kinders can’t wrap their brains around it.  (I have very mixed feelings about how appropriate this is, as well.)  This year – I have a group of kinders who keep trying to transform those nonsense words into real words.  Makes good sense to me! Meaningful and related to real life – BUT not what the assessment is looking for.

So to help make clear that nonsense words are just that – complete nonsense – I created a “Silly Whacky Word Machine.”  (Inspired by Dr. Suess!)    I decorated a large manilla folder with some random things and cut off the end with the flap.   I printed up a bunch of nonsense words and put them neatly in my silly whacky word machine.  During whole group and I told the children I had a little machine that made words that were not real words and would they like to help me say them.  First, I reveal one letter at a time and then we try to say it.

I had an idea to add an occasional “real” word and when I reveal it say something like, “Hey, that isn’t a silly nonsense word!  You don’t belong in this machine.  Better make sure my machine is working right.”  I would pretend to tinker with my machine. 😛

I typed up the set for you.  🙂  And I even had an inspiration to make a cover for you to put on the folder!  Add a button for the machine’s on switch!

Silly Whacky Word Machine


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  1. so cute! Love it!

  2. bobbig says:

    OMG I love the Silly Whacky Word Machine!!! I am part of the Dibels and am having a hard time with the nonsense words. I can’t wait until the weekend to make it. It is so cool!!!

  3. They are introducing a Reading test at the end of Year 1 in England (equivalent to Kindergarten) and it includes non-words. Children need to make sense of what they read otherwise they think they are wrong so I am so happy to see your suggestion. I couldn’t have thought of a better way to present these non-words. Thank you so much. The only thing is, they don’t know Dr Seuss that well over here so I need to read a few books to them first. That is something to look forward to, Id say!…

  4. Amie Plumley says:

    What a genius idea! I’m going to try this next week in my classroom. Thanks!

  5. Unknown says:

    This is a great idea. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Patty says:

    Totally agree about nonsense words with Dibels. Kinder should not be assessed, since Kinder is not mandated to attend. This should be a 1st to 3rd assessment.

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