Word Building, 4 Centers, 1 prep

Get more out of your literacy centers!  With just one prep you can get ready for 4 weeks of centers.


I know it might sound like a dream, but you really can get four different word building activities with just one prep.  With the demands on your time increasing, you need to find ways to save time with your prepping and preparing for learning centers.  One way is to find ways to reuse the materials from your literacy centers.  I'm going to show how you can take one set of letters and use them for four weeks in one of your literacy centers.

The letters cards can be made by you, or from a purchased set.  For three of these activities you can also use letter tiles.  I like the letter tiles from the game Banana Grams, but other letter tiles will work.  

Learn how you can use these letter tiles in a literacy center.

The letter cards I've used in these examples are from my Winter Word Building set.
 Winter Word Building--Crockett's Classroom




Word building,this is just one of the four activities you can do with very little prep to get ready for your literacy centers.

For the first week, students can use letters you've selected to build words. The letters you choose should spell one long word. That word can be seasonal or go along with one of your current topics of study.  My example uses the letters a, e, f, k, l, n, o, s and w.  With these letters the students can make lots of 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 letter words.  The final challenge is to see if they can figure out the mystery word made using all the letters. Click here for a free recording sheet.



Word ladder, another activity you can do with prepping one set of letter cards


For the second week students are challenged with a word ladder. The idea is simple, but it can be quite a challenge to make it all the way to the top.
Students (or teacher) chooses a two or three letter word to write on the lowest step of the ladder.  Then they can change only one thing about the word to make a new word to move up to the next step.  They can add a letter, remove a letter, or exchange a letter. It's also allowed to rearrange the letters to form a new word.The words going up the ladder might look like this:
sit-sat-fat-at-bat-bit-bite-kite-tie-time-tame-same-came-come.
Younger students will need to use letter cards or tiles to move around as they form the words and write them on the recording sheet.  Click here to down load the Word Ladder Recording sheet.




Guess my word, week three activity to use with the set of letter cards you made for week one.  Prepping one set of letters can lead to 4 weeks of centers of activities,

During week three students get to practice their spelling skills. Guess My Word is a little like hangman, only it can be played with multiple players.

Each player thinks of a word and lays the letters for the word, face down in front of them, on the side of their mat that says Make My Word.  Once everyone has their word ready they take turns guessing a letter for an opponent's word.  The guess needs to be to a specific person for a specif letter.  (Rachel, do you have a b?) A turn continues until the player receives a "no" for a guessed letter.

When a letter is turned over it needs to be placed, face up on the Guess My Word side.  The letters should go in correct word order so someone looking from the other side sees the beginning letter next to the arrow. The letters on the mat help players know where to put the turned over letters.

Example:  It's Kelly's turn:  "Joey, do you have an a?" If Joey has an a in his word he turns it over and Kelly gets to ask again.  She can ask Joey again, or another player. Once Kelly receives a no, her turn is over.  If Kelly thinks she knows one of the words she needs to guess each letter one at a time.  She does not say, "Is your word deal?"
Click here to download the Guess My Word mat.





With one set of letters you can have 4 weeks of word center activities.

For Week Four students play a card game called "Do you have. . .? Using letter cards students try to build words.  The first student to use the agreed upon number of letters in their words is the winner.  Click here to download more detailed driections.

The great thing about this game is students get to choose what words they spell. Students who can only spell 2 or 3 letter words can play with students who easily spell 4 or 5 letter words. 

I hope your students enjoy these word and spelling games!



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Pick 3 Pinterest for December


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You Oughta Know About . . . Lesson Raffles

You Oughta Know About . . . Lesson Raffles!
Keep your students on their toes with lesson raffle tickets.  Give each student a ticket and have them answer a question during the lesson.  Then choose a ticket that shows good thinking!  Great motivator.

In our rush to cover objectives and meet the needs of our students, parents and administrators we often forget that kids are kids.  They need some fun in their day.  Since there isn't much “extra” time for those fun craft projects and free play time I came up with a way to build a little fun into my daily lessons.  It's called a lesson raffle.  It’s so simple and can be adapted to work in just about any lesson through out your day.

Step 1:  Present your lesson.

Step 2: Ask students a question.  This could be a question from the book, worksheet or one you write on the board.

Step 3:  Students write the answer and their name on a slip of paper or note card.
Lesson Raffle, kids answer a question or explain a math problem or science process during the lesson.  Great way to check their understanding.  Then one slip is picked as the winner for a little prize.  Great motivator!

Step 4:  Collect the responses in a basket, box, or jar.

Step 5:  Draw a slip or card from the basket.  If it has the correct answer or appropriate response, that child is the winner! Also, if the child has forgotten to write his or her name, they can't be the winner.

Sept 6:  Present the prize.  This might be a piece of candy, a sticker, or maybe the winner gets to do fewer of the practice problems on the page.

Lesson Raffle Slips, a fun and engaging way to check student understanding during a lesson-----crockettsclassroom.com


When students know their might be a raffle question during the lesson they'll stay engaged so they'll be ready to answer the question.
The best thing about this is you've collected a small sample of their work so you can look through the all of the responses as the kids are working to quickly see who "gets it" and who may need a little more help.
I love it because it’s so quick and the fun is built into the content of the lesson!

The lesson raffle is also flexible.  I can have students do one math problem from the text or answer one question from the science text.  Or I can ask them to summarize the plot of a story just read with a partner.  The possibilities of what you ask students to write on the raffle slip are endless!

Don't forget to check out all the other terrific ideas from these wonderful blogs.



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Literacy Centers 1

Using Literacy Centers Again and Again

Spend less time prepping for your literacy centers by finding ways to re-purpose the materials for several different tasks.

One of the most time consuming tasks for a teacher is prepping material for the week ahead.  Many teachers have five to ten literacy centers to prepare and set up each week!  That's a lot of prep time. What if you could prepare one literacy center, make small changes and then use it for several weeks.   I'm going to take one activity, prep it and then see how many different ways students can use it in a literacy center.

I'll start with a packet from my store called Suffix Skaters, adding -ed and -ing. But any word sorting activity would work.  The packet has a sorting activity, written practice sheets and a game.


Week One:  Sorting words to add the suffix -ing.  There are 28 small word cards for the sort.  Students read the rules on the sort mat and sort the cards according to how the -ing would be added to the word.  For the first week it's a good idea for students to sort the words several times.  They can do the sort with a partner, and after a little practice they can try a timed  or speed sort. Doing multiple sorts can easily take 20 minutes.  If your center time is longer you can have them write the words with the -ing added.


Week Two:   Game Sort with -ing words. 2 to 4 students can play the game. Use the sort mat as a game spinner.  A pencil and paper clip make a quick and easy spinner.  Students spread the word cards out, face up, so every one can see them. The first player spins and then has to find a word that matches that rule.  When they find a word they say the word and spell it with the -ing added. If they spell it correctly they get to keep the word.  If they spell it incorrectly the card has to be set back with the other cards.  Continue taking turns spinning and spelling until all the words have been chosen.

Game version 2-  Pass out the cards to the players.  Player one spins.  If they have a word for that rule they spell it with the -ing added and take it out of their hand.  If they spell it incorrectly it has to stay in their hand.  The first player to empty his/her hand is the winner.




Week Three:  Sort and ABC orde.  The students should be very familiar with these words and the -ing rules.  Have them do the sort again, either with the cards or as a written sort.  Then have them take the words from each category and put them in ABC order.  If they have time, they can write them, with the -ing added in ABC order.  For more of a challenge have them put all 28 words in ABC order!

Week Four:  This week can wrap up the skill of adding -ing to words.  Students can start with the sort again and then complete any of the written practice sheets from the packet. There are 4 to choose from.  There is also a challenging page where students have to take a word with the -ing and change it back into the base word.


There you go!  One set of 28 cards, one sort mat and 5 optional practice sheets will see you through 4 weeks of literacy center prep! For the next 4 weeks you can do the same thing with the -ed cards and sort mat!

You can purchase the entire Suffix Skaters, Adding -ing and -ed from my TPT store. 
 Suffix Skaters, adding -ing and -ed, Crockett's Classroom on TPT



Or, if you'd like to try a free sample, click here to download.

 Suffix Skaters, Free Sample


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