A Grand idea for Spelling

I have a Grand Idea to share with you.  It's a fun and engaging way to get your students excited about their spelling words! 

Spelling Addition, a fun way to get kids to practice their spelling words.  The activity can be used for homework, in a literacy center or as part of your weekly spelling routine.

Spelling Addition is so simple. Students work in pairs.  One student says a word. The other student writes the word.  The word is checked and written again.  Then the letters from the word are given a number value and added up.  

You can add another element to the practice by letting the players move a piece around a game board using the total from the value from each word. (click on this image for the free download)
 Fun and engaging activity for spelling or word work centers.

You use this activity in a literacy center, as a homework assignment or as part of your weekly spelling routine.

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Quick and Easy Season Partners

End the chaos of choosing student progress with this simple and quick student cards.

Throughout the year you’re going to need students to pair up. I have a way to get that organized at the beginning of the year and then you’re all set.  You may have heard of clock partners.  I did that for a few years, but it was a long process to set it up.   But, season partners is much quicker because there are only four seasons! 
Here’s how you set it up.

1.  Give each student a Seasons Partner card. (two sizes are included in the free download.)  Have them write their own name in the center.
2.  Tell your students that Fall is the time for new beginnings at school.  We meet new friends and have a new classroom and teacher. Ask them to find a new friend, someone they didn’t know at all or not very well last year. Students exchange cards and write their name on their partner’s card.
3.  Next comes winter.  We’ll be learning all kinds of new things through the winter season.  The teacher will pair up students for the Winter partners. Or, you can let students have free choice again.
4. Spring is next. So we can spring forward with new learning activities boys will choose a girl partner and girls will choose a boy partner.

5. The final season is Summer.  Summer friends are special.  Students can choose any friend for this season.

Click on this image to download the free Season Partners cards.

 Here's a quick and easy way to get your students into pairs.  At the beginning of the year set them up with 4 other partners, these will be their fall, winter, spring or summer partner.

I usually have students choose new partners in January.  You can change the criteria to meet the needs of your classroom.  Also, make sure you keep a cheat sheet so you remember the criteria you set for each season.

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Year-Long Book Banner

Year-Long Book Banner
Reading aloud to my students was always my favorite time of the day.  Maybe I should have been a librarian so I could read to kids all day. (Just kidding, I know librarians do sooooo much more than that.) 

I used read-aloud texts throughout the day- introducing new concepts, skills, and strategies, encouraging positive behavior, reviewing skills, and just for the pure joy of hearing a good story!

One year I decided to keep a card with the title and author of every book I read aloud to my kids.  At the end of the year, we spent some talking about all of these great books.  This idea evolved and the next year I started displaying the cards on our wall.  On the front, I printed a copy of the book and asked a student to write a little bit about the book on the back of the card.  Now, at the end of the year, we use those cards for a little team competition.  I ask questions about the books and teams work together to answer the book questions.  It turned out to be one of the favorite activities for me and my kids at the end of the year.

This book banner serves several purposes.
1. It keeps a record of the many different types of books shared with the class.  Students will see the banner grow and grow along with their reading experiences.
2. The banner pieces turn into a class game at the end of the year.  It will bring back lots of, "Oh, I remember that book!"
3. And last, but not least, it looks nice!
If you're short on wall space you can take down the banner pieces at the end of each month or quarter and start a new banner.  

Books We Love!  Adorable banner to make a display of all the books you read aloud to your class.  After the book is finished, students write questions and answers on the back.  Then the cards can be used for an end-of-year activity.

Click on the image above to download the book banner and directions.

Happy Reading!


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First Day Tried and True

  There's no excitement like the The-first-day-of-school excitement!  I don't care how many years you teach that very first day is full of nerves, jitters and joys.
First Day word building freebie

During the first week of school my plans include activities that give students time to get to know each other and build a sense of family and belonging.  One activity that gets them working together is this word building game.  It's super simple and the kids always love it.

Begin by dividing your class into groups of four or five students. Give each group a baggie with a set of letters. Tell them that each group is going to see how many words they can make with the letters.  It's always interesting to observe how the groups begin this little activity.  You'll quickly see some of their personalities come out.

What the students don't know is the letters spell something special.  I like seeing if any group figures that out on their own.  After about 15 minutes I ask if anyone has figured out the word that can be made using all the letters.  (Click on the graphic to download the free activity.)
Start building teamwork from day 1.  Use this first day word building activity to get kids working together.  A great activity for kids to begin making new friends.

This word building fun can last as long as you want.  Some years the kids really get into it and we go for 45 minutes.  Other years the group keeps their interest for only about 20 minutes.    


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