Last year I was cleaning my basement getting ready for our annual garage sale and came across all those old Disney movies housed in VHS cases. Although our VHS player is long gone and the kids are now into their late teens and twenties, parting with those old movies was pretty difficult. I can’t tell you how many times I watched Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast- I can still sing many of those songs years later. While I was looking at that old stack of tapes, I was trying to think of ideas for re-purposing the case and it hit me! They would make ideal storage containers for activities! Here’s the vision:
The step- by-step directions for the activity is placed on the left side of the cover and the materials for the activity on the right. How simple, right? I was a tad obsessed with the concept so I created 17 Activities on the Go! activities to address phonemic awareness, phonics and sight words. Each activity is available as a single product or is contained in a grade-level bundle. The Activities on the Go! for Rhyme contains 32 colorful rhyming pictures.
The other Pre-K/Kindergarten early phonemic awareness activity that fits so nicely in the VHS case is the Activities on the Go! Syllables. When you download this activity you’ll receive 40 pictures for sorting words by 1-, 2- and 3- syllables.
So, now for my Kindergarten and First Grade friends, I created the Activities on the Go! Blending activity. The race car activity has been so popular and the kids just love practicing blending sounds into words while driving their race car below the letters. It’s amazing how such a simple activity can keep their interest.
This activity contains 48 tracks for practicing the skill of blending.
The final phonemic awareness activity developed for our Kinder and First Grade friends is the Activities on the Go! for Segmentation. When you download this activity you’ll receive 48 pictures for sorting by 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-phoneme words. You can easily differentiate this activity by limiting the number of phonemes you wish your students to practice.
If you like the Activities on the Go! concept, you may want to consider purchasing the activities in the grade-level bundles. Set 1 is ideal for Pre K/Kindergarten as it contains early phonemic awareness skills and beginning phonics skills.
Teachers Pay Teachers store or through the Make, Take & Teach website
Bundle 2 is ideal for practicing skills introduced mid- to end of Kindergarten and First Grade.
Teachers Pay Teachers store or through the Make, Take & Teach website
So if you don’t have old Disney movies still in boxes in the basement of your house, old VHS cases can be found in almost every second hand shop. Here we hit the jackpot at our local Habitat for Humanity store. Old movies can also be found on Ebay. The activities can also be stored in baggies or other containers.
Just a little hint- there are a few different types of VHS containers- the containers that store the Disney movies work best as the insides are flat and the activities fit nicely.
In our everyday speech we use contractions. Contractions are a kind of “short cut” in the way we use words to communicate. Think about it for a bit. If you were going to tell a friend that you aren’t going to lunch, are you likely to say, “I am not going to lunch” or “I’m not going to lunch”? Because we use these words so often in our speech, it’s important that we teach students how to use the words in writing. Teaching contractions can be fun and there are tons of great activities to use to support this concept.
When introducing the idea of contractions, it’s helpful to begin by defining the word “contract”. “Contract” means to get smaller or shorter. So, when we are using a contraction, we are making the words “shorter”. A simple way to explain it is to say that a contraction is “a shorter way to say two words.” Oh, and that apostrophe– it fills the space of those missing letters.
Just click the following link to download this freebie Contractions Poster
Here are a few of my favorite activities for learning and practicing contractions. The Cupcake Contractions activity contains 43 cupcake contractions. The contraction cupcake matching activity is a fun introductory activity for contractions and is ideal for independent centers.
It’s important to transfer the skill right away into writing. This activity also contains 43 cupcakes where the students are to write the correct contraction for the words below. Just laminate the cupcakes and use over and over again.
The Make, Take & Teach Cupcake Contractions activity is available in my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.
The File Folder Phonics Bundle also includes several activities for learning and practicing contractions. Here’s an example of the matching activity and there is also an extension activity for writing.
The Make, Take & Teach File Folder Phonics for Contractions is also available in my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Books are also great for introducing a concept. Here are two great books that you may wish to check out.
I’m and Won’t, They’re and Don’t: What’s a Contraction? is available through Amazon.
You can also find If You Were a Contraction on Amazon too!
Well, the calendar turned to October and that means Halloween is just around the corner. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. The children just love it when we introduce a little holiday themed activities into small groups and centers. Here are a few of my old favorites.
Rhyming Memory Game
I love Michael’s Craft Store. They always have so many fun holiday themed items that can be changed into educational activities. I found these holiday themed discs that, with a little creativity, can be turned into an awesome holiday themed rhyming activity. It’s a new twist on an old favorite- Memory. To make this activity, simply print the pdf below on a full size Avery label, cut the rhyming stickers and place on the back side of each plastic disc.
Here’s a picture of how the flying discs are packaged. The discs are made by Creatology just in case you’d like to look online.
If you can’t find the discs, no worries. Michaels also has foam pumpkin cut-outs that’d work just fine too.
Click the following link to download this FREE pdf Halloween Rhyming Memory Game
Spider Web Game
Do you have those very special go-to activities? The spider web game is definitely one of mine. I started my career as a Speech and Language Pathologist many years ago and the spider web game was one of the first games I made. My very dear friend and mentor, Jill, introduced me to this game as she was using it with her students working on specific sounds. I quickly made one of my own for my therapy sessions. This game was so much fun the kiddos started asking to play it in September and kept wanting to play it through Thanksgiving. This activity is so versatile, I just adapted it for use with sight words.
To create your own game, you’ll have to make a spider web. All you’ll need is poster board and a black Sharpie marker. You can make your web any size you wish, but I wanted mine to fit on the table so I cut my poster board into a 14″ x 16″ rectangle. This way I have 2″ at the top to put my title. Now print the word cards on cardstock and the title and spiders on a full sized Avery label (you can also use office paper and then glue them on). Cut out the word cards and the spiders. Now place the small spiders on the lines of the web. Be sure to put at least 2 spiders on each level of the web and one spider on a line going into the center.
To play the game have each player place their game marker on the outside layer of the web on a space without a spider. Players take turns drawing a card, reading the word, and then moving the marker the number of spaces listed on the word card. If the player lands on a space with a spider, he/she can move to the next inside layer. Players continue taking turns reading words and moving their markers within the layers. The first player to reach the center of the web wins.
When you download this activity you’ll receive word cards with all 220 sight words, the title and spiders needed to make the game, and the directions for making your own spider web.
Just for my first grade friends, we made the Spider Web Game for practicing consonant-vowel-consonat words. This activity is also available through the Make, Take & Teach website or through my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Candy Corn Games
Kyle (fabulous artist) did such a wonderful job designing these candy corns. I just love them- and the kiddos do too! They were such a hit last school year. This year I added the vocabulary activity. They are super easy to make. Simply print the candy corns on card stock and cut them into three separate pieces. That’s it! Your center activity is all set.
The Candy Corn Alphabet activity is perfect for students just learning letters and sounds. Students match the beginning sound to both the upper- and lowercase letters.
Many of our preschoolers and kindergarteners need extra practice with rhyme. Rhyming activities help students develop critical phonemic awareness skills. When you download this activity you’ll receive 16 colorful rhyming candy corns.
The Candy Corn Vocabulary activity is ideal for our little preschoolers, students with language delays or students learning English. When you download this activity you’ll receive 24 colorful candy corns with pictures that “go-together”. Not only can you have your students match and name the pictures, you can also have them say why they think those pictures are matched. Great activity for expanding oral language.
Last year I found these really cool eyeball ping pong balls at our local dollar store and decided to make a holiday-themed bingo activity. Feel free to download the free Eyeball Bingo game boards to create your own center activity.
These ping pong eyeballs are $1 for a package of 8. To make this activity, you’ll need 5 packages for a total of 40 balls. If you cannot find these balls, regular ping pong balls will do and you can draw the eyeballs on with red, blue and black Sharpie markers. I purchased a plastic pot at the dollar store to store the balls for this activity.
When you download this file you’ll receive six Eyeball Bingo boards. I’ve also included the CVC word list so that you can write the words on the eyeballs.
Click the following link to download your free eyeball bingo game Eyeball Bingo
I asked my fabulous artist, Kyle, to whip up a few cute little monsters. I have to say I’m lovin’ that adorable one-eyed red monster. I hoping to use him in another Halloween-themed activity. The Monster Addition game is great for practicing math facts to 20.
Click HERE to download the Monster Addition activity from my TpT store
We all know that young children learn best through hands-on activities. When children can manipulate letters to form words or use manipulatives such as counters to learn critical concepts their learning accelerates. The Make, Take & Teach cookie sheet activities offers students hands-on fun for learning and practicing beginning literacy and number concepts. These activities are ideal for both direct teaching and independent practice. The cookie sheet keeps the activity contained as well provides the engagement of using magnets!
There are 6 volumes of cookie sheet activities each volume targeting a specific skill. Just to keep it simple, I combined the volumes into two grade level bundles- one bundle for my Pre K- K friends and another for my first grade friends. Volumes 1, 2 and 4 comprise the Make, Take & Teach Pre K- K Bundle.
Cookie Sheet Activities Volume 1- ABC Order, Rhyme and Building Words
Cookie Sheet Activities Volume 1 contains 3 activities for teaching early literacy skills. The first activity addresses the skill of alphabetic order. There are 9 differentiated templates that can be used. In addition to ordering the letters of the alphabet, this activity can be differentiated as students can match upper- to uppercase letters, lower- to lowercase letter, or upper- to lowercase letters.
There are also 10 differentiated rhyme templates. Several templates require students to sort 2 rhymes while others 4 rhymes. The colorful pictures make this an engaging activity for teaching this skill.
Volume 1 of the cookie sheet activities also contains 8 Making Words templates. Our little kinders love building CVC words with magnetic letters.
Cookie Sheet Activities Volume 2- Number Order, Number Concepts
Cookie Sheet Activities Volume 2 is the early numeracy volume. 14 number order templates are included. These templates are differentiated as students who struggle with this skill can simply match the numbers on several of the templates. There are templates for number order 1-10, 1-20 and 1-100.
Students can practice counting with the beginning number concepts templates. There are two number concepts templates: 1-5 and 6-10.
For our little advanced students, these number concept templates can be helpful. There are 20 templates where the students are required to identify the number before and after, provide a number word, tally and count objects.
Cookie Sheet Activities Volume 4- Beginning Sounds and Short Vowels
So you may be thinking–what’s up with Volume 3? Volume 3 is for sight words which we may address towards the end of kindergarten, but it was most appropriate for the first grade volume. Volume 4 certainly belongs in the Pre K- Kindergarten bundle. Volume 4 is the volume which addresses beginning sounds and short vowels. The order of introduction of the letters follows a curriculum commonly used in schools, but I’ve included blank templates for you to use if your order of introduction differs. You will receive 20 beginning sound templates complete with the colorful pics for sorting. The templates are differentiated as some templates allow for 2 sounds and others 4 sounds.
Those short vowel sounds can be so tricky! Sorting activities are perfect for helping students learn those vowels. When you download volume 4, you receive 11 vowel sorting templates with the corresponding pictures. This volume contains over 200 colorful pictures for sorting!
The Cookie Sheet Activities Pre K- Kindergarten Bundle is guaranteed to keep those little learners engaged in learning early phonemic awareness, phonics and number skills.
The dowloadable pdf activities are available in my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Not quite sure you want to print the activities yourself? When you order the Printed Cookie Sheet Activities I’ll mail you the colored templates printed on office paper, the colored pictures printed on 90 lb card stock and a red cookie painted cookie sheet. The Printed Bundle is also available in my online Teachers Pay Teacher store.
There are several different ways to store your cookie sheet activities. I found that using the 15 x 11 1/2 x 3″ Sterilite containers work great. The templates, letters and pictures fit perfectly and stack nicely on a shelf. You can find the containers at Walmart or most any local department store. I created these stickers to fit the containers (they are contained in the pdf file and also included if you order the printed materials).
I’m pretty picky about the shape of the magnetic letters. Of course you can use magnetic letters purchased at a dollar store and many of dollar stores have appropriately shaped letters. I purchase my magnetic letters at Banks School Supply- they are about $2.50. Not only do I like the shape and size of the letters, but the consonants are blue and vowels are red. You also have the option of purchasing uppercase and lowercase letters so that you can extend the cookie sheet activities to include upper- to lowercase matching.
Just click HERE
So not necessary, but I have a thing for color coordinating activities. It’s probably not a healthy obsession with color. If you’d like to add a little color into your centers, these painted cookie sheets are available for purchase through the Make, Take & Teach website.
Hope you enjoy the cookie sheet activities!
Learning vowel sounds can be so tricky for our young readers. Not only do several of the short vowel sounds sound similar (for example, the short /a/ and short /e/ sounds), but vowels have two sounds– a short sound and a long sound. Teaching students that vowels have two sounds is typically introduced early in first grade. The explanation is actually quite simple. We just tell students that when a vowel has a long sound, it says its name. Having this poster handy while teaching this concept can be helpful. Just click the link below for a quick and easy download.
Just click the following link to download this freebie Long and Short Vowels Poster
For our little first graders, I created 8 hands-on activities for teaching discrimination between long and short vowel sounds. Several of the activities were designed for the direct teaching of the concept in either whole or small group instruction and others for added practice during independent literacy centers. Here are 3 of my favorites:
For introducing the concept, the long and short vowel bone sorting activity is ideal. Just place the dog dishes on the table, have the students name the picture on the bone and then place the bone in the correct dog dish. This activity contains 60 bones with pictures of long and short vowel sounds.
I really love the self-checking feature of Long or Short activity using Hot Dots. This activity contains 30 colorful cards that can be used with either the Hot Dots pen or with a golf tee (punch a hole and circle the correct answer on the back). If using the Hot Dots pen, the student chooses their answer by placing the tip of the pen on the circle (dots are either hot or cold). If the answer is correct, a green light will appear on the top of the pen as well as applauding will sound. You can purchase the pen and the hot/cold dots from Amazon. This pen can be used for a variety of activities!
The flip chute is another one of my favorite hands-on activities that can be used to practice most any skill. They are particularly ideal for independent literacy centers. Flip chutes are made using orange juice cartons. The skill cards can be made using index cards cut into 2 inch squares. For this activity, I created the cards for you (just print double-sided) as well as dressed up the carton with the dog-themed templates. Directions for creating your own flip chute are contained in the Long/Short Vowel Sound Bundle. You can also download the directions and basic templates for the flip chute by clicking the link below.
For directions on how to make your own flip chute, just click the following link Flip Chute Directions
Be sure to check out the other five activities contained in the Doggone Fun! with Long and Short Vowels in my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Memory aids are often used to help students remember certain spelling rules. The FLoSS rule is one of the first spelling rules taught to our first and second grade students to help them understand when to double the final “f”, “l” and “s” consonants at the end of certain words. The word “floss” actually follows the FLoSS rule. When a /f/, /l/ /s/ (or /z/) is heard after a short vowel at the end of a one-syllable word, it is spelled with a double “ff”, “ll”, “ss” or “zz”. Okay, you’re probably thinking how did that “z” sneak in there. Well, there really aren’t too many words that end in “z” so this rule will work for the majority of words your students encounter. Feel free to download this free FLoSS rule poster for your classroom.
Click the following link to download this poster Floss Poster
It’s always helpful to have on hand word lists for specific phonics concepts. You can also download this handout by clicking the link below.
Click the following link to download the free FLOSS word list Floss Word List
To teach and practice this rule, it’s helpful to identify words that follow and then do not follow this rule. I created this file folder activity so that students can analyze words according to their features and then decide if the word is a FLoSS word. This file folder activity is great for independent centers as it offers a hands-on approach to learning. By laminating the file folder, you can use this activity over and over again!
The File Folder Phonics Activity for The FLOSS Rule is available in my Teachers Pay Teacher store.
There are certainly many more rules that students need to learn to become proficient readers and writers. The Make, Take & Teach Even More! File Folder Phonics Activities contains 13 hands-on activities for teaching contractions, plurals, past tense and more!
The Even More File Folder Phonics Activities is available in my online TpT store.
Hope you find these activities helpful in teaching your kiddos those rules.
Teaching and learning homophones can be tons of fun! Many reading programs introduce the concept of homophones in second grade. Homophones are words that sound alike but are spelled differently and have a different meaning. Students need to be able to tell the difference in the meanings of these words and to use the correct spelling in their writing. If students misspell words or use the wrong word in writing, the reader is not likely to understand what they are trying to say.
Of course, using hands-on activities to teach any skill is preferable to worksheet drill and practice. The Make, Take & Teach Complete Activity Pack for Teaching Homophones includes 10 engaging activities for teaching 65 common homophones. My favorite activity this pack is the Homophone Pear Matching activity. There are 72 homophone pairs of pears! Of course you’d want to differentiate this activity by choosing which and how many pears to use during small group instruction or within your literacy centers.
Homophone posters and teaching cards are provided for direct instruction. You may also wish to place several posters around the classroom while teaching this skill.
Activities such as the Homophone Vocabulary Puzzles, 4- In- A- Row, game boards, memory and I Have- Who Has are ideal for added practice during independent literacy centers.
Have fun teaching those homophones!
You may know by now that I’m all about those cookie sheets. I love activities that use cookie sheets as manipulating magnetic letters provides for great hands-on learning activities and the cookie sheet keeps all the materials in one area! The Build It-Write It activity for CVC words is perfect for either small group instruction or for independent literacy centers. When you download this activity you will receive 14 colorful CVC templates. There are templates for working with a specific vowel and also templates with mixed vowels. This makes differentiation a snap!
The Build It Write It activity for Consonant Vowel Consonant Words is available through my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Call me a bit crazy, but I like my cookie sheets to match the templates. I live for color-coding!
If you’d like to add a little color into your cookie sheet activities, these painted cookie sheets area available through the Make, Take & Teach website.