Well I made the Candy Corn Alphabet activity with a cute little box found at JoAnn Fabrics and the Halloween Rhyming game with plastic discs found at Michaels Craft Store; I just couldn’t leave out my other favorite craft store- the Hobby Lobby. While on my shopping trip with my daughter in the “big city” of Lansing, we stopped by the Hobby Lobby and found these cute little foam aliens. I thought they’d be perfect for a Halloween-themed math center activity. Okay– there is some assembly involved, but aren’t they so, so cute? There are a total of 30 aliens! The directions for assembly are on the pdf which you can download for free.
This is what the package looks like.
Click the following link to download this FREE pdf Monster AdditionAlien
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
A few months ago I posted the Classroom-Sized Monster Sight Word Game Board. There are 220 monster feet with words from the Dolch sight word lists 1-9. Place the feet around your classroom for a giant game board!
Click HERE to download the Classroom Sized Monster Feet Game Board
I love my job. I really, really do! One of the favorite parts about my job is that I get to network with a whole bunch of very talented teachers. I love hearing about and seeing them implement creative strategies to improve student learning. During the past several years, many of our local school districts have focused on improving writing instruction. All of our schools, from elementary to high school, received training in the Collins Writing Program. In addition, teachers were able to participate in other inservices such as the 6 Traits of Writing to enhance their instruction in this area.
My good friend and colleague, Michelle (same job, just different schools) came back to our office one day so excited to share what she had seen in one of the first grade classrooms she visited. She was so impressed with the quality of writing and the independence displayed by this classroom of first graders during their writing time that she just had to bring back the tool the teacher used to show us all. Sue, a first grade teacher, uses ”focus sticks” to help her students develop and assess their own writing. The focus sticks are placed in a cup in the center of the table. After completing their writing, the students use a focus stick to check to be sure their writing includes the pictured elements. The icons placed on the sticks serve as cues. Below is a stick that Sue uses during the beginning of the school year.
During whole group instruction, she has explained and modeled the expectation for each icon.
Click the following link to download these focus stick icons Focus Sticks Level 1
As the year goes on, and as each student progresses in the writing process, the icons on the sticks change depending upon the expectations. So, here is another stick that Sue uses as her students advance.
You can see in this focus stick, she has incorporated three of the six traits: ideas, voice and sentence fluency. Of course she has provided instruction in those areas before introducing the icons on the stick.
Click the following link to download these focus stick icons Focus Sticks Level 2
When appropriate, Sue transitions the students from the use of the focus stick to a written rubric.
Not all students use the same stick at the same time. Some students may be working on the skills contained within the initial focus stick for a long time while others quickly move to the second stick and then to the written rubric. For our struggling students, removing icons is always an option. For example, for one student, the goals of a writing assignment may be to use correct letter sizing and to draw a picture to match the text.
You can also cut the icons out individually if you’d like to focus on specific skills.
To make your own focus sticks you will need large craft sticks (I color coordinated my sticks, but it is not necessary), wiggly eyes (I used 25mm, but any size will do), full size Avery labels and cups. The amount of materials will depend upon how many sticks you wish to make.
1. Print the desired pdf of the focus stick icons on the full size Avery labels and cut along the dotted lines.
2. Center the icons on the stick and fold over the edges.
3. Using a hot glue gun, glue the wiggly eye at the end of the stick. Here’s a trick… put the glue on the stick, hold the stick upside down and push the wiggly eye up on the stick. This way the wiggly eye will wiggle. If you push the eye down on the stick, the black wiggly touches the glue and won’t wiggle (tragic, I know).
4. Adhere the sticker on the cup.
I’ve included a classroom set of posters which corresponds to the icons on the focus sticks for use during instruction as well as reminders for students as they are writing.
Click the following link to download all classroom sized posters Writing sticks Posters
If you’d like more information on the 6+1 Traits of Writing, the book is awesome!
A few months ago, my good friend Keri from the Sweet Life of Teaching was preparing for a training that she was about to offer. On the table was a roll of vinyl chalkboard paper (I’ve never seen or heard of it until this time). As she was describing what it was and how she uses it in her classroom, I was literally getting goosebumps. You can purchase the paper in single sheets, but Keri loves it so much, she purchased a whole roll! Whoever invented vinyl chalkboard paper is a genius. This product is so versitle… from using it to label bins to creating activities…it is awesome! The paper can be cut into any size (just like contact paper). You, or your students, write on the paper with liquid chalk. Once dried (pretty quick), it’ll stay on until you use a small amount of water to wipe it off. Just think… how about using it to label bins, cubbies? You can keep the label on the cubbie and when you have a student move, simply wipe the name off and it’ll be ready for any new student who make walk through your door.
I knew eventually that an idea for using it within an activity would pop into my head. It happen last week with the “Build It-Write It” activity. To make this activity, you’ll need the following materials: printed cards, vinyl chalkboard paper, liquid chalk, fine point black Sharpie marker, and 24 square counting tiles. The cards will need to be laminated so if you do not have access to a laminator, you’ll also need clear contact paper. Here’s how to create the activity.
1. Print the pdf file on cardstock.
You will get 28 cards for building Consonant-Vowel-Consonant words
You will get 12 cards for building CCVC/CVCC words
Click HERE to download your free Build It-Write It cards
2. Laminate or cover the cards with clear contact paper and cut along the dotted lines.
3. I tend to use red colored tiles for vowels and another color for consonants. If you choose to do the same, using your black Sharpie marker write vowels on the red counting tiles and the following consonants on the other color(s): 2- b, c, d, f, g, h, j, l, 2-m, n, p, r, s, 2-t, v, and w.
4. Now you’ll need to cut your vinyl chalkboard paper. Cut 28- 1″ x 3″ and 12- 1″ x 4″ rectangles. I am a scrapbooker so I use my scrapbooking cutting tools. You can certainly use scissors.
5. Simply peel the back layer from the chalkboard paper and adhere it to the cards.
For this activity, your students will first build the word using the tiles and then write the word below using the liquid chalk. Be sure to differentiate this activity by choosing how many tiles and cards are used. This activity is a great activity for use during small group instruction or as an activity in your literacy centers.
I have not yet found the vinyl chalkboard paper in stores so your best bet is to order it online. Here are the links to the products used with this activity: Vinly chalkboard paper- sheets, Vinyl chalkboard paper- roll, liquid chalk, and square counting tiles.
Be sure to pay, Keri, over at the Sweet Life of Teaching a visit. She has great DIY ideas for the classroom!
Two kids away at college and the other at a birthday party. What’s a mom to do? Go SHOPPING! No mall for me, though, just a quick jot over to the Dollar Tree and a stop at Walmart for wiggly eyes (super cool project for an upcoming post). While at the Dollar Tree, I found these adorable Frankenstein sippy cups. They were practically jumping off the shelf into my hands begging to be made into a project. So here’s what I came up with.
The activity is phoneme segmentation activity where students name the picture, segment the sounds (“ant” /a/ /n/ /t/) and place the picture in the correct cup with the number of sounds (2, 3, or 4). To make this activity you will need 3 sippy cups (if you can’t find Frankenstein, pumpkins will work fine too), 15 pipe cleaners (can use popsicle or large craft sticks) and your glue gun.
1. Print the following pdf on card stock and cut out the pictures.
Click the following link to download the pictures for this activity Phonemic Awareness Halloween Activity
2. Glue a number on the top of the plastic straw.
3. If you choose to use pipe cleaners, double-up the pipe cleaner 3/4 the way down. I only chose to use pipe cleaners because I had them on hand (and the colors matched). Craft sticks would work just as well.
4. Place glue on the top of the pipe cleaner and adhere the picture.
It’s always fun to put a holiday twist on your small group activities. I think the students are going to love this one!
My teacher friend, Deb, has a super easy (and cheap!) way of making privacy screens for the students in her classroom. She simply purchases boxes from our local Office Max and cuts out one side. So easy! Deb says these privacy screens are durable and they are the perfect size. The students can still see her as she is providing directions (other screens are too high) and they fold up nicely and are easy to store. Upon Deb’s direction, students get up and get a privacy screen from the box and quickly set it up. I love it because it makes for a quick and easy transition so instruction can begin right away.
I know what some may be thinking…these boxes may look a little plain, you might want to “cutesie it up” a bit. Just remember that students typically use privacy screens when taking tests or doing work which requires concentration. I love it that the boxes are simple! That means there’s less distractions.
You’ll want to be sure to purchase the correct box size.
Ever since posting the DIY tactile letters, I wanted to create templates to make tactile words for the first three lists of the Dolch 220 sight words. I’m such a believer in a multi-sensory approach to teaching that, despite the amount of time they’ll take to make, they’ll be so worth the effort! Once made, they should last you for years.
So, this is what you’ll need for your project: 1. Adhesive Outdoor Tread. I purchased this tread at my favorite home improvement store–the Home Depot in the paint section. 2. 9 sheets of 3 different colors of 12×12 cardstock (scrapbooking cardstock found in most large department stores). 3. Clear contact paper if you do not have access to a laminator.
To make your tactile sight words, follow these simple steps:
1. Print the pdf with the sight word templates and the letter templates and cut them out.
2. Mount the sight word templates on the colored cardstock and cut them leaving a border around the template. I use my scrapbooking tools, but scissors will do. You will be able to get three sight word templates on a 12×12 cardstock. I color-coded my lists. For example, list one was mounted on green, list two on blue and list three on red.
3. Laminate or cover each mounted template with clear contact paper.
4. Gather the letters for the word on the card. Turn over/flip the letters for the word on the backside of the tread and trace around the letter with a fine point Sharpie marker.
5. Cut the letter from the outdoor tread.
6. Simply peel the paper off the back of the tread and adhere on the template.
Well, that’s about it. Pretty easy to make. These tactile sight word cards will make a great addition to your small group intervention toolbox. One helpful hint…you’ll want to have some Goo-Gone on hand to clean your scissors after cutting the tread.
Click the following link to download your pdf file of the sight word templates for lists 1-3 of the Dolch 220 Sight Words. Templates for the Tactile Sight Words