Last year I created the original File Folder Phonics activities and they fast became a favorite for introducing and practicing phonics concepts. They are great for independent centers as well as first introducing the concept during small group instruction. Since creating the initial file folder activities bundle, I’ve been receiving request after request for additional activities. Two of my new favorite file folder activities are the ones that introduce the concept of contractions. This is a skill that is typically introduced mid-first grade; however, I find that many second graders could use added practice. As with all the file folder activities, an explanation of the concept or a statement of the rule is included as well as a hands-on activity for learning the concept.
The first file folder activity for contractions includes 20 colorful dog dishes (some on the back too) with coordinating dog bones. Students simply match the dog bone to the dish. This activity is ideal when first introducing the concept of contractions.
The File Folder Phonics- Contractions #1 can be found in my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.
The second file folder activity is an extension of the first. For this activity, students write the contraction on the dog bone. When the student is finished with the activity, simply wipe the file folder clean and the activity is ready for use again!
The File Folder Phonics- Contractions #2 can be found in my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.
These activities are two of 13 file folder phonics activities contained in the Even More! File Folder Phonics. Activities contained in this bundle include activities targeted at the following skills: contractions, FLOSS rule, doubling rule, past tense -ed, -s/-ing endings, plurals and more!
I just love working with dry erase pockets. They’re great for small group instruction as phonics pages can slide right inside and then later erased so that they can be used over and over again. Last year I was able to pick up quite a few dry erase pockets at Walmart during the back to school sale and I have been using them ever since. I created these dry erase pocket activities for working with short vowel sounds and dry erase pockets. There are 17 differentiated templates. They’ve been great for our little learners.
The Dry Erase Pockets Phonics Activities for Short Vowels/CVC Words can be found in my online Teachers Pay Teachers store or on the Make, Take & Teach website.
Here’s a link to purchasing the dry erase pockets in bulk as they are not always available in larger department stores.
It’s finally announced! The Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale is this Monday and Tuesday. Be sure to mark your calendar as August 4th and 5th will be the biggest sale of the year. It’s a great time to stock up on all those items that have been sitting in your wish list folder now for awhile. All Make, Take & Teach items will be 28% off during the sale! It’s a great time to purchase bundled products. Here are a few ideas:
Of course the Cookie Sheet Activities are super popular. These activities are great for independent centers. The Cookie Sheet Activities- Pre K-K Bundle and The Cookie Sheet Activities First Grade Bundle are available in my TpT store.
The File Folder Activities have been flying off the shelf lately. They are great hands-on activities for learning phonics skills. The File Folder Phonics for learning the alphabet contains 26 folder activities with a multi-sensory activity, sound sorting and letter formation practice activity. For more advanced phonics skills, check out the original File Folder Phonics Bundle which contains activities for digraphs, blends, vowel teams and more!
The activity packs were one of the first products I created. When you download an activity pack you’ll receive a teaching manual along with 10 hands-on activities for teaching the phonemic awareness or phonics concept. There are 5 activity packs: Response to Intervention: Phonemic Awareness Activity Pack, Response to Intervention: Alphabetic Principle, Response to Intervention: Short Vowels/CVC, Response to Intervention: Blends and Digraphs, and Response to Intervention: Magic e.
My big summer project was creating The Big Box of Phonemic Awareness Activities and The Big Box of Phonics Activities. Each file contains over 500 colorful pictures for teaching various phonemic and phonics concepts. The cards fit nicely in a bead tote found at Michael’s Craft Store. Activity and common core alignment cards are included.
Phew! Be sure to visit Teachers Pay Teachers during this two day sales event. It’s a great time to find fun fonts and digital paper too! Enjoy the sale!
This summer I took up biking. We are so fortunate to live right by a “rails to trails” path which connects two of our cities. The path is a gorgeous tree-lined trail which extends 15 miles through rural Northern Michigan. Every bike ride brings with it a new adventure. There’s always turtles at the pond, snakes who quickly scurry across the path and, occasionally, a deer stops for a quick pic.
Well, last Monday was quite an adventure in a different-sort-of-way. Two miles into my bike ride, I blew a tire. Oh, boy. That has never happened. Fortunately, I was with my dad who is an avid biker. Little did I know that pack he always carries on the back of his bike contained a tire repair kit complete with a replacement tube. Thank goodness for dad. As I stood by helplessly as dad changed the tire, I spied the popped tube laying on the trail. It reminded me of a blog post that I wrote a year ago featuring an idea to help those kiddos who just need to move. Scott, from Bouncy Bands, asked if I could try out a new product he just developed and I absolutely LOVED this idea. Basically, you place PVC pipes on the desk legs and tie an old bike tube on each leg. How simple! Here’s a pic:
They are so easy to make and quite inexpensive. The Home Depot people often volunteer to cut the tubes if you tell them you are a teacher and bike shops often have old tubes on hand. This is a great DIY project!
Be sure to stop by Scott’s website. You can also order them from the site. Just click HERE.
After running to Home Depot, I’m going to take a quick trip to the bike shop and pick up one of those packs.
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!
I absolutely love activities that are super easy to set up and can be used over and over again. Sure, it takes a little bit of cutting and laminating on the front end, but when they are all assembled you’ll have activities that will last for years! Last year I created file folder activities for my second grade teacher friends to address higher level phonics concepts. They were such a hit and the students absolutely loved them. I just couldn’t wait to create a series for kindergarten and first grade. The File Folder Phonics for learning the Alphabet is just one in a series that I have in the works. When you download this file you’ll receive 26 file folder activities for teaching letters and sounds.
Forming the upper- and lowercase letters with Play Doh or homemade dough is always an engaging activity for teaching letter formation. After the students form the letters with the dough, be sure to have them trace the letters with their finger while saying the letter sound.
When teaching beginning sounds, there’s nothing better than sorting activities. When you download this activity you’ll receive 16 colorful pictures per letter (pictures that begin with the target sound and pictures that do not begin with the sound).
Just turn the file folder over and you’ll have a practice template for letter formation. After use, simply wipe the page clean and it’s ready to used over and over again!
I purchased these file folder containers at our local Office Max. It’s an easy way of storing the file folders. I’ve included the stickers for you just in case you’d like to store yours in the same way.
Both File Folder Phonics Bundles are available through my Teachers Pay Teachers store or on the Make, Take & Teach website.
One of my favorite pastimes is perusing the aisles at our local dollar stores and the toy sections of Walmart and Meijer for ideas for center activities. My three children are now in college and instead of spending my time on the soccer fields I’m now spending that time shopping. Insert HUGE sigh– I really miss my kids and I would go back to those days in a minute. I’m not adjusting very well to my empty nest. While shopping at Walmart the other day I stumbled upon the card section in the toy area and found a few relatively inexpensive games that would be a nice addition to your literacy centers.
The first treasure was the Scrabble Slam! card game. It’s a great phonemic awareness activity as students use the letter cards in their hand to change the word. The first player to get rid of all their cards wins the game. I’m thinking that this activity would be ideal for mid-first grade/ beginning second grade.
I really love the Apples to Apples game. Sometimes it’s difficult to find activities targeting vocabulary. A word is provided (green card) and the students choose a picture card from their hand that best matches the word. They then try to convince the judge as to why their card best describes the word. This is awesome for oral language development!
I have one more fun find at Walmart. There are ways to make your own card holders using recycled CDs and plastic lids, but this card holder really wasn’t that expensive so I decided to go ahead and purchase it rather than make my own. Card holders are very helpful for playing card games as little hands have difficulty holding and fanning the cards.
Are there games that you find helpful for centers? Be sure to leave your suggestions in the comments. Enjoy!
It’s amazing sometimes where inspiration hits. A few weeks ago I had to kill about an hour and decided to hop on over to Michael’s Craft Store. As I was walking through the bead aisle I found this really handy plastic tote. It was just the right size to fit picture cards! Many of my teacher friends are constantly on the move and tote is just perfect!
The phonemic awareness tote contains over 500 colorful pictures for teaching the Syllables, Rhyme, Beginning Sounds, Onset-Rime, Phoneme Isolation and Phoneme Segmentation. Each skill area contains a common core alignment card, activity card(s) and colorful and engaging pictures. The borders are color-coded per skill for easy organization.
Although the tote found at Michael’s is perfect, the cards will fit in any similar-sized tote. You could even store the cards in travel soap boxes (you could find the coordinating colors) or baggies.
The Make, Take & Teach The Big Box of Phonemic Awareness Activities can be found in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
The Big Box of Phonics Activities is also available in my TpT store. This file contains pictures and activities for working with Short Vowels/Word Families, Blends, Digraphs, Magic e, R-Controlled Vowels and Common Vowel Teams.
Also included in the download is the template with the labels to fit this tote. Hoping my friends love the tote as much as I do!