Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Magic Spelling Wands

Looking for a fun way to practice spelling words? Have your students make their own magic spelling wand! Give each student a small dowel rod (or wooden skewer with the pointy end clipped off), a star made from cardstock, an index card or thick scrapbook paper, and some ribbon or string. Instruct students to tape the star onto one end of their wand. (You can also hot glue these on in advance for a longer lasting wand.) Then have students pick out some ribbon or yarn to add to the back of the star.
When your wands are finished, use them to write your spelling words in the air. I’ve had students spell the words aloud as they write them and then make a magical twinkling sound as they circle or underline their finished words.

You can use these wands as part of your spelling center, a way to liven up your routine during a spelling slump, or to keep your students spellbound at the end of the year.

Happy Spelling!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Mrs. Killion’s Turtles

I have an amazing volunteer named Mrs. Killion. She is constantly thinking of fun projects for my students to do and she returns year after year to help me. Do you remember her popcorn ball spider eggs? This is another one of her creations.

A friend of hers had a ton of baby food containers she was keeping in case she ever needed them. (Sounds like teacher hoarding to me!) When she realized she would never use them, she gave them to Mrs. Killion who turned them into these adorable turtles.
She uses this pattern and copies it on green construction paper, 2 patterns per turtle. As the pattern indicates, she includes pieces of pipe cleaner. When the two patterns are glued together, the pipe cleaners add flexability to the legs and head of the turtle. (How brilliant is that? You could use that trick on so many projects!) Finish off with a pink tongue and wiggly eyes. Then glue the pattern to the plastic lid.

Sometimes we fill the containers with goldfish crackers for a fun snack. Other times we take it one step further and turn it into spelling practice. The students write their spelling words on dot stickers and add the stickers to the “shell” of the turtle. They can keep their new pet on their desk and refer to it all week to review spelling words. You could also practice addition or subtraction facts on the stickers. My students love taking the turtles home and refilling them with other treats, so don’t be surprised if they show up again during snack time!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Easy Writing Pages

A few years our school adopted a new instructional framework that focuses on higher order thinking and writing. Our students have really latched onto this program and are writing more than we’ve ever had them write before.

When some of the assignments got home, they would be slightly difficult to make sense of without the writing prompt, so we had to figure out a way to include it on every student’s paper. At first we tried writing the prompt onto the top of the page but it looked too messy. Then we tried printing directly onto the writing paper so that it would be centered and neat. But a problem arose when my printer broke and was not replaced since we’re going towards centralized printing (yaaaaaaay). When I wanted to print onto the paper I’d have to go into another teacher’s classroom to use her printer or attempt to use the copier to get it onto the writing paper. This usually took 2 or 3 tries after first printing on the back, and then upside down. Cue frustrated sigh.

The problems continued when we realized that, as a grade level, we were going through ream after ream of writing pages and getting close to the end of our supply. So we came up with this idea! We can make our own writing pages that we can type onto and print. We can get the prompt at the top of the page and decide if we want a picture space or no picture space, landscape or portrait, large writing lines or small. What a time saver!!
Here are the writing pages we currently use. We’ve uploaded landscape and portrait formats both with and without picture spaces. These have made our lives much easier and students are really motivated to move on to a page 2, 5, or higher! For easy storage, get some nesting paper trays and store each page number in it’s own bin. Stack them when they aren’t in use, spread them out on a table or the floor when they are. Happy Writing!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Book Bite #4- Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast

Since our Book Bites for Lion vs. Rabbit, Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole have been so popular, we thought we’d share some of the activities we’ve done for one of our new favorites- Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Brendan Kearney.

You had us at the title, Josh, but then we saw the amazing book trailer. A pancake and French toast battling it out for syrup? Who doesn’t love a little competition? This book proved to be perfect for the beginning of school as we could easily relate it to our citizenship unit. Snag our Book Bite here.
Check out some of the activities we’ve already done!