Saturday, November 24, 2018

Holiday Crafts with a Educational Twist

During the month of December, I'm always looking for ways to keep my students engaged in learning activities - as any teacher knows, the closer you get to Christmas, the bigger the struggle that is! I wanted to find a way for my students to practice skills, but not with your typical worksheet, so I created three different holiday crafts that you can use with your students to practice any skill or concept!

In this resource, all of the template pieces are included to make a reindeer, Christmas tree, or gingerbread house. On the blank templates, you can have students practice any skill you want including sight words, math facts, word families, spelling words, letters, fact families, grammar skills, and MUCH more!

Here are some of the ways I used the Monthly Skills Crafts in my classroom:

I wanted to give my students a chance to practice reading and writing their sight words they'd learned for the first part of the year, so I put this activity in a center and they wrote their sight words on the Christmas lights and put them on the reindeer antlers. After they created them, I hung them up in my classroom and they made the cutest decor to boot!

This student decided to make hers like Rudolph!

In math, my students were working on decomposing numbers so I decided to have them create a Christmas tree to practice their math facts for making ten.
There are SO many different ways you could use this craft! You could also have students practice addition and subtraction strategies, place value forms, number writing, skip counting, and more! One way I may use it this year is to have them write adjectives to describe their tree after they decorate it.

For the last craft, a gingerbread theme is always one that students enjoy. This template allows students to decorate a gingerbread house the way they want it and then use the candies to practice different skills! This example has students practicing writing words in the "short I" word family. There are so many great options for this template and they always turn out so cute and creative!

My favorite thing about this resource is that the activities are SO versatile, students love creating them, and they make fantastic holiday decor to hang in your classroom as well. 

If you'd like to add this resource to your classroom this year, click on the picture below to find out more!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Teaching CVC Words with Games in the Classroom

One of my favorite things about teaching in the primary grades is how much they grow as readers throughout the year! When I taught kindergarten, most kids came in not knowing all of their letters and sounds, much less how to blend them to read a word. But by the end of the year, they were independently reading decodable CVC word readers with ease! It absolutely amazes me every year! As a teacher, it is such a thrilling moment to see how far they've come.

Now that I'm teaching first grade, the beginning of the year is SO different - now I'm starting out the year working on CVC words and word families! The majority of my kiddos this year are at or above grade level, so I've been able to dive right in with some short vowel review activities and literacy centers. I'm going to share some of my favorite strategies and resources for teaching CVC words and provide some simple, low-prep activities that you can implement right away!

One of the best ways to increase student engagement and learning is to have them play games! Kids love to play them and half the time they don't even realize they are working on skills and supplementing their learning. I also love getting kids involved with creating their own activities to help them learn, so here I had my students make their own game to practice one of their Short A Word Families: -ag. At this center, they created the "Bag of -ag Words". Students wrote -ag family words from a list on different paper bag printable pieces.

Then, they cut them out and put them inside an actual paper lunch bag.

Now, they are ready to play the game! Students pull one -ag bag word out at a time and write the word they read on the recording sheet.

To keep with the theme, I implemented other activities that had a play on words to go with the word family we were learning that day. The next game students can create is the "Can of -an Words" game. Students cut on printable lines to create a can that they glue to a piece of paper, cut out words in the -an family, put them inside the can, then pull, read, and color the word they chose. It's a fun way to work on word recognition and fluency!

For the next Short A Word Family, the -at Family, students can create a "Mat of -at Words". Using multicolored squares (love Astrobrights paper for this!) students will write all the -at family words they can think of and glue them in different places to create a colorful mat.

The last activity for Short A Word Families isn't a game, but just a fun little activity that is SO easy to prep. The last word family we learned was the -ap family, so students practiced reading and writing the words by creating an "-ap Family Cap". I just printed the template out on colored construction paper, the students wrote the words out and cut the cap template out, and then I stapled it together around their heads using a sentence strip!

Hands-on activities always make learning so much more fun! I love using these activities during our literacy center time. To add these fun activities to your short vowel resources, click on the picture below to find out more!