Write On Plastic Pocket Charts

Check out this cool idea a reader submitted. It’s simple, but genius!
If you use a pocket chart to hold vocabulary words, you can diagram them right on the pocket! Use an overhead marker or a whiteboard marker to diagram words onto the clear front pocket of the chart! This way, you can leave it up for the week while you’re focusing on a specific principle, and you don’t have to write on the word strip.
pocket charts
Have any other great ideas?  Send them to me (squareheadteachers at gmail dot com) and I’ll post them on this blog! Thanks!
pocket charts 2

Thanksgiving Game Board

Thanksgiving Gameboard STICKERMore game boards! I’ve decided you can’t ever have too many blank game boards in your classroom to use with review games (click here to read about some of my favorites). This one’s Thanksgiving themed, and would be perfect to use with math facts, spelling words, etc. They’re actually really simple to use: for example, hand 2 kids a game board (it’s best if you laminate them first) and a die. Kids can roll the die and earn that many spaces if they get a math fact right (just hand them a stack of flash cards) or if they correctly spell a word on their weekly spelling list. Enjoy!

Click here for the free printable PDF: Thanksgiving Game board 1

Valentine Words Activity Page

Valentine word activity page copy

Here’s a fun “fast finisher” to give your students if they’re done with an assignment early. They’re asked to alphabetize, sort and draw a few basic Valentine words. Happy Heart Day!

Click here for the free printable PDF: Valentine word activity page

Sight Words Tic-Tac-Toe

I recently read a blog post on all the fun ways you can modify tic-tac-toe to make it more educational. This idea was my favorite: Cut up an egg carton (or make your own board out of paper) and create pieces of two different colors. On each piece, write a high-frequency sight word you would like your child or class to practice. Then have the kids play the standard game with these rules:

  1. You must say the word when you play the piece.
  2. After the game ends, you must write down the words you used AND the words your opponent used.

I would make a bunch of sets for my classroom using a variety of sight words so kids can play when they finish an assignment. If you use paper (pieces and boards), laminate them so they’ll last longer. Also, to keep sets together, I’d make a blue set (using light and dark blue pieces) so the kids know all the blue pieces go together.

This game can also be played with letter names and sounds if you’re working with younger kids (preschool, kindergarten, first grade).


Fly Swatter Game (Sight Words/Spelling Words)

Fly Swatter game sticker

This is one of my favorite games.  This works for reading, math or anything you can write on a card with an answer (great for spelling words, sight words, letter sounds, math facts, states/capitals, etc).

The pictures are of our spelling words for the week.  Kids get in groups of three or four.  One student does not have a fly swatter, while the others each have one.  The student without a fly swatter is the reader.  Spread the words (or math fact cards, or whatever) on the ground.  The reader  reads any word.  The other kids try to be the first to swat the word.  Whoever swats the word first keeps the word.  After the words are gone, the fly swatters get passed to the left.  If you don’t have the fly swatter, you become the reader.  Be sure to set up rules before the game that if someone intentionally swats another student with the fly swatter they sit out a round, or whatever your class rule would be.  For a whole class experience put the words on the board and give each team one fly swatter. Kids love this game!

My friend over at Cultivating Questioners had this to say about the fly swatter game: “I divide my whiteboard into two sections and write words or numbers on the board randomly. I then divide the students into two teams. I have one person from each team step forward with the fly swatter in hand. I then call out a problem or word and the students run to the front of the room and slap the correct answer in their team’s section. They love it!”

Halloween Spelling Activities

Spooky Spelling sticker

I often find it difficult to make spelling interesting. So I recently came up with what I call “Spooky Spelling!” It’s got space for your students to alphabetize, sort and illustrate their weekly spelling list. Click here for the free printable page: Spooky Spelling

Grammar Dictation Sheet (Spelling)

One of my teacher friends recently told me that their district just changed their policies to outlaw traditional spelling tests. Instead they do “dictation” with a small set of spelling words (8-10 for second grade). The set of words all focus on specific sounds. For example, they might choose “kn” or  “sh” or “eigh” that week. Every day the teacher hands out a sheet (similar to the one below) and says the sounds and the students have to write the sound. Then the teacher says a sentence that includes one or more of the words for the week and the kids have to write it. The sentences are the same on Monday/Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday. Then on Friday, the teacher chooses one sentence from Monday and one sentence from Tuesday. It’ll be interesting to see how much better/worse the students are at spelling because of this new system.

Grammar dictation sheet (16 lines)- PDF

Dictation sheet PDF- 10 lines

Kindergarten Sight Words List (Updated)

Here’s my list of kindergarten sight words. They’re organized by month of the school year, and each month includes a color word to focus on. This would also be a great list of words to start working on with your preschooler if you’re looking to get a jump on literacy!

Click here for the free printable PDF: Kinder Sight Words by Month

kindergarten sight words by month

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