Grammar Can Be FUN When You Make It A GAME!
Since the Goin On A Bear Hunt Punctuation and Capitalization activities were such a huge hit, as promised, I made cat, dinosaur, frog and pig, cards too.
They follow the same format. The beauty of this is, that it empowers students and builds their self-esteem.
Repetition of some activities is important, especially with young children, because they can’t read directions.
Once the teacher has read, explained and modeled an activity and students have done it, they are good to go the next time around.
This independence makes them feel great and the teacher is freed up to work one-on-one with struggling students or ESL children.
A definite win-win all around, and the big reason I set up my tabletop lessons and easy readers the way I do.
By sprinkling the cards around the room and having children search for them, you help get the wiggles out, add some variety into your students’ grammar routine, and make correcting sentences a lot more fun, than simply handing out a worksheet. + it only takes a few more minutes and your students are now excited and ready to “get down to business!”
Because of this, these cards and recording sheets make great Daily 5 or writing center activities and help students nail the Common Core State Standard: RF.1.1
Each set also includes a certificate of praise.
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Do you have a back to school idea or teaching grammar tip you could share with us?
I'd enjoy hearing from you! firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment here.
Thanks in advance for taking the time to do that.
If everyone took a moment to share, just think how full our bag of tricks would be, and how much easier our lives would become!
“It’s possible we could teach kids anything. I get them to live the concepts. My job is to push them. I want 30 Rocky Balboas, 30 students who are thirsting to learn.” -Joseph Vicari
A Fun Way To Get To Know Your Students
Stamp of Approval Stamps make a great icebreaker for the first week of school and a terrific way to get to know your students + they are an instant back to school bulletin board showcasing your new students!
Send a copy in your Welcome to School - Summer Letter, or tuck them in your Open House packet, so that they can be completed ahead of time, and then shared on the first day of school.
You can also show your example on the first day, so that your students can learn a little bit about you, and then send the stamps home as an assignment for that first day.
How to fill in a stamp:
Students can write, type (using a fun(ky) font), or cut out letters (like a ransom note), or use stickers to make their name.
This goes on the wavy line portion of the cancelled stamp, in the top left-hand corner.
The PLACE where they were born, goes around the top of the circle.
The YEAR they were born, goes on the bottom-middle of the circle.
The MONTH and DAY they were born, goes in the center of the circle.
Months should be abbreviated, unless they are 4 or less letters long.
Places and dates appear on real cancelled stamps; making it personal, makes this assignment more relevant and fun!
Students draw a self-portrait of themselves. (Just a headshot) This needs to be colored. Hair and eye color etc. need to be appropriate, so students can possibly guess whose picture belongs to whom, if the teacher wants to add that activity before the “real” student comes up to share.
Students need to think of their favorite things to do, their hobbies, or sports or “stuff” they are involved in, or possibly what they want to be when they grow up. Basically, anything that represents them or will help us get to know them.
After they have thought up their “list” they need to find pictures, clip art, or stickers of those things and glue them around their self-portrait.
Students write or cut out 3-5 words that describe them. These should be scattered around on their stamp.
Challenge older students to include a word that begins with the same letter as their name. i.e. I chose driven (Diane) for mine.
Students share their stamp with their classmates. I always had my students clap for each person when they were through.
Hang them in the hallway or on a b. board, along with the “Stamp of approval star student” poster.
To add some 3D effects, suspend some glittery stars of various sizes, from fish line, just above the board, at various lengths.
Click on the link to view/download Stamp of Approval Stamp activity
Do you have a “Getting To Know Your Students” activity you can share with us? I’d enjoy hearing from you! email@example.com
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“Teaching is a lighting of sparks and setting minds aflame;
it’s a creative mind that knows what kind of gasoline to throw on to get it glowing and burning even brighter the next day and the next…” -Diane Henderson
Picture Clues Help Students Read
How Do You Go To School? Is a fun easy reader for your students to do the first week of school.
It’s a great way to reinforce the end of the day routine and who should line up where, because of how they will get home.
Graphing how everyone does that, will help children get to know the different means of transportation available, plus get to know their new friends better.
Children read the simple sentences using picture clues, trace and write the mode of transportation word, and then cut and glue the matching numbered picture to the page.
When everyone has completed their booklet, read it together as a whole group activity to reinforce concepts of print.
This will also enable students to share it with their families at home.
Click on the link to view/download the How Do You Go To School? easy reader.
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“Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.” -E.M. Forster
Common Core State Standard Letter Perfect Activity Poster
Here is a simple, easy, and relatively quick activity that you can plug in, to nail quite a few Common Core State Standards with one fell swoop!
Laminate this poster and use it during your calendar or reading block time.
Take a letter each day and fill in the appropriate boxes.
Using a dry erase marker demonstrate to your students how you write an uppercase and lowercase letter.
Students can practice on a dry erase board, or you can make a copy of the Letter Perfect sheets for them.
You can keep these as individual sheets or run off a set of 26 and collate them into an alphabet booklet for each child that they will take out and use during Daily 5 for the writing portion or word work.
If you don’t do Daily 5 this can be an independent writing center, or as in the example above, you can do these as whole group skill sheets.
Have students listen to the sound the letter makes as you say it.
Have students repeat the sound.
Ask them if they can think of any words that make that sound.
By demonstrating basic knowledge of letter-sound correspondence by producing the primary or most frequent sound for each consonant, they are working on Common Core State Standard: RF:K.3a
If the letter is a vowel, have students tell you what other letters are vowels.
I have my students sing the vowel song to the tune of B-I-N-G-O
There was a class who learned their vowels
And this is what they sang Oh
They were so very smart! Oh!
Differentiate between long and short vowels and fill in the appropriate boxes on the chart with words that they can think of.
By associating the long and short sounds with the common spellings for these 5 major vowel sounds, students are working on Common Core State Standard: RF: K. 3b.
By distinguishing long from short vowel sounds in any spoken single syllable words they come up with, they are working on Common Core State Standard: RF.1. 2a.
Have them become ABCDe-tectives and look around the room for words on their Word Wall or Read The Room signs that begin with that letter and then as they say them aloud, ask them to what box/category they should put the word in.
If the letter is a consonant decide if it is a hard or soft consonant and do the same thing as above.
Ask the children if there are any students who have a first or last name that begins with the letter of the day and have them come up and write it on the chart.
Finally, choose a quiet child to find and circle the letter of the day in the alphabet.
You can end by giving someone a pointer (I turned out the lights and used a laser light) to point to each letter of the alphabet on our border and we sang the ABC song.
By consistently reviewing all of the letters, you are helping students to recognize and name all of the upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet which is Common Core State Standard: RF:K.1d and L.1.1a
If you are also going to do these as a skill sheet for your students, they can record at the same time as you do, or after the group modeling, can return to their seats and fill in their own paper.
In order to cover the Common Core State Standard RF: K. 1b make sure that you:
Explain to children each day that “Spoken words are represented in written language by specific sequences of letters.”
As you can see, quite a few standards are covered in one simple and fun poster activity, which can also double as a skill sheet for your students!
Click on the link to view/download Common Core State Standard Letter Activity Poster
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“The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” –Benjamin Franklin
Nailing Common Core State Standards With Fun Vocabulary Building Word Books!
Dictionaries are a great way to practice the skill of alphabetizing.
They help students become aware of new words, and by writing them down, defining and categorizing them, students are building their vocabularies.
At the end of the year students have a great keepsake and are truly amazed at all the words they have learned and can now read, spell and use!
Choose one dictionary for your students to work on, or pick several; there are 8 to choose from, including several generic ones.
The cute cover designs are the artwork of Laura Strickland and Phil Martin.
Use the common ABC page template for all of the dictionaries.
Students write their name on the cover and then jot down the word on the appropriate letter page, and define it.
It would also be a good idea to have students trace the upper and lowercase letters for extra alphabet practice.
Run off more pages if students find more words that begin with a certain letter, such as T, S, M etc.
Run off and collate these booklets at the beginning of the year.
Students can keep them in a folder, file, portfolio or their cubby for easy access.
So that my students are empowered and can find their booklets quickly, each child has a number at the beginning of the year.
This is far easier than alphabetizing things. I quickly collect booklets etc. and put them in numerical order.
The dictionaries make a perfect addition to your “Word Work” for Daily 5.
If you don’t do Daily 5 they are terrific as independent work for your writing center.
If you do a sight word or the Dolch word dictionary you will be helping to fulfill the Common Core State Standard: RF:K.3c
I've also included a tip sheet of how to guide 1st graders so that you can also incorporate Common Core State Reading Standards: L.1.4a, L.1.5b, L.1.5c
Click on the link to view/download Student-Made Dictionaries.
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"Anyone can be cool, but awesome takes practice!" - Unknown
The Very Hungry Student is a fun way for students to write down what they have learned each month.
Because it records their accomplishments, it’s a terrific way to build self-esteem.
Because students write in it each month, you will see improvement in their handwriting, as well as their writing abilities, so the booklet is a good addition to a portfolio, if you have them, or tuck into a student folder, to take out and share with parents during conferences.
Practice reading the simple rhyming sentences, after students complete their page, so that at the end of the year, children are able to read their booklet when they take it home to share with their families!
I have a cute caterpillar with a face for one cover, but you can make this even more special, by having students glue their photo over his face for a “student caterpillar” instead.
Because this is a quick and easy writing assignment, that students can do independently, it makes a nice Daily 5 activity too.
If you don't do Daily 5, keep the booklets for your writing center.
They make a great writing prompt for the first day of school, as there is a page specifically for that.
Because there is a page for each month, you could start out September and each month, with The Very Hungry Student's page as your writing prompt for the month.
For an activity that helps students with verbal acuity, gather children in a circle and have them share that day’s page by reading it to their classmates.
At the end of the year, you can discuss what everyone’s favorite thing was that they learned, or their favorite month of activities. If they overlap, graph them.
A little bit of science is covered, as the very hungry caterpillar is "bursting with knowledge" and turns into a butterfly, flying into the next grade.
In June, (s)he is once again a fat little caterpillar, promising to slim down over the summer, so they are ready to fatten up and gobble down more knowledge, in their new grade!
Click on the link to view/download The Very Hungry Student booklet.
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"Stop trying to fit in, when you were born to stand out!" - Dr. Seuss
1-2-3 Come Do An Icebreaker Craft With Me
What’s On Your Mind? Is an easy and interesting way to get to know your students. Use it as a fun icebreaker for the first day or first week of school.
You can do these in class, if you’re looking for a filler, or if you're pressed for time, send them home to be done as a home-school connection.
Older students can draw their own self-portrait (head) outline, or use one of mine. I've included two boy options, as well as two for girls to choose from.
I find young children do much better if they have some sort of pattern, as they tend to draw rather small circles that items would not be able to fit into.
If you’d like to have a ready-to share activity for the first day of school, include the directions and a template in your “Welcome to school” summer letter or tuck it in your Open House packet, if you have one before the start of school.
By doing this, you'll also have an instant bulletin board ready to go up, after students share their creations. Be sure and make one for yourself to use to explain things and then post as an example. This is my sample that took about 15-minutes, using clip art + adding a photo of my husband and poodle pup Chloe.
I think you’ll enjoy doing it as will your students. No matter what the age group, I've always found that everyone seems to like sharing a little bit about themselves. This is a creative and entertaining way to do that.
You could follow this up with some technology time, and have students type in words to their thoughts and make a word-art picture on the computer using the free tagxedo program as well! I did a sample for me and one for my husband, so you could see a male sample. I filled in the caricature templates (see pix) so they don't look as much like a silhouette as I would have liked.
If you want to use my boy and girl "head templates" click on the link. You'll need to change them to jpegs to use them in Tagxedo, otherwise find a sideview of some other clip art to import.
Click on the link to view/download the What’s On Your Mind activity packet.
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“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing so great as real strength.” –St. Francis De Sales
Let's Get Organized!
I LOVE using graphic organizers for a variety of things no matter what grade I teach.
I think once you start using them you’ll enjoy them too. In this particular packet I’ve designed an easy-to-use 3 and 4-column graphic organizer.
There are some for every month, season and a huge variety of themes.
Click on the link to view/download the Themed Graphic Organizer Packet.
I also made up another 44- page packet with a variety of DIFFERENT kinds of graphic organizers; from stars and a question mark to a fish bone and butterfly; I’m sure you’ll find something here that will fit your needs.
Many of these will help you with a variety of Common Core State Standards for Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades.
As I've stated in a previous article, I work a little each day adding CCSS codes to the items in my shopping cart, to help you find lessons that specifically correlate to them.
If you are downloading, or have downloaded an item that fits a CCSS, would you please drop me an e-mail to help expedite this big process. Thanks!
With that in mind, I included 2 student dictionary's that they can make, that will help with a Language Vocabulary Acquisition Common Core State Standard.
Click on the link to view/download the general General Graphic Organizer Packet.
Graphic Organizers are visual displays that are used to depict the relationships between facts, terms and/or ideas in a learning task.
They are also called mind maps, concept maps, story maps, concept diagrams & entity relationship charts.
They are a pictorial way of constructing knowledge that help organize information.
They help students compress a lot of information into an easy-to-understand graphic display.
The visual display conveys complex information in an easy-to-read manner.
A calendar is actually a graphic organizer, perhaps the original “series of events” organizer.
Graphic organizers can be used for a variety of things, including problem solving, studying, brainstorming, and decision-making, writing projects, and planning research.
Colors and pictures help increase the utility and readability of your visual display.
There are many types of graphic organizers. The task you need to perform, determines the type of graphic organizer you should use.
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“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this—you haven’t.” –Thomas Edison
Dots of Glue Pictures and Pinch and Pokes Help Fine Motor Skills
Use these seasonal dotted clips to help your students learn to use glue bottles and use just a dot of glue with the cute rhyme-song that goes to the tune of “If You’re Happy And You Know It!”
I’ve seen it all over the Internet with no credit given to who is the originator, so if you’re that creative person, let me know and I’ll acknowledge you + link up.
Simply run off the art work and have students color it if you want, for that extra fine motor practice and then placing it on a sheet of scrap paper to avoid the “oops spills” give students a small glue bottle and have them practice plopping a small dot (not a lot) on each little spot on the picture.
Remind them to sing the little ditty while they plop and dot.
If your kiddo’s are like mine, they will enjoy this activity. It will strengthen their finger muscles as well as their aim, (hand-eye coordination) and in no time you won’t dread passing out liquid glue, because there won’t be lakes of it running all over the place.
You can also use these as mini-Pinch & Pokes.
Students LOVE doing these, and they help increase the same finger muscles as the above activity.
Plus they strengthen the upper body, because students lie on their tummies on the carpet. The paper needs to be on a carpet square or the carpet, so the “poker” can go through the paper.
My Y5’s had no problems being trusted with a fat tack as long as I explained the rules: No poking themselves, another child or anything but the dots on the paper. Any infractions and they had a time out and could no longer do Pinch & Pokes, period.
Since this was an activity as fun as Play-Doh, they behaved. If you still cringe at the “sharp object” idea, a golf tee works well, but makes a bigger hole and is a bit harder to poke into paper and sometimes tears things rather than gives a nice circular hole.
Since this is seasonal and themed clip art, with 4 to 5 on a page, I’m sure you can dream up cubby tags and a variety of other “stuff” to use them for. Enjoy!
Click on the link to view/download Just a Dot Not A Lot Pinch and Poke Picture Packet
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"I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
More Chicka Boom Stuff!
I LOVE using file folders with children because they are relatively inexpensive and I have 4 pages I can fill up with “cool stuff”.
Because they are made of heavy-duty cardstock, they can also handle the abuse of 4-year-olds or the soggy “oops” of too much glue as well.
My kiddo’s also enjoyed them because they were something different and something “older” people used, so they felt extra special.
After reading Chicka Boom have your students put together their “lap files”. Choose whatever things you are going to study with them.
This 67-page packet includes:
Chicka chicha boom boom, I hope you enjoy all of the new kids in your classroom!
Click on the link to view/download the Picka Chicka Chicka Boom Activity File Folder Packet
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"Losers are people who are afraid of losing.” –Robert Kiyosaki