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Word Work without the Mess!!!

Don't get me wrong, I DO love magnetic letters!  Magnetic letters are one of my favorite activities for centers!

But today, I am talking about the few, precious minutes you have at your small group table for word work.  Whether it is guided reading, RTI, or other small group work, you often don't have the time to drag out the magnetic letters.  Not to mention the amount of time it can take to get the kids focused with them!

Today I want to share a way to get the benefits of the magnetic letters without the mess and time.  It's time to go DIGITAL!

Recently, I have discovered a new online platform called BOOM learning- wow.boomlearning.com  (There is also an app available in the App Store, Google Apps, and Kindle Fire.)

Here is how it works:

1. You would need to have devices for each student in your small group to use at your word work table- Ipads or Tablets work best, but you could have a different device such as chrome book, etc.
2.  Students open the deck (that is what a set of Boom! Cards is called) and they are ready to begin.
3.  You dictate words to students focusing on the skill you are currently learning.  Students drag and drop the letter tiles into the boxes at the top.
4. Students then show their work to you to check (just like they would with magnets or dry-erase boards).
5.  After you check their work students click "NEXT", and they have a clean board to build a new word!  There are 15 cards in the deck, so students could build up to 15 words in one lesson.

There are three different decks available:  3 letter (cvc words), 4 letter words, and 5 letter words.  Giving you almost endless opportunities for word building!  Some possibilities include: cvc words, beginning and ending blends, silent e, diphthongs, r-controlled vowels, vowel teams, three letter blends, etc.



Want to learn more about BOOM! Cards?  Check out their amazing website!



Beginning Consonant Blends




After your students have learned to read short vowel words, it is time to work on beginning blends.  Most beginning blends fall into one of three categories: l blends, r blends, and s blends. Work on one type of blends at a time.  I have always thought s blends are the easiest for students to master first, then l blends, with r blends being last.  Spend at least a week teaching each type of blend.
These are the most common beginning blends.  I created these by using my hot glue gun to glue magnetic letters together.

Here are some activity and center ideas for working on blends:
1. Reading and sorting words by beginning blend.
Here is another activity center idea for sorting.  By changing how the sort looks, it feels like a different activity to the children.  You can find the sorting cards here.

2.  Building blend words with onsets (the blend) and rimes.  

 You can download the cards here for free.  Print the blends in one color, and the rimes in a different color.  Students can use the cards to build and read real (and nonsense) words.  This works great as a table top activity during guided reading or intervention time.  
I created these mats with some word family sticky notes I found several years ago. 

This set makes a great center.  Students add blends with magnetic letters, letter cards, or dry-erase markers.  Click here to see this set in my TPT store.
3. Bingo type games are always fun!  In this version students draw a picture card, and find the matching word on their mats.  You can find it here.

4.Write and Wipe mats
 These mats make a great center or independent activity.  Place them in a write and wipe pocket, sheet protector, or laminate them. Students write the beginning blends.  You can find it here.
5. Roll and Read is another fun center idea.  Students roll the dice and find a word with the beginning blend.  If they can read the word they add it to their pile.  You can find it here.  

6.  Worksheets
Students read, write, sort and glue the words into the correct column. You can find them here.

Want all of the activities?  They are available in a bundle in my TPT store. 
 You can find the bundle here.
I hope this has helped you to think of some fun ideas and centers for beginning blends!


Math Mats for First Grade





I love the versatility of dry erase pockets! They are great for so many reasons; they are easy to prepare, easy to clean, durable, and students LOVE them!  They are great to use for checking for understanding and guided practice.  Students can hold them up like dry erase boards to quickly show you their work.

Today I wanted to share a few of the First Grade Math Mats I created to use in dry erase pockets. They are great for whole group and small group instruction.  Once the mats are introduced, they also make a great independent center!

Add some simple math manipulatives and you are ready to go!  In this activity, students use dominoes to work on the Commutative Property of addition (aka Turn-Around Facts).  Students place the domino in the first spot, write the fact, flip the domino, and write the turn-around fact.  You can walk around the room while students are working to quickly check their understanding of the activity.  When students complete the mat, they erase it, grab another domino, and keep going!  That is one of the great things about this mat, there is no "I'm finished!"  The exact same activity is perfect for centers!!!

With this mat, students record all the ways to Make Ten.  All you need are two-sided counters.  Students flip counters and record the different combinations.  
Use cubes to work on doubles.  You can orally give the students a double to build with the cubes.  Then they record the doubles fact.  At a center, students can build and record different doubles, you could provide doubles flash cards, or they can make their own doubles.

Students can put the "Fact-Family" in their house.  Give students three numbers in a family to record at the top (triangle flash cards work perfect for this!).  Then students write all four facts in the family.  When they complete one fact family, they can grab another flash card and do another!  

Or you can use dominoes for the family!  
Students can practice their place value skills with this mat.  Give students a number to build with place value blocks.  They also record the number in tens and ones. When you are ready to move from the concrete to the representational stage of understanding, students can color the number with their dry erase markers on the mats.  

Students can also compare two numbers using place value!  All you need are number cards to make a quick center.


Give students a time to record in digital form, then have them draw the hands on the clock.  Add a set of digital time cards and you have a center ready to go!

Use dice to work on adding three numbers.  Have students who are working at different levels?  Add dice with larger numbers for easy differentiation!  Another activity students can play for extended periods of time!

These are just a few of my favorites!  You can check out all of my First Grade Math Mats in my TPT store!

February Writing Freebie



I wanted to share a fun February writing freebie I have in my TPT store.  It is a February set of my "Let's Write!" series.
You can head here to download this set.
These writing pages can be used in SO many ways in your classroom.  

They work great for morning work because the consistent format lets students get started right away without needing instructions.  
They also work great at a writing center.  I focus on students starting their sentences with capital letters and ending their sentences with punctuation.
The Abe Lincoln and George Washington sheets could be used as part of a Social Studies lesson.
Seven sheets are included: three Valentine's sheets, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Groundhog's Day, and We Love Mail.
I hope you enjoy this freebie!  
You can head here to download this set.  
Happy February!

United States Symbols Lapbook



An interactive lapbook is a fun way to teach about United States Symbols. I recommend teaching one symbol each day.  Start with a book, video, or internet resource to teach about the individual symbol.  I love using the website PebbleGo, if your school has a subscription.
Click here to see the lapbook in my TPT store.

Here are the individual projects:
Students fold and glue to create the front cover of the lapbook.



The Bald Eagle


 

The Statue of Liberty

The United States Flag


 The Lincoln Memorial

 The Washington Monument


The Liberty Bell


and Mount Rushmore

My favorite project is the map.  Students draw lines to connect the projects to where they are located in the United States.  It helps students to see how many of our United States Symbols are located in Washington, D.C.
Click here to grab the lapbook in my TPT store.

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