Monday, March 26, 2012

Easter Freebie!

Who says that Mondays can’t be FUNdays?? Ok, so that os capital Corny! Well, Mondays aren’t so bad when you only have NINE more to go before summer break.not that I am counting, ehem!  

Seriously, I LOVE my class this year. I am kind of scared to start back next year because my class this year is so good I am worried about what I may get next year. Isn’t it funny how it always turns out like that, a total flip flop every other year? Last year, well I can’t talk about my class but know I have been very successful in my 12 step program..Ok. I am totally full of it. BUT, my class last year could have led a girl to the bottle but I honestly just prayed a whole lot instead.  Bless their hearts (that is the Texan way of saying Holy Crap, who knew that crazy existed like that), they just couldn’t help themselves. Don’t worry, I dug really deep at times from my toes and loved each and every one of them. J

Anyway, FOCUS! I know, and I am sure you know too by now, I have the attention span of a gnat. Didn’t think that was possible? Squirrel! Seeyou lost me! Even though my children aren’t my biological children (I adopted remember), they also have this ADHD thing so we are always a hot mess. Go, go, go! That’s how we function. Lots of structure and schedules, otherwise we would forget our own names.

Well, if you are just reading this here blog for the first time, I can see how you have lost faith in me as a teacher because I seem pretty crazy, but have no fear! I. got. this!

To start our week off with a bang, here is a freebie. This game is fun to play all year. Sometimes I do letters, sometimes sight words, and sometimes it’s something totally off the wall to change it up a bit. Today, just good ole letters.
 
Do your kids love this game? Click the pic to grab it for them. Enjoy and have a great week!

Also, for my praying peeps, please pray for Tanner. He is my neighbor and is in 8th grade with my oldest. He was in a bad car accident on Friday and has been in a coma. We are praying that the swelling go down in his brain and when he awakes that he will have full body functioning. Please keep him on your prayer list. Also, my teacher friend Andrea has been in the hospital with a terrible case of pneumonia. I know, we are all a hot mess and in need of prayers. Thanks again for joining me in prayer for their healing!! YOU are the bestest and I am by no means bribing you with freebies to be added to your prayer lists, ehem. J BIG hug!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Easter Oviparous Freebie!!

Greetings friends! It’s Friday! Whoo hoo!  I had a date last night with hubs. He had me at sushi and a moviemelt my heart! LOL! Oh, and Kazooles. That is my worst addiction favorite candy and darn the luck lucky for me I can only find them at this one movie theater so I don’t get them that often.  That’s a good thing, right? J We took a picture in front of the Hunger Games poster (where, yes, people were already in line by 6:00 p.m.) and posted to facebook to fake out our teenagers. We told them we were in line. Then, the hate texts began. Oh the kicking and screaming (them) and laughing (that would be from us). HAHA! I only let them carry on for about five minutes and then told them their parents were not cool enough to stay in line until midnight, watch the movie, go to bed at 3:00 a.m. and then go to work we would NEVER think about seeing it without them. J They want us to go see it tonight but they are leaving early Saturday morning for a youth weekend trip and I just can’t send them all tired and crazytalk about cruel and unusual punishment (for the youth pastor). J

I just created my “Eggcellent Easter and Oviparous Unit” and it definitely is a favorite. It is 95 pages (over achiever, I knowI get so excited!) and will be on sale for the next few days for $5. J Here is a preview (Click the pick to get more details).

As always, here is a freebie from the unit. Yay!! Click the pictures to download. 



Have a great weekend friends!!! Any special plans? Dish!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sight Word Freebie!

Greetings friends! How’s your week going? Minelonggggg. That is to be expected since it is the week after Spring Break and my sleep schedule is still off and my bladder thinks it has the right to pee at any moment. You didn’t know? Teachers don’t take restroom breaks! LOL. Monday wasn’t really that bad. First of all, we got to wear jeans. Brilliant idea by my principal! Then, my team got awarded two grants by our local education foundation. We were awarded one iPad for our tutoring groups (for the team, not each) and four Leapfrog tablets (one each).  I totally didn’t think we would get chosen so it was a happy day when the “Prize Patrol” came. Not like that dude who shows up on your door with millions, but we still got the “big check” to hold and pose with. Pretty sweet!

My teenagers will be gone this weekend for Winter Jam..an apparently cool Christian concert. So, I think the little man and I will finally go see The Lorax and I will make my Spring/Plants unit. J It’s Spring after allthough you wouldn’t know in Texas because our weather is cray-cray! Seriously, it was pretty chilly today. Hot all winter, but cold the second day of Spring. Whatever.

I am doing a little changing of my centers next week. I want to add a few more sight word activities.  We have nine more weeks of school so I need to make sure these sweet babies have a good reading foundation before we set them loose for the summer. I hope they will keep reading BUT just in case they “don’t have time” I want to get the two steps ahead so they come back right where they are supposed to be. J I thought I would share today’s creation. I made flash cards too. I will pick a few flash cards each week and keep this as a constant center (but switching out the colors) for the remainder of the year. Click to download. It is ten pages!

Let me know if you like them, will use them, or just need a nap! J

Love and hugs!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cowboy Breakfast!

We had a great time the Friday before Spring Break having Cowboy Breakfast. This was a fun way to wrap up our Texas unit, ya’ll. Haha! The kids dressed up. Menot so much. I am not really a boot skootin kinda girl. That is more my sister’s style. J They were so cute! I LOVE themed day and I really think it is an effective part of learning. After we finished our morning journals, we worked on a Texas symbols page. I wish I had taken a picture of it. Dang!

Then, we made breakfast. Each student cracked one egg. Don’t worry they washed their hands before and after this task. I whisked it all together and we scrambled some eggs. I had made biscuits that morning. I put whipping cream in a glass jar and called a table at a time to take turns shaking itand guess what? It turned in to butter! They kids were amazed! When all the cooking was done, we ate our biscuits with our homemade butter and specially cracked eggs. I was surprised how many kids had never even held an egg before. They felt like little chefs. My favorite was “Mrs. Radke my mom is the best cook in the whole world and you cook just like her!” Ahhh..melt my heart. I told his mom later that day. She should know that she is a hero in the kitchen!! 

Here are some pics of our fun adventure. It’s always an adventureright?!!




 I’ll post our latest center pics tomorrow. Stay tuned! Oh, and here is a pic of my favorite Mother Goose character. My class had a musical performance a week ago and they were to each dress like a Mother Goose character. They were ALL so cute. Isn't this just adorable? I love our music teacher. She is so great with them!
So, where you on Spring Break last week? Did you do anything special? Did you see The Lorax? 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Teachers Taking Care of Teachers!!

I have spent hours screaming and ranting racking my brain this week, trying to figure out the best way to make this work. Here is what I came up with!

If you had asked me last weekend what I would be doing over Spring Break, I would have given you a list a mile long of things I wanted to do, create, blog about. See the Lorax was on the top of my list. Hasn’t happened YET! Tomorrow?? I actually read my blog post right before Spring Break a few minutes ago promising all these new units and picturesoopsie! I have learned that sometimes our plans are not always God's plans and he has something better in store.

My children experienced the same thing. They had planned to sleep in every day but instead their youth group scraped and painted a house that was very much in need of some loving. They wanted to make the outside as beautiful as the person on the inside. :) I spent the last three days being a glorified taxi driver and host home to the girls who participated in their work camp. Um, how do you get paint out of HAIR??? Here is what they did (before and after):
Now, the Radke family was not born with halos people. Remember, we put fun in dysFUNctional! My crazy sweet teenagers really did give their all this week but on any normal day I have to spank, threaten, ground from cell phones to get their black whole bedrooms cleaned! I knew behind those rolling eyes was some goodness! LOL!

So, this week I have called and emailed several schools that were affected by the recent tornadoes. I wasn’t able to get ahold of all schools so I had to do more research to get all of their information. Can I just say, Praise God for google!! I know we have all read about Henryville in the news but did you know that there were three more schools that were completely destroyed too? I am not sure why those didn't make national news but they are in just as much need. Again, I couldn’t imagine

So, six days later, I am ready to unveil my master planbwha ha haaa (ok, normally that would be an evil laugh but I guess not so appropriate huh. Scratch that!) I have compiled a spreadsheet with all four schools and all 121 teachers on it. My hope is that each of you will take a teacher or two and donate something. There are several categories to choose from: digital items (units you create), tangible items (Spring cleaning your classroom?), financial donations and gift cards, or just letters of encouragement (this is just as much for the students of that teacher as the teacher). Sign yourself up for one and your class for another! :) Make sure you write in your name and email address OR blog NAME. J If you are donating digital items, it would be best of you would put them on a disc and mail them to the address on that page. Remember, these teachers have lost their computers and printers so it may be a while before they can actually use your great units but they will definitely help them out. J

I hope everyone will get their schools and students involved. This is an opportunity for us to share our love for what we do with the world. I feel like we are continuously having to prove to society our worth...but we don't have to prove that to one another!

Tonight on my way home I heard this song and it really made me think of this project. Only God can turn dust into something beautiful! That’s good news because people I don’t have those kind of skills! If I was some sort of superhero or had a super power, I would want it to include something with glitter because I love all things sparkly. J



Together we can teach the greatest lesson of LOVE to our fellow educators and get them back on their feet. Please feel free to share on your blog.  We have 726 slots to fill and I need your help to make it happen!

Make sure you click the tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet. Each tab is for a different school. Some have email addresses if you want to contact the teacher but you don't have to. I am not sure they will email you back, as some no longer have computers. Just make sure you are signing up for a person in the grade level you are able to help and if you sign up be faithful to donate.

I am also including principals because maybe you have office supplies or framed scripture that you can give them. They are dealing with a lot trying to get their schools back on their feet.

THANKS for all of your help and support. This became way bigger than I expected but I am SO EXCITED for the out pour of love we are able to offer our fellow educators! 


And, if you are a new visitor to my blog, I hope you will be a new follower. We can be friends, right? Check out my facebook for news, sales, and fun too! 


St. Patrick's Day Blog Hunt FREEBIE!



Top of the morning to ya! Okay, I totally don’t do the whole Irish accent well. I guess leprechauns don’t say ya’ll, huh?! J 

Thanks to everyone who have followed this Blog Hop for the last 17 days. I hope you made out with your own pot of gold. I sure have loved all of the sweet freebies I have found along the way. I love me a good ole scavenger hunt! 

So, you have found the end of the rainbowyour pot of goldyour final shamrock! What fun! I hope you enjoy your freebies. I am so LUCKY to have you follow my blog. Click the pictures for your download. 





Love and Rainbows! Now I feel like eating a bowl of Lucky Charms!  Yummy! 

Check back tonight for the post about Teachers Taking Care of Teachers! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Award Winning Author/Illustrator gets Launched in Kindergarten!

I LUV'd Kindergarten -- back in the day!!
I LUV Kindergarten now!!!!
I'm so excited to have the opportunity to introduce myself here to you, Crystal's amazing audience, where all things are super Kreative!! I'm Debbie Clement...... and I kid you not -- I got my official launch into the Arts as a K-Kiddo!!!

Here's the documentation to outline the facts.



You do the math!

So that's kindergarten-Debbie. I am modeling my 'first-ever-STORE' ensemble, with those sporty knees socks and rockin' my bangs-a-la-mom!! As the winner of the coloring contest I received the outfit of my choice from Resing's and Buster Brown. People this made quite an impression on my young K-brain. Color with pizzazz and you are rewarded!!! I was hooked!!! My first outfit from the store..... my mom had sewn all previous clothes.
BIG IMPRESSION!!!

From this postcard announcement -- it took me less than fifty years to win my first national award as an author/illustrator!!!! My newest book, "Red, White and Blue" received national acclaim with the Indie Award of Excellence in the picture book with audio division! The text of each of my three books is based on an original song I had written and recorded earlier. We publish the books ourselves under my own company, so receiving national recognition is HUGE!!!! HURRAY!!!!

My favorite invitations now are to visit in schools and share my work with budding authors and illustrators of the future. I'm truly over-the-moon when the students are directed to create their own work as an extension of my ideas.


How's that for an amazing child-like response to the quilted illustrations in my first picture book? The community-collaboration quilt, a mural approximately 35 feet in length was created by 330 kindergarten students on Long Island, NY in anticipation of my arrival in their midst for an Author-in-the-Schools visit. BRILLIANT!!! It was the building's Art teacher that directed this monumental effort, but the same idea could be done on a smaller scale within a classroom. Each child was given the choice of three different sized, different colored squares to make their own quilt square in reference to my illustration!!!



I invite you over to my blog, RainbowsWithinReach, where there's lots to see on the 'visual' channel as I share my travels and the sites I see along the way. Reggio, Italy? Fine Motor? YouTube videos? It's all waiting you there. Here's the direct link to every kindergarten teacher's favorite article..... of the young artist who painted a rainbow for me prior to my arrival to their building..... the power of teachers -- the difference YOU make!

You will also appreciate my Pinterest collection that I continue to amass. I now have 4000 followers of my 12,000 ideas pinned and highly organized for your benefit.

Thanks so much to Crystal for opening her heart and blog!!! We both collaborate over at PreK+K Sharing as well. This team work stuff is oodles of fun!

   -- Debbie --



Update: (from Crystal) I have been working with several schools to prepare for the Teachers Taking Care of Teachers project. Expect emails from me by the end of the week. I am waiting on one more list! If you know of a school in need due to the recent tornadoes, please facebook or email me. THANKS Debbie for an awesome post. She is a true ROCK STAR and one of my best cheerleaders. Love her!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Teachers Taking Care of Teachers!!


A sweet blogstalker, Anne, emailed Teaching Blog Addict this week with hopes that we would reach out and help with the recent devastation in our country. She was not alone in her idea or passion to lend a helping hand. Many teachers felt the same way so what are we going to do about it?

On March 2nd, several towns across the U.S. were devastated by the destruction of at least 44 tornadoes across 5 different states.  At least 27 people died and there were thousands left without homes and even schools.  I think the heart of a teacher is that of a giving spirit. It is our job to love all children even when it is sometimes hard, to work more hours than most professions, and give even when we feel like we have nothing left.  This catastrophe is an opportunity for us to do what we do best, lend a helping hand, caring heart, and teach a lesson of love. My heart is that each of you will adopt a teacher in a school affected by the tornadoes. It could be as simple as writing letters of encouragement or having your team clean out your closets and ship out everything you can live without to a teacher in your grade level. I couldn't imagine losing my school! I have thousands of dollars of materials that I have purchased for my class not to mention the hundreds of hours I have spent making materials for my students.  If you would like to participate, please leave me the grade you teach and your email address. I am on Spring Break this next week and will be contacting schools, getting names and addresses of teachers. Maybe you sell on TPT or TN and want to donate everything in your store. That would be great! I plan on doing that too! If you don’t have tangible items to donate, no biggy! We have all suffered through some sort of loss. It means just as much to receive a letter of encouragement and we are born encouragers!! I will send out an email with the school information that you will be assigned to. 

How else can you help? Spread the word! Link up!  I think with all of the negative buzz about education, the strikes, the stress we are facing with job losses and budget cuts, this could be a good distraction and also a way to show people that we are here, united and strong! We care about teachers and education. We have chosen to be in a profession that most say “I could never do that all day!” but unfortunately if feels has become the least valued. So, I am choosing to not be sad about the way things are changing because there are teachers that are hurting and we need to help them! Who’s with me??

Save this picture to your computer (right click, save), and attach the link of this post to the pic when you post to your blog. (Sorry, I don’t know how to embed a picture yet. I know, I knowyou thought I was cooler than that. Sorry, lol!)  I found this on youtube. Very powerful!

Please make sure that when you link up you post the link to your POST about this subject, not just your blog. THANKS!! Ya'll are awesome!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring Break...The FINAL Countdown!!

It’s coming! It’s coming! Just one more day. Amen and hallelujah!! I am so excited. I plan on working on my blog and creating several new units. I know, major plans. Don’t be jealous. It’s not Disney. If you are going to Disney, well I am jealous. Maybe not. That place is going to be packed. Lots of crazy tourist. I don’t like crazyunless it’s my own. J I haven’t had as much time to blog as much as I want to with all of the doctor appts and funerals (geez!) but I have been taking pictures like crazy this week. I am excited to spend more time with you next week!

The weather in Texas has been cray-cray. Almost 80 degrees one day and 40 degrees the nextwhich means that the sweet darlin kids are off their rockers! This week we have been learning about TEXAS, our good ole state. It is one of my favorite units except we do it right after our USA unit and the kids always get the symbols mixed up. I have to say a ton of times that the eagle is not the Texas bird. J Tomorrow is Cowboy Breakfastbecause in Texas we are all cowboys and cowgirls, right? LOL. NOT! It always makes me laugh when I watch the national news and they are interviewing someone from Texas. I feel like the find the most straggly (is that a word?) person with missing teeth that talks with a horrible southern accent and chews on straw. We all don’t live on the farm. LOL. Anywhoback to Cowboy Breakfast. We will make butter, eat biscuits and eggs. The kids each crack an egg. It’s a hot mess so much fun! The kids dress up and we pretend we are out on the range. I have to be honest thoughI am not a home on the range kinda girl. I don’t listen to country musicI know, gasp! Surprised huh? And, I don’t have a horse and shovel crap every day. HAHA!  I do say ya’ll a lot though and depending on who I am talking to my southern drawl can always be thicker. The more southern you talk the more southern I talk. I don’t know why I am like that. It drives my husband crazy.  He knew what he was getting into when he said I do though. J Ok, that is all I can muster up tonight. Put a fork in me peepsI am done. Spent.  Pooped! One more day. One. More. Day!

I found this cutie patootie pic on Fabulous 4thGrade Froggies Facebook. Man, that’s a lot of f’s. J Speaking of facebookare you a FAN? I think I am going to have a little FB fun this week. Follow my page so you don’t miss out! J Love and hugs (and if that doesn’t workwine?)!  Spring Break here I come! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

For the Love of ART!!

Hello! My name is Cindy Feeney and I am the author of a very new blog called LOVE THOSE KINDERS. I am so honored to be a guest blogger on Crystal’s wonderful and FUN blog! Thank you Crystal!

I am in my 17th year of teaching kindergarten! I can’t believe it myself – time has flown and so many things have changed since I began 17 years ago! When I first started we were still teaching colors and counting to 20. Now we are teaching color WORDS and counting beyond 100! Our students are writing stories and putting letters together to form words. Most of us teach thematically and this was just starting to emerge as a favored way to teach 17 years ago.

One thing that I love to do is to incorporate drawing, cutting, gluing, and writing into every thematic subject that I can! I truly believe that when children illustrate a book, create a paper Mache animal, or use construction paper and glue to create, they take a dynamic role in their learning adventure. They retain the knowledge longer because they become an active participant in their educational journey. I love for my students to illustrate books that are written in words in which they can read or to write about a project that they created. I am not really a teacher who gives my students patterns and templates in which to trace. I know there are some projects that need a template, but for most activities, I prefer to give directions and then let my students fly with them. Do I get some pretty diverse projects? Absolutely! But that is what makes their art delightful to me!

Obviously my students do not start the year being able to create the projects they do now! As with any beginning of the year activity, steps are taken in increments and learned slowly. I start with teacher-directed lessons and then once they get the hang of how it is done, I let them go and usually what they come up with is SO MUCH better than what I could do! I am NOT an artist! I struggled with drawing and painting all through school – just like most of us! But once I started observing the world through different eyes, I realized that just knowing a few basic shapes or strokes can help us to create almost anything!

At the beginning of the year, we do a shape search. We simply attach paper to a clipboard; walk outside, and start sketching! It is so amazing to see what children can see! Their observation skills are so much more attuned to visual cues than mine and they have taught ME to see shapes I didn’t realize were there!

From the beginning lesson, I ask my students to add some words to their picture. Even if is only the beginning sound of the word prefaced with a high frequency word such as “the or a”; it is the start of their writing journey. The drawing/cutting techniques that I use with my students help them with their handwriting, too! Once they can take control of their pencil or scissors to create a picture, they have more confidence in their ability to write a letter, a word, or even a sentence. The end of the school year astounds me by what they can do!

There are SO MANY skills involved in drawing and cutting techniques! Children must be able to sequence to know what they should create first, then second, then third, and so on. They must be able to have control of their pencil and scissors and know the purpose of glue. This is fine motor practice. They must be able to look for sizes and shapes. This is math practice. When children are asked to illustrate a book, they are learning to recognize the differences between author and illustrator. They are identifying the front cover, title page, and back page of a book. They are describing their illustrations and the text in which they appear. They are blending and segmenting words. They are recognizing proper punctuation! Whew! Don’t let anyone ever tell you that skills are not being learned when children are illustrating their books or creating paper projects!

Here are a few pictures of some of the fun projects that my students have done this year!
 


 

 

 

Here are some examples of the “How to Draw” illustrations I give my students to help them follow steps to draw or cut.
  

If you would like to see more ideas, hop on over to my blog! And I thank Crystal once again for allowing me to be her guest blogger! Have a great week!
http://lovethosekinders-kinderkay.blogspot.com/







Sunday, March 4, 2012

Learning Resources Giveaway!! Sweet!!


I am so excited to review this super cool Easi-Speak microphone from Learning Resources.  I am my grade level’s ESL teacher so I am always looking for fun ways to create learning opportunities for my ESL kids.  I also find it sometimes a daunting task to find something new that my struggling readers will thrive with. Well, when the box came in the mail, it didn’t take me but a day to whip out this ditty and put it to work. The Easi-speak microphone couldn’t be simpler to use. 


You merely plug it in to your computer with the USB cord provided. This is great because I hate replacing batteries all the time. The charge last about four hours, which is a really long time when you only use it a few minutes at a time.  The buttons are color coded for easy five-year-old use. J So, this is how I used it:

First, I tested it out with my struggling readers. We would read a book together in guided reading, and then they would go back and re-read the book by themselves while recording. After that, we would listen to their recording, pointing to the words as they listened. This was great because they were able to find their own mistakes and by teaching this way, students actually had three ways of listening and/or reading the reader before taking it home.  This will surely increase their fluency.  Something else I loved was that I could have a student sit to the side of me and read into the microphone while I was reading with another student.  I could listen to their recording as soon as they were done to check for errors OR I could just listen to at home later that night. The Easi-speak actually keeps the recordings on the microphone and pulls up the files when you plug it into your computer. Sweet! This gave me another idea! How cool is it that I can email the audio track of a student reading to their parent at any time?! Awe-some!  As a parent, I would love to get an email saying “Look what Grace read today!”.  What a special gift.  Lastly, I think this tool is great for ELS students.  I have a student that struggles with pronunciation.  Now, I can tell him a word and he can repeat it, but this time we can listen to the way he says it and see if it is the same as the way I said the word.  This will be great for auditory learners. Anywho, that is my review.

I am totally a fan and can’t wait to use this product more. Anything that gets my kids excited about reading (though I plan on using this to practice counting to 100, stating science facts, etc.) and really learning in general, has my seal of approval!  The Easi-Speak is Mrs. Radke’s Kindergarten Class tested and approved!

Luckily, Learning Resources is kind enough to give away one Easi-speak microphone to one of my followers too. J

To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is (and I assume you already follow Kreative in Kinder J):

You can check out the Easi-Speak microphone here!
Don’t forget to like Kreative in Kinder on Facebook so you don’t miss out on any secret sales or opportunities! (This is NOT a requirement for the giveaway!) J Giveaway winner will be drawn on Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 at 9:00 p.m. CST. J 

Have a great week friends! Love and hugs!!


Congratulations Cheryl at Crayons and Curls! I will email you soon!!




Friday, March 2, 2012

Teaching Time!!

Last week, I taught my class how to tell time to the hour. It was really fun! We made clocks out of copied card stock and a brad. I had them color the minute hand red and the hour hand blue.  


I projected my worksheet on my dry erase board (I think it is in my Dr. Seuss Unit) and we drew in the hands. I will post it if you want it. J



We practiced a lot but their favorite activity was watching these youtube videos. We already listen to the songs on our iPod but this made my lessons even more fun! Check them out!!



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Interactive Word Walls

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Hello Kreative in Kinder fans!  My name is Jana and Crystal is giving me the great opportunity to guest post for her today.

Every teacher I know has a word wall...a word wall for sight words, math vocabulary, read aloud vocabulary, important science words, etc.  When I first started teaching reading, I was told I needed a word wall, so I posted one in my classroom.  We were reading a chapter book, so I thought it would be a good idea to color code the words by chapter...made it look prettier.  Looked great, but the word wall was a complete compliance issue for me.  I didn't know what I was supposed to do with the word wall once it was posted.  I knew the students were supposed to use the word wall, but I didn't know how to get them to use it.  That was nine years ago.  I have changed subjects, grade levels, and positions since then, and I have learned a lot through experience, reading books/journals, and researching all the fabulous teacher blogs.  Here are few of my favorite ways to make word walls interactive.

Wordo

Wordo is played just like bingo but with words instead of numbers.  Students are given a blank Wordo card.  Each student chooses words from the word wall to fill out the card.  The teacher has the word wall words on small cards and randomly pulls out a card.  The teacher reads the card and the students place a marker on the word if they have it written on their card.  The markers can be dried beans, macaroni, buttons, etc.  When a student gets five in a row, he or she wins.  To get you started, I created a file that has a blank Wordo card, all the Dolch sight words (so you can print them on card stock), and blank word card template (so you can add your own words).

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Rhyming with Word Wall Words

Select a few word wall words to review each day.  Give students a half sheet of paper (or they could record in a journal).  Give them the first clue (see example below) and have students use the word wall to figure out the word and then write it on their paper.

Our first word starts with /th/ and rhymes with bat. (that)

The next word starts with /l/ and rhymes with bet. (let)

Our last word starts with /r/ and rhymes with man. (ran)

*Credit for this idea goes to two of the kindergarten teachers at Chet's Creek Elementary in Florida.  My school took a team for a school visit and we were able to visit classrooms while we were there.

During Writing Workshop

When I am modeling writing for students, I make sure to use word wall words.  Here is how it might sound:

"I am writing a story about my cat going to the vet.  She hates going to the vet.  I am going to start with that.  (writing on chart paper - Kitty hates....)  Going, going, I am not sure how to spell that but I can look at our word wall and see if it is there.  I know that it starts with /g/, so I am going to look under the letter g.  (Reads through the g words until gets to going.)  There it is, going.  (Continues writing on chart paper.) Kitty hates going to the vet."

Do your students use your word wall?  How do you engage them in using the word wall?

Jana Wilson is currently a PK-3rd grade Master Teacher who is in her tenth year of teaching.  She has taught 7th and 8th grade (reading, English, social studies, and science) and has been a Literacy Instructional Coach for grades 4-7.  She is the author of Thinking Out Loud, a blog dedicated to sharing resources for a variety of grade levels and subjects.  You can find her at her blog, Facebook page, and Twitter.



Thinking Out Loud