Friday, July 1, 2016

Quick Tips for Word Work

If you have a word work time or spelling time in your day, you may want to try these organizational tips.  They have really helped me in the past few years!
First, this is our Making Words folder.  Once a week I introduce a new "hunk and chunk" (or two) to the whole class.  We practice making words with the hunk and chunk and then make a page for our class book featuring that word part.

I usually have a blank page displayed on the Smart Board.  Students use their letters to make words with the hunk and chunk we are learning.  As they make words and share, I type them on the Smart Board.  Then we print that sheet out and add it to our class book.  The students use the book to help with spelling during writer's workshop.

In the past, each of my students had a baggy with letters in it.  On the back of the letters was a number that identified who the letter belonged to.  I had assigned each of my students a class number, and that was the same number that was on their letters.

This process worked OK, but I was frustrated by 2 things.  First, it took FOREVER for the students to find the letters we were using.   It seems like we spent the whole time searching for an "e" or whatever letter.  Also, we were constantly picking letters up  off of the floor.  Well, that just about drove me NUTS!  It made me dread our word work and spelling time.

I can't remember where this idea originated (I'm sure I borrowed it from someone!), but now our letters are velcroed to file folders.  Each student has his or her own folder.  I tried to put double vowel letters and double some consonants.  I also included some blank cards to make letters with our dry erase markers.

This has saved us lots of class time and it's much less frustrating.  It took awhile to make a class set of these folders, but I had a parent volunteer help with it.  I started by laminating the folders and letter cards.  Then we put velcro on the back of each card.  (I used the sticky dot kind).  I attached the other side to the inside of the folder.  I made a few extra folders in case I get new students.

Another tip that has really been a big help in the classroom, is using facial cleansing cloths for dry erasers.

I bought the facial cleansing cloths at The Dollar Tree.  They were in packages of 4 or 6.  I can't remember. Then I attached one side of a sticky dot piece of velcro to the back of the marker board.  I attached the other side of the sticky dot to the facial cleansing cloth.  Now the kids don't lose their erasers!  It has been so much easier than using old socks as erasers which is what I used to do.

Surprisingly, the velcro has stayed on the cloth and the board without any problems.  I might have had one student whose sticky dot fell off, but it was a rare event.

By the way, the marker boards that you see in the picture are really the shower boards from Lowe's.  I asked a sales person at the store if he could cut the boards.  He knew exactly what I was talking about.  I think he had done this for other teachers as well.  I got about 30 -35 boards for $14.  I added the cute duct tape to the edges.

I hope you find these organizational tips helpful.  If you have a good tip to share, please let me know.  I love finding ways to make my life easier!

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