Manic Monday Hookup and A Surprise to Come!

Hi, everyone!  Today I’m linking up with Charity Preston and her Manic Monday Freebies. Many of you already picked up the freebie I’m adding over there, but  click on the button below to visit and see the other  great freebies that are posted today.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

luck o the irish

Click on the free for fans only tab to get this freebie.

Don’t forget that Monday also means Memory Verse Monday at Pirate Girl’s Education Invasion.  Click the button below to see what great verse and activities she has for you today.

And finally, here’s a hint about the surprise to come.

gold-coins16 gold coins.  Cryptic, huh?  Be sure to check back for more info all through the week!

Have a great evening!


Going Low-Tech in the Classroom

Happy weekend, everyone!  I hope you had a great week, and for those of you in the Midwest, I hope you’re warm and cozy with all that snow.  Today’s post is about using game boards in the classroom.  With the technology available today, it’s so easy to bring up a game on the SMARTBoard, or go to or and pull up games for the kids to play to practice and reinforce skills, but there’s something about two or three kiddos engaging in a hands-on game with actual physical materials that promotes direct interaction between the kids


In a three-player game, two girls are looking at a third girl, who is spelling the word she was given.

Think about it.  When they’re playing on the computer, they’re looking at the computer.  One child at a time is manipulating the mouse.  The others are watching and giving verbal input, but not connecting the tactile with the mental action.  As the kids are talking to each other, they are not looking at each other.  There’s little eye-to-eye contact going on.  Most of it is eye-to-screen.  I wonder what pathways that develops (or doesn’t develop) in the brain?


A versatile game board with a holiday theme always causes great excitement in my classroom!

Now give them a game board and word cards and a spinner or dice and observe how their interactions change.  They face each other.  They look each other in the eye.  They talk TO each other.  They respond to verbal and non-verbal cues that are sent out.  As they think, they are matching a tactile movement to their thoughts.  They engage more of their senses in the learning process.


Spell the word, spin the spinner!

I developed this game board initially to use as a way to practice sight words  but yesterday, the children used it to practice their spelling words.  First they broke into groups of two or three.  One student read the word to the other.

My Project 1-001

The word is “watch.”

The partner spells the word.  If they spell it correctly, they get to spin the paperclip spinner and move that number of spaces.

spin the spinner

Use the paperclip spinner.

make a move

Move that number of spaces.

The kids absolutely loved playing this game, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well most of them spelled their spelling words!  Now, if I can just get them to apply that to their writing, but I do think the more we play games like this, the better it will become.

This game board is so versatile.  It is very open-ended and can be used any number of ways.  If you’d like to get this for your classroom, click the picture below to download it from the For Fans Only section of my Facebook page.

luck o the irish

Click here to visit my TPT store download this freebie. Please consider leaving feedback if your children enjoyed this resource and you found it to be useful. Thanks!

Let me end by saying I am not anti-technology.  I love using technology in the classroom, and increasingly, our children come to us already connected to the technology with iPads, tablets, eReaders, computers, laptops, smartphones, and laptops.   It is quickly becoming a part of our global community, and children need to know how to use these tools.  But let’s not forget about the opposite end of the spectrum, and the important skills that are developed through this low-tech approach to teaching!

A Miracle for Miracle

Hi everyone!  Please take the time to read this and donate if you would like to.

Mrs.  Smarty Pants is having a fundraiser over at her blog for a little girl in her school who went in for a routine physical and came out with leukemia.  The little girl’s name is Miracle, and her family is struggling to make ends meet.

The staff at Samantha’s school put their heads together to come up with ways to raise money, and Samantha called on some wonderful TPT blogging friends for a product donation.  She wound up with 31 awesome St. Patrick’s Day and spring products (an approximately $110.00 value) that she is selling for a donation of $25.00

I’m going to send you over to her blog for the complete story, to see exactly what products you’ll be getting when you donate,  and details on  how to donate and receive your package of products.  I hope you will consider donating!

Have a great evening and count your blessings when you tuck your healthy children into bed tonight.  I know I will be.

Free For Fans Only! (Come and Get It!)

After spending just a few hours (okay, ALL DAY) on this, I’ve finally got my new “For Fans Only” section working  on my Facebook page.  I’ve posted a great freebie for the next two hours, from 6:00 PM EST until 8:00 PM EST.  You can snag my newest resource, How To Writing for February and March – includes transitional phrases and graphic organizers.  There are a few pages that focus on President’s Day, just in case you have school tomorrow!

febmar preview-001

Go to my  Facebook page by clicking on the cover of the resource below to grab this freebie.  You have to click on the “Free for Fans Only” tab.  From there, if you are already a fan, you can download the freebie.  If you are not a fan, you will have to like the page to get the freebie.


At 8:00, I will replace this freebie with an all the time freebie until I offer my next flash freebie.  If you miss out on the freebie, you can purchase this item from store by clicking the picture below!


Have a good evening!

Here a Freebie; There a Freebie; Everywhere a Freebie!

I was so busy yesterday that I didn’t have time to let you know about all the great freebies that came through my inbox yesterday.  You may know about some of these already, but if you don’t, be sure to check them out!

First up is Primary Paradise’s Top Five Freebies of the week.  You can find them by clicking on the picture below.

My Primary Paradise

Martha has found some fabulous freebies to offer you this week!

Next up is Share the Wealth Saturday by Mr. Hughes.

John has over 30 freebies linked up to his site this week.

Pirate Girl Education Invasion has a really cute freebie featured for Valentine’s Day.  I found it too late to use this year, but printed it out and put in my February box for next year!

And finally, while not technically a  freebie, Chalk One Up for the Teacher is having a 100 follower giveaway!  She has so many great resources to offer you. Be sure to head on over to Cyndie’s blog and sign up for her giveaway!

So that’s it for now!  Be sure to check out my Facebook page later today, where I will be having a special “followers only” freebie giveaway (if I can figure out the technology side of  it.  I think I’ll be able to; I’ve got a YouTube video tutorial to follow, thanks to the generous Christi  Fultz from Mrs. Fultz’s Corner)

Enjoy your Sunday!

Making the Resources Work for You

As a curriculum resource designer, I often have a set idea in my mind of how my resource should be used.  I create the resource from the perspective of how I would use it in class. This will be a center.  This is a whole group activity.

But I often wonder how often a teacher uses that resource exactly as I have envisioned it.  Based on my own experience with resources I’ve bought or downloaded free, I’d say not every time.

Many of you probably picked up this fabulous resource during the 14 Days of Love blog hop we recently hosted.

Danielle from Crayonbox Learning designed this as a learning center activity.  I really wanted to use it, but felt my first graders weren’t quite ready to read the long vowel combinations independently, and I wanted to do a lesson about how different vowel combinations make long vowel sounds, so I decided to use it a whole group activity.

We sat on the floor in a circle, and I put the header cards out on the floor.  Each child received a word.  We went around the circle, and the child read their word, decided which long vowel it had, and put the word under the correct header.

sorting by long vowel sound

After we sorted out all the words, the kids wrote them on the recording sheet under the correct vowel.

long a highlighted

After they recorded the word, we got out a yellow marker, crayon, or highlighter, and I had them study the words in each column to figure out which vowels worked together to make the vowel sounds long.  We then highlighted those vowel combinations in each word.


Since we had been working with silent e, my kids easily recognized that vowel combination.  Some of the others were more challenging, but working together,  the children did identify and highlight all the different vowel combinations that made long vowel sounds on the paper.

highlighting vowel combos

This lesson wound up being a wonderful way to introduce these long vowel combinations to the children.  They were engaged the whole lesson, and they really liked Danielle’s cute graphics and Cupig.  I know this is not quite how Danielle envisioned this resource being used, but I think it’s wonderful that we have all these resources at our fingertips to use in the way that best suits the needs of our children at a particular moment in time.

I wonder how many of you have used any of my creations in a way not quite like I intended but still loved the outcome?  I’d love to hear about it if you have.

Have a good evening.

How do you spell…

How Do You Spell. . ._Page_1

How many times a day do you get that question?  I could have retired if I made $1.00 every time a child asked me that question.  I do have a seasonal word bank I put up each month, and I do have a word wall in the room that I refer the   children to, but the first stop is always me.  So I thought, okay, they want it in front of them for future reference.  So I made these little books that I include in my How-To writing resources (the February/March edition will be done within the week).  Now, when a child asks me, “How do you spell (insert word here),” I write it in his or her booklet and the word belongs to him or her forever!

I am offering it to you for free  as thank you for visiting my little blog.  Click on the picture below to get your free “How Do You  Spell. . . ” resource.

How Do You Spell. . ._Page_3

And of course, don’t forget to check out day 12 of the “For the Love of Teaching” blog hop!  Today Teresa at 2nd Grade Pig Pen has a Valentine Sentence Scramble for you to download.  I swear, with all these great freebies, Valentine’s Day will be one big party of one fun activity after another!  Click the button below to visit Teresa and snag today’s freebie.

You can find this freebie offered on Manic Mondays classroom freebies along with over 30 other great freebies.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

That’s it for today folks!  Have a great evening.