ELA Common Core Make It and Take It Story Cube

I have got a really cute make and take idea for you today!  It is a story retelling cube, somewhat similar to the inflatable ones, but better!!!  Why better, you ask?  Well, besides the fact that you will get much satisfaction out of making it yourself in all your free time (ha!), it is customizable!  With a few – okay, one – clever design twists, I have taken that generic story retelling cube and made it completely customizable to your needs!

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 To begin, gather up the following materials:  a square tissue box, glue, scissors, packaging tape, velcro, blank paper of any color, printed out sides.

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Gather all your materials.

Trace the sides of your tissue box on your blank paper and glue to all sides.

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Trace and glue blank paper to cover the sides of the tissue box.

Wrap the box with the clear packing tape for extra strength and durability.  Remember, our little munchkins are not always the gentlest of children!

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Wrap all around with packaging tape for strength and durability.

Cut out and laminate the six labels, one for each side of the cube.  I used the packaging tape to laminate my labels since my laminator was at school when I made this box.  Add velcro to the labels and to the sides of each box and stick the labels to your story box.

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add velcro to each side of the box and to the label.And voila! Your own story box, ready to be customized, is done!

And voila!  Your very own customizable story box is ready to use!

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The generic version is perfect for retelling any story!

I use this box in various ways.  Sometimes we roll it like a die, and a child tells about whatever part of the story is showing on top.  Sometimes I use it in a small group and  give it to one child to start, and we go in order with characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, and my favorite part.  As one child finishes his part, he passes it to the next person. This way, everyone in the group gets a chance to (is forced to) participate.  Sometimes I switch out the labels for beginning, middle, and end with problem, solution, and this reminds me of . . . if the story lends itself to this.  And finally, I switch it out with pictures that go along with a specific story, such as “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, and the children use it to summarize and retell the story.

It took me about 20 minutes to make the actual box.  Once it is made, swapping out your side panels is very easy with the use of velcro.  I made a second one to put in my library center after the children became familiar with using the story cube.

Click the picture below to download the labels for the sides of the boxes.

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click here to download!

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Click here to visit my TPT store and look at the Goldilocks and the Three Bears packet.

I also have completed Goldilocks and the Three Bears story panels for the story box.  You can find them by clicking on the picture below.

Keep an eye on my store for upcoming stories to switch out on your story cube.

Have a great day!

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Happy Easter and a 2-day freebie

During this time of preparing for Easter, when our little ones are so focused on the Easter Bunny and the treats that he will be bringing, it can sometimes be hard to help them focus on the true meaning of Easter.

A long, long time ago, I was introduced to this little gem of a book that ties the first Easter Bunny into the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus called “The First Easter Bunny”.   The little rabbit tells the Easter story through his eyes as he follows Jesus through the events of Holy Week.  At the end, it beautifully ties the duty of the Easter Bunny to Jesus.

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I was shocked at how expensive it is through Amazon.  Of course, it is the hardback version, and I have the paperback version.  I found it in a Catholic bookstore in my community, so maybe you can find it in a Christian or Catholic bookstore near you.  If you can find it, this book is well worth the money, whether you share it with you class, your Sunday school or CCD class, or your own children.

On a different subject, I just finished my newest resource to help my children remember the most common ways to make the long E sound.

Long Vowel Combination Anchor Charts

Click here to visit TPT and download this within the next 48 hours for free. 48-hour freebie will end April 1 at 12:00 AM.

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Assemble the anchor chart two ways, in one long line of four or 2X2, for the best fit in your classroom. I chose the 2X2 for my classroom.

This will be free for the next 48 hours, starting now and ending at 12:00 Midnight on April 1.  It will last the duration of the Spring Cleaning sale!

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Have a great day and a very happy Easter!

Less than 24 Hours to Go!

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Trust me, you do NOT want to miss this event.  You WILL get a whole lot of quality freebies you will want to use in the next few weeks  AND a chance for a really BIG prize – the TPT pot of gold, if you will.  At 7:00 AM tomorrow morning, the event will go LIVE on this blog.  Be sure to check back early tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, I’ve got a new freebie for you.  You may have already found it on my TPT page, but if not, here it is.  I’ve been sadly lacking in getting spelling practice in each day, and it shows in my kids’ writing.  Words they should be spelling correctly, a  lot of them are not.  There is just not enough time in the day to squeeze in spelling lessons — or so I thought.  Until I put my mind to the problem and the little light bulb went off in an ah-ha moment.  Morning work time.  Most of my kids are whipping through the proofreading practice and spiral review math sheet they already do before the bell to begin the day even rings.  So why not add a spelling component to their morning work.  There were some groans, until Friday morning, when I told them as  a reward for their hard work on the spelling sheets during the week, on Fridays they would play a spelling game!  Well, that changed everyone’s attitude about morning spelling work.

Yesterday, they played the spelling games in groups of two or three.  They used their spelling notebooks to give each other words from their spelling list, and it was so cute to here them say I’m sorry that is not correct.  Could is spelled c-0-U-l-d (with extra emphasis on the missed U).  Or that is correct!  Good job!  And, something I never thought off, but THEY asked me,”If we finish all our words from this week, can we go back to the old lists?”  ABSOLUTELY!

So if you’re struggling to get some spelling time in, you might want to try this packet of spelling activities as well.  Click on the picture to download it free from my TPT store.

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Click the picture to visit my TPT store and download your free spelling activities. Four activities to use during morning work time or as homework to squeeze spelling practice into your day.

Have a happy Saturday!

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!

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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.

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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!

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Have a good evening!

First Grade Language Arts Games – Gone in a Flash! Plus a Bloggy Birthday Celebration

You know what that means?  It’s flash freebie time.  From 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST today, January 20, my newest eSource will be free!  Free!  FREE!  This 30 page unit correlates directly with Lesson 12, How Leopard Got His Spots, in the Journeys reading series.   What are you reading this for?  Run and get it now!

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I just found  this fun birthday celebration Mrs. Fultz is having on her blog, Mrs. Fultz’s Corner.  She’s been a blogger for a year now, and she has racked up some really impressive numbers so far!  To celebrate her bloggy birthday, she’s got some great giveaways going.  Visit and enter by clicking on the picture below.

Have a great day everyone!