The Luck of the Irish!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you!    I have not one little drop of Irish blood in me.  Not even a smidgen.  And yet I have two kids, one named Sean and one named Colleen Erin.  Can you get any more Irish than that?

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Sean and Colleen, 17 and 7.

I hope you had a chance to hop around the blogs, pick up the St. Patrick’s Day freebies, and make good use of them the past two weeks.  Today is the big day, the day that the $100.00 TPT certificate is awarded.  And the winner is — drumroll please —

Aanika P!

Congratulations to Aanika for being the grand prize winner!  You can go to Mrs. Fultz’s blog to claim your prize.

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click to Visit Ms. Fultz’s Corner and claim your prize!

Thank you all for playing along with us!  We had so much fun and got to meet so many new teaching friends!  We certainly feel like the Luck of the Irish shone on us!

For those of you who are a little bummed because you didn’t win, I have a consolation prize.  My store is on sale today and tomorrow for 10% off!

Enjoy your Sunday.

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Welcome to Stop 13 on the Find the Leprechaun’s Gold Blog Hop

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Click this picture to download Leaping Leprechauns. I hope you enjoy the game and the blog hop!

What do you find at the end of a bloggy rainbow?  TPT gold, of course!  How much gold you ask?  Well, how does $100.00 in TPT gold (in the form of a $100.00 TPT gift certificate) sound to you?  It sounds awesome to me!

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Together with 15 other dear bloggy friends, we are bringing you the most exciting treasure we could think of!  More exciting than that green frothy beverage some people partake of on St. Patrick’s Day.  More exciting than finding a four leaf clover.  More exciting than dancing an Irish jig!  Here’s what you have to do.  Follow the rainbow buttons to each blog.  It doesn’t matter where you start, just be sure to complete the circle.  Visit each blog, download the freebie offered from wherever it is housed, and look for the gold coin hidden (kind of) in each freebie.  Collect (write down) the word written in each coin, put them into order, and figure out the secret message.  Once you’ve done that, head on over to Mrs. Fultz’s Corner to enter the Rafflecopter.  You will have to enter the secret phrase.  That’s it. No liking everyone and everything under the sun.  No promising your first born into indentured servitude.  Just enter the secret 16-word phrase and you are entered into the giveaway!  The prize will be given away on March 17th.

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click here to find the rafflecopter and enter the secret phrase

So, once you’ve downloaded the freebie I have for you, head over to stop 14, Life in Special Education, where Karla has a wonderful freebie for you.

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click here to visit Life in Special Education and claim your next freebie!

May the Luck O’ the Irish be with you!

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!

Oh, Boy, Have We got a Surprise for You!

But you’ll have to wait until Sunday to find out!

Here’s a clue.  If you follow the rainbow, you’re going to find the leprechaun’s treasure!

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To make the waiting a bit easier, enjoy this paragraph puzzle  from my How to Writing February/March edition.

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Be sure to check back Sunday for the exciting announcement!

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 ABCya.com or Softschool.com 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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Use the paperclip spinner.

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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.

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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!