Long Vowel Team Games

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These games are two of my favorites! I adore the colors and patterns in the first one (the digital papers are from Beartless!) The second one is my own crackle pattern.

They both feature long vowel teams. Each game contains 10 boards - 5 colored and 5 grayscale. Every board has different colors, textures and patterns.  There is one board for ai, ea, ee, oa, and the fifth board is a mixed long vowel game for review.

The Candy-Colored boards have simple beginning sounds with the long vowel teams (ex: pail, read, week and soak.)

The Neon Crackled Games have beginning blends and digraphs as well as long vowel teams (ex: drain, cheat, flee and cloak.)

I like separating the vowel team concept into two different games. I prefer to start with the simpler word version. When they need to practice the concept at a later time I can break out the other set. This allows us to review the long vowels (with new words) and it helps students with decoding beginning blends and digraphs.  

Both the Candy-Colored and Crackled Patterns are available in my TpT shop!
Happy Labor Day Weekend Everyone!

Things I Love August Edition

My black and white dresses! I adore both of these - the one on the left is Modcloth (I added the belt myself with some ribbon from Michaels) and the one on the right is from Macy's.

Sticking with the black and white trend is my favorite necklace. I made this one a few years back, it was my first attempt at a chunkier style of jewelry. I love how it works with so many outfits - it is definitely one of my most beloved pieces!
Shoes!! These are some of my newest favorites. The first two are from DSW (I love their rewards program!) The last one is from Macy's. Wedge sandals are my shoe obsession of the moment!

This is the last black and white item, I promise! Both Kristen and I could not resist grabbing these on a recent trip to Walmart!

My newest Talbots skirt - I have wanted this skirt for months and managed to wait until it dropped in price! This is the third Talbots skirt that I have succeeded in getting for under $22.00, the cheapest was 19.29!!
Lastly we have my piles of foam!  I adore using these foam sheets with my students in place of game pieces. Originally I used strips of patterned scrapbook paper or cardstock - however the minute the table was bumped, or the board was moved too quickly, everything would fall off. These pieces are just heavy enough to stay in place. They work great for all ages, even my Kindergartners can pick these up easily, and all the kids really like the bright colors. I got mine at Michaels - I like how you can buy the individual color sheets, rather than a whole pack.

What do you all find works best for game pieces in your classrooms? Now, if only I could find some quieter dice!

CVC Puzzles

I have been using these CVC puzzles for about eight years now. My students adore them (even some of the older ones!) and I love how they are kinesthetic. Here is the old version:

I love these - but the writing/cleaning the lamination to rewrite can be annoying. I have also found that they have a tendency to wear away when the humidity goes up!! You can see it a bit on the /a/ in this photo. I keep them in Ziploc bags which may add to the problem!

I created an updated version - with letters already on it.  These are available in black font with a white background. I prefer to print them on colored paper/cardstock so when the students get to the mix and match part of the activity, it will be more fun to use!

These are a great tool for early decoders, I love how they can be used in a variety of ways.

I usually start by giving each student one color that makes a simple word.  Once they have decoded it we mix and match with the other students in the group.  Sometimes the words are real and sometimes they are not, but it is a great decoding activity no matter what!

They work well for short vowel review, using just one vowel and changing beginning/ending. This is a great way to help students who are struggling with a vowel sound - it keeps their attention while they practice many different combinations!

They are also great rhyming tools.  I have found that it really helps my students see how rhymes have the same ending sounds.

They help with focusing on beginning and endings too, for students that might be struggling with one of those concepts.

I love having them near me during Guided Reading groups too - they are easy to use at a moments notice when you have just a few extra minutes (we all know how every minute counts!)

Here is the updated version in colors!

This set is available in my Tpt  store.  It has eight pages of words and letters and one page with blank puzzles for you to create your own. I would love to hear if they will come in handy in your class in the comments!

Kindergarten Mega Packs

I have spent a lot of time in Kindergarten throughout my teaching career. I even interned in it (2 1/2 day sessions, it was like 2 years of teaching in one!) During my years in pullout I have spent a lot of time with the Kinder set as well. I have made a lot of games for my kiddos over the years and they are really getting worn down. My old method for making games was a laminated (usually colorful) game board on which I would then write whatever skill/activity I needed. I preferred Sharpie rather than Expo so they would last longer, but even then they only last so long. As I am wretchedly tired of these, I created two packs for Kindergarten this summer!

This pack includes six bingo boards for seven different skills - a total of 42 (different colored) game boards.
The first two sets are uppercase and lowercase letters. I love this set because you can use it for letter name practice or sound practice depending on the ability level. It makes it easier for me to differentiate during small groups!

The next two sets are for numbers 0-10  and 0-20. This gives you 12 different number boards - which again helps to simply differentiation in small groups.

The last three sets are for number words (zero-ten), color words (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, brown, black & white) and shapes. I really like to reinforce these words and shapes at an early age and these games are a great way to do it.

This set is available in my TpT shop!

The other set I put together for my Kindergartners is a Math Skills Pack.

This pack has nine skills in it:

  • Numbers 1-10 
  • Numbers 1-20
  • Skip Counting by 10's 
  • Identifying Shapes
  • Patterns (AB and ABC)
  • Counting Pictures 0-10
  • Greater Than and Less Than Groups
  • Adding and Subtracting Pictures
  • Adding and Subtracting Numbers
These worksheets come in both color (for laminating) and grayscale so they can be used independently, as well as in small groups.

Each skill also has an answer sheet so the students can correct their own work.
This set is available in my TpT shop!

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Smitten with Nail Art

This summer has been full of fun with nails for me! I spent about a year using nail stickers (the ones that last two weeks) and it was fabulous at first - but then I started to miss my manicures. I adored the fact that they truly did not chip, but instead of being excited about how long they lasted, I grew sick of looking at the same design for two weeks!! What can I say? I am a fickle person I guess!  So, I am back to painting and very fond of nail art! (As you may have noticed in previous posts!) This leads me too.... my top 5 Summer Nails!
#5 - Leopard print, I used dotting tools (purchased with my Amazon cards, I love free nail accessories!)  These tools rock! I used gold polish with black and silver sparkles to make the spots.

#4 - The dotting tools came in handy again! Black with multicolored dots - I love how the dots pop off the black! I highly recommend watching tv or listening to music when attempting this one, it takes awhile!
#3 - Mixed stripes and dots - same tool as before and these brushes. I am not a huge fan of how the stripes came out. I am in awe of the ladies who get pin straight stripes on their nails!! Mine are more of a wavy line, but eh, I will take it!
#2 - Ahhh crackle, how I love thee! This was Sally Hansen's black crackle - I went with gold, China Glaze Champagne BubblesThis was definitely one of my favorites and it is so easy to do!!

#1 - My ultimate favorite manicure. I have been obsessed with the water marbling nail look, but alas, I am too messy and spazzish to achieve it....or so I thought! I found this blog and it truly works! I went with white polish underneath and pink, purples and whites for the swirls. I found it was best to dampen my nails with rubbing alcohol when they were mostly dry. I tried applying when they were still tacky but that was quite disastrous!

So those are my summer nail art triumphs. Trust that there were many more disasters, like the time I tried water marbling without properly taping my finger beforehand....but that is a mess I shall forget - or at least try to forget!

Happy weekend (and manicures) everyone!

Revitalizing Classroom Areas

This was my sentence starters bulletin board last year. Rather uninspiring, but we all know how it is to work with the supplies that are on hand. I had a giant pack of sentence strips - rather pastel-y colored---not my taste at all. I chose the blue hoping it would work with my colors. However I was wrong. Very wrong. Everyday my eyes went straight to the board as I pondered how I could fix it. (I made sure they could not be reused as they were torn down and crushed into oblivion at the end of last school year!) 
I could not get rid of the board as my 1st and 2nd graders used it frequently when they are responding to one of the stories they have heard in computer lab.  

Once again returning to my love of neon, I used the digital papers that I created this summer and made some smaller versions of the old blue strips. (I am thankful I took that photo, as I may have been a bit hasty in destroying the old strips before I wrote them down!!)

These strips are 3 1/2 by 10 inches long, definitely better sized than the old sentence strips. I am not sure if they will hang on the board - or on the wall to liven it up a bit. I will be sure to take pictures when I display them later this year. I am pretty sure that my students will enjoy the brighter colors!!

If you are interested these sentence strips (2 sets each with a total of 24 different sentence starters in six neon patterns) Reader's Response Sentence Starters Set #1 and Reader's Response Sentence Starters Set #2 are available in my Tpt shop!

Enjoy your week!

Organization Fun - Displays with a Purpose!

Like all teachers I am sure, I feel I never have time to keep certain areas of my life orderly during the school year. There are so many better things to do on a weekend - like lingering over my coffee instead of inhaling it as I do on school days. I attempt to have things organized in the summer - in such a way that I cannot destroy it when school resumes. 

This leads me to my obsession, well, one of them...Jewelry!! I have oodles of necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Truly, I have tons! I have bought some, received bunches and made probably hundreds more as well. (I got this amazing bracelet rack here!)

I have learned over the years that I detest knotted jewelry piles with passion! I have two necklace trees and a bracelet rack that work well - but these next two are my favorite organizers.

First we have my necklace bulletin board - I bought this at HomeGoods about five years ago. I opted for the clear pushpins since I wanted the jewelry to pop more. This was fast and fun to setup!
I absolutely love this - it makes getting ready so much more fun and a lot easier. I like to load it up with my current go-to necklaces.

My second favorite thing is my earring frame.
I bought a simple frame from Michael's and some needlepoint plastic screening. This one was wicked easy too, I just took out the glass and cardboard, then used those to measure the correct size for the screening. After that I just had to tuck the screen in. I find I have not lost any earrings since I made this about 2 1/2 years ago!

I love how they serve two purposes: they are cute and make it easy to admire (and remember) what I have for jewelry - and they keep my life from being a disaster area!

So I have a wee bit of an organization problem, and I am sure I am not the only one.  What are you all obsessive about organizing?

Thanks for visiting!

From Patterned Nails to Patterned Games

I've been attempting to create my own digital papers for some of my games and I have been using my nails for inspiration...
This was my first attempt at tribal patterns. It was  somewhat successful - with the exception of the chevron, I was a wee-bit too heavy handed on that one! This led to my idea for an ABC matching game:
The uppercase letters have a maroon tribal pattern and the lowercase have a purple tribal pattern on the backside.  

I have been wanting to recreate this game for awhile. My original version was made on index cards - however the letters were visible when the cards were used for matching. This led to an extended playing time, as no one would turn a card over until they had stared at it long enough to deduce what letter was on the backside! I had to color the backs of the index cards, yet being my nitpicky self, I was never quite satisfied with how they looked. (Why is it that crayon never looks the same when I use it on two things!?!?) 

My next inspiration came from my vacation nails! I went for the ombre look by putting a different shade of pink on each nail. Yet sadly they did not survive the traveling/hiking/biking adventures. I was prepared however and brought some black crackle polish to re-coat them with. Voilà - a revitalized manicure!
I loved how the neon pinks popped from underneath the black-which led to my next game...
I use Go Fish and Matching Games a lot to teach and review the Sight Words. This is another game that I have made various versions of on index cards. They have gotten rather worn out - plus I always prefer typed font to my own writing.  I am looking forward to using these with my students soon! 

Happy Friday!!