How To Have Fun With Phonics

Phonics are an important part of early reading instruction, and therefore a big part of kindergarten and first grade classrooms. Making connections between written and spoken letters and sounds is absolutely necessary in learning to read, so phonics lessons are well worth the time! In order to teach young students most effectively, a broad range of activities are needed. Children love variety, and luckily there are plenty of ways to teach phonics! 

Learning the relationships between letters and sounds can be- well- a not so interesting topic. In order to keep kids excited and learning, teachers can incorporate fun activities. Phonics lessons can include a broad range of styles, so there are lots of options when choosing the best activities for your class. 

Here are some of my favorite activities for teaching phonics. 

One of the easiest, yet most effective strategies is to use songs! Jack Hartmann phonics songs are easily available on the web, and your students will love singing along while they are learning. 

Another fun activity is frog hop blending. Students can move a toy frog (or a finger) along individual sounds, then blend them together to make a word. 

Make and take books are a perfect option to practice phonics skills and word families at home. Students can create the books at school and practice reading the sounds at home. Throughout the year, you may choose to focus on different word families that the kids can read to their parents. 

As students become more skilled with phonics, you may want to try word building and sentence building activities. They can use familiar letter sounds to create new words, and eventually create entire sentences. 

Looking for a variety of phonics activities for daily use? I have you covered! Check out my Phonics Worksheets for Kindergarten and First Grade

phonics

This bundle includes an entire year’s worth of daily lessons. 

Here are just a few of the resources included: 

  • letter identification 
  • letter sounds
  • building words
  • word family work
  • building sentences
  • writing stories 
  • Sight word lists
  • ABC letter cards
  • Word family books
  • Phonics pocket phones

phonics

With one easy download you’ll be ready to tackle these lessons each day with time-tested strategies.

For more reading strategies, check out my post here! 

What are your favorite reading activities? Let me know in the comments!

phonics

 


 

How To Make Distance Learning Easy By Using Google Slides

As distance learning has become a “normal” part of most classrooms, teachers are finding and creating fantastic tools that are useful for all kinds of learning. (Check out my virtual escape rooms here!) Necessity has definitely influenced the invention of new uses of technology tools- and Google Slides are a prime example.

Google Slides are quickly gaining popularity, and it’s easy to see why! 

Teachers are using Google Slides in their virtual and in-person classrooms with great success. Although they are perfect for distance learning, Google Slides can easily be transitioned into the regular classroom or in hybrid models as well. Although they can be integrated into Google Classroom, they can be used on their own and don’t require students to be logged in to Classroom.

 Teachers can create ONE slide that can be updated daily with new information. Each time students access the link, they will see the new version. Slides can even be accessed with low or no internet when teachers make them available offline. Google Slides are useful for any kind of subject matter. By inserting text, audio clips, or video, teachers can tailor them for any grade level or topic. 

Students can also access quizzes, puzzles, Google Forms, or any other assignments directly from hyperlinks in the slides. Teachers can easily incorporate Google Slides into their plans to support any kind of learning!

Perhaps the most convenient part of Google Slides is that they can be purchased pre-made and ready to use!

Teachers can find slides that match their needs, then immediately use them in the classroom. 

One of my favorite sets for first and second grade classrooms is Google Classroom Reading Comprehension and Questions

google slides

This set includes twenty passages as well as questions for students to answer. Students can use their mouse to drag words and answer the questions, making this perfect for little hands. 

google slides

Another useful set is Digital Calendar Math for Google Classroom.

google slides

These slides are editable, helping teachers create engaging daily calendar math experiences for any age. You can even add video, audio, text, or images to further explain concepts during calendar time.

google slides

 

Hopefully, you’re ready to take advantage of this amazing tool and add it to your own classroom!

 

google slides


 

 

Virtual Escape Room Ideas Students Will Love

Now that virtual learning is a much more common challenge for teachers and students, planning group lessons can be difficult. Great teachers know that students learn when they interact, stretch their thinking skills, and cooperate- but virtual classrooms can make that a little harder to plan. Fortunately, there are options that bring students together to accomplish tasks and solve problems while learning virtually! 

virtual escape rooms

One of the best ways to incorporate fun and learning online is with virtual escape rooms.

Like real-life escape rooms, these activities encourage collaboration and team building. Students work together to solve puzzles, figure out riddles, and complete other challenges. However, virtual escape rooms are designed to be conducted via Zoom or Google Meets. They can also be completed on a projector for in-person learning. 

As students complete various tasks they will unlock the “room” or solve a mystery. One caveat I like to share with teachers is that the virtual escape rooms are meant to be challenging for students. I recommend that teachers complete the challenge before introducing it to students so that they can help out if kids are stuck. 

Ready to try out some virtual escape rooms?

Visit this my shop to see my collection of escape rooms that will have your students having fun while using critical thinking skills! One of my favorites is the Wacky Wednesday Digital Escape Room. This activity includes practice with nonsense words and problem-solving. Kindergarten through second-grade students will love completing the fun tasks and unlocking the room.  It is a great activity to do during Read Across America Week also.

virtual escape rooms

virtual escape rooms

 

Many of the other escape rooms are perfect for seasonal activities.

There are options for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Winter Holidays, Valentine’s Day, and even the 100th Day of School! Your students will enjoy the opportunity to work together as they attack the challenges. Celebrate learning throughout the year with these exciting activities that are perfect for virtual classrooms. 

Escape Room SIGHT WORD MYSTERY is great any time of the year!

sight word digital

Are you using virtual escape rooms in your classroom yet? Let me know in the comments!

Read about an In-Person Sight Word Escape for Primary


 

 

Must-Have Bundles For Elementary Teachers

The internet has changed the art of teaching in many ways- but perhaps one of the biggest ways is the ability to get new teaching materials with the click of a mouse. Gone are the days of searching print magazines or only sharing ideas with teachers in your building.

Now, you can find and share materials with the entire world! One of the most convenient ways to get lessons and activities for your class is to utilize bundles. Bundles often have enough materials to last the entire school year and are the best “bang for your buck” when it comes to purchases.

When I was in the classroom, these were my MUST-HAVE BUNDLES for teaching!

First up is my Reading Fluency Practice Activities Bundle for the entire year.

Fluency bundle

We know how important reading fluency is for our students. This set is perfect for kindergarten and first-grade classes and provides everything you need to help your students become fluent readers. There is a suggested lesson plan for every day of the year. Your lesson planning for fluency is DONE!

Mini books, reader’s theater scripts, and sentence building worksheets provide valuable practice for your students. Fluency tests are also included, allowing you to easily assess your students’ growing skills. 

Another favorite bundle is the Kindergarten Math Centers Yearlong Bundle.

math bundle

Centers are an excellent way to develop young students’ math skills. Students enjoy working in centers with their classmates and can develop their math understanding in an appropriate and engaging way. This bundle provides everything you need for an entire YEAR of fun math centers.

bundle

 The centers have a “Math Cafe” theme that students love. Once you use direct instruction to explain how to use the task cards, your students will be able to independently complete centers. While you work one-on-one or with small groups, students can work in small groups to complete centers. For one low price, your independent math practice time is ready to go for the year! 

bundle

kindergarten Math Centers


Greater Than Less Than CraftNumbers Kindergarten Math CentersMath Centers 2D 3D Shapes

Math Salad Bar Idea

Math Center Games

Wow! You can even try them for FREE!

Free Kindergarten Math Centers

Having daily writing prompts at my fingertips was a great way to get students who might have trouble being creative on their own to write using a prompt to get their creative juices flowing! I make monthly themed journals and students worked at their own pace.  There are self-checking rubrics at the bottom of each page, word banks, covers, and a teacher rubric at the end to help students get feedback.  These were used during my staff meetings to show how I monitor student progress.

Looking for Kindergarten Morning Work bundled? Check out my post here!

If you loved these bundles, there is more where that came from! You can check out a list of all of my year-long bundles here. 

I hope these ideas have inspired you to take advantage of bundles in your classroom. By streamlining your planning and preparation, you can spend more time helping your students grow and learn!