CVC Spelling

It's no secret - we all know how hard it is to motivate students to work on their spelling - it's just something they don't find fun!! So, we have to try and find a way to make it fun and engaging to motivate our students to help them with their spelling.

Spelling was something that always came pretty natural to me as a kid, i'm not sure if it was through my parents working with me at home or just that I loved spelling, to be honest I loved most things to do with English/Literacy, my mum was constantly buying me new books to read as I would finish them too quickly, I had a love for books and I think it's from there that my spelling came.

I don't remember overly enjoying spelling in School - nothing stands out in the way that I was taught so I'm not really sure what made me first get into it. But, through working with our students I watch them struggle so much with spelling and what makes it worse is that I watch them lose confidence and interest in spelling, so I wanted to find a way that would be fun for them, so I created these letter spelling boards - they're a little different to the normal spelling boards I make, these ones are very physical and interactive, it's a great way to use those magnetic letters that you have lying around in your classroom - face it, everyone has those magnetic letters!






There is enough room on the bottom of each card for students to spell the CVC image that they see on the task card. It's also a great way to promote letter recognition with your students. 

CVC words are so important for students and this is a great way for your students to practice their CVC words and spelling in one! 

You can either have these set up as a planned session or have them laid out on group tables, they'd also be great for early finishers who are looking for something else to do!

I really do recommend laminating these so that they will be stronger and longer lasting - you can store them away after each session so you've always got them on hand to pull out!

How do you practice spelling and CVC words in your classroom?

Nikki 

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Seller Spotlight Sunday: Jackie Crews

Welcome to my Seller Spotlight Sunday.
Every Sunday on my blog there is a guest post from another fabulous TpT Seller. They will be sharing one free resource from their store, one paid resource from their store and something that they have been up to that week or similar! 

So, don't forget to check back every Sunday or sign up for my email list to get notifications of new sellers!

Up this week is Jackie Crews!


I've taught for over 30 years and have had all the ages from K-12 throughout
 those years in my various areas of licensure. My favorite thing to teach is ELA 
and especially the series by C.S. Lewis;The Chronicles of Narnia. 

I have attended three universities to become licensed in five areas: Asbury University, The Ohio State University, and Otterbein University. My original certificate was Art K-12 from Asbury. While my family was young, I got my elementary 1-8 certification from The Ohio State University. Much later, I got my masters/reading endorsement in 2008 from Otterbein University.  Finally, I went on to get my ESL endorsement from The Ohio State University in 2010. My five licensed areas: art, English, elementary 1-8, reading K-12, and my newest area; TESOL K-12 which I am extremely happy about! I am currently teaching English as a second language to a variety of ethnicities; Nepali, Hispanic, Somali, Arabic, and others. It's very rewarding to teach kids to read! 

The challenge is that I have so many students and so many levels that 
sometimes it makes my head spin! To add to the challenge are some educators 
who truly do not know how to approach these kids. I find that I must advocate 
for the students and help their teachers when I can, so I put a free product in



Another product I posted in my store has really helped my students know the difference between fiction and non-fiction titled: Fiction Vs. Nonfiction Sorts and Comparisons.





This is a packet that will help alleviate any confusion student might have about the differences between fiction and non-fiction. It addresses not just the attributes of the two genres, but also gives the kids a chance to put what they know to use. The activities are mostly hands-on which is what my students like the most. I liked this product for my first-third graders best, but it could also be used for low fourth-fifth graders.

It includes a mini-poster page explaining fiction and non-fiction that could be blown up in a poster-maker for a larger version. It has a fiction/non-fiction title sort, a fiction/non-fiction comparison quick reference for the attributes of the two, an excerpt page for students to determine the text type, pocket chart header cards, pocket chart attribute cards for both fiction and non-fiction, created title cards for pocket chart sorting, an interactive foldable, and a differentiated picture sort for emergent readers for real and not real. I added a pocket chart sorting activity for reality vs. fantasy with 16 cards and two header cards because kids sometimes have issues deciding what is real and what is fantasy. There is a page of blank cards if you want to make your own fantasy/reality cards. This will be good for lower performing students especially if you are teaching a fairy tale unit. 

Visit me on TpT and Pinterest
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TeachersPayTeachers changed my life.

Flash back to around 2 years ago and I was feeling lost, I had been in the same job for 4 years and I just couldn't find myself, I felt like there was something missing, don't get me wrong, I'm still in the same job and I still love it - working in a School is something you have to enjoy, because if you don't, you won't be able to work there.

So, over Christmas one year I was fed up of trying to find money from different places to be able to afford all the wonderful things we wanted to do - travelling being one of them as well as putting money away for rainy days and saving for a house etc.

I came across TeachersPayTeachers while sitting on google for hours one day trying to find images for a new resource for class, the last site I clicked on was a seller from TeachersPayTeachers, I was so shocked that someone was selling clipart - I can remember sat in my chair thinking "selling clipart?!?!' but it was something that I was desperate for and I couldn't find anywhere else so I went ahead and got it - thank you Pink Cat Studio for innocently inviting me to the land of TpT. 

Anyway, a few days later I spent some time looking more in depth into TpT, it's when I started to come across all these resources that teachers were selling on the site to use in classrooms! I couldn't believe my eyes - people buy this sort of thing? I mean people in my School had joked with me for ages that I should sell my resources, it got the point where I was making resources for several classrooms, but I never really put much thought into it.

Anyway, the next few months I spent a lot more time looking on TpT when my partner, Nathan, told me to just open a store. I remember thinking 'oh my god, I can't!' we started talking more about it and one day I decided to take the leap, I put up a few resources that I'd made for class, now don't think it was all plain sailing, I had some serious learning curves to make - I mean, credits, TOU, cover pages, freebies - what!? Plus then there was the whole common core standards issue, what had I let myself in for? So, I set the store up, had a few resources and left it- surprisingly (I don't know how looking back) each month I had a fair few sales and each month it started to grow - albeit slowly.

I put TpT on the back burner for a little while, we had so much going on at home, in School so TpT really went out of my mind for a few months. Finally, last January I decided this was it - I was going to take TpT serious - Nathan kept telling me that I would be brilliant at it and he kept pushing me. I spent some more time chatting with fellow TpTers and getting advice on how to sell myself better - I just want to thank all the wonderful veteran TpTers who had a lot of patience helping me understand all the different things - I mean my first resource I didn't even secure properly - I didn't even think people would try to take clipart out of a resource so I definitely owe an apology to a poor clip artist but all was ok once I was told how to secure - and now I'm always sure to offer the same advice to newbie TpTers!

Anyway, the more time I spent on TpT and making TpT friends the more I blossomed in myself, I took more pride in my work, I took more time making resources for students and as result of pouring all my time and love into the resources, I watched students and teachers all around the World start to fall in love with them too!

A few months down the line and my store really took off, like crazy busy, I remember going to bed one night on the verge of tears at how much our lives will be able to change because of TpT - and to this day, Nathan won't let me forget all the times I said I would never make it work and now it does. 

I often see new teachers sign up and go through what I did when I started - and get upset when they didn't make a million in their first year, I'm only now halfway to my first milestone but that extra cash each month really helps out and goes towards us having little luxuries, and being able to be a bit more free with our money.

So, what will help you during your start up with TpT? Here are my few pieces of advice:

- Believe in yourself, I really struggled to believe in myself in the beginning, when I started to believe in myself, I really started to see the small successes that I was making, this made me more positive and more willing to keep going.
- Be patient, you will need a lot of patience! You're not going to become a millionaire overnight and if you're only signing up with that goal in mind then I'll tell you not to bother - seriously! You'll be in this for the long run, but there's nothing more satisfying than watching yourself and your TpT grow every day.
- Enlist cheerleaders, you are really going to want to recruit some cheerleaders who are going to be there to tell you to keep going when things get tough - I was so lucky in the way that mine was Nathan, my partner. He kept pushing me everyday, he told me how amazing I am at my resources and that there's people out there who want to buy them! He believed in me so much and was so certain that I would do it he paid the premium seller fee for me to start earning even more commission on my resources - it's something that really pushed me to keep going. 
- Delegate, when I started to get bigger I found that I would be more tired - I mean, you won't believe how tiring it is creating, uploading, editing, blogging, pinning, socialising on social media, getting used to foreign targets and standards/curriculums, something had to give because I just couldn't do it all - you'll probably notice that my blog started to lack posts when my TpT started to get bigger, it's something I've been trying to work harder on to post more, but I don't have to worry about pinning anymore because Nathan is in charge of all my pinning - he is a God send! 
- Making new friends, ok so making new friends might sound like more of an added personal bonus but actually it was a professional bonus too, the classroom has definitely benefited from liaising with different teachers, making more fun and attractive resources - the newsletters I send out are definitely the envy of a lot of teachers in the School! You'll be amazed at what you can learn from making new friends!

and finally, even though I sell on TpT, it doesn't stop me from buying! There are so many amazing resources out there made by amazingly talented teachers that I just can't help but buy/download resources to use with our students, it's not often that resources are easy to come by that will suit our students, but TpT really does have something for everyone!

If you want to check out my TpT just click here but if you want to take the leap of faith and become a TpT seller then please click here to go through and sign up. You seriously won't regret it! TpT has a wonderful community of TpTers who will all help you get started with setting up your TpT. 

Nikki 


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Seller Spotlight Sunday: Teaching Tykes

Welcome to my Seller Spotlight Sunday.
Every Sunday on my blog there is a guest post from another fabulous TpT Seller. They will be sharing one free resource from their store, one paid resource from their store and something that they have been up to that week or similar! 

So, don't forget to check back every Sunday or sign up for my email list to get notifications of new sellers!

Up this week is Lori Booze from Teaching Tykes!






Hi, this is Lori from Teaching Tykes

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Teaching-Tykes
I live in North Carolina, USA, with my husband and our four kids; well, only one is still at home – we are almost empty-nesters.

I am a thirty-year education veteran who has seen it all. One of the most difficult concepts for my little tykes is place value. Our answer? LOTS of manipulatives and games. My Place Value Clip Cards help with reinforcement and review. They work perfectly with base-ten blocks, too.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Place-Value-1007391

For differentiation, we use two different versions:
1-99
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Place-Value-1007391

and hundreds, tens, and ones

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Place-Value-2478108

These cards are brilliant for math centers!
And for class games (I did tell you we loved to play games):
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Place-Value-Bingo-2482508

I can differentiate with these bingo cards since I have the same bingo card in different forms:
base 10 blocks,

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Place-Value-Bingo-2482508
expanded form,
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Place-Value-Bingo-2482508

place value form,

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Place-Value-Bingo-2482508

word form,

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Place-Value-Bingo-2482508

and standard form.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Place-Value-Bingo-2482508

Your kiddos will thank you for playing Place Value Bingo instead of completing another boring worksheet. Mine do!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Place-Value-Bingo-2482508

It was so nice of Nikki for letting me guest blog this week.
And thank you for reading and getting to know me a bit.
Please download my End of the Year Awards resource as a thank you.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/End-Of-Year-Awards-1838488

I hope you have as much fun with them as we do. Just don't forget the candy. :)

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/End-Of-Year-Awards-1838488

I would love for you to visit me!
See you soon!!!
Lori
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Teaching-Tykes
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Summer Olympics: Crafts

The Summer Olympics start in August and I can't wait to watch all the games going on Rio. Years back, when it was announced that it would be held in Brazil I swore that I would go there to watch, but situations change and we have been travelling so much over the past couple of years that we just can't make it this year - but I can't complain, we've had so many amazing travel opportunities I'm definitely not feeling hard done by - I'm going to enjoy relaxing and watching the olympics during the summer holidays!

In class, we have been working on lots of fun and different activities linked to the Olympics. 

We have been making these torches and football people. The torches were loads of fun, we printed out the shape of the olympic torch, then the students glued it and scrunched up pieces of colour paper and added lots of glitter to make the torches stand out and have a more sensory approach.

But so far, this is the children's fave craft. They absolutely loved making these football people and had so much fun - plus they were super easy!

We cut white foam into a circle and cut out the black pieces of foam for the shapes on the face. We cut out some red foam in the shape of a foam then finished off with silver paper for the arms and legs and white pieces for the feet. We laid them out on the table and showed the students a finished version of what it will look like that a staff member had created earlier that day to give students an idea of what they are actually making.

The students had so much fun putting all the pieces together and now we have loads of these little football men on display around our classroom! It's a great way to introduce football and the Olympics into your classroom!

Nikki 
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Why Pinterest made me better at my job.

Have you ever used Pinterest?
(If you answer no, you seriously need to start!!)

I had always heard about Pinterest and I dabbled with it now and again but I never really got into it until I started on TpT. Once I became more hooked on TpT, I started to get more hooked on Pinterest, and after a few wise words from some lovely TpT friends I soon became obsessed.

Like crazy obsessed.

Hand on heart, I believe Pinterest has made me - and everyone in my class - better at our jobs - not in the paperwork way but in the way that we've watched the students enjoy the activities we give them even more than before. I mean the staff in our class have amazing ideas for activities, but Pinterest was a way that we had access to millions of teachers brains and ideas!

So, how do I use it? Well, in two ways because I have two accounts! I have my personal one which is linked to my blog and TpT account and I have one that is just for School.

My personal/TpT one
So, for this one I have a whole range of boards, the first board being all my resources from my TpT and the rest then are boards for grades, topics, seasons, themes etc. You can check out all the boards here.

People always look at me crazy when I say how many boards I have on my personal one - I mean, I even have a board just for home offices! 

But really, it's stuff that interests me, I work in an autistic class with ages ranging from 3-7 but because of their levels of ability it means we don't always work at that age so 'grade/age' boards didn't always work so I wanted to create topic ones too - then seasons etc. I found that when we would have a topic in class such as '3 little pigs' I would spend some spare time at home just scrolling through pinterest on my iPad to find different activities and then started pinning them.

Then, I watched my followers starting to quickly grow and I thought more about what people would want to be able to see - and it was fun yet educational ideas that would work in their class and fit in with themes, so now I spend some time every day finding fun and different activities that would be great for a range of classrooms, plus it means that I get to find lots of new ideas for class too!

It's also given me so many fun ideas on activities to create for class, I mean I can actually browse Pinterest for hours because teachers from all over the World pin their ideas on there - even stuff like classroom management and organisation - you won't believe how many amazing displays are on there!

Another way is home life too - did you realise how many bloggers use pinterest to share outfit ideas? I swear it's transformed my life! I've always tried my best to look trendy but I was not gifted with amazing fashion sense, I can struggle to put clothing items together, so since finding this on Pinterest I've had so much fun finding new outfits - I know that's not really related to getting me better at my job, but seriously it does help!

My School Pinterest
My School Pinterest account is set up purely for what we are doing in class. I have a board for each area of what we will be covering that year and when we get planning time I have quick looks on Pinterest and pin ideas/activities on to the relevant boards then when it comes to the time to do the activities I can just log onto Pinterest, look at the board and see what activity to do/plan!

There are ideas for all areas of learning, seriously, we get cooking, craft and science ideas mainly from Pinterest but there are so many more areas of learning you can cover from just spending a few moments searching!

Plus, it gets better... Pinterest pretty much tracks what you're pinning and then when you sign in the next time, on your home feed they'll provide you with recommendations - I've found some amazing ideas on here! I've often found ideas that I would never have thought to search for.

Having a School Pinterest board is also a great way to send/share ideas with other staff around the School - plus students can have so much fun helping you to search! We have some students who love to sit with us and scroll through Pinterest to find activities to do in the future, it's a great way to involve them with their planning.

The other reason that I love Pinterest is because sometimes, you may just feel in a rut in class, like whatever you're trying you just can't connect with a student in a way to help them learn in their own way - doing some searching on Pinterest can give you so many ideas on other ways you help your students - sometimes, we're so overworked that we just can't think of anything else so it's always great to have some ideas from other teachers!

Do you use Pinterest? If so, how? What for? Do you think it's helped you?
Nikki 

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Seller Spotlight Sunday: Bright Stars Store!

Welcome to my Seller Spotlight Sunday.
Every Sunday on my blog there is a guest post from another fabulous TpT Seller. They will be sharing one free resource from their store, one paid resource from their store and something that they have been up to that week or similar! 

So, don't forget to check back every Sunday or sign up for my email list to get notifications of new sellers!

Up this week is Laura Smith from Bright Stars Store!





Hi there!
My name is Mrs. Smith. I’m the owner of the Bright Stars Store (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Bright-Stars-Store). 

I was a modern languages teacher in the UK before moving to the Netherlands a few years ago. After spending a year learning Dutch, I became a freelance English teacher. teach adults and children at a local language centre and tutor from home. Before I had my baby daughter, I taught English at local primary schools. I hope to start working in schools again this September.

My lessons focus a lot on encouraging students to speak English. This can be quite a tricky thing to achieve – for most people, speaking a foreign language can be very daunting - but I’ve had a lot of success with Listen and Draw activities. 

These fun and engaging activitiesbuild collaboration skills and also help students retain new vocabulary and boost their self-esteem. Try this free Weather and Seasons Listen and Draw sample here.



Another popular product with both children and adults are speaking cards. Most students are reluctant to say more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when asked a question and that’s why it’s important to ask interesting, open-ended questions to spark conversation! 

I have created a set of 96 Question Cards and Writing Activities which are perfect for you ESL class or young learners. They would be perfect to use at the start of a new school year or at the beginning of a lesson. You can find it here.



Now that the summer holidays are approaching, and students have completed their exams, I’m focusing on enjoyable speaking and writing activities. I am always looking out for fun games and books for my classroom – they’re an invaluable tool for encouraging speaking and can be used for writing activities, too. I’ll be posting about the games and books I regularly use, and how I use them, on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Bright-Stars-1660510274219248/) over the next few days.





Nikki, thank you for asking me to do today’s guest post!
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The Frog Olympics!

With the Summer Olympics in Rio just around the corner, we have been busy in class working on lots of fun Olympics activities.

For our students, understanding the Olympics is really hard so we had to try and find a way to make it more relevant to our students, and there is no better way than linking it to a fun and eye catching book!


We decided to go for the Frog Olympics! It's a great story book and the kids have loved watching the frogs taking part in all the different games and finding the winners. Plus, there are so many wonderful ways you can link learning activities to this story.

This week we have been working on frog crafts..



We made these frog pegs. Staff cut out the pieces ready and then it was over to the students (well with some 1:1 support!) The children had to paint the pegs brown and then stick on the pieces of the frog, once it was complete they set it to dry. Later that afternoon we had lots of fun opening and closing the pegs and watching the frog eating the fly!

It was a great way for the students to practice their fine motor skills and it kept in with our frog theme! 

Nikki 


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End of Year Flip Book

I can't believe how quick this School year is going !! We still have quite a few weeks left here in the UK, but I'm watching all my American friends slowly wrapping up for their end of year which is coming up quick, I can't deny it - i'm definitely going to be jealous when they're all posting lovely pictures enjoying the sunshine and the holidays while we're still in work - but at least in the warmer weather we can take the kids outside more! 
A bit of fresh air never hurt anyone!

Today, I'm going to spotlight one of my newest resources, an end of year flip book.


This flip book comes in two different spelling options; favourite and favorite. 

This flip book is for students to discuss their 5 fave things from their year. It comes in two different difficulty levels so you can differentiate between students in your class - they both look very similar and look exactly the same when completed so students won't have to worry about having different pieces of work!

I really recommend printing these flip books out on col paper/card just because it makes it look a bit more fun - but that's totally personal preference! 

This is how the activity will look when completed. You can staple together to secure and then use hooks similar to these to hang them up on display in the classroom for the last few days!


Students have the chance to name who made them smile and why. This is the higher ability level option, the lower level ability option comes with a space for a picture and space to write a name or what the student is able to.

Students also get the chance to discuss what they are proud of themselves for completing this year. This can be something minor or major, it is totally personal to the individual student and what they feel proud of, again this is the higher ability option, the lower ability option has a large box for students to draw/stick a picture of what they are proud of doing with some space to write sentences if they wish.


The last page is all about who their best friend was that year. There's room for a drawing of their best friend - or an image to cut and stick down if that's more appropriate - and room for their autograph - some of our students wouldn't be able to write their name so we dipped their fingers into paint and put their fingerprint there! It looked just as effective and was more meaningful and appropriate for the individual students. The lower ability option is similar to this but does not have a 'because.....' reason. 

As you can see from these images the students have had a lot of fun completing them, it's a great way to fill some spare time but it's also great to have as a keepsake for students to be able to look back on years down the line. 

 Be sure to click the link or images above to be redirected to where you can download this resource from to use in your classroom!

Thanks,
Nikki 
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Math Tip Monday; Tips for Teaching Time & Money

Where does time go? Can you believe it's May.
I can't.
It's scary, because you blink and time just goes now, it really does teach you to enjoy and appreciate every second, because things can change so quickly!

So, this month's Math Tip Monday is all about teaching time and money. 


This can be a really hard concept to grasp. One of my favourite ways to teach it is just practically and physically so the children also have a visual of what they are learning about.

One of the best ways is teaching them to shop. We do snack time in our class and have a 'cafe' the children have to 'pay' a certain price for different items on the cafe menu. It really encourages them and they love it! Start off small then work your way up with it!

You can incorporate it for all sorts of things! Depending on how big/small your class is - what about reward dollars? At the end of each week the children get to cash in their reward dollars for different items from the reward shop. It doesn't have to be anything crazy, it could just be something small and simple - but in their eyes it's a reward and it's such an exciting experience!


Now for time. This is hard, a lot of children may have no concept of time. And, how can they? We all have days where we think it's gotta be at least 11am, then we check the clock and it's like 9.30, right? Then other days we look at the clock and it's 3pm before we know it! Every day is different, concept of time is so hard!

Try and incorporate egg timers, iPad timers etc. and get them to time different tasks - how about someone hopping 10 times, going to the toilet, walking to the next classroom, saying the alphabet, doing the register etc. See what activities take longer than others so that they can start to grasp it. 

Most of all, if you know you're going to be doing an activity for a set amount of time - 10 minutes, put a timer up on the IWB or an egg timer at the front of the class so students can watch time moving on. 

There are also loads of great displays you can have for your classroom clock that can help your kiddos better understand it. 

My favourite is this;
(click the pic to be re-directed to original website)

You can do this for so many things and the children are able to check what time each thing is happening and get used to the hands on the clock!


How do you teach time & money in your class?

Nikki 


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