Save a Bundle!

Posted by on Oct 25, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Save a Bundle

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Folders for Make Up Work

Posted by on Aug 31, 2014 in Uncategorized | 9 comments

I am busy today creating folders for when my students are absent. I was pushed to do this because I had students absent in both of my classes on Friday. Since I never had 2 classes to keep track of before, I had not thought of a plan for this. My plan is to use the  2 pocket folders that are so cheap this time of year, but I don’t have any at home right now, so I have used file folders. File folders could work, but with younger children I think the pockets would be better. I don’t know if  I will be able to laminate a pocket folder. Can anyone let me know if that is possible?

Make Up Work 002

A problem I have often had is that third graders don’t really feel like they need to do the missing work. So I made a chart letting them know which day the work will all need to be done. In my district if a child misses one day they are given one day to make it up. I look at it this way. If Susie is absent on Monday, that means she returns on Tuesday and I give her the work. In order to have a whole day to get it done, I don’t ask for it to be returned until Thursday. Thus a Tuesday absence will require work returned on Friday. I expect both Wednesday and Thursday absences to have work completed by Monday. Friday work is due by Wednesday. Would you add anything to this chart?

Make Up Work 003

I made a page that reflects all of the activities that may be missed in my classroom on a given day. I have also made others with more generic lists. What would you like to see on a list?

Make Up Work 004

I like the looks of my folders. I am anxious to try one out on a pocket folder. Would you like to use something like this? You can get it for free this weekend by leaving me any advice or suggestions here on my blog! Remember to include your email address!



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Selling Spelling: Dance Your Spelling Words

Posted by on Aug 8, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

There’s more to learning to spell than passing a spelling test. There are lots of ways to get students to go from guessing to knowing what to write down on a test, and applying that spelling when writing sentences and paragraphs. I want to explore many of those strategies here each Friday.

Selling Spelling


Dance Your Spelling Words

Dance Your Spelling Words Freebie!


Involve the whole child in spelling practice! Students spell out their spelling words while stepping on each letter. Be sure the letters are secure to the floor. I think I will duct tape them to the floor and then duct tape around and between the letters. I will place them in a lower traffic area of our classroom.


Students just tap each letter with their toe.

Students must use the correct foot (the one shown on the card) for each letter.

Students do an extra hop or other movement between letters.


Place the letter cards on the floor in random order.

These cards are available as a special freebie. They are also a part of a larger product. The larger product includes the footprint cards in colors. It also include handprint cards (in color and b/w) that can be placed on a desk, table, wall, bulletin board, whiteboard, or even the floor. In addition to that are piano keyboards and individual hand cards which could be used whole class.

Spelling dance

Individual keyboards could be kept in students’ folders for individual or whole class use.



The individual handprint sheet would be great to send home to practice spelling words. It could be a more active choice on a spelling homework choice board.



My first Selling Spelling Tip boils down to let them get up and move to spell their words! Do you have any fun ways to do this?


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Interactive Spelling

Posted by on Aug 4, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I have worked all summer on spelling units for my third grade classroom.  I wrote a post about my plan back in June https://devotedtovocabularydevelopment.com/my-kids-cant-spell/. I am anxious to begin using my units when school starts in three weeks.

Interactive Spelling 007

My goal was to make spelling a mostly independent (or at least not teacher dependent) activity. This picture shows activities for the students on Day 1 of a unit. (The unit pictured is on the spellings of /er/.)  On Mondays, words can be introduced for the word wall with the Word Wall cards or flashcards, students will work to determine what spelling pattern is used in all of the cards. This could be done large group or students could work on it small group or in reading groups. I plan to do this whole group, so that all the students have a good introduction to the new skill.  The cards come in color and illustrated or black and white with no illustration.

Slide7 Slide8


Then the students will receive a sheet with the new spelling list. They are to copy the list twice, then cut it apart. One list goes into their Interactive Spelling (or Word Study) Notebook. The other list with, which includes the typed list, goes home. Parents will be able to see the original list in case of any student errors!

Students also will receive a Study Pocket and a set of mini-flashcards, study cards. These cards also have the illustrations of the words for the week. Students who finish making their lists, cutting out and assembling the pocket, and cutting out the flashcards can meet with a partner to begin practicing their words. (Study pockets and min-flashcards are currently being added to all of the sets. If you already bought a set without them, you can always download them again.

Having these Study Pockets flashcards meets the Common Core standard

Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings. This standard is also addresses in my review package with my “Help Wanted” on-going activity.

Interactive Spelling 011
Interactive Spelling 013

Day 2, usually Tuesdays, has an independent Word Sort. Students cut out the Word Sort organizer and the small word/picture cards, then sort them by whatever skill is being practiced. Along with the small picture/word cards, students receive a set of additional words that contain the practiced skills (you can almost see this underneath the colored pencil box). Students who finish the sort can write additional words (and illustrate them) using the studies skills. They first words on each list are the “Apply” words that students will be expected to be able to spell on Fridays.

Interactive Spelling 016

Students can add the “My Word Collection” flapbook to their interactive notebook on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. The purpose of this flapbook is for students to find and add words that follow the rule throughout the week (and beyond).

On Day 3 the students will use their word list in writing. This activity meets the Common Core Standard

Use spelling patterns and generalizations (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words.

The writing involves either finding rhyming words (with attention to possible changes in spelling) or writing a creative story using a prompt. Prompts are currently being added to all of the  units. If you have bought a unit without a story prompt, you will be able to download it again once I have updated it.  The rhyming activity creates a flapbook to be added to the interactive notebook.



Day 4 is all about the scavenger hunt. Students find the words for missing sentences posted around the room. They write down the number of the the card and the correct spelling of the word for each sentence. A gameboard is also available for Day 4. Students who finish the scavenger hunt could meet to practice spelling the words aloud while playing the game. Alternately, the gameboard could be a brief part of the reading small group lesson on Thursday.  This is where I am thinking I will use them. These scavenger hunt cards and the gameboard are also included in black and white versions.


A worksheet of these same sentneces is available in each unit for those who would rather not use the scavenger hunt cards.

Friday’s assessment is also accomplished as a scavenger hunt. The picture cards with no words are placed throughout the room for students to find and write the correct words. There are 4 additional cards of words that should have been seen throughout the week, but were not specifically studied. A sheet for the test is available. An additional sheet is available if you’d rather give a more traditional test.


In addition to all the materials listed there are several homework sheets available in each unit. One sheet is created specifically for the unit using the words within the unit. This sheet also has a Boggle board for students to find many words, not just those studied, that contain the targeted skill. I feel this sheet meets another Common Core standard

Use spelling patterns and generalizations (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words. The other sheets have students practicing alphabetical order, sorting words, having choice options, etc. I will not use all of the worksheets each week.

I am really excited about these units and can’t wait to begin using them this year. I will begin with the Short Vowel Bundle, which is 3 units long. I will then use the Long Vowel Bundle which is 6 units long. At that point I plan to stop and do a review unit with differentiated lists based on student needs. Then I have a Consonant Bundle (just realized that this bundle is missing 2 of its units – you should buy it quickly then download it in a few days, when I’ve had a chance to update it!!) and am very close to putting all of the varient vowel units into a Varient Vowel Bundle. I currently have 18 units plus the review unit. I have plans for at least 12 more units, including plurals, doubling consonants, changing y to i, homophones, and compound words to name a few.

I have enjoyed sharing my Speliing Units plan with you! Thank you for reading about them. If you have any suggestions or questions, please let me know!


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Getting Ready for School

Posted by on Aug 2, 2014 in Uncategorized | 10 comments

Yes, I have already spent over $200 at Walmart on supplies for my classroom. Now I know all of my new kids will have paper, crayons, notebooks, and folders! It makes me feel better knowing no one will have to be disappointed or discouraged by a lack of supplies.

I found the cutest little plastic crayon boxes! Now when somebody immediately dumps all of their crayons into their pencil bag I can give them a box that will keep them (kid and crayons) organized. I have never understood this urge to dump the box and discard it. I did buy all of the boxes that were available (20). I may go look for more.

Crayon Boxes 001

Now I need to pour over my wishlist on Teachers Pay Teachers. I will be teaching only ELA and Social Studies this year. I want some really good writing lessons. Writing has not progressed as well as I would like in my classroom over the past several years. I want it to be a big focus this year. And I have my eye on a couple of great teacher authors/sellers. Here are a few that I am considering:

Poetry Interactive Notebook by The Third Grade Zoo

I love how she has many types of poetry to create in a fun interactive format. We do a lot of poetry reading in my classroom. I would love to have a more focus poetry writing plan!

Seed Stories Personal Narrative Writing by The Third Wheel

Her 6 activities complement the Lucy Calkins series, but promise to bring some new life to our writing! This author has an amazing product description. You need to go read all that is offered!

Essay Writing for Grades 3-5 by Kathy O


Personal Narrative Writing Resources by Kathy O

I think Kathy O may be my new guru when it comes to writing! Oh no, now I’ve discovered this

Writer’s Workshop Units of Study — Ultimate Bundle

which wasn’t even on my wishlist! So apparently this is a hazzardous blog post that I am writing!

But seriously you need to check these out! And now is a great time to do it, because everything will be on sale Monday and Tuesday!!


Do you have some writing resources that you could recommend to me or others to check out? Feel free to add them to the comments below!



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What My Mom Taught Me

Posted by on Jul 16, 2014 in Uncategorized | 10 comments

Most mothers are instinctive philosophers.

~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

Next Tueday my mom will celebrate her 90th birthday! Well, actually she plans to begin celebrating as soon as any members of the family begin arriving and she plans to continue celebrating until the last ones leave. We are arriving Saturday and leaving next Friday; we plan to do a lot of celebrating. It is, after all, not just her 90th birthday on Tuesday, it is also my sister, Theresa’s 56th birthday, her son, Matthew’s 21st birthday, her grandson, Jackson’s 5th birthday, and my husband’s birthday. It is a four generation birthday plus one.

My mom has 10 children. One of them is celebrating with us from heaven. She has 33 grandchildren. One of them is celebrating with his uncle in heaven. And her 29th great-grandchild is due in October.


Here she is with one of her great grandchildren. I love this picture of my nurturing mother!

A few of the important things my mom taught me:

Have faith, love God – My mom’s faith is her rock. She is unwavering. Hardships are to be met head on and are never thought of as a lapse in God’s love or compassion. She has helped me conquer hardships in my own life.

Love family – Family is everything to my mom. She still cares for each of us in whatever ways she can.

Love kids – A child is the truest gift of God to the world. With 5 younger siblings I have been surrounded by kids my whole life. I enjoyed teaching them everything I learned. I could hardly wait to grow up and become a teacher.

Work hard – (All of the above were reflected by my dad, too – but especially this one.) My work ethic comes from my family. If something needs done, then you do it! I can cook and clean with the best of them. My mom has crocheted afghans and baby blankets for almost everyone. She still works on it when her arthritis allows.

Have fun – Playing cards with my mom and granddaddy and siblings are some of my best memories. We giggled and got silly. I learned how to play and win, yet I always knew the winning wasn’t the important part. And just for my mom and granddaddy I will say ” Moooooooooose!”

There will be lots of silly fun in Ohio in the next week. Many card games, many Farkle championships, but mostly just a huge celebration of an amazing woman. I am so lucky to be able to still celebrate with her. I love you Mom!


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