Thursday, November 15, 2012

word building and cookie sheets--how i (try to) get kiddos excited about spelling!

I survived my first round of parent/teacher conferences at my new school this past week.  They went very well, but one thing was clear--some of my first graders do NOT like spelling.  My students completed a personal report card for me to share with their grown-ups during the conferences, and I was surprised by how many students gave spelling a sad face or an "ok" face, despite doing very well on spelling tests and loving the challenge words.

To try to make spelling more fun (or at least give it some novelty for a bit), I decided to change the way we do word building.  We have been doing word building off and on all year, but had been using little, laminated slips of paper that I had inherited from the previous teacher.  Let me tell you why I hated them:  1.) They were a pain in the butt.  2.) They were black and white--NOT FUN! and 3.) They were a pain in the butt. 

The slips were all together in a big box with compartments for each letter.  I will give them that they were at least sorted by letter.  I had to sort out the letters into little cups for each student every time I wanted to do word building, and I had a student attempt to sort them back in when it was clean up time (and I, of course, had to double check because I'm a little crazy).  This took way too much of my time.

So to try to fix this whole set up, I requested on my class website for a donation of dollar store cookie sheets.  I was incredibly excited when one of my kiddos arrived one Monday morning with an entire stack of them for me!  I then created a Word file with each letter printed multiple times so I could print them out and get to work.  I printed the consonants on blue cardstock and the vowels on red cardstock, laminated and then got out my trusty mini paper cutter.  I trimmed down the letters, stuck little bits of magnet tape on the back...  and WOO! New word building, with the letters already on the trays.

Now, all I have to do is pass them out!  We've only used them twice since I finished them, but the kids seemed to enjoy using them more than the little slips, it took me less than two minutes to get everything into their hands and there were no slips or magnets on the floor at the end.  WIN.  Despite the hours (upon hours) it took me to make all 13 trays, I still think this was a win.

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