Back To School Classroom Setup Tips For Teachers

Are you ready to head back to school? 

This time of the year is busy for teachers, to say the least. There is so much to do. Between things like prepping for back-to-school night and lesson planning, it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed. 

One of my favorite ways to beat the overwhelm and start the school year off on the right foot? Getting my classroom set up and organized in a way that is conducive to learning and makes things easier for me as I move through my day. As teachers, we are usually running around doing a million things during the day and having an organized classroom can make a huge difference in the ease and flow of the day. 

If you’re looking for back-to-school tips for teachers or classroom setup ideas, you’re in the right place. These are my top classroom setup ideas for elementary classrooms! 

Why is classroom setup important? 

The environment that students are in as they learn every day is extremely important. The right classroom setup can be a beneficial classroom or behavior management tool. Having your classroom set up in a way that is safe and welcoming for learning can make a huge difference in how your students’ day goes because the right arrangement can help them focus and learn in a fun, well-structured environment. 

It benefits you as a teacher because you can have the desks, centers, tables, and supplies arranged in a way that makes things easier for you and your students because needed supplies can be grabbed quickly and easily. 

What is the best classroom setup? 

 

Of course, the answer to this question largely depends on your teaching grade and the resources available to you. Here are some general tips for a classroom setup that you and your students will love. 

  • Try arranging desks in clusters to encourage students’ collaboration and social skills. This also gives the room more walking space and helps it feel more open and inviting.
  • Store supplies close to student desks to make it easy for them to get the supplies they need and minimize the instances of behavior issues. 
  • Keep your teaching supplies/copies/ binders close to your desk or workspace to make it easy for you to access what you need during the day. 
  • Set up designated areas for centers, play, etc. 
  • Include a calm down corner. This is a safe space for students to go when they need a minute because their emotions are overwhelming them. Include things like fidget spinners, glitter jars, or bubble wrap for students to use while they regain control of their emotions. 

If you’re looking for some teaching resources to make your classroom setup and organization easier, I have you covered. 

My editable center labels are perfect for easily setting up your centers. 

classroom setup center signs

There are 56 center signs for preschool, kindergarten, or 1st-grade classrooms and they come complete with I CAN objectives. Each center sign has the objectives listed but if you need the objectives to say something different, they are editable. All you have to do is just click and type! These center signs are versatile and show diversity. The “I Can” signs are perfect for center rotations and organization.

classroom set up center labels

center signs

center signs

Organize your tables with these free table number signs and table color labels. 

table cards classroom setup

Label your tables with these adorable Western-themed table cards. Included are table labels by color and table cards by number for you to choose. Personally, I have used both and assigned the number or the color a day of the week to line up first. Kids love them!

My western-themed classroom library labels are perfect for organizing your classroom library in a way that makes it easy for students to find what they are looking for. 

labels

This helpful resource contains 50 classroom library book labels with pictures. Labels are 4.5 X 5 and are perfect for your PreK and Kindergarten kiddos to be able to self-manage the library (which equates to less clean-up time for you)! 

Even your non-readers will be successful in managing the library with these book bin labels! Labels also include words for your readers so 1st and 2nd-grade teachers love them too!

These look great printed on card stock and then laminated. The font is a cute “Western” font but can be changed if you need something different. 

Make your classroom complete by setting out some adorable bookmarks for students that will encourage students to grab a book and practice those reading skills!

You can get these bookmarks for free here! 

bookmarks classroom setup

For more back-to-school resources that will make your life easier, check out my number of the day worksheets and back-to-school assessments.  

What are your favorite back-to-school classroom setup tips? Let me know in the comments! 

 

Back-To-School Tips For Teachers For A Great Year

It’s that time of year! Time to put the pool floaties and sunscreen away and grab your teacher bag and head back to the classroom! This time of the year is exciting for some, and….not too exciting for others. 

back to school tips

Heading back to the classroom can feel overwhelming. I get it! There’s so much to do and it can be hard to even know where to start. There are classrooms to set up, copies to make, lessons to plan, students to meet, things to organize…the list goes on and on. 

 

It doesn’t have to be so stressful though! You can have a great back-to-school experience.

Here are some of my top back to school tips for heading back to school without the chaos and stress. 

 

  1. Get organized.

    This one seems obvious but taking some extra steps to organize your classroom in a way that will improve efficiency will save you so much time and stress as the year goes on. Arrange supplies and even desks in a way that is conducive to learning and makes it easy for you to access what you need when you need it. Is there something you had to keep going back and forth for last year? Set up your classroom so that it is within reach this time. 

2. Pick a new classroom theme.

Coming up with a theme that both you and your students will love is a great way to set the tone for your classroom as a welcoming space for everyone to relax and learn. 

3. Come up with an outline for the first few weeks.

We all know those first weeks are a little bit more chaotic as students and teachers alike find their groove and get into a new routine. By planning out those first few weeks ahead of time, you’ll save yourself the trouble of doing it when you have several little fires to put out or tasks that pop up. 

4. Establish an engaging classroom management system.

By coming up with something unique and fun with lots of incentives, students will easily adjust to the new rules and try their best to earn their rewards. This makes things much easier for you! 

5. Get students involved in taking care of the classroom.

Classroom jobs are a great way to do this. It gives students the opportunity to take responsibility for the classroom by helping keep things clean, organized, and running smoothly. Classroom job ideas are trash collector, paper passer, line leader, attendance monitor, etc. This will give students a sense of pride in their work and it takes a lot off of your plate. It is also great for building a classroom community! 

 

If you are looking for engaging activities to do with your students this year, you’re in the right place. Now through Thursday, August 11th, we are hosting a $200 RESOURCE GIVEAWAY! 

back to school tips free resources

 

We know that teaching is overwhelming sometimes, and you deserve some goodies to make it easier. Follow this link to get your free primary goodies. Just click on each individual link and grab your resources. Check out the details below!

back to school tips free giveaway

 

I hope you love these back to school tips for teachers! For more tips for elementary students, check out my post here on fun ways to practice sight words.

Flag Day Activities For Kids

It’s June so that means Flag Day is right around the corner. Bring out those patriotic colors and American flag decor!  This is a great time to get patriotic in your classroom and teach your students everything there is to know about this holiday. 

flag day
American preschool students and teacher holding a USA flag

What is the official Flag Day? 

First established in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson, this holiday is celebrated on June 14th every year. This comes 100 years after a resolution was passed that described the flag’s appearance from the number of stripes to the number of stars. 

flag day activities

What is Flag Day celebrated for? 

Similar to any patriotic holiday, Flag Day celebrates our country and its rich history. It is a day for us to come together as a nation to honor our national flag. Traditionally, we celebrate this holiday with parades, ceremonies, and picnics. It’s a day to celebrate your country and show some pride! 

Flag Day Activities For Kids

If you’re looking for Flag Day ideas for school, you’re in the right place. I love doing these in the classroom because Flag Day activities teach your students about the history of this traditional holiday while also celebrating our country. 

flag day activities pin image

I created some activities that are great for various grades in elementary. Given their patriotic nature, they can also be used for Independence Day, Labor Day, Flag Day, Constitution Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Presidents Day. 

Pledge of Allegiance Activities Resource for Younger Students

flag day pledge of allegiance activities

What better way to celebrate a day all about the flag  than with the pledge? This easy-to-use resource can be used in your distance learning and will help your Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd-grade students to understand the Pledge of Allegiance! 

Printables included are great for back-to-school or any patriotic holiday. Labor Day, Constitution Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Presidents Day, 9/11, or anytime you are talking about the American flag. Students have FUN with this packet!

History of the Pledge of Allegiance Worksheets and Activities

 

Do your students know why we say the pledge? Or that more than 1 pledge existed until 1923? Do they know why we place our hands over our hearts?

This Pledge of Allegiance Activities resource includes an information book with activities that are perfect for your 3rd, 4th, and even 5th graders. The resource is great to use during back-to-school or any other patriotic holiday

So, the worksheets included in this resource include Interactive Timeline, Interactive Vocabulary and Comprehension book, Word Search, Writing Activities, Pledge Poster, and so much more. 

flag day history of the pledge activities

Looking for a FREE resource you can use to celebrate? 

 

Check out this I See The Flag Emergent Reader resource. This U.S. flag reader is easy to use, is an ink-saver, and students love reading it over and over! Enhance your small group reading and use in Social Studies to learn about different places that display the flag with I See the Flag. Perfect for your lessons about the community.

If you want even more patriotic fun, make sure to check out my TpT shop for more like this! You’ll find engaging resources for Memorial Day. Labor Day, American symbols, Constitution Day, and even Patriotic Bingo! 

I hope you love these resources to celebrate Flag Day at school! What are your favorite activities for this holiday? Let me know in the comments!

flag day pin image

 

Top Summer Safety Tips For Kids

It’s one of the best times of the year- summer! This time of year teachers and students everywhere rejoice because they finally get a well-deserved break. This time of the year is for long care-free days at the pool or beach basking in the sun. 

summer safety tips pin image

Though it is relaxing and fun, we must be diligent in our safety precautions. Kids are prone to accidents because they don’t understand all of the consequences of their actions. That’s why I always make it a point to teach summer safety tips to my students. 

Why is summer safety important? 

 

When the weather warms up, a lot more people come outside. You’ll find a lot more pedestrians, bike-riding, swimming, fireworks, and people at playgrounds and parks. This means the risk of an accident increases, and the last thing you want is your summer vacation interrupted by a trip to the ER! 

summer safety tips for kids pin image

What is summer safety for kids? 

These basic safety guidelines will help you and the kids have a fun, accident-free summer. 

  1. Practice Sun Safety: Make sure to slather on that sunblock to prevent sunburn and sun poisoning. 
  2. Be Safe Around Water. Pools, beaches, lakes, or any other body of water pose a huge risk of drowning for children. If you are around a body of water, stay on high alert at all times and never leave a child alone near water. 
  3. Always Wear A Helmet. Don’t forget, when those bikes and scooters come out, so should the helmets, elbow, and knee pads!
  4. Protect Against The Bugs: Summertime is when the insects come out, so make sure to always have bug spray on hand to protect from bites and stings. 
  5. Stay Out of Extreme Heat: On hot days try to avoid the heat by staying indoors. If you are outdoors, make sure to stay hydrated and in the shade as much as possible. It’s also important that you are aware of the signs of heat exhaustion or a heat stroke. 

There are so many more summer safety tips for kids. If you’re looking for a way to make learning about it effortless and fun, I have you covered. Check out these summer safety activities for kids. 

Summer Safety Activities Decodable Reader

summer safety tips 2022 activities

This easy-to-use, low-prep Summer Safety and Fun in the Sun repetitive text reader is great for your developing readers. Use with Kindergarten, 1st grade, and even 2nd grade! Each page begins with the same text! Posters, vocabulary, writing, and worksheets are included. Students have so much fun practicing skills with this resource! 

 

If you love this resource but need it digitally, check out the digital version here! 

summer safety tips 2022 Google Slides Activities preview

Summer Safety Digital and Print Activities

summer safety tips resource bundle

This resource is a bundle that includes the two previous resources in one! You’ll get the print version and digital version so you are prepared to teach it in person or virtually. 

Looking for more summer activities? Check out this Summer Math and Literacy Bundle! 

summer math and literacy bundle for kids

 

This bundle includes summer math and literacy activities that are fun and engaging for students! Summer sun safety, build-a-sun mathematical glyph, and Number of the Day for first-grade math practice for June are all part of this bundle. The digital versions of the Summer Safety and the June Number of the Day are included. 

Summer is one of the most memorable parts of the year, but it’s important that kids understand how to keep themselves safe. I hope these activities help you educate your students so that they can have safe fun all summer long. 

What are your summer safety tips? Let me know in the comments!

summer safety pin image

Memorial Day Activities Students Will Love

 For many students, Memorial Day is about a fun three-day weekend and getting together with family. However, Memorial Day is more than that. It’s an extremely important day to honor and remember those who have paid the ultimate price by serving our country. These brave men and women deserve to be celebrated and remembered. 

Memorial Day activities

It may be close to the end of the school year, but we can still teach our students about this important day! We can engage them in lessons and activities that center around Memorial Day and the history behind it. 

Memorial Day activities

So how do you teach Memorial Day? 

Even with young elementary students, there are still so many things you can do to celebrate Memorial Day. You can teach it in a way that is educational and engaging for little learners.

Memorial Day activities

Here are some ideas to get you started! 

  1. Check out this list of information on Memorial for some interesting and little-known facts about this holiday and why we celebrate it. It’s a lot to read for younger students, so you’ll want to break up the information in a way that is easy to understand for younger students. 
  2. Take a virtual field trip. I love virtual field trips because they are such a great way to allow students to experience something new without leaving the safety of the classroom. The National Museum of The Marine Corps offers a fascinating virtual tour that you can watch from anywhere. 
  3. Do some Memorial Day classroom activities. One of the best ways to get students interested in learning is to make it fun. Think of fun ways to incorporate it in your lessons. You could find some simple Memorial Day reading passages or add some Memorial Day themed word problems to your math centers. The possibilities are endless. By adding it to your reading, math, or science lessons, you can cover multiple topics/standards at once. 

If you love the idea of doing Memorial Day activities but don’t have time to plan and prep, you’ll love these resources. I did all of the work for you! 

Memorial Day Activities

For early elementary students, these Memorial Day read and follow directions activities are perfect. 

Created with 1st and 2nd grade in mind, these no-prep activities make learning fun! Students simply read sentences and color a picture to follow the directions. They’ll practice reading sight words and other reading skills. Remember, you can use these resources in Google Classroom as well! This is for 1st and 2nd grades but I use it as a listening and following directions activity with my Kindergarten (and PreK) students!

Memorial Day read and follow directions activities

These Memorial Day activities are perfect for 4th-5th grade students and are great for getting students engaged! 

Students in 4th and 5th grades will enjoy the informative reading. This resource is also Easel compatible if you want to make it digital or you can take a look at the digital version that is created with Google Slides.

You will find worksheets that can be used for assessments, small groups, or centers. The components of this resource make it easy to differentiate your instruction. Many Common Core objectives are covered as well. Make sure to check it out! 

memorial day activities

Add some patriotic fun to your math lessons with these Memorial Day math worksheets for first grade. 

Your 1st graders and 2nd graders will practice many important math skills!  Place value, addition sums to 20 with fun color-by-code, dot-to-dot, brainteasers, and more. Use for Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, or any other patriotic holiday! OR…..you can use any time of the year when you are covering these skills.

Patriotic Math: Memorial Day Activities

For more patriotic activities for Memorial Day, check out these American Symbols Worksheets, this History of the Pledge resource, or any of the resources listed here in my shop!   

What are your favorite ways to teach Memorial Day? Let me know in the comments!

Memorial Day activities

 

5 Fun Resources To Celebrate Mother’s Day In Elementary

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, are you ready? 

If you are looking for Mother’s Day activities for the classroom, Mother’s Day crafts, Mother’s Day gift ideas for kids, or even some fun games, you’re in the right place! 

Mother's Day crafts for kids

This holiday is a big day. The mother figure can be one of the most important influences in a child’s life. On this holiday, students get the chance to celebrate their moms or caregivers and show them their love and appreciation. What’s not to love? 

Aside from just making DIY Mother’s Day gifts, there are lots of other things students can do with their moms or while in class to make the day truly special. 

Mother's Day gift ideas for kids

Here are some of my favorite activities and ideas for celebrating mom 

Mother’s Day Complete Unit

Mother's Day crafts

Everything you could need to celebrate this special day with your students! This 121-page resource is easy to use and full of writing, math, crafts, and skills. Crafts include gift ideas for your students to make. Packed with language arts, glyphs, missing addends, root words, comprehension, informational book, poetry, scrambled sentences, crafts, worksheets, and games!  

Mother's Day coupon book

Read & Color To Follow Directions Mother’s Day Activity

Mother's Day activity for kids

Work on reading comprehension with this fun activity. Students simply read the statements and follow the directions. This reading activity is perfect to use during small group instruction with your PK-K students or to use as an independent reading activity for 1st-2nd graders. I use it as a listening and following directions activity with my PK-K students. For more following directions activities, check out my post here. 

Mother's Day activities

Simple and Fun Board Game

Mother's Day game

This simple board game is fun and easy for younger children. To play, you simply roll the dice and then move the pieces along the board. Some spots will prompt you to draw a card with further directions. The first one to the end wins! This is a great way to get some one-on-one bonding time with mom. 

Mother’s Day Mice Book Companion

This is a lovely book to share with printables, center activities, writing, vocabulary, songs, and more. Perfect for your at-home learning with five days of lesson plans done for you! Ideas for differentiation are included in the plans. 82 pages of related pages to go along with this delightful book!

Mother's Day activity book companion

Bonus Freebie: Mother’s Day Song

Free Mother's Day song

Enjoy this FREE original Mother’s Day song sung to the tune Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Easy to follow along and students will love singing it to their moms. 

It’s so sweet to see how excited students get to celebrate their parents at this age. I hope you love these activities and you and your students have some fun with them! 

What are your favorite activities to celebrate moms? Let me know in the comments!

Mother's Day bundle

Engaging Ways To Practice Sight Words In Elementary

Let’s talk about sight words! 

Sight words are very important in the earlier grades. These words, or high-frequency words, are a collection of commonly used words that, with a little practice, students will be able to see on the page and recognize instantly. No more sounding out! This increases reading fluency and speed and makes reading more enjoyable for students because they feel more confident when they see words they know. 

It’s important for students to build up a base of words they know. It will give them the perfect jump start in their reading journey. 

Typically, high-frequency words are spaced out based on grade level so the level of difficulty for each word will change depending on the grade of the student.

 

sight words pin image

To really grasp these words, students must get plenty of practice with them. This means sending them home to work on with parents, reading books that include their sight words, completing worksheets based on their sight words, and so much more. There is an infinite way to practice sight words! 

girl working on sight words worksheet

Here are some of my top favorite sight word activities

sight words pin

Sight Word Boom Cards

These  boom cards are amazing because they are completely digital. They are interactive, self-checking, and perfect for your Kindergarten and first-grade students.

They will practice reading, making (spelling), and writing sentences. These words are the 1st set of 25 words from Fry’s list so they are a great place to start.  Perfect for distance learning practice or your literacy centers! 

sight words activities

Sight Word Songs

This resource is fun, simple, and completely free! Research shows that using music to learn can have an impact on cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development. This resource makes it easy to use that to your advantage. 

Your students will learn to read and write their sight words in record time with these songs! This is a super fun way to learn sight words instead of “drill and kill”. This resource is perfect for 1st and 2nd grade students. 

If you like the free version, you’ll love the full version here! It includes songs for 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 letter words!

sight words song resource

Compound Sight Words

These engaging worksheets are great for 2nd and 3rd grade students who are ready for a little more challenge. 

These compound word activities and centers give extra practice with sight words, compound words, and reading comprehension. 

If you need more differentiated compound sight word practice resources, I have you covered with this resource here! 

sight words worksheets preview

Sight Words Games

What kid doesn’t love playing games? Bring that joy to your sight word practice with these sight word games. 

This resource is perfect for beginners. The Go Hunting game is simple and easy to use. No prep needed! I have found that students love playing these games during centers (or maybe even indoor recess)! 

Free Sight Word Lists

This free resource is full of high frequency words for every level. Pre-Primer, Primer, First Grade, Second Grade, Third Grade, Fourth Grade, and Fifth Grade.

Each grade level has a one-page sight word list with the 4th grade having a shortlist and a long list! Print these lists out for easy reference. They have been listed in alphabetical order to make it easy to find a word and instantly know what level it is.

sight words list sample

For more high frequency word fun, check out all of my resources here!

St. Patrick’s Day Activities and Ideas for Kids

St. Patrick’s Day FUN

One year I had my “surprise” evaluation on St. Patrick’s Day! I was teaching 2nd grade at the time and that morning when the students came in, a leprechaun had visited and left footprints all over the class.

Leprechaun Footprints

Needless to say, they were a little hyped up. I’m glad the activities I had planned for the day were engaging. Since St. Patrick’s Day is so much fun for students, I like to connect literacy and math skills wherever I can. Whether you’re Irish or not, bringing St. Patrick’s Day into your classroom activities is so much fun! It becomes a “theme” for much of March! Read on for some fun ideas.

St. Patrick’s Day is not only a FUN holiday to celebrate with students, it is one of my favorites and also one that has a deep history for Americans. Irish Americans are Americans who have full or partial ancestry from Ireland. About 32 million Americans or 9.7% of the total population are identified as being Irish (according to the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau).

Resources for Online Teaching AND In-person Teaching 

In our classrooms, we can teach the “magical” side of St Patrick’s Day and also the historical perspective. For upper elementary students, you will find this close reading comprehension resource has enough activities to last the entire month (including some math worksheets for place value and reading word problems). There is a digital Google Slides™ version AND a printable version (also a BUNDLE) to meet the diverse needs of teachers during these different times.

This engaging resource answers the following questions in the non-fiction book Click the image for more details.

☘ Who was St. Patrick?

☘ Why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

☘ Why do we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?

☘ What is a leprechaun?

☘ What does the shamrock have to do with St. Patrick’s Day?

☘ Do four-leaf clovers bring good luck?

☘ Why do you get pinched if you don’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?

☘ What do corned beef and cabbage have to do with St. Patrick’s Day traditions?

Literature to Share

There are always great pieces of literature for every holiday. One of my favorite books to share is Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie DePaola. Tomie DePaola is one of my absolute favorites!!

Jamie O’Rourke, who is known as the laziest man in all of Ireland, is sure he’ll starve to death when his wife injures her back and can’t do all the work. A leprechaun intervenes and one wish later, Jamie is the proud owner of a potato as big as a house.

Another fun book is How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace.

You’ve been planning night and day, and finally, you’ve created the perfect trap! Now all you need to do is wait. Is this the year you’ll finally catch the leprechaun?

Preschool through 2nd Grades

If you teach PreK-2, here are some other FUN and interactive resources you might be interested in.

St. Patrick’s Day Positional Words (Available in digital Google Slides™ and printable versions.)                                                                                  BOOM CardsSt. Patrick’s Day Positional Words                                       PK-K Homework Calendar with Developmentally Appropriate Activities

St. Patrick’s Day Emergent Reader (K-1) 

Reward!

If you have made it this far, I have something for you!  Click on the link below for a FREE Irish Blessing for kids.

Irish Blessing

Do your students love jokes? These are the top 10 jokes voted on by a class I had. FREE for you! Enjoy!  St.Pat’s Jokes

I hope you have FUN with this holiday! Enjoy and as always, email me at thefunfactoryontpt@gmail.com if you have any questions or suggestions.

May your paths bloom with shamrocks!

Susan, The Fun Factory        

 

 

Digraphs Vs. Blends: Tips For Teaching Students The Difference

Let’s talk about digraphs and blends! These can be pretty tricky for new readers. The difference between the two is subtle and could easily confuse them. So how do we teach them in a way that is effective and easy to remember for little learners?

Let’s start with the basics! Here are some common questions teachers have about digraphs and blends. 

1. “What is the difference between blends and digraphs?”

A BLEND is when each sound of two or more consonants can be heard as they are blended together. For example, /pl/ as in play. You say (and teach) /pl/ but the /p/ and /l/ can be heard as separate phonemes. Each letter within the blend is pronounced individually, but quickly, so they blend together.

A DIGRAPH is when two consonants together make a single sound. For example, if you tell someone to be quiet by saying “shhhhhh”, you say it as one sound. You don’t say /s/ /h/.

2. What are the most common blends and what order should I teach them?

BLENDS

The most common beginning consonant blends include: bl, br, cl, cr, dr, fr, tr, fl, gl, gr, pl, pr, sl, sm, sp and st.

Click to download a FREE Beginning Blends Poster

There is a great deal of variance as to which blends to teach first. Even many basal reading programs disagree. Yet, it is thought that the following is a good guideline of which to teach first: gr, pl, bl, st, br, sp, tr, cl, fl, sl, fr, sn, thr, cr, dr, sm. HOWEVER, this differs with the level of students you teach and the most important thing to remember is to teach intentionally!

There are also ending consonant blends in words such as fast.

digraphs vs blends pin image

Click to download a FREE poster for Ending Blends Poster

Some blends contain three consonants (clusters) such as str,spl, spr, shr, scr, squ, str. It is thought that these clusters along with nk and sk should be taught later rather than at the beginning.

3. What are the most common digraphs and what order should I teach them?

DIGRAPHS

We like to call the most common consonant digraphs the “h” brothers. The most common are sh, ch, th, and wh but there also is ph. The most common to teach first are the “Big 4”! Many reading programs introduce blends before the digraphs. 

The main thing to remember is you need to teach whatever your district says! This goes for blends (clusters) AND digraphs.

Click to download a FREE Digraph Poster. 

4. What is the correct spelling and pronunciation of DIGRAPH? 

It is spelled d-i- g-r-a-p-h and pronounced dī- graf. There is no “a” as in d-i-a-g-r-a-p-h. It is not pronounced dī-uh-graf.

In conclusion, learning digraphs and blends are important in learning to read. Go by your district, your campus, or your reading program to guide you with when and how to introduce them. We all have our opinions but we must go by the guidelines our employers give us.

Click HERE for a FREE digraph resource with activities and worksheets aimed at 1st-2nd graders and upper Kindergarten students.

If you like these digraph freebies, you’ll love the bundle! 

It’s a 329-page bundle for the digraphs ck, kn, ph, wr, sh, ch, wh, th with activities, center activities, and worksheets. The bundle is more than 20% off with a FREE assessment pack. The assessment pack is only available as part of the bundle deal. I don’t think you will need anything else for the entire year to teach digraphs. 

digraphs activity

It has everything, from small group work to games to centers. Games make great small group activities and give you the chance to do formative assessments as you monitor and guide the children during the game!

digraphs activity

Find the hidden word pages make great centers.  Before laminating the picture, cut off the bottom  recording sheet.  You can copy two recording sheets per 8.5×11 sheet of paper to put at the center with the laminated picture and a few magnifying glasses.  Kids LOVE using the magnifying glasses to play “word detectives.”

digraphs

This huge bundle of resources was created in collaboration with  Teacher’s Toolkit, The Fun Factory, and Practice Makes Perfect.  We put our over 80 years (gasp) of combined experience together to come up with activities that will engage, excite, and challenge your students.  

Do you have any tricks for teaching digraphs? Let me know in the comments!

digraphs

Should We Assign Homework in Pre-K and Kindergarten?

Do you ever hear the word “homework”(especially for Prek and Kindergarten) and wonder what the right thing to do is? Most people have strong feelings about homework. Either you are really for it, or you hate it! There are a lot of conversations and research both for and against homework.

homework

I would like to give you MY opinion about homework.

 I have formed this opinion after reading a plethora of research on the effectiveness of homework. Also, over the years I have assigned homework in many different formats. 

One method that parents seemed to like was making a packet of one math and one literature/phonics worksheet per day for Monday-Friday. Students had the entire week and weekend to complete the packet. That way if students had soccer practice or dance class during the week, they didn’t have to be pressured to complete the work that day. Here are some ideas for math or language no-prep sheets if you would like to use this method.

homework

homework

 

All of this is fine and everyone has their own ways and beliefs about what homework should look like. However, my opinion (and one that parents LOVED) was for students to be children first and enjoy the short time they have with their families during the week.

Working parents are stressed when they get home late, have dinner to prepare, lunches to make, clothes to wash, extracurricular activities etc. Children should be given time outside of school to have experiences that help them grow, develop, and have fun with real-life experiences. This includes applying and reinforcing skills they are learning at school in everyday situations.

homework

homework

Therefore, I started giving my prek and Kindergarten students a monthly homework calendar.

Each day the task is a hands-on, interactive activity that is done with an adult. 

homework

Students check off the activities as they complete them. They don’t have to complete the tasks in order and it is optional whether or not they return their completed calendar. If they bring it in, they get to choose something from the treasure chest. I had 99% of my students bringing them in! 

You can have these calendars (which are FREE) sent directly to your inbox each month so you don’t have to remember to “hunt” them down. During the summer months, other activities are sent. 

Go HERE to tell me where to send your FREE monthly calendars. Just remember, if possible use your personal email address as some schools will send them to spam.

What are your thoughts on homework for pre-k and kindergarten students? Let me know in the comments!

Looking for more tips for pre-k and kindergarten? Check out my post on giving assessments to younger students here. 

homework