This post originally appeared on the blog Clever Classroom.
Here’s an easy-peasy (to create) word work idea for your center activities. I created this super fun spelling activity to help students work on blending, adding, deleting, and substituting phonemes to make new words, all while having loads of fun. These vital phonemic awareness skills are just some of the 34 skills that I focus on in this activity. You can see all 34 skills in a free cheat sheet I use. I created ‘Making Words’ as a center activity, but you could also use it with fast finishers, or even interventions to focus on phoneme manipulation skills. Each stick can be numbered, so that students can record which stick they have completed. The word work activity is super easy, and very quick to create. Keep reading to see how you can make it in a few minutes.
You will need: Popsicle sticks, cups, tins, or containers, and a permanent marker. Students will need a piece of paper to record their answers. How to: Simply write a range of letters on each popsicle stick. You could fill up the entire stick with letters if you like. I tried to include different spelling patterns to help the kiddos pull on developed, or developing spelling skills. Number each stick. Then place them in a cup(s). Demonstrate how to use the sticks to spell words. Children can spell words by blending sounds together and listening to find out if they make sense, then write the word. You may explain that if they can write “bat” they could also write “sat” if there were an ‘s’, and so on. This is substitution skill will come in handy later with their reading and writing.
Variation 1: Students could score one point for each word they make. However, it is not necessary to create this as motivation, especially if don’t want to encourage winning and losing.
Variation 2: Use vocabulary words from your word list, or texts – jumble up each word on the your popsicle sticks. Have them make words using each letter as detailed above. Then challenge children to use all the letters to make one long word from the given list. You could then score each word they create. and perhaps 5 points for using all letters. this would be great for students who need that extra challenge and rigor. I have created that uses fall vocabulary words, and letter tiles. See it here: Making Words Cards and Booklet Fall Edition. To download your FREE Making Words Record Sheets, click here. You might also like to have children make words with letter tiles, or Bananagrams a center activity. Click here to see it on our blog. For even more word work ideas, come on over and join thousands of teachers in our Facebook group: Word Work Ideas for K-2 Teachers. In our online community, we have teachers from all over the world. The group is very supportive, and active. You will be able to chat about word work ideas, planning, assessments, grouping, activities, management and more. Click here to request an invite, and I will be sure to confirm it under 24 hours.
Happy word work!
Emma Farrell has 12 years of experience working with Pre-K to grade 2. She has a diploma in Social Science, and an Early Childhood degree. Emma has worked in special education and has extensive experience with ELLs. She is passionate about all things reading, especially word work. Emma understands the importance of hands-on learning, both her Clever Classroom resources, and blog reflect this. Teachers who follow Emma on her buzzing Facebook page are inspired by the reading ideas she shares. Emma is also an influential pinner on Pinterest, who aims to help teachers find literacy resources and ideas.