I have a few more spelling and sight word practice ideas for you today. The first one I call Spaghetti Spelling. I have used this for years in my classroom and my students seem to always enjoy it. It's easy to put together and fairly cheap to make.
To make Spaghetti Spelling you will need:
- 5 Sheets of red felt
- Cream colored yarn (You can use white, but the cream colored looks closer to spaghetti)
- A gallon Ziploc bag
I rounded the corners of the felt to shape it like a plate or platter. I thought red was a good fit because it would be like the sauce. Cut the cream colored yarn in all different sizes. You will want to cut a good amount so that you have enough for all the students in the center. I usually have four or five students in each center group. I always make sure I have enough materials for each student at the center. Students will use the spelling word index cards to practice spelling their words. The felt and yarn work well together because they cling to each other. It makes it easier for students to manipulate the yarn into letters and keeps their frustration level down. After they spell one word, they would select another card and spell that word. I store all five felt mats and the pile of yarn in a gallon Ziploc labeled "Spaghetti Spelling". It makes it easy for storing, set up and clean up.
This is a picture of how I store the center.
Another idea is to use toothpicks to make letters to practice spelling words. I suggest using the flat toothpicks. They are not as sharp and lay flat so it's easier to make letters and you don't have to worry about the toothpicks rolling around. This idea might not work well for all classes. Use your judgement. I know there were a couple of my classes that I would have never attempted this with.
I found an idea for paint writing on Pinterest and loved it! The idea was pinned from Scribble Doodle and Draw's Blog. You can read the post with this idea here. It looked like a lot of fun and the best part was you only needed four items. You will need a quart size freezer Ziploc (freezer bags are more durable), paint, a Q-tip and tape. Squirt some paint into the Ziploc and reseal it. Be sure to squeeze the air out. Tape the bag shut...I didn't do this for my picture, but I plan to tape it shut with blue duck tape before Madalyn uses it. After it is taped shut you can begin to write, draw, etc on the bag with a Q-tip. I think this will be lots of fun for students. You could use this to practice letters, sight words, spelling words, shapes, numbers, etc. It's a versatile tool for the classroom...and it's fun!
Pipe cleaners (or chenille stems....that sounds so funny to me) are another great tool for the classroom. You can put several in a basket and you have a ready made center. Students can bend the pipe cleaners to form letters and spell words. You can even extend it and have two colors for students to use. They can use one color for vowels and another for consonants. If you are unable to use the toothpick idea above you could use pipe cleaners instead. Just cut them to the length of a toothpick and remind students not to bend them.
My next idea is one I can't wait to try in the fall. It's a variation of a number order activity I found for Madalyn on Pinterest last summer. The number order idea came from the Tot School website. You can read the number order post here. Madalyn loved this idea, maybe because it combined craft sticks and Play-doh! I had her order numbers 1-20. While she was working on ordering the numbers I came up with two more ideas. I thought ordering the alphabet and using letters to spell words would be fun activities as well. I decided to have one color for vowels and another for consonants. I just used a marker to color the craft sticks in the picture. I am adding colored craft sticks to my ever growing "To Buy Before Fall" list. Seeing the two colors in their words will help them understand the importance of vowels and see patterns in their words.
My last idea is another easy and fun one that students enjoy. Are you seeing a pattern here? Easy...fun....students enjoy it... Writing in the sand is so fun and relaxing. Students really like it. To make one sand writing box will need a plastic pencil box, colored sand, and a pencil. It's really easy. The most expensive thing is the colored sand, but if you use a coupon at a craft store it's not too costly. Just fill the bottom of the pencil box with sand. You want enough in there so that the student can easily write the word and not scratch the bottom of the pencil box. Add a pencil and the words cards and you are ready to have fun! Below is the one that I made for Madalyn to practice her words. We had fun the day I made it. She wanted to see how long of a word we would have room to write, so we kept trying different words. She also liked drawing in it.
I hope you enjoy these center ideas!