Tag Archive | spelling

Use Playing Cards in Writing??


I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:

Playing Cards – Part 2 (Literacy)

For weeks now, we’ve been looking at board games, but this week, were looking at one of the simplest – and cheapest type of games – playing cards! My grandmother was a product of the depression and all she had growing up was a deck of cards. She taught me every card game out there (Here’s a link with rules for lots of games). These games themselves can be great for teaching strategy and critical thinking, but there are so many other ways to use playing cards in the classroom. Last week, we looked at using playing cards in your math lessons.  Here are some ways to use playing cards in your literacy lessons.

1. Code Word Spelling – For this activity, you will only need half of a cardmatcodefreebiedeck of cards.  Split the cards into a red pile and a black pile and then you can 2 students or two groups of students can share one deck of cards.  If students need to use the same letter more than once, they may need two “half” decks of cards.  Have students use the code sheet to spell their spelling and/or vocabulary words with their half of a deck of cards.  Grab the code word sheet for FREE from Google Docs.

2. Code Word Creation – For this activity, you will only need half of a deck of cards. Split the cards into a red pile and a black pile and then you can 2 students or two groups of students can share one deck of cards.  If playingcardmatmakingwordsstudents need to use the same letter more than once, they may need two “half” decks of cards.  Students will make words of different lengths.  Have students start by trying to make 3 letter words, then 4 letter words, then 5 letter words.  Students can also race to see who can make the most words – using the code with the cards they have.  Grab the code word sheet and mats for FREE from Google Docs.

3. Luck of the Draw Story Guidelines – For this activity, you will only need the number cards – remove face cards (K, Q, J) from the deck ofplayingcardmatstoriesfreebie cards and set to the side – the Ace remains and counts as 1.  Students will “draw” cards to put on one of the story maps.  These story maps will give students guidelines on what needs to be in their story (ie. 5 sentences, 1 character, 2 settings and 1 surprise).  Students will then take what the cards have determined and write a story using that criteria.  Grab 2 different story guideline mats for FREE from Google Docs.

4. Silly Number Stories – For this activity, you will only need the number cards – remove face cards (K, Q, J) from the deck of cards and set to the side – the Ace remains and counts as 1. Students will “draw” cards playingcardmatsillystoriesfreebieto put on one of the story maps. These story maps will give students guidelines on what needs to be in their story – rather than dictating length and elements, these story maps will dictate silly things they must work into their story – leading to creativity and critical thinking (ie. 5 cats, 1 grizzly bear, 2 unicorns and 1 bowl of soup). Students will then take what the cards have determined and write a story using that criteria. Grab 4 different story guideline mats for FREE from Google Docs.

I hope some of these suggestions will help you use playing cards to teach math in a new and interesting way. Click HERE for more suggestions on how to use board games in the classroom.

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Literacy Practice with Scrabble


I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:

Scrabble – Part 1 (Math)

Scrabble is one of my favorite games for literacy skills!  I even use Scrabble for math – here are some tips on how I do that.

 

1. Standard Play – Playing scrabble with just standard rules works on lots of word making skills.  Teach students standard play with the strategy of using those double word scores and making a word plural by adding and s to get more points, and you’ll see their interest in spelling peaked.

2. Longest Word Contest – Rather than limiting students to 7 scrabble tiles, split the bag between your small group (think 20 tiles per child) and challenge them to make the longest word possible.  This would be a great time to review compound words, prefixes and suffixes which can make shorter words into longer words!

3. Describing Words – Show students a picture, or give them the name of an item and challenge them to come up with an adjective that describes it – using only the words in their scrabble tray.  Once everyone is finished, let them “justify” their answers (think apples to apples style).  You’ll get adjectives and persuasive in all while the kids think you’re playing a game!

4. Topic Word – Have a new science or social studies topic and want to activate background knowledge?  Give students 10 scrabble tiles and ask them to make a word that tells something about the topic.  For example, if your topic is plants, maybe they will come up with roots, or leaves, very similar to a word cloud.

I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Scrabble in a new, interesting way in your classrooms. Do you want other game suggestions for your classroom? Here are some suggestions for Yahtzee, Chutes and Ladders and Battleship. Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!

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Yahtzee Reading


I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:

Yahtzee – Part 2 (Literacy)

One of my favorite games growing up was Yahtzee, and I was super excited when my oldest son was old enough to learn how to play it! It can be such an educational game, and so, I thought it was the perfect game to feature as my second board game for Game Night Fridays! (The first game was Chutes and Ladders, click here if you missed it!) Here are four ways to use Yahtzee to teach literacy skills. Check out last Friday’s post to see my four ideas for how to use Yahtzee to teach math skills.

flashcardsFor each of these variations, you will need to use index cards to write a variety of words (sight words, spelling words, vocabulary words would all work). Make sure you have a variety of length to your words. Rather than rolling dice, have students draw 5 cards, read the cards out loud and then proceed with each variation.

1. 3 of a Kind, 4 of a Kind, Yahtzee! –  Using the number of letters in their word try to make a 3 of a kind, a 4 of a kind or a Yahtzee.  (You might allow them to put cards at the bottom of the pile and redraw as you do in Yahtzee.)  Award one point per letter and keep score on a Yahtzee score card.

 YahtzeeScoreCard

2. Word Grouping –  Have students group words by the number of vowels or consonants are in each word, using the number of vowels or consonants in their word try to get their 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, 5’s or 6’s.  ie. ate would be a 2 if you were playing with vowels or a 1 if you were playing with consonants. (You might allow them to put cards at the bottom of the pile and redraw as you do in Yahtzee.) Award one point per letter and keep score on a Yahtzee score card.

 

3.  Categorically Speaking – Allow students to put their cards into categories.  If they can sort their cards into 2 piles and give you categories that they can justify, they can get their points for a full house.

 

4. Straight to ABC Order – Have students put their words in alphabetical order.  Students who get their cards in ABC order on the first try can get a large straight, students who need a second look can get a small straight.  Keep score on a Yahtzee score card.

 

I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Yahtzee in a new, interesting way in your classrooms. Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!

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Chutes and Ladders in Literacy


I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:

Chutes and Ladders – Part 2

Who doesn’t like Chutes and Ladders (also called Snakes and Ladders)? It’s a classic game that is a part of most primary classroom and home game collections. It’s also a great way to work on both math and literacy skills. Last week, I talked about how to use Chutes and Ladders to work on math skills.  This week, I have a list of ideas for using this game to work on literacy skills. Next week, we’ll take a look at how to use Yahtzee in different classrooms, but for now, how can we use Chutes and Ladders in the classroom?

1. Cause and Effect –   On the game board for Chutes and Ladders, there is a picture story going on.  For example, at the top of one of the “chutes” there is a little boy who has broken a mirror and at the bottom, there is the same boy pouring out the money from his piggy bank.  These pictures cues would be a great way to talk about how one part of a story (the cause) makes another part of the story (the effect) to happen. 

 

2. Write the Story – Another way to use the picture stories that are all over the Chutes and Ladders game board is to let the students create the stories that go with the pictures.  What really happened?  How did the mirror get broken?  This entire board could work as a variety of story starters!

 

3. Spelling Words – Place sight words or spelling words on index cards.  Have students draw a word and read or spell it before taking their turn in Chutes and Ladders.  Then, the students can move how ever many letters there are in the word.  Easy, simple review, with a game built in, and very little to create or manage!

 

4. Describe It! – Isn’t it funny how one person see something that can be so differently than another?  To illustrate this for students, and to help them work on adjectives and writing descriptively, assign each child one of the “stories” on the Chutes and Ladders board.  Have students write a description of their assigned story, using picture words, but no numbers.  Then, have students read their descriptions aloud (or with other students let them read each others’ descriptions) and see if the others can guess which story they were assigned.

 

I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Chutes and Ladders in a new, interesting way in your classrooms. Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!

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