The Best Way to Help Beginning Writers Write Words Easily

 Writing Words Easily with Child's Writing from Teach Magically

What is the very best way to help students write words when you teach beginning readers and writers?

When students are writing, they often want to spell words correctly so I have a list of words that beginning readers and writers use a lot! BUT it's not a word wall!

Rhyming Posters to Help with Writing from Teach Magically
Grab them here.

They are in the form of rhyming posters for a quick reference! By looking for a picture that rhymes, students that don't know all the letters yet, can find the words easily! Trust me it will help those that struggle with knowing the letter names. (I also use them to practice rhyming...check it out Teach Words Easily.)


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Pin with rhyming posters form Teach Magically


Writing Other Words Easily

Phonemic awareness is the best way to help students learn to write. It is the hardest phonological awareness skill! You can check out all the skills from easiest to hardest on this page.📃


Let's use the word cat for an example. 


1. I say the word slowly and tell the child to listen to the sounds. Then I have the child say it slowly after me. Lastly, the child says it slowly... independently.


2. I clap the syllables (1 clap for cat). Then the child claps with me. Lastly, I say, "Clap cat by yourself." As the child claps, I hold up fingers then the child tells me the total.


3. I segment each sound as I touch my head for the 1st sound /c/, my waist for the second sound /a/, and my toes for the 3rd sound /t/. Then I ask the child to do it with me. Finally, I ask the child to do it independently while touching their body.


4. Then it's time to write the letters that make the sounds. I touch my head and say the sound /c/. I ask, "Do you know the letter that makes the sound /c/?"

    ~If the answer is "Yes, a." I say, "Write it."

    ~If the answer is no, I stretch the sound again but stop at my waist and ask, "Do you know the letter that makes the /a/ sound?"

Repeat until the word is finished (if all you get is t...that's ok!)


I often say, "No worries, you'll learn that sound soon. We only write the letters for the sounds we know." Continue until the sentence is written.


Using this model will make writing happen easily and without frustration for kiddos.


So to recap:

  • Say the word slowly (stretch the word)
  • Listen to what sounds you hear 

  • How many sounds are there (clap it out) 

  • Segment each sound

  • Have them segment with you

  • Have them try it by themselves 

  • Think about the letters that make those sounds 

    • Break it down with each sound

    • Have them write the letter down on a paper. 


Remember they don't have to get the whole word right YET; they only write the sounds they know!

I hope your writing time is magical,
Hugs,
💖Debora

Easy Ways to Develop Listening Skills for All Students

Kids Playing Games to Develop Listening Skills
Can you guess what the very best way to help students understand and learn, especially students with ADHD?


After reading many research articles, I found that the best way to help students learn listening skills is by playing games!

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Kids with arms raised

Yes games! Here is why. 


Executive function skills are one of the most difficult things for students to do, especially in kindergarten. Executive function skills include being prepared to learn, having materials, paying attention, inhibitory control, knowing what to do first and then second. 


What are the 3 most important beginning auditory function skills students need?

  • Memory, 

  • Inhibitory Control 

  • Attention 


Memory is knowing what to do and remembering it. When they hear a specific set of directions, they can remember what to do. In order to play a game, they have to remember how to play. 


Inhibitory control is when they have to stop and think before they do something. In order to play a game they have to wait their turn before playing. 


Attention is being able to focus and block out the distraction around them. All students, especially those with ADHD have a hard time blocking out other things that they are hearing. While playing games they have to pay attention to the game and block out what is going on around them. 


Example

Remember any topic can be turned into a game/activity. 


I really like to play Memory with my students. All you need is two sets of matching cards with whatever topic you want to focus on. 

Kids playing memeory game to develop listening skills
Rhyming Memory Game

Another game is to take a card (sight words, letters, numerals) and put it in a box, have the student randomly pick out a card, then they have to say what is on the card.


My students live doing this with our "Sight Word Crash Game!"

child getting crash from a game
Sight Word Game


The old basic "Heads up Seven up" is a perfect game to help develop these skills.


How you may ask? All the steps and rules they have to follow while playing.

  1. They have to pay attention to what students have their thumb up. (attention)
  2. They can't make noise. (inhibitory control)
  3. They have to watch how they are walking. (inhibitory control)
  4. Once they are all back up at the front of the room, they have to stand still. (inhibitory control)
  5. They have to remember who they picked. (memory)
  6. They have to shake their heads yes or no not say yes or no. (attention, inhibitory control)
  7. They have to focus their attention on the person who is talking (attention), not the person who they picked. (inhibitory control) 

Remember any game will work to develop these skills! You can check out ALL MY GAMES for ideas! It works like magic!


Hugs,

💖 Debora~TeachMagically



7 Math Centers Ideas to Make Math Easy

Many teachers know how to teach math but getting math centers down takes a lot of classroom management, forethought, and modeling centers beforehand.


With math, at centers, I do it a little different, almost like I do with the guided reading group, except I have a math group.


How daily math time works

Usually I start with a group math lesson, starting with an activity (making numbers in the air, dancing and counting, or a quick problem solving activity). Click here to see the math videos I use often.


I then pull a group, usually consisting of 4-6 students. Usually I will walk around and gently tap the kids on the shoulder and ask them to come to my table. At my table, I am doing some kind of activity that is really focused on what they need.


Everyone else in the class has a choice about what to do. This goes a long way in making the class run easier, when you provide the choice for the students they take ownership, which most of the time the behaviors take care of themselves because they are getting a choice.

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The first thing everyone starts on the computer which has two things that I really love. Boom cards and Seesaw.


Boom Cards for Math Centers

I really love Boom Cards because I can assign the cards based on the students needs. This makes it very easy to differentiate, plus they don't really understand that they are doing different activities. Boom cards are free to use, I like the fast pins best for practicing math. Since most kids have anxiety when they don't get the answer correct or they believe that they are not doing the right thing, they just want to quit. When it's just for fun and they think it is a game, they don't have that anxiety.

Boom cards for math centers teach magically
Click to try a free preview of  Boom Cards


Seesaw Math Activities for Centers

I have a set of Seesaw 3D Shapes that are loaded and ready with questions and sorting.

I am a seesaw ambassador so please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or need any help please don’t hesitate to ask. Also I have some other amazing Seesaw activities on Teach Magically.



Stations for Math Centers

I will also have stations set up around the room, this is not the typical station you think of, it is a space that has more than one activity so there is another choice there.


When they are not with me and are done working on the computer, they can go to the stations for more activities.

1. Block Station

One station that I use is a block station, usually I have two of these since blocks are such a huge hit in kindergarten. I have big blocks like the big pattern blocks and also a small lego station. When they get there they can choose between a few different activities for both the big blocks and the small legos. Usually there is never a problem, they know which activity they want to do, they can stay there the entire time and build cities or towers which really works their math skills.

Blocks at math centers teach magically



2. Llego Station


For the little lego station I have a bigger container of legos. They can use these to create anything that they want.


I have run into situations where the student will then want to keep what they built there for the next time or take it home with them. This takes a lot of encouragement and modeling on how they have to break it apart or be prepared that someone else may use it.

math center with legos teach magically

If the student can not think of something to build, I will combine social studies into the legos. We will talk about the community, make a big map with paper, and build and color in the roads. Their job is to take those legos and build the community (houses, bakery, post office, Walmart, etc.) 

3. Puzzle Station


Another example is a puzzle station, where I have regular puzzles which help to build their discrimination skills and math problem solving skills.


I have tangrams that I get from the dollar store and they come with the boards.

Tangrams in centers teach magically
I also have some simple shape puzzles that they can work on, they basically just match the pattern onto the puzzle. 

Pattern Block Pictures for Math Centers Teach Magically
Pattern Blocks
4. Writing in Math

I also have a writing center. It's the same writing center we use during reading time. At this center they can write numbers, either from 1-100 or they can write any number that they would like. The fun part is they have to draw shapes to match the number that they wrote. They can draw a number story and write it.

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When they write a number story in math, they are not focusing on the words. They could write 6 butterflies and 4 birds, so they would draw that and then write 6+4=10. Again you are giving them a choice which they love.


One other option is tracing, I have the pattern block tracing templates, worksheets, and shapes.

Student tracing triangle while kneeling Teach Magically

I do have these laminated number writing worksheets so they can write on them with a white board marker. These templates are differentiated, I have some that have the dots and then the lines to help them with tracing, some that have just the dots, and some that are blank. They are able to practice based on their own needs and it also helps their fine motor skills. I have a different set by month so I just change the cards. I don't need to explain and teach a new game.

Writing numbers in math centers teach magically
Click to see the BUNDLE

As long as they are doing anything with numbers and writing, it fits into this station.


5. White Board Station


I will also use my whiteboard to put a number path on, the students will have to take the number path down and put it back in order. Then match numbers on it. Another choice is for them to write directly on the whiteboard. Since they are standing, they are writing on a vertical plane, which will help their handwriting skills and their core strength. 


Once again, I have sets based on the month or theme so I don't have any teaching to do. I just switch out the cards and the kiddos think it's a new game. It's always amazing to see how excited they are!

writing on white board  for math centers teach magically
All My Number Paths

6. Reading Station

Another option is a reading center which is the same place as the reading center for reading but we are using it for math time. Click here to see some Number Books to use with math. We like to call this math time reading. There are lots of math books to choose from. I also like to set up some pattern blocks and of course some activities to choose.


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Reading books at math centers Teach Magically


One activity that I like to use has them writing and reading a sentence on the bottom of the page, then they are putting in the pattern blocks so they are counting, and coloring. When I set this up, I like to attach the paper to a clipboard so they can sit on a bean bag chair or lay on their bellies to read and work on their fine motor skills.

 

7. Game Station


One last station, I have is a game station. I love to use the simple games with the students.


The first is just dot cards. These are cards that have dots and the idea is they have to play memory. They will lay the cards down, turn over two cards, and find the matching numbers. If they are working with a partner which helps with taking turns. I do teach them how to do this game in my group before they are allowed to do it alone.

Math Domino Game Teach Magically
Click for Game

We also like to play the bean game, it is just two sided beans that are painted different colors. You just shake them up and put them down and talk about the number you had. Usually we have a whole table or an area to work on. If we are really working on the number 4, they can use the entire tin, shake up 4 beans and then say what it lands on (1 is red 3 are white, shake 4 more, 2 are red 2 are white). Now they have to fill up the entire space in order to work on those math fluency skills.

Bean game from Teach Magically
Click to get game.

I will also keep a bin with building blocks that they can count. One of their favorite things with this activity is to connect all of the blocks together and then measure with it. They measure the carpet, each other, or even me! Measuring is a great activity and helps with a lot of math skills. 


Nonstandard units of measure Teach Magically

Center Information

There are choices in each one of the centers which really helps take away that power struggle. Kids will do a lot better when they get to choose instead of you telling them what to do.


To make this work seamlessly there are only one or two students at each one of those stations at a time. So if they are not assigned there or it is not their turn then they can keep working on the computer. The stations I have all the time are the legos, the big blocks, and the writing station. Having consistent stations prevents me from wanting to pull my hair out.


I also try to rotate them from the computer to my table to the stations. I used to attempt 3-4 students at a station at one time, it usually always led to fighting or disagreements. 


Always to remember with centers.

  • Only have 1-2 students at a time in each station.
  • Provide choices 
  • Pre-teach all games before they go to centers 
  • Have choices that never change 

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or need help with math centers. Have a great day and remember to Teach Magically!

💖Debora


Free Winter Resources for Teachers

 Free Winter Resources Teach Magically
Don't let the WINTER blues drag you down! Check out some of these amazing winter themed resources!


I am obsessed with teaching students to segment, after all; it's the #1 predictor of future reading success so this is a sample of a fun game I use with my students. I love to use cotton balls as "snowballs" to add some fun. Check it out here!

You can also check out a free preview of the Boom cards I use to develop segmenting skills! Snowman Segmenting cvc Words

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Here are other fun resources you might be interested in to use in your classroom!

  1.  Color by Number Activity
  2. Snowman at Night Graphic Organizers
  3. New Year Reading Resolutions Bookmarks
  4. Pattern Cards for The Hat by Jan Brett
  5. Winter Addition and Subtraction Worksheets
  6. Multiplication Pixel Art
  7. Winter Fractions
  8. Snowman Hat and Mittens Color Match Boom Cards
  9. Winter Mittens Color by Code Boom Cards
  10. 120th Day of School Read and Follow Directions
  11. Color by Code Math Skills Review (Upper Grades)




If you want to plan ahead, check out these free Valentine's Themed resources!

Hugs,
💖Debora

The 3 Best Things on How to Teach Writing in Kindergarten

 3 Best Things on How to Teach Writing in Kindergarten Teach Magically
What are the 3 best strategies to help teach writing in kindergarten?

 They are 

  1. modeling
  2. procedures 
  3. materials 
Kindergarten students need to feel a sense of ownership and confidence when they write! So you can make it happen easily by focusing on these 3 important teacher strategies to help teach writing in kindergarten.
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3 Best Things on How to Teach Writing in Kindergarten Teach Magically

Procedures I use for Teaching Writing in Kindergarten

Procedures 

Start every writing time the same way! 


Each of my students has a folder, one side is the work in progress and the other the finished work. On the in progress side, (either side works) we have a weather calendar that we use for science, cards for friends, stories that we are writing, or pictures that go with what we are reading. 


So when the students come into the classroom, they get a piece of paper and they will write whatever is on their minds with no restrictions, which helps with engagement.

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3 Best Things on How to Teach Writing in Kindergarten Teach Magically

I walk around the room and underwrite it with adult writing. They understand that it's okay that mine looks different than theirs.

3 Best Things on How to Teach Writing in Kindergarten Teach Magically

Once they are done with writing, they can go to the progress side of their folder and work on whatever they would like for the remainder of the time. They can also start a new story!

3 Best Things on How to Teach Writing in Kindergarten Teach Magically

To end the lesson, I share someone's amazing writing (I read the story to focus on fluency) and discuss celebrations of what we see on their page.


What Do We Celebrate When Teaching Writing in Kindergarten?


The things to celebrate:

  • spaces between words
  • capital at the beginning of the sentence
  • capital I used correctly
  • punctuation at the end
  • letters for the sounds
  • sight words spelled correctly

Using Models When Teaching Writing in Kindergarten

Modeling

The models that I use to help with teaching of writing in kindergarten are built throughout the year. I hang and display them as we grow as writers. Doing this as the year progresses (instead of at the beginning of the year) makes it more meaningful to the students.

Rhyming Posters for Sight Words


On my word wall, I have rhyming posters on display. The words I use that I want them to focus on are usually sight words. There are also mix of more difficult words that they are not able to spell yet but use all the time when writing in kindergarten.

the words when needed or taught

3 Best Things on How to Teach Writing in Kindergarten Teach Magically


ENTIRE LIST FINISHED

3 Best Things on How to Teach Writing in Kindergarten Teach Magically

There is also a little word wall in their folders that have all the letters in the alphabet.

3 Best Things on How to Teach Writing in Kindergarten Teach Magically

This makes it easier for kids that can not write a letter on the horizontal plane while looking at the wall. Remember to add words as the school year goes on. 


Materials Needed for Teaching Writing in Kindergarten

3 Best Things on How to Teach Writing in Kindergarten Teach Magically
Materials 

If you have a plethora of materials for them to use you will be amazed at the different kinds of writing that will happen.

  • markers,
  • crayons,
  • highlighters,
  • colored pencils,
  • scissors. Yes I allow them to use scissors to make the cards. This also will help with their fine motor skills. They love to draw a rainbow, cut it out and put it on another piece of paper with a note to give to a friend. 
Teaching writing in kindergarten can be so much fun when the students don't worry about how to spell words and enjoy the process!

We write to respond to stories, to explain what we learned in science, to help friends, to make posters for the class, and tell stories! We also can write in all centers...yep...imaginative play, blocks, and the "writing" center!

I hope your class is filled with magical writing daily!
💖Debora