Who Will Get the Last Word? Classroom Game

When I am planning new classroom games, I am always looking to get the most bang for my buck! I try to create activities that I can use for lots of different skills. This way I only have to teach the game once, but we can play it again and again!


Who Will Get the Last Word? is one of my favorite games! You can use it for spelling, vocabulary, sight words, or even math. It is an easy game to prep, and it really keeps your kiddos engaged!
Before playing the game, you will need some teacher cards. I use a Sharpie Fine Point marker and index cards to make my teacher cards. On each card, write down one word. For example, if you are learning a new spelling pattern, you will need one card for each one of your new spelling words.



When it’s time to start playing, each kiddo will need a dry erase board and a EXPO 2-in-1 Double Sided Dry Erase Marker. You will show them all the words on your teacher cards, and they will write them on their dry erase boards.  They will use one color to write all the words except for ONE! They will choose which word they think will be the “Last Word” and write that word using the opposite side of their markers.


Make sure they only pick one word to write with a different color! It should be easy to see which word they picked as the “Last Word.” Remind your kids that they may not change the color of their words once you start the game.

Once the kiddos have their boards ready, collect all the cards and put them in a cup or basket. Pull out the cards one at a time and give them a clue. If you are practicing a spelling pattern, you might say, cross off “s-t-a-r.” Keep giving clues until you just have one card left.


The children who wrote the “Last Word” with the different color are the winners! You can give them a little treat or reward like stickers or mini-erasers. Once you know how to play, it’s fun to play during lots of different subjects!

For more amazing ideas from teachers, follow Go Teach! Go teach! is an amazingly loud and incredibly proud new community created to inspire, empower, and support teachers like YOU! By joining go teach! you’ll connect with other teachers around the country. And receive fun, inventive projects you can use in the classroom.

Thank you Go Teach! for sponsoring my post! All opinions are my own!



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Grab Those Gumballs Sight Word Game


Reading sight words quickly is one the best ways to help little readers grow! It takes a lot of repetition to learn these important words, so I am always trying to think of creative ways to practice! Grab Those Gumballs is fun for kids to play and simple for teachers to prep! It is the ideal activity for early finishers, centers, morning tubs, or even inside recess!


To make your “gumballs” you will just need some colorful ping pong balls and a black Sharpie Fine Point marker. Use your Sharpie marker to write one sight word on each ball. Once you have all your gumballs ready, drop them in a clear container. I used a big fishbowl, but clear food storage containers work great too!


To get started, kiddos will need the container of gumballs and a way to record the gumballs they picked. You can print an editable Grab Those Gumballs recording page. Kiddos absolutely love using Mr. Sketch Scented Markers to color in the gumballs they picked. These markers have a thick barrel that's easy for kids to grasp. You can download the editable recording page here and add your own sight words!


To play, kiddos reach in and grab a gumball. They read the word and color the matching gumball. They can take turns pulling out gumballs and putting them back in after each turn.




If you want to save some paper, you could give your kiddos a dry erase board and some EXPO Markers. I like this option for inside recess and morning tubs when I don’t know exactly how many copies I will need. Once the kiddos pull out a gumball, they write the word on their boards with their markers. We love all of the color choices included with the EXPO 2-in-1 Double Sided Dry Erase Markers! When it’s time to clean up, just erase your boards!


To update your activity, you can add more gumballs as you learn new sight words! Kiddos will love playing this game again and again!

For more amazing ideas from teachers, follow Go Teach! Go teach! is an amazingly loud and incredibly proud new community created to inspire, empower, and support teachers like YOU! By joining go teach! you'll connect with other teachers around the country. And receive fun, inventive projects you can use in the classroom.

Thank you Go Teach! for sponsoring my post! All opinions are my own!




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Classroom Wreath DIY


Do you decorate your classroom door?

To be honest- I really don't like decorating my door. It takes me forever, and whatever I hang seems to get ripped within a day. Uggghhhh!

I may despise giant door decor, but I adore having a wreath at the entrance to my classroom! I love faux boxwood, because it looks great all year, it adds a little color, and it makes me feel like I am part of Fixer Upper.

To make it more special, I added a frame to turn it into a Classroom Message Wreath. It's an easy DIY project for anyone!


You can change the posters inside the frame to make your door look fresh all year! The update only takes about 30 seconds, and it gives the wreath a whole new look! This project is really, really simple!

Here are the supplies you need:
  • Faux Boxwood Wreath (I got mine at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon)
  • Certificate Frame (I got mine at Walmart for $1)
  • Roll of  Wide Wired Ribbon (I got this at Hobby Lobby too)
  • Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
  • Scissors


Before you get started: 

  • remove the glass and backing from the certificate frame
  •  Keep the backing- you need it! (I didn't want to hang any glass on my door so I disposed of the glass.) 
  • You should take all of the ribbon off the spool too. Now you're ready to get started!

Here are the 6 steps:



Voila! Do you love it??  Me too!  I feel like this poster would also be fitting as a bummer sticker or a tattoo- what happened to manners??



I plan on switching out my posters throughout the school year. I printed and laminated a set so they are ready go whenever I want to slip a new one into the frame! Here are some of my favorite designs.






How do you welcome students and visitors to your classroom? I would love to hear your ideas or questions in the comments. If you don't have space for a wreath, these posters work on the wall or in frames too!



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Ideas for Using Word Banks


"How do you spell cow?"... "How do you spell horse?" ..."How do you spell barn?"...

If you're a teacher, chances are you have spelled a LOT of words. You've probably said "sound it out" and "stretch it out" and "what sound do you hear first" and "what words do you know like that word" until you thought you were going crazy! Kudos to you if you used those cues, but sometimes it is very, very, very helpful to have a word bank!

Kids love word banks! Word banks encourage them to write new vocabulary words they may not have used before. They give kids the confidence to write words they could not spell on their own. They include words with phonics and spelling patterns you may not have introduced yet. Word banks also allow them to begin editing their work by checking their spelling.

Teachers love word banks! Word banks allow you to focus on your small group without leaving your independent kids flailing in deep end of the writing pool. Providing word banks introduces kids to a strategy for checking the spelling of unknown words (like how I text myself to see if I am mispelling something). Word banks also provide inspiration for students who struggle with a topic or details.

With my little ones, I like to use word banks that have pictures to match every word. With young writers, there is a good chance that if they can't spell it, they might not be able read it in a list of words. Pictures help them find the word and support them when they are illustrating.

Here are some of the ways teachers are using word banks in their classroom.

Classroom Posters
You can create beautiful anchor charts for your classroom. These posters can be permanent displays or they can be updated with changing seasons and themes. They are perfect for Read the Room activities too!


Writer's Notebooks
You can glue word banks into your students' writing notebooks. This provides them with support as they are writing about new topics. They can always go back to the word bank to practice reading words or spelling words.

Classroom Word Book
A classroom word book is a simple and effective way to keep all of your word banks organized and ready for kids! Just put each page into a page projector and then put them in a binder. Kids can flip through the pages to find the words that need. You can glue ribbons to the back of the binder to create page markers.


You can keep your Classroom Word Book at your writing center. Some teachers choose to make several copies for their classroom so fewer students have to share.

Writing Center
Setting up a new writing center has never been easier! Simply choose a topic for your little writers and add the matching word bank! You can attach the word banks to a bulletin board, put them inside clear plastic frames, or glue them on the outside of a folder.

If you want to add something special, you can dress up your center with decorations, pencils from the Dollar Spot, or cute papers. Here are some of my favorite writing centers:











Word Folders
Word folders are portable word banks. Writers can grab the folder they need, take it to their seat for writing, and then return it when they are finished. You can get this Family Word Bank for free here.


Here are a few more examples of word banks for your classroom!


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3 Ways to Help Kids Do Their Best


Did you ever say something totally unplanned while teaching that really stuck with your kids? For me it was the expression "stick figures in a hurricane!" I have used those words again and again, year after year, but here is how it started....
I was talking to my class about doing their personal best work, taking their time, making their pictures match their words, yada yada yada. To emphasize my point, I was modeling how carelessly some of them were working. "If I only look at your picture, it looks like you are writing about stick figures in a hurricane!" I quickly drew a stick figure and scribbled all over it. They all giggled and insisted they NEVER do that, but the example stuck with them.  I made a big X over the picture and hung it on the board. Eventually there was a whole collection of stick figures in hurricanes hanging on that board.  During inside recess, the kids would crack themselves up as they would draw them and then beg me to add them to the board.
They were being silly at recess, but the expression worked. When they were illustrating their work, I could sometimes hear them say "NO stick figures in a hurricane!" They would concentrate on making a meaningful pictures, adding details, and coloring carefully.

Here are 3 simple tricks to avoid having stick figures in hurricanes:

1, TEACH
I have found that you really have to TEACH kids how to do their personal best work. Each year I make best work anchor charts with my class. We talk about the characteristics of our best work. I like using I can statements because it emphasizes the fact that they CAN do it! This one is for illustrations:



We spend a lot of time practicing how to do our best work. Spending time practicing our personal best is just as important as practicing any other classroom routine! You can get the anchor chart and all of the practice pages here.


2. SCRIBBLE
I will model how to do our personal best throughout the year. One of my favorite ways is to make an example and a non-example right in front of the kids. Before I pass out a paper to my kiddos, I will hang two of the papers on the board.  I will carefully write and color on one of them. I work at the speed I would really work if I needed to turn the sample into someone, which is actually rather slow. (You don't have to finish it, just do enough so they get the idea.) I will write and scribble on the other really quickly. Be prepared for giggles- it's so funny to watch a teacher be messy!
I take a step back and ask the kiddos which one is my personal best. Of course, they will all point to the neat paper. "But I got done first with this one! What is wrong with it?" I will say as I point to the non-example. Be prepared for the world's most brutal critics! They will tell you how it looks terrible, how you didn't even try, how you were rushing, and how it's the messiest thing they ever saw in their whole entire 6 years of life.

3. LIE
What??? That's right- sometimes a little lie can work wonders! I usually use these fibs when I am trying to encourage  my kiddos to do their best. Here are two of my favorite best work lies that work like a charm:

I was talking to my friend Mrs. B, who teaches 6th grade, and she saw your work on your desks. She said it is better than some 6th grade work! Can you believe it???

Can I take a picture of  you working?  I save pictures of kids doing their personal best in a special album... No sorry, you can't see it right now. It's at my house.


What do I do with all those beautiful papers I get? I put them in the Best Work Basket! I keep in on my counter. When I see someone who has done their personal best, I let them put their paper in the basket. At the end of the week I pull out 3 or 4 papers and those kids get to eat lunch in the classroom with me! You can grab the basket labels for free here.


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