Word Work as Word Play

August 5, 2016 10 Comments

Today I am going to share with you three ways I make sure my students are jumping into literacy with playful excitement!

Buddy work is a natural fit for any time of year.  It’s especially critical in those first few days when we’re trying to facilitate friendships in our new classroom community, and it supports teamwork and cooperative skills all year long.  Today I had buddies working on fluency by reading aloud together, and yesterday pairs were laughing their way through a game of Scoot.  (I love activities that get my students up and out of their seats – it’s like rolling a brain break right into whatever’s on my lesson plan!)

One of my most popular resources, Buddy Up!, challenges buddies to come up with irregular plural nouns to complete nursery rhymes in a silly Mad Lib format.  You can download everything you need to use in your classroom immediately – two versions of the play sheet and cards, a list of books to read with your class or keep in your classroom library to introduce and reinforce understanding of irregular plural nouns, and full instructions.  To download it for FREE just click on this image!

Word Work as Word PLAY - Engaging literacy activities and freebies for Back to School (or any time of year!)

Team-building activities set the stage for the rest of the year, especially if you are looking for ways to increase student independence and peer-to-peer collaboration.  One way that I use literacy in team-building is through explicit instruction of collaborative discussion procedures.  First, we discuss expectations for behavior, participation, and outcomes as a class.  Next, I have students all read the same piece closely, preparing for the discussion with a graphic organizer as they read.  When it’s time to actually discuss the piece, each student records interesting facts and questions for further research on a discussion notes page.

I’m sharing a second FREEBIE today!  This includes the preparation and notes organizers described above, as well as an article I wrote about how classroom rules enhance learning through their effect on the brain.  You can download it by clicking on this image:

Word Work as Word PLAY - Engaging literacy activities and freebies for Back to School (or any time of year!)

There are so many fun literacy activities out there!  (Of course, my favorite place to turn is Teachers Pay Teachers – be sure to enter our drawing for a TpT gift card at the end of this post!)

Have you ever played Word Mines?  This is where you write down a (usually kind of longish) word or brief phrase, then “mine” its letters to create new words.  I started using this game as a word work activity with my students several years ago, and it’s a class favorite every year!  I’ve got quite a few in my store, but click here for a FREEBIE if you would like to sample it!

Happy Back to School and have a wonderful year with your kiddos!

Hedgehog Reader

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  • Literacy Spark August 5, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    That buddy activity is really cute! Thanks for sharing.

    • Hedgehog Reader August 7, 2016 at 6:58 am

      Thank you! I'm so glad you stopped by! :o)

  • The Techie Teacher® August 5, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    I love the fun spin you integrate into your literacy block! Thanks for all of the wonderful ideas 🙂
    The Techie Teacher

    • Hedgehog Reader August 7, 2016 at 6:58 am

      Thank you so much for stopping by, Julie, and for your kind words! Have a great year!

  • Sweet Integrations August 5, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Love the buddy activity!

    • Hedgehog Reader August 7, 2016 at 6:59 am

      Thank you! I always get a kick out of how much fun my students have with it! Have a great year! :o)

  • Sarah Paul August 5, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing! These are some great ideas:)

    • Hedgehog Reader August 7, 2016 at 6:59 am

      Thank you so much! :o)

  • Literacy Without Worksheets August 6, 2016 at 1:05 am

    Thank you for sharing the buddy activity!!!

    • Hedgehog Reader August 7, 2016 at 6:59 am

      You are very welcome! Thank you for coming by! :o)

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    I teach 5th Grade Gifted children in sunny Arizona. I love to learn, to read and write, and to nurture kind, creative, and effective classrooms! Please join me as I share children's literature, inspirational teaching ideas, and other things that are close to my heart. Read More



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