Making Words Folder

As teachers {esp. k-3} we know how important "Making Words" activities are for our students. The manipulation of the letters and exploration of letter sounds and patterns are skills that all students need {and enjoy}.
Which brings me to my next point......
My school is doing a huge "paper cut down" this next year and so we've been brainstorming ideas on how to save paper.  Making words takes a new page of paper each time you do it!  This folder cuts down on a lot of paper and is easy to make, use, and keep track of! Plus, you can keep the folders for YEARS and use them for many other activities {chunks, spelling, sight words, etc}.
I got the inspiration from my previous guided reading folders {here}.  The students use their letter in their folder {held in place by velcro} to make words.  They pull down their letters to the bottom of the folder, in the rectangle, to make a word {see picture below}.

*Making Words Download {<----- click to download}
*File Folders
*Glue stick
*Velcro with adhesive (It's the strips of Velcro- we buy it at our school and it comes in rolls)

Here is what the Making Words Folder looks like:

Here's how you do it!

1.  Glue cover on the front of the folder. Glue the alphabet on the inside of the folder {see picture}. Those 2 items can be  printed on regular paper.

2.  Print letter boxes {the letters that are to be cut out} on cardstock and laminate.

3.  Laminate folder

4.  No more work for you!  You are going to send the remaining supplies home for parents to do! Send home {thisexplanation to each parent with all of the supplies to finish their child's folder.  You will need to provide them with velcro {the fuzzy side velcro goes on the folder, the hard side velcro goes on each letter}.  I'm actually going to do my own folders and not send them home {I obviously have control issues ;) }, so you can do it either way.  If you are sending it home to the parents, make sure you print, glue folder, and laminate BEFORE you send to the parents. The parents are cutting out individual letters, putting velcro on and sorting the ABC letters into correct columns.

Tips {I give our readers full credit for most of these tips from the comments- Thanks you!}:
*Copy each child's set of letters in a different color (you might run out of colors but at least you have a range of colors)
*They aren't easy to drop on the floor because they are Velcro-ed on to the folder!  They never put them on their desk to rest...they always leave them Velcro-ed to their folder.  But it does happen and I have a solution for that.....
*I have an extra folder with extra letters....anytime one is found on the floor, the students place it on the "extra teacher folder" and the students can refer to this folder if they're missing a letter.  PLUS, you will have multiple letters for each one (4 a's, 3 b's).
*You can use them OVER and OVER and OVER each year.  I don't actually put their names on them, I use a label and put their class number on it (or you can put a label with their name on it and just cover it the next year with a new label.
*Feel a little overwhelmed?  Make 6 for guided reading or small group work. :)
*Be strict with your expectations on how to use the letters {carefully peeling them off the folder with one hand on the folder and one hand at the top of the letter and pull gently}, how not to lose them, etc.  I always set firm expectations and offer rewards for those students who follow through. Show them what to do and what NOT to do.
Could you use this in your classroom?

Father's Day Mad Libs

I don't teach during Father's Day, but my husband will be celebrating his 1st Father's Day this year, so I've been thinking of cute ideas. 

Here is a little mad libs type activity I made today. Maybe someone out there can use it too?

History Detective Report

I randomly came up with this idea during the last week of school. One of my reading groups had finished their book and project before any of the other groups had finished. Instead of giving them a new book (there was only one week left), I quickly created this template and told them to pick an event in history and research it. I had one boy choose the Vikings, someone else chose the atomic bomb, a girl wanted the great depression, and another student picked the Korean war. 

I loved that everyone had such diverse topics. After they got started, I saw some great learning take place in my classroom! Because it's an inquiry-based activity, they generated their own questions. And because they got to choose their own topic, they were excited and felt ownership over the project. I plan on using this next year as a fun fast finisher activity. 

This list is something I quickly generated. {I know it is not all inclusive - if I left something off that you really want me to add on, please leave me a comment.} This would be fun to hang up somewhere in the back of the classroom so fast finishers can work on a project whenever they want. 

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Want to hear some GREAT news? I am leaving next week on an 8 day history trip to Virginia where I get to study at the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute! I also get to visit Jamestown and Yorktown. I'm so excited! I plan on posting lots of the things I learn, including pictures!

You're one in a melon!

 Hi bloggy friends! I like you. I think you're "one in a melon" {this will make more sense as you keep reading}!  I know I don't ask for much, but today- I need your help!  If you feel like you can offer your advice or ideas, just leave me a comment or email me {}.

Question 1:

How do you get projects funded on Donors Choose?  I've written a project and only had 2 donations AND IT EXPIRES THIS MONTH! I feel super bummed!  I really want this ipod so that my kiddos can use it during Daily 5 next year {my first year doing Daily 5}.  Any tips on getting projects funded, especially ipods mean ilearn {<----click to see it}?

Question 2:

Do you have any brilliant ideas for my new classroom theme next year? I debated on doing Hollywood or Dr. Seuss, but then I decided on.....drum roll please......FOOD! I know, right? Weird. Do you get the title of the post now?   It'll be like a cooking/food theme. I want to know any play on words you have, bulletin board ideas, etc. I was inspired by this new DJ Inkers Bulletin board set:
Picture from

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