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21 06, 2016

Those Diphthongs

By | June 21st, 2016|Phonemic Awareness, phonics, Word Work|1 Comment

If you have read the sister post on my r-controlled vowels here, you would have heard my spill about how I like to set foundations and build up when it comes to mastering phonics skills. I have these levels I like to use. First is identification, then isolation, blending, segmenting, addition (adding sounds together), and substitution. Once students get those foundations set, then they are well prepared to spell the words, read the words, and write with the words. Now if you are saying, say what to all that, I actually have broken down each area below and put some suggested activities with each. With many of the areas, some phonemic awareness activities can be used during carpet time or in small groups. However, I have included some actual phonics ideas with each area too.

1. Identify Diphthongs. Here students are learning to identify words that contain those diphthongs. This typically involves distinguishing between words that contain a diphthong and those that don’t.

Identifying Diphthongs Activity #1: For a phonemic awareness activity, you can simply name words. Than students can do one of the following reactions below as a response to the word. Of course, for the diphthongs that sound alike, you can choose between one of the pairs to decrease confusion. I just wanted to throw some options out there for you to choose. 😉

Students can put on a frown for words with the “ow” sound.

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Students can hold their ears like it is loud for “ou”.

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They can make crab claws for “aw”.

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They can launch when they hear “au” by putting their hands together and making a rocket go through the air.

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Students can give “the look” for words with “oo”  as in look. (Haha, I love this one…isn’t she so precious! And having a class giving the look…hysterical!)

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They can reach for the moon for “oo”.

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They can point for “oi”.

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They can shake their head with joy for “oy”.

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Identifying Diphthong Activity #2: Sort words for Phonics Activity. Students can sort words that have the diphthong, and those that do not.

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2. Isolate Diphthongs. Here students isolate or locate where the diphthong sound is in the word.

Isolating Activity #1: Where it is. You can place out just about anything for this activity, counters, traditional box frame, and TOYS!!! You say a word and students tap if the diphthong is in the beginning, middle, or end of the word.

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Isolating Activity #2: Students show the isolated sounds by writing the grapheme where it belongs.

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3. Blend Diphthongs. Here students take the individual sounds and put it all together. Getting students to blend the words fluently for reading is the goal.

Blending Activity #1: Say each phoneme separately and have students blend them together. Example: Say h-oo-p, and Students say hoop.

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Blending Activity #2: Blend the letters. You can write some words on some index cards and let students practice blending the words in small groups or as a center activity.

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Blending Activity #3: Show your blending. Let them show you their blending on paper with activities that require them to connect words to pictures.

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4. Segment Diphthongs. Here students break apart words that contain diphthongs. An example is the word boot. B-oo-t. This is different from isolating the sounds because here students are dealing with each sound in the word, instead of only isolating where the diphthong is located.

Segmenting Activity #1: Toy stomp the sounds. For a phonemic awareness activity, students use a toy to stomp out the phonemes in the word. Example: Stomp Book. B-oo-k.

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Segmenting Activity #2: Segmenting in the box. You can actually do a simple phonemic activity with this. Say a word. Students point to each box as they say each segmented sound.

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Segmenting  Activity #3: Segmenting in the boxes (phonics style). Students segment the sounds by writing the phonemes in the boxes.

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Click here to get to this resource. 


5. Add the phonemes (or graphemes) together. Here additional phonemes (or graphemes) are added.

Adding Activity #1: When aws become paws. Say some words and have students add an additional phoneme. Example: What word would you have if you added “p” to aw? Paw. What word would you have if you added “t” to oy? Toy. What word would you have if you added “h” to owl? Howl. (Isn’t the kitten sooooo adorable?)

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Adding Activity #2: Word adding. If you have some dice with graphemes on them, students can do some word adding to form words.

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6. Sub Diphthongs. Here students play around with the words by subbing phonemes in the word for other phonemes.

Subbing  Activity #1: Turning books into cooks. Say some words and have students sub one of the phonemes for another phoneme. Example: If you take the word, book, and change “b” to “c,” what do you get? Cook. If I take the word, down, and change “d” to “cl,” what do I get? Clown.

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Subbing  Activity #2: Word Claws. Give some word cards to students and a toy claw . Have students pinch off the phoneme and add a different letter on top to form a new word.

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Subbing Activity #3: Students can sub the beginning grapheme for another sound and illustrate the new word.

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7. Moving Up to Spelling with Diphthongs. I like to incorporate spelling too. I think it important students have time to develop some phonemic awareness and phonics skills with the words before they are expected to memorize a bunch of spelling words though. Just makes spelling much more easier!

Spelling Activity #1: Build the words. Students can use letter manipulatives to build the words.

Spelling  Activity #2: Crossword Puzzles. I love using crossword puzzles for spelling practice because students are practicing their spelling, and they don’t even realize it!

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8. Comprehending Words with Diphthongs. It’s important that students read words with diphthongs within context.

Comprehending Words Activity: Students can identify words they see with the diphthongs in books or passages they read.

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Click here to get to this resource.

9. Incorporating Higher-Order Thinking with Diphthongs. I believe it is important to push the boundaries of simple identification and application to synthesis and creativity. Ok, say what? It’s important to push them up on that Bloom’s Taxonomy with higher order thinking aka use their brains!

Higher-order thinking  Activity: Have students use a list of diphthong words to write a fun, short story.

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Some organization inspiration. Now that I shared many activity ideas, I would like to share how I organize my no prep printables. I have these broken into different sections with the section dividers I created and include in the resource. It is so nice to have them all pulled together like this, and the levels build up from identifying to writing.

Click here to get the no prep diphthong printable pack. 

I hope I inspired you with many ideas for teaching those diphthongs! Make sure to get on my email list for some more inspiring ideas right to your box! I’m not into spamming, I promise!

Thanks for stopping by the Candy Class!

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Jolene 🙂

18 05, 2016

Ideas for Not Teaching a Boring Adjective Lesson

By | May 18th, 2016|Grammar|1 Comment


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Hi everyone! I wanted to share with you several ideas for teaching adjectives, so you never have a boring adjective lesson again! (And sorry about the stinky skunk pic. Made me laugh, so I could not resist. Hopefully, some of you will get a giggle from it. 😉 The stinky skunk is my adjective mascot for teaching adjectives.)

Idea #1: Create an Adjective Monster- If you got a smudge of art talent or you just don’t care about art perfection on anchor charts like me, you can have each student use one adjective and a noun to describe what the monster will look like. You then either draw or add the monster parts as you go along. Don’t forget to write those amazing adjectives around your monster!

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Idea #2: Lots of Feet- Students can look around at the feet in the classroom to generate a list of adjectives. Don’t forget to encourage the adjectives for which feet? Those feet.

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Idea #3: Brainstorming Adjectives- Make three anchor charts each.
Put these questions on each one:
•What kind?
•How many?
•Which one?
Give each student a marker. Divide the class in groups. You may want to have some groups sit out while three groups work on the posters at the time to tame the chaos and make room for everybody. Each group will write as many adjectives as they can think of to answer those questions. After a minute, you rotate the groups. Alternatively, you can have charts up for smell, taste, looks, quantity, etc.
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Idea #4: Sprinkle Adjectives in Your Writing- Have many adjectives written on paper that is shaped and colored like sprinkles. Students can use these as reference to sprinkle adjectives in their writing as they edit. It’s good to remind them to look for nouns that have no sprinkles.
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 Now actually, the cupcake was just added in the picture for fun. Just having the “sprinkles” handy is all that is needed for the activity, but I could not resist adding a cupcake to it, lol! Cupcakes are always optional though ;). You can actually write the words on color paper and just cut them out in this shape. I recommend laminating them.
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Idea #5: Word Hunt in a Book- Students can keep a handy writing pad to record adjectives they find as they read. I’ve used these printables, but you can totally put it in a notebook too.
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Idea #6: Word Hunt Sorting- This goes with the idea above about finding adjectives as they read, except they take it a step further by sorting the word into a category. The categories can be either the questions, What kind? How many? Which one? Alternatively, the categories can be smell, look, taste, quantity, touch, etc.

Idea #7: What’s in the Box? This can be done a few different ways. You can place something in a box and describe it to the classroom with adjectives. Students will have to guess what is in the box. Alternatively, you can have numbered boxes (or bags) with objects inside with a card in front that describes the object inside it. Students will have to write down their answers as they rotate from box to box (or bag to bag). At the end, students share their answers as a class. You then reveal what was inside each box (or bag).

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Idea #8: Build a Sentence Together: You start with a bland sentence like, “My dog ate.” Students each take turns adding an adjective to the sentence. You can add some more nouns in there if needed, of course. Together, you build a descriptive sentence as a class.


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Idea #9: Adjective Round Up: This is an adjective game you play with the class. Students are given a few minutes to list as many adjectives as they can on a sheet of paper (you could even have them lists adjectives to describe a noun of your choice). After time is up, they pair up with a student to compare the lists. They must mark off any adjectives that are the same. They then switch to another partner to compare lists. Once again, they mark off any adjective that is the same. You can have them switch as much as you like. At the end, the person with the most adjectives remaining wins.

Idea #10: Empty Noun Hunt: As students are reading, they look for nouns with no descriptions. They rewrite the sentence with some adjectives.

Idea #11: Describe a Picture: Students describe what’s in the picture with adjectives. You can do this as a whole group instruction and record their answers on a board if you like. I like the idea of using something whimsical like this picture below.
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Idea #12: Adjective Eyes: You share some sentences with the classroom. Students look for the adjectives in the sentence. Alternatively, task cards with sentences can be used in a center. You can make these fun by adding some fun glasses for looking or use a pointer with big eyeballs.
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Find these task cards here. I also have them in my Everything You Need to Teach Adjectives unit.
Idea #13: Adjective Games: I like to use games in centers for students to have more hands-on time with adjectives. For students who need a bit more help, I like a game of memory, cover up activities, and graphing activities. Once they get the hang of identifying adjectives, I definitely want to move them up with their critical thinking, so I incorporate using adjectives in sentences too. I’ve even figured out a way to have them use adjectives in a game of bingo! I don’t have a picture here, but I have a race with sentence making that goes with the spinners too. There is three different spinners, and I have seven activities I use with those three spinners. I am all about repurposing a game board for another activity. 😉 Of course, you can always put some adjectives on some index cards and make some memory and gold fish games.
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Find the spinner games here. I also have them in my Everything You Need to Teach Adjectives unit.
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Find these game cards here. I also have them in my Everything You Need to Teach Adjectives unit.
Idea #14: Printables are OK. Sometimes, you just need a printable. I totally get that. I like to use no prep printables that still incorporate some fun like dabbing, and I like printables that have students applying things too. I also like to integrate reading comprehension.
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Find these no prep printables and many other resources by clicking here.
Idea #15: Integrate Writing: For me, the main reason a student should know about adjectives is not so they can diagram a sentence, but so they can use those adjectives! Sure diagraming a sentence is important, but that is not the ultimate goal. I think it is important for students to tap those higher thinking skills too, so incorporating a writing activity with the integration of adjectives is a great way for students to use those more creative thinking skills to synthesize what they know into something new as they use those adjectives.
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Find this writing activity that incorporates higher order thinking and many other resources in my Everything You Need to Teach Adjectives unit by clicking here.

Idea #16: Journal It: I like the idea of students keeping a journal because students can revisit their journals. There are multiple ways to keep a journal.

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Find the interactive notebook entry, journal entry, and many other resources in my Everything You Need to Teach Adjectives unit by clicking here.

I hope you enjoyed these ideas! I have many other grammar and vocabulary posts in the work, so make sure to subscribe for email to get more ideas!
Thank you so much for stopping by the Candy Class!
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Jolene 🙂


15 05, 2016

End of the Year Memory Video

By | May 15th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments


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Hi everyone! I had an idea several months ago. What if students read through some or all of their memory books on video, and the video was shared with parents as a keepsake gift? Then I had to go make things complicated thinking it involved some app and possibly even screen shots to use that app. So I placed the idea on the shelf until recently when it occurred to me that the already existing “camcorder” on a phone or tablet was really all that was needed after all.

After you film the video, it can be uploaded to email and sent out to parents as an end of the year gift. Of course, some of you will want to be all fancy and edit the video…if you know how to do all that and got lots of hours of time…go for it, lol! However, that is not all needed to make it special. With the child sharing a special memory from school on video and something they learned, its enough to make any parent’s heart go pitter-patter and be thankful to have that moment in time of their child to look back on many years from now. And you can still tie it all into learning with some of those speaking and listening standards. 😉 Personally, I like the idea of using the video with a memory book that they hold up.
Of course, you don’t have to hide the child’s face like I did in my video. They can stand in front of the camera and present with their memory book in hand. You can find a ton of end of year memory books on TPT. I have one in my store too. It has a lot of page options to choose from and you can simply select the pages you want to use. These actually come in black and white. I might be adding the color pages as an option though.
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I had a lot of fun coming up with page ideas for this book, and this page is my absolute favorite because of how it encourages and inspires children that good can come from any struggles they go through.

Oh, and I actually printed the photos on regular paper and attached them on the pages. However, students can totally draw there instead too.
Happy video recording!


Thanks for stopping by the Candy Class!


Jolene 🙂


18 02, 2016

Educational Inspiration for St. Patrick’s Day

By | February 18th, 2016|Resources, St. Patrick's Day|0 Comments

St Patricks day tricky words

Hi everyone! I want to share some inspiration for those who are still able to incorporate holiday activities in the classroom. First, I have to say, I LOVE LOVE the story of St. Patrick. When I was way younger, I actually wrote a St. Patrick’s Day book complete with some marker created illustrations because I loved the story so much. I never did try to publish the story (had a ways to go with developing my writing and art talents at the time, lol!) But I did enjoy sharing it with the preschool children I was teaching at the time (back in the day before I studied to be a teacher.) Anyhoo, time to rock that shamrock and share some inspiration! 🙂

Idea #1: Shamrock Arrays. Since these shamrocks have three leaves, each one can stand for a group. Students can create arrays with the shamrocks to grasp those early multiplication skills. If they are not quite ready for multiplication, they can add five groups of three.

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Idea #2: Add the Gold. Take some of those fun gold coins to make some golden math activities. Students can use them for addition problems. You can pull out some addition or subtraction flash cards and have them use the gold as manipulatives to solve the problems. Alternatively, you can pull out some dice and have students roll out some addition problems too. If you need to teach things in the higher digits, perhaps you can use a different styled coins for different values to incorporate some place value
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Idea #3: Estimate the Gold. Students can estimate how much “gold” is in the pot. You can use gold coins for this. I recommend a smaller container than the one I had in the picture, unless you are just made out of gold and want to trade that gold for way too much fake gold ;).
St Patricks day estimation

Idea #4: Rainbow Science. This is a good time to study the rainbow, do some experiments with light and water, do some rainbow chemistry, or some rainbow arts & crafts.

Idea #5: Write about Leprechauns. What if at the end of the rainbow, you found a leprechaun that was really your twin? Have students write about it. Another writing prompt comes from a story I wrote about trapping a leprechaun. Students tell about why or why they should not try to trap the leprechaun. They can explain how the leprechaun could outsmart them or how they would go about outsmarting the leprechaun. I really like this particular activity a bunch because it incorporates some critical thinking.

St Patricks day writing

Idea #6: Leprechaun Word Tricks. Those leprechauns like to play tricks, so students will need to unscramble the words the leprechauns have mixed up. This activity can be used with CVC words to vowel teams to spelling word lists!
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On a side note, my St. Patrick’s Day Mini-Unit includes three no prep printables with CVC words, CVCe Words, and vowel team words for students to unscramble.

Idea #7: Shape poems. Students can write a poem in the shape of a shamrock.
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If you don’t have a lot of time for prepping stuff for St. Patrick’s Day, I have this really cool St. Patrick’s Day No Prep resource that includes shamrock glasses, a shamrock crown, writing craftivies, a reading comprehension passage about trapping a leprechaun with writing response, mini-books, counting gold printables, leprechaun tricky words, shamrock shape poem, and more! The unit is completely differentiated, so it can be used from kindergarten to second grade! Yet, I have kept the price low at only $4! Students can learn and make fun memories as you save a ton of time!


St. Patrick's Day

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I hope you enjoyed these shamrockin’ ideas and that you find some inspiration you can use in your classroom to inspire those awesome students of yours! Thanks so much for stopping by the Candy Class. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
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Jolene 🙂





1 02, 2016

Blending those Blends & Free Blend Posters

By | February 1st, 2016|Freebies, phonics|10 Comments

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Hi everyone! I wanted to share some ideas for teaching blends in the classroom and a freebie to be able to do just that!
Idea #1: Incorporate phonemic awareness in the morning through fun chants.
These posters I’ve included below each have a chant at the bottom. It’s a simple chant, where I say, fluttering fly fl-fl-fl, plucking plums pl-pl-pl, clustering clouds cl-cl-cl. Chants have been something that have been a part of my classroom since my first day teaching, but I started off with a different chant format that I have improved over the years. I think it also has been a great way to get me to wake-up in the morning, lol! If you got a projector, you can actually project the pdf on the board instead of holding up the posters!
Idea #2: Play a quick game of memory with the blend cards during guided reading.

While these are the size of a full page, did you know that you can actually adjust your pdf printer settings to print 4 to a page? Yes, you can! I’ve included directions to do this. This means you can use these for a quick game of memory during guided reading. Easy, peasy.

          Idea #3: Have a “What Begins With….” literacy center.

These can be set-up in a center, and students can write words on a blank sheet of paper that begin with the letter.

Idea #4: Blend up words with the class.
While either projecting the pdf of these on the board or using the blends poster, you can have students write a word on a sticky note that begins with the blend and bring it up to the classroom.

Another idea, you can record words on the board that students blend-up.

Idea #5:  Introduce new blend words during guided reading.

During guided reading, you can use the posters (or mini-posters) to introduce any new words that start with the blend.
Idea #6: Ring it up.
You can print 4 to a page, put them on a ring, and have students use them as a writing reference in a writing center/station or for review.

Idea #7: Go on a blend hunt.

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Students can use the a mini-version of the blends poster as a reference tool while they are reading. They can then record any newly discovered blend words in a journal or on a piece of paper.

Not only do these activities work great for blends, but they work great for short vowels, long vowels, ending blends, digraphs, and other graphemes!

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Here is the freebie! It includes several L blend posters! I hope it helps your students to master those blends!

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Click on the Image to Link

I am also linking up with many other AWESOME teacher-authors who have tons of great tips and freebies! Make sure to check them all out!

Thank you so much for stopping by The Candy Class!
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Jolene 🙂
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31 01, 2016

Sharing Some Love with A Treasure Hunt Giveaway

By | January 31st, 2016|Giveaways|0 Comments

****Update: The winner has been selected! Congrats to Lisa K! Thank you everyone for some treasure hunting fun! I hope you enjoyed the freebies!****Hi everyone! I’ve teamed up with some other awesome teacher-authors to share a little love with you guys. We are having a Treasure Hunt Giveaway!!! You have a chance to win a Scotch Pro Laminator with 100 laminating sheets AND a $25 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card (where you can find plenty of things to use with that handy laminator!) Now, to heat up the fun, we won’t be letting anyone go away empty handed. There will be some amazing freebies along the way too!

Get the Details
Each day over the next 14 days, one of us will be releasing a clue and a link to find the answer to our fun treasure hunt. Example: Day #1 = Clue #1, Day #2 = Clue #2, etc. After you find the answer to the clue (which we will make easy for you), you will go to one of our blogs to submit the collected answer.  That means, you will have opportunity to enter 14 times!
The Most Important Piece
Now, I am going to tell you a way to improve your chances of winning, but shhhh…..
Remember how I said each day, one of us will be announcing a clue and link? Well, its a surprise where we will be announcing it. One day, I might say it on Facebook. Another day, Tammy might announce it on her blog. Another day, Heather may say it on Twitter. It’s all hush-hush.
The best way to not miss out on a single entry is to follow all of us! I recommend you follow everyone. Here are all of my links:
(Or you can sign up for email on the right if you don’t use Blog Lovin)
Now, that was just me. Make sure you are following everyone else too. Click on this button to hop on over to the next blog. It will loop you through all the way back to me.
Here is where you can enter your answers to the clues. You can choose to do this daily or all at once last minute, but you will need to do so by February 14, 2016 by 11:59 EST. Now that you have read all the details, the clues will start February 1st. I hope you the best for this exciting treasure hunt!
Thanks for stopping by the Candy Class!
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Jolene 🙂
The giveaway starts Monday, February 1st at 12pm EST and ends on Sunday, February 14 at 11:59 EST. Once the giveaway ends, the winner will be chosen via random.org and contacted within 24 hours by email. This post will then be updated with the winner’s name once we have heard back. The winner must respond within 48 hours to claim their prize or another will be chosen. The winner agrees to have their name published by claiming their prize.


15 11, 2015

Tips for Increasing Vocabulary and a Free Sample

By | November 15th, 2015|Reading, Vocabulary|0 Comments

Hi everyone! Today, I am going to share some tips on how to increase vocabulary during reading. Vocabulary is so important for deepening reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. It is an essential ingredient for improving student literacy.  Once students know how to decode those words phonetically, it is so very important to be able to grasp the meaning of the words they decode to better understand the text. I also have a free vocabulary strategies resource!
Tips for Increasing Vocabulary and a Free Sample

Tip #1 Teach Vocabulary Strategies

Research Tip about vocabulary strategies

Vocabulary instruction should include both direct instruction of words AND vocabulary strategies. This is actually research-based. It can be easy to teach the direct instruction part. We pull out those vocabulary lists alongside the spelling lists each week, and we read some authentic literature while putting a focus on those new vocabulary words from the book.
It is often the other half, vocabulary strategies that does not get a whole lot of needed attention. Sure, there are the occasional lessons on context clues, but it is not enough to get students intentional everyday as they read.
All along, students are reading books and being exposed to SO MANY new words that they might not be exposed to very much within their own homes, and those moments to learn those new words are lost if students are not fully equipped to apply vocabulary strategies to crack the code to those unknown words.
Now, some might think that vocabulary strategies are simply context clues. However, vocabulary strategies include other strategies besides context clues. They are like a bag of tools students can pull out to crack open those unknown words.

Tip #2 Teach Vocabulary Strategies During Guided Reading or Reading Workshop

Vocabulary strategies Next Step Tip

If we are going to improve student performance, we have got to realize that vocabulary strategies are the next step in teaching reading after word decoding. Think about it. Once students know how to phonetically open each word or use other decoding skills to read known words, the next step to being a good reader is to be able to interpret those unrecognizable words that they now have the ability to sound out. I actually broke the strategies into 24 different ones, so students have a bag of tools to help them crack open those words. These strategies can be taught during guided reading, reading workshop, or other small group activities.

Tip #3 Encourage student to Use Vocabulary Strategies During Independent Reading

 Vocabulary Strategies Means to Cracking Open New Words Tip
Vocabulary strategies are the means to gaining the skills needed to crack open new words during reading. In addition to guided reading, students should be applying the vocabulary strategies during independent reading too. If you do a reading workshop format, you can actually incorporate the vocabulary strategies there too. What is great about this is you are potentially tapping into their natural curiosity as they stumble across unknown words while reading. This is such an authentic, relevant way to learn new vocabulary. Not only that, but they are going to have a deeper understanding of what they are reading. It’s a two-for-one deal that you can’t beat. 😉

Tip #4 Teach More than Just Context Clues

Vocabulary Strategies encompass more than just context clues
Vocabulary strategies include primarily context clues, but they encompass more than that.  Vocabulary strategies are like a tool bag that students can pull out and apply, so they can determine the meaning of unknown words. It includes starting from the basics of just paying attention to those unknown words on up to using dictionaries and online resources. Of course, some strategies are more appropriate for first grade, and some are more appropriate for third grade reading levels.

Tip #5 Break Down How to Use Context Clues Step-by-Step

 Tip #6 Teach Students When to Use Other Resources

Tip #7 Use Visual Prompts of the Vocabulary Strategy

Tip #8 Students Can Show Their Thinking with a Graphic Organizer

 Vocabulary Tip to Show Thinking on Paper

Students can show how they used a vocabulary strategy with a graphic organizer. Not only does this give some accountability, but it creates an environment for more critical thinking and gives room for the meaning to resonate more with them.

Tip #9 Use a Vocabulary Journal

Vocabulary Strategies Journal Tip
Vocabulary words are meant to be reused and recognized when seen again. Otherwise, the words are useless to them. A vocabulary journal is a great tool for this purpose. Graphic organizers can be placed in the journal too! I actually sized some to fit two per a page, but you can also shrink them down some when printing to get them to fit in a composition notebook.

Tip #10 Use Extensions for Discovered Vocabulary Words

Vocabulary Strategies Extension Tip

Give extension activities for students to apply the words they gleaned from using vocabulary strategies. This way, students can revisit those words later down the road. This actually ties in with tip number nine. You want students reusing those vocabulary words, so have them break out their vocabulary journal for some extension activities.


Tip #11 (Optional) Use Fun Incentives


Vocabulary Strategies Incentive Tip

To keep students motivated with practicing those vocabulary strategies, offer incentives. You know how we all can get off track at times with goals we are working towards, so use a student tracker for them to track and celebrate their progress along the way.  Reward them for their accomplishments. Make it a big deal. Incentives need not cost a lot of money. The main ingredient is to make them feel special and to cheer them on. I also like to think this helps students to become mature adults who work toward goals and can self-monitor their progress to stay motivated.

Tip #12 Make it Engaging

Vocabulary Strategies Engagement Tip
Make it fun. Engage them from the start. Remember, they will always remember how we made them feel more than what we said (my paraphrase of Dr. Maya Angelou).  I set-up a fun intro where you can get into character as you introduce students to the unit with a fun script and visuals. It is a sure way to make them laugh some and ultimately get their interest in learning those vocabulary strategies.

Official vocabulary detectives spend their entire lives using vocabulary strategies to break cases of unknown words.

Engage students with a fun detective introduction

Let’s make it a life long adventure of reading and discovering vocabulary. Unlike direct instruction that is limited to the words being taught, vocabulary strategies transcend into skills that can be used throughout life. These are skills that students can carry from grade to grade, and this will enable students to succeed in leaps and bounds in their educational journey.

There you have it, some helpful tips for increasing vocabulary, reading comprehension, and critical thinking skills.   If you have any questions or thoughts you would like to share, feel free to comment below!
Vocabulary Strategies Resource Overview
PS. I have created this unit that will save you a ton of time and catch the interest of students! You can click on the image above or click here to link to the resource. You can also test drive the free sample below.
Vocabulary Strategies Free Sample
                                                                                                      Click on the picture or click here to link
Thanks for stopping by the Candy Class!
new logo 2-01Jolene 🙂
22 07, 2015

The Interactive Notebook Template Types

By | July 22nd, 2015|Interactive Notebooks, Interview with a Notebook Template|6 Comments

Hi everyone! Today, I am sharing the template types and some inspiring ideas.

The first template type is the accordion. The accordion is a template that folds up like an accordion. It’s unique shape can be used for lots of purposes including connecting ideas and things that go in chronological order. Find out more ideas with the Interview with an Accordion post here.


The second template type is the Book Fold. It folds over, and you can flip the tabs up. It works great for self-quizzing. Questions can be placed on top, and answers can be placed under the tab.


The third template type is the Compressed Shape. They have an origami feel to them, but it is pretty simple to use. Students can compress it, and then they can reopen it. I invented the one using hearts that expands into a flower from my inspiration from the commonly used one that folds into a triangle. As far as the ideal activity goes, these are great for writing activities (and you could even skip the notebook and have students make things like Mother’s Day cards with them). You got four hearts with room to write.


The fourth template type is the double door. Now, there are actually two types of double doors. This one is the more basic double door. It folds in like shutter doors and has room on the inside to store some information. 


The other double door type is called the center-cut double door. It opens up like double doors, but students will have to write directly on the notebook page under it or have another sheet of paper placed under it.
The fifth template type is the Flip Flap Book. The flip flap book is probably the most commonly used template type. It is very versatile for a lot of activities, and it is very easy to put together. Just like the book fold, you can store answers under it for some self-quizzing. It works great, but just like worksheets can get boring, it is a good idea to flavor up interactive notebook templates with other types of templates too.


The sixth template type are the Maps. These are graphic organizers that have been made into something that can flip and flap or they can just be added to interactive notebooks as your everyday bubble map.


The seventh template type is the Match Book. This book folds up like the name suggests, a match book. Really, if you think about it, it almost functions like a book fold and flip flap book. However, it has an extra flap that folds over the top. That extra spot can be great for a main idea or topic. It can also work great for simply getting away from the status quo of a flip flap book. 😉



The eighth template type is the Mini-Book. The mini-book is a mini-book. What is nice about the mini-books is it maximizes the space on that interactive notebook page. For example, you can have a six page mini-book fit on half of a notebook page. Think about all the information that can be stored there!


The ninth template type is the Petal Book. A petal book is a fun template! Often, it will look like a flower. The “petals” will flip and flap. You can have a central idea or concept in the middle of the petal book and each petal can hold information that build on that concept. When you think about it, these also function great as a graphic organizer to help students grasp concepts better.



The tenth template type is the Pocket or aka Envelope. These templates are handy for storing parts to an interactive notebook or being used as part of a sorting activity.

You don’t always have to store square or rectangle pieces in these either. Puzzle pieces and other fun shapes can be stored in a pocket.

The eleventh template type is the Shape Flap. Shape flaps almost function like a flip flap book, only they don’t have multiple tabs. I came up with the idea for this template type when I was wanting to create a math interactive notebook for addition facts. I wanted to add pumpkins and other fun components, but it was intended for kindergarten and the pumpkin had things like a stem and other things going on. Therefore, I knew I needed to simplify the cutting some more. Thus, my original shape flap, the globe, solved that problem. I then expanded upon that concept to include some more fun shape flaps that were a little more complex in shape, but not too complicated for cutting.


The twelfth template type is the Spinner. These add a whimsical element to an interactive notebook by storing information under the top part of the spinner. Students can spin and peak into the window. This particular template involves the need for an extra part: a fastener or aka brad. It might not be a template for everyday use, but it is fun to include one here and there for students.

The thirteenth template type is the Stage. I actually came up with this concept for this template type when I was writing my Interactive Reading Notebook for Non-Fiction. I was brain storming ideas for a retelling key ideas in a text, and I thought, why not a stage where students could use “puppets” that work as prompts for them retelling those key ideas. Thus, the stage template was born.

The fourteenth template type is the Staggered Book. The staggered book is very much like a mini-book, but each page is a different size. The biggest page goes on the bottom, and it builds up to the smallest page. This allows room for some information to peek out from each page.

The fifteenth page is the Tri-Fold. There are actually two types of tri-folds. There is the basic tri-fold that has three distant sections that can also be broken down into many tabs. There is also the interlock that has an extra part that locks the tri-fold. These template types come in handy for a lot of educational activities.

I don’t really count the Venn Diagram as a template type, but I did not want to leave it out.

Venn Diagrams can easily be added to flip flap books and tri-folds, but I also did that work for you in my Interactive Notebook Templates 1000+. This resource includes all fifteen of the template types mentioned above. With many of the template types, I got creative with the designs and included an assortment of options. In fact, I included over 1,000 templates! I created these in Adobe Illustrator and exported them as png images. They are crisp and clean to keep those interactive notebooks looking sharp. I also inserted these into editable PowerPoints. Add your text boxes and images and you are ready to go! For those who are asking what a text box is, I got you covered because I even included visual directions on how to insert text boxes, images, and some other handy PowerPoint tips to make it easy for you to add educational content to the templates. Additionally, these templates come with photographed directions that cover all the template types! There is also a reference guide with an organized name and file system in place to help you locate those templates easily. You can find the templates located here or click on the image.


Thanks for stopping by The Candy Class! Don’t be a stranger!
Jolene 🙂


28 04, 2015

Getting Googly Eyed with Multiplication and a Freebie

By | April 28th, 2015|learning crafts, Math|1 Comment

I’m always looking for ways to make things hands-on and fun. For this Learning with Your Craft Stash post, I was challenged with an anything goes for this blogpost. I actually found this challenge the hardest because I had a hard time deciding what craft material I wanted to use. Then I saw my bag of googly eyes, and I thought about how my son has been working on multiplication arrays. This would make a perfect reinforcement activity for him.  I also decided it would be fun to offer a freebie with it. 🙂
Arrays give children the opportunity to grasp the concepts of what multiplication is all about. I recommend introducing arrays as a mini-lesson during whole group instruction, so they can gain some foundational understanding of why we use multiplication.
 Here is a lesson idea to introduce using arrays to solve multiplication.
First, make an illustration on a dry erase board of the five apples in five groups. Ask the students how they can figure out how many apples there are all together.
Response to the answer counting: “Let’s count. 5,10,15 etc. There are 25 apples all together. That is one way we can figure out the apples, but do you think there is a quicker way to get there?”
Response to the answer adding: “That is a good answer. Let’s add them. 5+5+5+5+5=25. That is one way we can figure out how many apples, but do you think there is a quicker way to get there?” (You may not get an answer for this question. If no answer, introduce it).
Then say: “We can multiply it. Multiplying is a quicker way to add them up. To multiply, we count the number of rows and multiply them by how many are in each row.” (Demonstrate this with the illustration). “We can multiply 5X5=25. Multiplication saves time from having to add everything up. When we are first learning to multiply, we can add up the groups or use skip counting to help us learn our multiplication facts. One day, you will know off the top of your head that 5X5=25, so you will be able to tell quickly how many 5 groups of 5 apples are exactly. Today, we will use addition to figure out how to write the multiplication fact for the the problem using googly eyes!”
If you want, you can explain what an array is into the discussion above, and you might want to mention what rows and columns are also.
Want some more ideas on how to use your craft stash to learn? I have an article here on place value with straws and another one here with learning sight words with scrapbook paper. You can also hop on over to Life Over C’s blog here to see more and find other blogs with similar posts that have linked up.
Thank you for stopping by The Candy Class! Make sure to sign up for email on the right. I just added a way to follow through Google today too!
17 04, 2015

Learning Sight Words with Scrapbook Paper

By | April 17th, 2015|learning crafts, sight words|0 Comments

Hi everyone! I am linking up with Life Over C’s Learning with Your Craft Stash. Today, the craft item is scrapbook paper. Now, I don’t know about you, but I have a big crate full of this stuff. I also think children love using it because the prints can be so colorful and fun.
Combine some fun, bright paper with sight words, and you have an engaging reading center or learning activity. After all, children need lots of opportunity to work with sight words. You want to keep education interesting and engaging to keep them learning, so one way to engage them is to turn those sight words into a craft. Just think, when you give them a word to decorate, they are taking time to carefully craft out that word. It is a great way for them to take a mental snapshot of the word, so they can pull it out like a photograph when they need it later on. Materials: You will need scrapbook paper, papers with sight words enlarged on the paper, scissors, and glue.
Now before you actually give them the sight word, there is opportunity for students to build up their fine motor skills with a cut-the-scrapbook-paper-into-strips activity. I recommend giving them a sample one, so they know about how thin to cut them. You don’t want them to be too wide. Too wide means the sight word is not going to have distinguishable letters. Alternatively, you could also cut the strips ahead of time with a cutting board for paper.
Next, have students write the sight word in glue.
Let students cut up one strip for the first letter. Note: Each letter takes about one strip of a 12 inch long scrapbook paper.
Encourage students to use a different pattern strip for each letter. You could also add in a little math by encouraging them to make a pattern.
 And that is it!
If you liked this post, make sure to sign up to receive email on the right when I post new posts.
Also, you can hop on over to Life Over C’s for some more posts on using scrapbook paper for educational activities.  Simply click here or on the image.
Thanks for stopping by The Candy Class!
Jolene 🙂