/Jolene M

About Jolene M

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Jolene M has created 35 blog entries.
18 02, 2016

Educational Inspiration for St. Patrick’s Day

By |2019-03-12T21:06:03-04:00February 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.

St Patricks day array tip 2
St Patricks day array tip
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
St Patricks day tricky addition
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!
St Patricks day array tricky words
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.
shape poem


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

st patrick cover 2

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!
 new logo 2-01
Jolene 🙂





1 02, 2016

Blending those Blends & Free Blend Posters

By |2019-03-12T21:06:04-04:00February 1st, 2016|Freebies, phonics|10 Comments

blends 2
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.

word hunt 2

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!

 sound charts gold

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

blends cover

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!
new logo 2-01
Jolene 🙂
blends 1


31 01, 2016

Sharing Some Love with A Treasure Hunt Giveaway

By |2019-03-12T21:06:05-04:00January 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!
new logo 2-01
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 |2019-03-12T21:06:05-04:00November 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 do 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 every day as they read.

Students are reading books and being exposed to SO MANY new words that they might not be exposed to 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

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 students 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 various context clues to using dictionaries and online resources.

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

Vocabulary Strategies Tip to Break Down Context Clues


Breaking down how to use the context clues into steps helps students to apply them appropriately. There is more than one type of context clue, and students need time to let each type of context clue sink in and be applied. An example of a strategy that breaks things down is named “The Case of the Appearing Rabbit”. With this strategy, students are taught the strategy, which is, “Poof! It may appear as an example.” Then a tip is given for students to look for specific word clues that are signals that an example might be present. By looking for wording like “for example” and “such as,” students know where to look for the example.

 Tip #6: Teach Students When to Use Other Resources

Vocabulary Strategies Tip on Using Dictionaries


It’s important for students to lean in on those context clues first to help improve fluency and to gain more understanding of the word in its actual context. However, sometimes, they will have to break out a dictionary or use an online resource because the context did not offer any clarity to the meaning. When should students turn to other resources to determine the meaning of unknown words? I recommend letting students know to use other resources if they can not find any context clues, or if they are still unsure of the meaning of the word.

Tip #7: Use Visual Prompts of the Vocabulary Strategy

 Vocabulary Strategies Prompt Tip

Give students visual prompts of the vocabulary strategies. If students only employ vocabulary strategies when they are reading to you, they are not practicing them enough. They need to be using vocabulary strategies when they are doing independent reading. Visuals are great reminders to use the vocabulary strategies, and it also helps make them more concrete to understand. You can do this easily with some index cards or anchor charts printed four to a page.

Vocabulary Strategies Cards in Black and White

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. A vocabulary journal is a great tool for this purpose. Graphic organizers can be placed in the journal too!

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 the tip above. You want students reusing those vocabulary words, so have them break out their vocabulary journal for some extension activities.

Tip #11: Use Fun Incentives


Vocabulary Strategies Incentive Tip

To keep students motivated with practicing those vocabulary strategies, offer incentives.  We are all prone to get off track with our goals, so trackers help students to stay focused with using the vocabulary strategies throughout the year.  You can also celebrate their progress along the way when using a tracker. Reward them for their accomplishments. You can differentiate this easily, so everyone is successful with it. They will all make progress in their own way, so set reasonable goals for each student. 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 lifelong 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.

Of course, you can venture out on your own with these ideas from this post.  It took me quit a bit of research to come up with catchy names for the 24 vocabulary strategies that I identified through a lot of my own analysis and through various research-based books. Each strategy is very catchy, so students can easily remember them.  If you would like to save time on researching strategies to teach and creating resources, I have everything you need to teach vocabulary strategies throughout the year. It also has a fun detective theme, and covers all the tips I included in this blog post.
 You can click on the image below or click here to link to the resource.
Vocabulary Strategies Resource Overview
 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 Mathew from The Candy Class 🙂
22 07, 2015

The Interactive Notebook Template Types

By |2019-03-12T21:06:05-04:00July 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 |2019-03-12T21:06:06-04:00April 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 |2019-03-12T21:06:06-04:00April 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 🙂
12 04, 2015

Oa, Oe, Ow, Oa, Oe The Vowel Teams

By |2019-03-12T21:06:06-04:00April 12th, 2015|hands-on, Interactive Notebooks, phonics, Reading|0 Comments

(Sing the title to the tune of a famous boy band song from quite a few decades ago. I won’t say which one, but it you get if right, you got the right stuff, lol!)

Vowel Teams Oa Oe 2

You know how we all see these cute cvc activities all over the place, but then students get to other phonics activities and suddenly…bam, the availability of hands-on centers are too often replaced with worksheets galore.

Vowel Teams Oa Oe 1

One of my wise college professors use to say, “If you can turn it into a game, do it!” Then she would go on to explain how they will learn more because if it is interesting to them, it is engaging to them. If they are engaged, they are learning!

  Relevancy is just important! What we view as relevant and what a young child views as relevant is two different things. Most often, they are not thinking about that math they will need when they are 25 to balance the checkbook. Nor are they thinking about how they need to become fluent writers to become a celebrity spy one day, I mean journalist. No way! Of course, they need plenty of writing opportunities. My point is they are not usually thinking they need to improve all their skills, so they can “adult.” To really engage them in learning, its important we get into their world to make it relevant. So what do children find relevant? Things like games, yup, that is relevant.
Vowel Teams Oa Oe 4
Vowel Teams Oa Oe 3
Enjoying putting puzzles together with their friends. Relevant.
Vowel Teams Oa Oe 5
Participating in class discussions with interactive anchor charts. Relevant.


Hands-on word work activities that tie into what they are learning to read. Relevant.


 Doing fun things like feeding sharks and gators as a word work activity in an interactive notebook. Yup, you guessed it. Relevant.
Adding some laughs to learning with some fun puns doesn’t hurt the learning process either. 😉  After all, research shows the connection of our memories with emotional experiences. (I have no research paper to point to on that one. It is researched based though. I recall reading up on it many times in my college days. You’ve probably heard that before too).
 Now, I know, I know, I know. No prep printables have their place. Sometimes, you need something for a quick review, homework, for a filler, etc. I get it. I am not saying those don’t have their place, but I am just trying to say its important kids get plenty of kinesthetic, relevent opportunities to master important phonics skills like vowel teams. The main point I am trying to make is worksheets should be kept in moderation, and children need more than just worksheets.
Vocabulary cards are also very handy. They can be used for self-checking and more. Some other ideas include putting them in alphabetical order, games like go fish and memory, matching rhyming words, and whatever else you can dream up. Cards like this are just handy and versatile. 🙂
Now this unit is HUGE. It is over 500 pages! Here is some organization inspiration. Baggies are my best friend, for real. I write on each bag what is inside to keep my sanity. 🙂 I like to keep it all in one spot (in the large coral container, minus the dice. When I plan on using these, I place them in a smaller bin like the shoe box container, and the reading center is ready to rock and roll.
If we want students to become fluent readers and writers, giving them relevant hands-on word work experiences, then we got to keep it relevant to young learners. That is what my vowel team bundled unit is all about. Making it relevant. Engaging. And ultimately, giving students a firm foundation in phonics to enable them to be fluent readers and writers. 
Vowel Team Pin
 You can find these in the store as a big bundle ( 20% off) or you can buy them individually.

Don’t miss out! Sign-up for email on the right.  I post helpful tips, freebies, giveaways, and more!

 Thanks for stopping by The Candy Class.
Jolene 🙂
7 04, 2015

Learning with Straws from Your Craft Stash & a Freebie!

By |2019-03-12T21:06:06-04:00April 7th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Hi everyone! I am linking up with other bloggers to share learning ideas that can be done with your craft stash. Now, this will be a 21-day event covering many different craft materials you might have stashed at your home. I will not be blogging for each of the 21 days, but I am signed-up to post for some of them. You don’t want to miss a day, so make sure to click on the image to hop on over to all the action. 
Today, I am sharing what I consider to be a very important activity that all K-2 grade students should participate in every day. This is something that has always been a must in my morning routines. This activity is counting the days of school to teach place value concepts. It just sets such a firm foundation with math concepts, and it only takes a very tiny amount of time each day. Additionally, the activity is just relevant to young learners and hands-on. Each day, you are building up place value skills one straw at a time. There are many ways the days of school can be counted. My favorite method has always been with straws using a place value chart.
Each day, a child adds a straw to the pocket. When there are ten straws, they are bundled together with a rubber band and placed in the tens place instead. On the tenth day of school, I emphasize that the ten straws is one group of ten ones, so there is a one placed in the tens place. I then bring up how there are zero ones in the ones place, so that is why there is a one in the ones place.
When the hundredth day of school rolls around, we then bundle the ten groups of ten straws into one. A one is placed in the hundreds place, and I explain how there is one group of one hundred straws or ten groups of tens.

I just created this blog exclusive freebie! I do request that if you feel generous, share the blog link instead of the resource please.Click here or on the picture to grab your copy of the build-a-place value chart. 


Thank you for stopping by The Candy Class! Make sure to sign-up for email on the right for a free set of those short & long vowel task cards.
Jolene 🙂


3 04, 2015

New Twist on Coloring Easter Eggs & Happy Easter!

By |2019-03-12T21:06:06-04:00April 3rd, 2015|Easter, Spiritual Sweets|0 Comments

Hi everyone! Hope you all have a fantastic Easter! My son and I had some fun today coloring our Easter eggs. I was just about to wake up last week, and literally a picture like the one below popped in my mind. Well, my wheels started spinning to figure out how I was going to get color sugar to stick to a boiled egg.  First, I thought of using cornstarch, but decided to go with powdered sugar in the long run.

We actually got some science out of it by experimenting to find a way to coat the eggs with sugar icing. First, we tried mixing a ton of powdered sugar and a little big of water until it was thick like Elmer’s Glue (sorry, forgot to take a pic). We then rolled one egg in the gluey sugar. It did coat with sugar, but the sugar on it was damp and gooey. Not the effect we were going for at all. We then tried a cup of water and a tablespoon of powdered sugar. Not sure if the powdered sugar is needed or not. Perhaps, something for you to experiment with if you do try this.

To create: 
1. Boil however many eggs you plan to color sugar coat. If you need tips on boiling eggs, I am not the gal to ask, haha! Several of mine cracked, lol! There are plenty of recipes online. 😉
2. Prepare the “glue” by adding one tablespoon of sugar to one cup of water. (Or you can mix it up after you make the colored sugar.) I only call it glue because it is what is used to bind the sugar onto the egg, and is a good term to use for young children to grasp the concept more.
3. Pour granulated sugar on a small plate. I just poured whatever, so no exact measurement here.
4. Add 3-6 drops of food coloring to the sugar. The more food coloring, the more vibrant. I used neon colored food coloring.
5. We hand mixed our sugar by rubbing a spoon over the sugar. It was tedious, and you probably could pull out a mixer or use some sort of food processor if desired. However, I loved seeing little hands more involved in this activity, and not having to clean a food processor. I did have to add my own elbow grease to complete the mixing.  🙂
6. Make as many colors of sugar as desired.
7. Gently place the egg in the sugar water and roll the boiled egg around in it. Stir the water before adding the egg as needed.
8. Place the egg on the colored sugar and roll around until it is coated. If there are some spots, you can also pat some of the sugar onto the egg.
9. Keep eggs refrigerated if you plan to eat them. 🙂
•You probably could use store colored sugar. Not sure though. Some of the thicker ones may or may not work.
•Don’t let the colored sugar get too damp. It will become gooey and not coat well on the eggs. You may want to pull only a small portion of the sugar onto the area you plan to roll the egg to keep the rest of the sugar good for coating the next egg.
On a rabbit trail, I hope everyone has a blessed Easter weekend! I know I am feeling so blessed and just feeling grateful. The past month, I have been feeling kind of discouraged with my struggle to keep my life balanced. Overall, there has been lots of anxiety to where it has just ate up my joy. The last few days, I have been disciplined about going to bed at a more decent hour, waking up early, and working out. I am overall just feeling more joy now. I feel more balanced.  While I still have the long list of projects, I guess I am just feeling more relaxed about it. I don’t feel like I need to have it done yesterday like I felt too often this year. I’ve also have felt a seasoned word in my life, and that word is God has brought me back to life. Time to celebrate! And definitely time to celebrate Jesus this weekend because I would not be where I am today without his sacrifice many Easters ago. I truly hope you have a blessed Easter! 🙂
Thank you for stopping by The Candy Class! Make sure to sign-up for email on the right to receive notification of new posts.