28 05, 2019

Engaging Digital Word Work Activities for Literacy Centers

By |2019-05-28T20:38:01-04:00May 28th, 2019|Reading|0 Comments

Today, I want to share some ideas for digital word work activities that you can use in your classroom. Digital activities are great for teachers because they save time and paper, but they still help our students learn all the important skills they need to know. The digital activities in this post will help you teach your students phonics, spelling, and sight words. Many of the activities can be used for either small groups or centers. Some can even be changed to use for whole group instruction.

Digital Word Work Activity #1

As a center, your students can build words with digital magnetic letters. Each student can build words at their appropriate learning level, even when working on the same phonics concept. For example, when working on the L blend, emerging students can choose from options like fl, bl, or gl to complete the word “flower.” Intermediate students can choose from a jumbled assortment of letters like h, k, l, t, and f to create the same word. When students are ready for more of a challenge, they can type a sentence for each new L blend word that they created.

Digital Word Work Activity #2

You can also use digital magnetic letter activities for small group instruction. You can have all the students work on the same blend, but each student can build a different word from that blend. For example, one might be working on the word “crab” while another works on “crow.” As the students create new words for the “cr” blend, you can make a running list on an anchor chart of these words. You can write “cr” in a different color if you’d like to make the blend stick out more for the students. At the end of your small group instruction time, you can have students practice reading the words on the chart aloud.

Digital Activity #3 with Spelling Words

In centers or small groups, students can refer to a list of spelling words and “graph” the words. This means they will type the words in columns based on their number of letters. Emerging students can type in columns for three, four, five, and six-letter words. Intermediate students can use these columns, plus added columns for words with seven and eight letters. Students that are ready for an even greater challenge can graph words with nine or ten letters!

Digital Activity #4 with Spelling Words

Your students can also practice parts of speech with their spelling words. Emerging students can type their spelling words under either the “noun” or “verb” category, while intermediate students can type the words under “noun,” “verb,” adjective,” or “adverb.”

Digital Activity #5 with Sight Words

With this word work activity, students can mix the word up in the soup bowl and fix it back up. Then they can read the word to a partner and move on to the next word.

Digital Activity #6 with Sight Words

Your students can also practice sight words by using the Kids Doodle app to write sight words on their tablets. Students can draw a word and read it to their classmate. Then their classmate writes the word. They could also type the words instead. You can give your students a sight word list or a digital alphabet chart to help them write the words correctly.

I hope my digital activity ideas will make your job easier by saving you time and paper, and I hope they will also help your students have fun while they do word work! All the digital word work activities I mentioned in this post can be found in my store, The Candy Class. My Digital Word Work Bundle includes 121 phonics activities! You can download it here.

I also have separate resources for the spelling and sight word activities in this post. You can find the spelling resource here and the sight word resource here.

If you are looking for more word work activity ideas that you can do in centers, read my article Word Work Activities: Hands-on Ideas for Literacy Centers. It has plenty of ideas!

Also, if you would like a simple system for setting-up technology use in your classroom next year, make sure to sign-up for my free tech course here. You will also gain access to my free resource library when you sign-up! 🙂

Happy teaching, and thanks for stopping by The Candy Class!

13 05, 2019

Access My Free Teacher Resource Library

By |2019-05-13T10:39:56-04:00May 13th, 2019|Reading|0 Comments

Did you know I have a free resource library that is full of engaging activities? It’s my way of saying thank you to my customers and loyal followers. My resources save teachers time and energy, and I want to share them with you too! Sign up for my newsletter and get instant access. You’ll find resources in reading, writing, and math, and if you use Google classroom, there are some special digital resources for you as well. Join the fun here and keep reading to learn more about some of my freebies!


Here’s a Fun Way to Learn Multiplication

Can you SEE why students love this math game so much? It’s a great way for students to build conceptual understanding of multiplication by building arrays with googly eyes. Students record their answer as a repeated addition equation and as a multiplication equation.


The Fundamentals of Place Value

Keeping track of the days of school with a Place Value Pocket Chart is a simple, yet effective way to build students’ understanding of place value. Adding a straw for each day, bundling the tens, and then making a big bundle for the 100th day offers your students a concrete model of this essential math concept. And as a printable file, you can even send it home with students to they can create their own place value pocket charts at home.


To further develop place-value understanding, use place-value cards in your math centers. Students can use a variety of manipulatives to represent the number on each card. Check out my blog post here to see what I mean. I have a set of cards for numbers 10-100 and a set for 3- and 4-digit numbers.

Treat yourself to all four of these free math resources by signing up for my newsletter here.


Engage Your Guided Reading

Guided Reading Freebie

Every teacher knows how important guided reading is for improving students’ reading levels. And every teacher also knows how challenging it can be to create engaging guided reading lessons for each reading group every single day. Start your guided reading with a mini-lesson on a reading strategy, such as the Chunky Monkey Strategy, and have students practice it individually in their books. When you have to conduct one-on-one reading assessments, give the other students in your group grammar task card activities to work on (paper or digital) that reinforce Common Core standards. Guided reading is only successful if the rest of your class is actively engaged in literacy activities, allowing you to focus on your group without interruptions.


Reinforce Bossy R

Free Bossy R No Prep Printables

Create a literacy center that focuses on Bossy R to reinforce this tricky spelling pattern. To learn more about how I teach Bossy R, check out this post here.

Scoop Up Spelling Activities

Have students practice independent spelling activities with a customizable spelling list.


Get all of these guided reading activities and more when you sign up for my newsletter. Click here to join.


In addition to gaining access to my free resource library, you’ll also be the first to know about sales, teaching tips, courses, and other sweet deals I have in store for you. Sign up here for access to all these freebies and more.


Thank you for stopping by The Candy Class! Happy Teaching!

10 05, 2019

Improve Students’ Writing with These Grammar Ideas for Primary

By |2019-08-14T21:25:51-04:00May 10th, 2019|Reading|0 Comments

Grammar teaches us to look closer at the construction of a sentence. By understanding the frame of a sentence, we become more enabled to construct better sentences. It is like building a house. If someone handed you a hammer, some nails, and wood, you probably could build something, even if you were never taught how. It might be a leaky house with gaps in the walls that wobbles when you cough, but you probably could build something. Now, if someone showed you how to build a house and mentored you, you would be able to build an even better house. To really hone those carpentry skills, additional practice of what you were shown would let you master the art of building houses. The same goes with writing. While grammar and writing are interconnected, taking time to teach grammar helps your students build better sentences and stronger writing pieces. Extra practice helps them master the craft. Having a firm foundation of grammar also helps students write with confidence. I am going to share three grammar ideas that will help you improve students’ writing. I will also be sharing some free teaching resources to help you get started with using some of these ideas too!


Improve Students' Writing with These Grammar Ideas

These activities are meant for grammar practice. I do recommend these grammar concepts be taught via a mini-lesson, mentor sentences, or in some other way that models the grammar rule or concept. These activities will help you to diversify your teaching strategies to reach all learners. Research has long proven that to maximize your chances of reaching all students, a diversification of teaching methods is needed. Definitely, use integration strategies with your writing and reading lessons. But to reach all your students, make sure to include focused activities and grammar mini-lessons too. Through diversification, you will maximize learning in your classroom.

Activity #1 Fix the Sentences

Activities that involve students fixing sentences they did not write allows opportunity for them to move away from focusing on creating content and focus solely on the mechanics of a sentence. Not only are they getting extra grammar practice, but this also helps them to develop those much-needed editing skills.

fix it sentences for grammar activities

I think it is important for these sentence editing activities to be geared towards their grade range, so I will give some examples for different grade levels. The ideas I suggest connect to the Common Core grammar standards for each primary grade level, but you can always pull from these ideas if you follow different standards.

For kindergarten and the beginning part of first grade, editing sentences can include fixing capital letters at the beginning of sentences, the pronoun I, and the ending punctuation.

For first grade and the beginning part of second grade, you still want to reinforce those elements from editing a kindergarten sentence. However, you can also add the following components once they are familiar with these grammar concepts. Some ideas include editing subject-verb agreements, using articles correctly, capitalizing dates and names of people, using commas in a series, and correcting misspelled words with familiar spelling patterns such as cat or lake.



For second grade, you still want to reinforce the elements from editing kindergarten and first grade sentences. As you dive further into grammar, you may want to add more of the following components. These components can include proper use of irregular plural nouns and past tense verbs, adding commas to compound sentences, separating run-on sentences, capitalizing holidays or product names, using commas in a letter, proper use of apostrophes with contractions and possessive nouns, and correcting spelling errors in words with familiar spelling patterns such as crown and coat.

These sentence activities can come in different formats. The one shown below is in a task card format, but you can also have the sentences on a whiteboard, a worksheet, sentence strips, and more.

Activity #2 Grammar Task Cards

Task cards come in handy when teaching grammar. You can cover just about every grammar concept with a set of task cards. They can be used for playing a game of SCOOT with the entire class, you can pair them with a game board for extra fun, you can use them for exit tickets, give them to early finishers, just use as a set of task cards, and more. Sometimes, you can even add manipulatives, such as counters, to give it a hands-on twist. They are very flexible!


Students can play solo games like Splat or do a Space Race with a friend. I have another post that explains nine different games to use with task cards including these two, so I will link that at the bottom of the post.


Let’s look at the formatting of them too. I really think the format can be beneficial to some of your students with special needs. There is one problem on each task card, so the spacing of it makes it easier for students, who might become overwhelmed with too much on a page, to read and comprehend.

close up of reflexive pronoun task cards


Additionally, it is easy to differentiate to meet student needs by providing grammar task cards that focus on concepts they need to work on at that moment.

When using grammar task cards, I also like to consider the reading levels of the students. It’s important that students focus on the grammar concept without the actual reading of the grammar activity interfering. That way, you do not have to wait until the last half of the year to start teaching grammar. There are just too many grammar standards to cover in a year. You will teach them more efficiently by making sure the reading levels do not block the student’s ability to practice the grammar concept. Just because it is the beginning half of kindergarten, does not mean students are unable to learn about nouns and verbs. With the support of pictures, kindergartners can learn all about basic nouns, verbs, and more.

verb task cards for kindergarten


Later in the year, they can work with sentences that contain simple sight words, CVC words, and picture support.

ending punctuation task cards


First graders will be developing their reading skills throughout the year, but grammar can still be taught early in the year by making sure the sentences are basic enough for them to decode easily. Start with sentences with pre-primer and primer sight words, CVC words, CCVC words, and picture support to help students focus on learning the grammar concept. Later in the year, you can move up to using grammar activities with vowel teams, diphthongs, and higher-level sight words. The example below illustrates students finding indefinite pronouns in sentences geared just for first grade.

When it comes to teaching grammar, task cards make it easier to incorporate a variety of engaging activities by including rich content from the task cards, meeting the needs of some of your students with special needs, differentiating instruction, and making sure that reading levels are not interfering with the learning of grammar standards. Task cards are also easy to prep, and you can laminate them for reuse each year too.

irregular plural noun task cards

grammar task cards with games

Activity #3 Go Digital

Similar to using grammar task cards, digital resources can be used to reinforce grammar concepts too. Just like the task cards, digital grammar activities can also be used for things like a game of SCOOT, exit tickets, early finisher activities, and more. The only difference is you don’t need to prep the task cards. Instead, students will need to be assigned the file, or you can run them as a presentation and let them use a recording sheet, if you do not have an LMS or another system, to keep assignments organized. If you have Google Classroom, assignments are easy to do with a click of the button. Also, you can set-up folders in Microsoft OneDrive if using PowerPoint instead. Office 365 for education is actually free to those with a valid .edu email address. I will provide the link to that below.

An additional benefit of the digital grammar activities is that an anchor chart can be placed at the beginning to reteach the concept to students. For my kindergarten digital grammar activities, I included a video option, since the reading level would be a challenge. When a video is not desired because of a lack of access to headphones, the slide can easily be deleted.

complete sentences digital task cards

For my second grade grammar activities, a presentation plays instead.

adverb digital task cards

Digital grammar activities are easy to use in a literacy center or station, so you can squeeze in extra grammar practice. That way, your students can hone their writing skills and write with confidence!

ending punctuation digital task cards

You can always make these types of resources for your personal classroom use, but if you would like to save time, I do have all these grammar activities for sale too. I sell them individually and in bundles.

Here is the link for all my grammar activities. You can also click the picture below too.

grammar activities for primary grades


If you would like to filter by grade, you can check out my kindergarten grammar resources here, my first grade grammar resources here, and my second grade grammar resources here.

Here is the link for the grammar and language arts bundles here. It will filter out my other resources. You can also click the picture below.

grammar bundles for primary grades

If you are new to using these types of digital grammar activities, I have a free tech course that will help you get a simple three-step system in place. You can get more information and sign-up for that here.

Using technology in the primary classroom to reach more students a free course

If you are interested in Office 365 for Education and have a valid .edu email address, you can find information on that here. Please note, I am not affiliated, nor does Microsoft endorse anything written here today. I just want to inform you all of this handy resource.

I also have free grammar resources to share with you all today.

free noun task cards for grammar activities

Click here for the free kindergarten task cards. This one covers nouns in context. To keep these on a kindergarten reading level, the sentences include cvc words, common sight words taught in kindergarten, and picture clues.

Click here for the free first grade task cards. These target the CCSS language standard to spell frequently occurring words with irregular spelling patterns. These can easily be used in kindergarten too.

free verb tense task cards

Click here for the free second grade task cards. This one covers verb tenses. These can also be used in first grade with students with stronger reading skills.

Looking for more game ideas to use with the grammar task cards? Find nine game ideas and a free game here. Make sure to check out some of my other grammar posts too. I share many ideas here, here, and here.

I hope my ideas and tips were helpful to you all, and ultimately to your students! Thanks so much for stopping by The Candy Class! Happy teaching!

Sharing Teaching Ideas for K-2

Jolene Mathew


Pin for Improving Students' Writing with These Grammar Ideas


17 04, 2019

Nine Games to Use with Grammar Task Cards

By |2019-05-14T00:37:39-04:00April 17th, 2019|Reading|0 Comments

I’m excited to show you nine different games (including a freebie) that you can use to make your grammar task card activities more hands-on. Let’s face it. It can be a challenge to constantly teach rich content that is also engaging and fun for students. Task card games tap into children’s love and need for PLAY, which is the most powerful learning modality there is! Pairing games with task cards will help students to practice a variety of grammar skills and other content. While I will discuss using these with grammar task cards, these games will work for any task cards in any subject.

game ideas to use with task cards

It’s important for task card games to be simple and easy to remember, so that students can work independently. The game is not meant to overshadow the task cards, but to reward students with a playful action every time they complete one.

Game 1: Walk the Block

For Walk the Block, students complete a task card and move around a game board. The first person to go from start to finish wins. You can repurpose old game boards or make your own using cardstock and dot stickers. Students will eagerly draw task cards as they race to the finish line. In this activity, students can discern between complete and incomplete sentences. Once they complete the task, they can move a space.

Game 2: Splat

Splat is what happens when a bubblegum bubble pops and sticks to your face. In this one-player game, every time students complete a task card, they get to cover up a splat on the game board. You can use pink pencil cap erasers as the game markers to match the bubblegum theme. This activity is great for when a student needs to work solo.

Here students can fix up sentences by marking words that need a capital letter and adding ending punctuation. They then can cover up a splat on the game board.

splat task card game

Game 3: Speed Race

Speed Race is a multi-player game that students love. After completing a task card, students move one space on their race track. The game is over when all students make it to the finish line. Students can enjoy using small toy cars as game markers.

For example, students can complete a preposition task card and move a space.

speed race task card

Game 4: Chunk the Cookie

Chunk the Cookie is a simple but sweet game for one player. When students complete a task card, they add a chocolate chunk to their cookie. The goal is to make the cookie as chunky as possible! You can easily make this game using brown construction paper and black pony beads too.

In this example, students can mark the word that needs a capital letter and then add a piece of “candy” to the cookie.

chunk the cookie task card game

Game 5: Sprinkle the Cupcake

Sprinkle the Cupcake is similar to Chunk the Cookie, and students will be hungry to play this one! After completing a task card, students add a sprinkle to their cupcake. The more sprinkles there are, the more learning is taking place. When students complete all the task cards, they can pretend to eat their cupcake.

For example, students can identify a complete and incomplete sentence. Ten students can add a “sprinkle” to the cupcake.

sprinkle the cupcake task card game

Game 6: Treasure Hunt

Treasure Hunt is a multi-player game that takes students on a hunt for hidden treasure. When students complete a task card, they move one space on the gameboard. The game is over when all players reach the treasure. Shiny pennies can be used as game markers too.

This example shows how students can mark if the picture is plural or not. After that, they can move forward on their treasure hunt.

pirate task card game

Game 7: Space Race

For Space Race, students play with a partner. Each time students complete a task card, they cross off a number starting at ten and count backwards. Once they reach blast off, they win!

One example is students can sort one of the noun task cards with the appropriate category. Then they can take a turn moving their rocket forward.

space race game


Game 8: Space Launch

Space Launch is similar to Space Race, but this time it’s a one-person game. After completing a task card, students cross off a number on the blast off countdown starting at 20. Once the countdown is complete, their rocket can launch, and they win!

For example, students can add the correct ending punctuation and countdown.

space launch task card game

As you can see, these games are simple yet centered around things students love like race cars, cupcakes, and rocket ships. You can create games with seasonal themes or make games that match your social studies and science units too. You can also add costumes to the games such chef hats and aprons for Chunk the Cookie and Sprinkle the Cupcake and pirate eye patches for Treasure Hunt. With playful elements, students will want to play again and again, and thus develop concept mastery.

If you’d like to try adding games to grammar task cards, you can find my Kindergarten Grammar Task Cards bundle here. It’s Common Core aligned and includes all nine games I’ve shared with you today, plus 15 different grammar task card sets and anchor charts. The task cards can also be purchased separately. Each task card set contains a single player game and a partner game.

grammar task card bundle

Game 9: Tic-Tac-Toe

This is the classic Tic-Tac-Toe game with a task card twist. In this partner game, players take turns choosing task cards. After completing each task, players record an “X” or an “O” on the gameboard. After one player gets three in a row, students can start a new game of Tic-Tac-Toe. The game ends when students use up all the task cards.

If you’d like to try this Tic-Tac-Toe game for free, sign-up for my newsletter here. Please note, the task cards in the picture are not included. However, read on for how you can receive some free task cards too.

tic-tac-toe game

Once you sign-up for the newsletter, you’ll receive many other freebies, teaching ideas, sales announcements, and more. Click on the image or here to sign-up!

If you would like to read about more grammar ideas, make sure to check out my post here. It also gives information on how you can receive a free set of noun task cards for kindergarten, a set of verb task cards for first grade, and a set of verb tense task cards for second grade.

Thanks for stopping by The Candy Class! Happy teaching!

16 04, 2019

Ideas for Teaching with Phonics Posters

By |2019-04-16T17:59:35-04:00April 16th, 2019|Reading|2 Comments

Today I’m going to share with you nine teaching ideas to use with your phonics posters. As you all know, an alphabet, displayed horizontally across a wall, is a standard feature in most elementary school classrooms. But have you ever asked yourself what purpose is it serving? How are my students (and I) using it, if at all? Is it contributing to student success and independence? Let’s remember, wall space is precious real estate in our classrooms.

Ideas for teaching with phonics posters

One way to make your standard alphabet wall more meaningful is to add long vowel sounds, digraphs, and blends. You can even rename it “The Sound Wall.” After all, sounds are the foundation of reading and writing.

Consider this: A preschooler who only knows the 26 letter names, knows just that. But a kindergartener who knows just six letter sounds (s, a, t, i, p, n) and how to blend them can read over 30 words!

As students learn more and more word patterns and phonetic rules, you can reflect their learning on your ever-growing sound wall with phonics posters. This is just one way to make your wall space interactive and meaningful. Keep reading for even more ideas to support your early readers using phonics posters.

Idea #1: Daily Review

Choose the phonics posters you want to focus on for the day and lead the class through a review of the sounds. This is a great morning meeting routine and can help wake up sleepy brains and bodies. Reinforcement can be done with a chant. For example, when I point to a poster, together we can say, “Adventurous anteater a-a-a, busy beaver b-b-b, cut the cake c-c-c.”


Idea #2 Kinesthetic Review

If you want to add a kinesthetic component, you and your class can create a hand motion or body movement to go with each sound. For example, for “Kk” when students chant “kind kangaroo k-k-k,” they can jump up and down three times while saying the /k/ sound.


Turning Phonics Posters into Phonics Cards

Did you know you can easily turn your phonics wall posters into smaller cards that can be used for a variety of literacy activities? There are a few ways to do this depending on the size and format of your posters.

If your posters are in digital format:

You can reduce the size of each poster and print multiple posters to a single page by adjusting the settings in the print dialog box. If you are printing as a PDF, under “Preview” select “Layout.” Then click “Pages per Sheet” and choose between 1, 2, 4, 6, 9 and 16. When I first learned about this print option, I was so excited and printed in every size possible!

If your posters are store bought:

You can make smaller cards using the copy machine. Simply put the poster on the glass of the machine, reduce the size, and make a copy.

While it takes some extra effort up front, it will be worth it in the long run because consistency is so important when learning phonics. When students can take what they’ve learned in the whole group (through the phonics posters) and reinforce it at a literacy center (through card games), they are engaging in practice that is meaningful and connected.

If you posters are too large:

You can take individual photos of each one, upload them onto your computer, resize them, and print out smaller cards.

No matter which method you use, I highly recommend that you keep a master copy, laminate your cards for longevity, and make a few extras so you can maintain complete sets of cards year after year.


Idea #3: Using them in Guided Reading

Remember when I said I printed my phonics posters in every size possible? Well, here’s what I discovered.

Printing four to a page is a nice size for laminating, hole-punching, and putting on a metal ring for easy whole class review. This size also works great for guided reading when you want to introduce a certain vowel pattern or digraph in the text as a pre-reading activity.


Idea #4 Write the Room Activities

Printing six to a page is a great size for Write the Room activities. To set this up, hang up a selection of phonics cards around the room. You don’t want to hide them, but you also don’t want to tell students where they are. It’s like a scavenger hunt.

For example, you could hang up the long vowel cards for “ai, ee, ie, oa, and ue.” With a record sheet, a pencil, and a clipboard, students walk around the room, find each card, and complete a task such as drawing a picture, writing a word, or writing a sentence that matches the card.


Idea # 5 Use Phonics Posters as Game Cards

Printing nine to a page creates cards that are perfect for games like Go Fish and Memory.


Idea #6 Take-home Flashcards

With the nine-per-a-page size, you can also give students an alphabet set to practice with at home as flashcards. On just three pages, you can print the full alphabet.

I encourage my students to cut them out, and then tape them around their house. I teach them how to play “sound/letter” tag with their families. When a parent calls out a sound or letter, the student has to run to the poster, tag it and say the sound, and run back to the parent for the next one. It’s great exercise and a fun way to practice at home!


Idea # 7 Word Wall Headers

Phonics posters printed as a smaller size can also be used as word wall headers. If you include digraph headers in your word wall, such as “th,” your students will have a much easier time finding those tricky words like “there,” “they,” and “the.”


Idea #8: Matching Puzzles

Another fun use for phonics cards is to create matching puzzles. Simply cut each card in two. One piece is the letter and the other is the image.

I recommend introducing the puzzle as a whole class activity. With a class of 24 students, you can start this game after you’ve introduced 12 sounds. Cut the cards cut apart, mix them up, and put them in a box. Invite each student to draw out a card, no peeking!

On your signal, students mingle and find their correct match. Once students have made the match, go around the room and have each pair of students say the sound for the class.

You can also use this matching game as a literacy center. Just put 8-12 phonics card pairs in a bag and you’re all set. You can rotate cards in and out as you introduce new sounds.


Idea #9: Phonics Poster Collage

You can take a constructivist approach and make phonics posters with your class. Take a large piece of chart paper and either write the sound you are working on in the middle of it or glue on a phonics card. Tell your students their mission is to fill up the chart with pictures and words that have the designated sound.

Provide your students with the weekly advertisements from grocery stores, pharmacies, toy stores, etc. I pick up a few whenever I’m in a store and save them for projects like this. I prefer these over magazines because the store ads are picture heavy and have big and bold fonts, which is perfect for young learners. You can also provide your students with sticky notes, so they can draw and write their own pictures and words to add to the poster.

If you do a phonics college every time you introduce a letter, you will quickly run out of wall space! Therefore, I like to take a picture of each collage and print it out on an 8.5×11 piece of paper. You can laminate it, hole punch it, and bind it with metal rings to create an expandable class phonics book. Students will love looking at this book with each other. It becomes another form of “I Spy” as they try to find the picture or word they add on each page.


Using your phonics posters in interactive ways will engage your students and provide a solid foundation for reading.

You can find my comprehensive set of Phonics Posters and Chants here.

phonics posters with chants


And if you’re looking for more hands-on activities for teaching long vowel teams, check out my post here.

Lastly, I’d like to invite you to sign-up for my free newsletter. Not only will you get a free set of my Blends Phonics Posters once you join, you will also receive many other freebies, teaching ideas, sales announcements, and more. Get the free blend posters here.

I hope you find these teaching ideas helpful. I’d love to hear the creative ways that you use phonics posters in your classroom. Please share and comment below.

Thank you for stopping by The Candy Class!

Written by a Guest Teacher

16 04, 2019

End of the Year Writing Prompts

By |2019-05-07T10:26:01-04:00April 16th, 2019|Reading|0 Comments

Every teacher needs engaging activities to do with his or her students at the end of the year. If we don’t give them things to keep them busy, the little darlings might drive us crazy because they are so excited for the summer! However, we don’t just want to give them busy work. We want to give them quality assignments that will help reinforce what they have learned throughout the year, and possibly even be something they want to save to look back on one day.

That’s why I love using memory book writing prompts at the end of the year! They are fun and quality activities that keep my students engaged and working. Plus, the students really enjoy looking back on memories from their year. I have created a free resource with these types of writing prompts to help you get started. This post will also provide you with several more ideas for memory book writing prompts that you can use in your classroom.

End of the year writing prompts


#1 Good Citizen Moment

One activity your students can do is write about a “Good Citizen Moment” they had this year. Students will reflect on something nice they did for someone else, like helping a classmate with an assignment without being asked or playing with a new student on the playground. They should give details about what happened and explain how they felt during this moment.

end of year good citizen pic


#2 Funny Moment

The students can write about a funny moment they remember from class this year. They will include details about what was said or details about the events that took place that made them laugh. You can tell them their goal is to give the reader enough detail to make them laugh too!

#3 Favorite Field Trip

The students can write about their favorite field trip from the past year. They will tell when and where it took place, as well as details about things they saw and did there. They should also explain what they found interesting there or why it was their favorite field trip.

#4 Favorite Book

You could ask the students to write about their favorite book that they read this year. It could be a book that they read personally, a book from an assignment, or a book you read to them aloud. They should include the book’s title, author’s name, and explain what they liked about the book. Additional things they could do with this topic is write a summary of the book and include key details from it, or they could write about the book’s story elements such as its main character, setting, problem, and solution.

#5 Favorite Subject

Students can write about their favorite subject from your class. They should explain why it is their favorite, as well as give examples of the things they enjoyed learning in this subject. To be more specific, they could tell a story about their favorite lesson and what they learned from it. For example, they could write about a science experiment that they really enjoyed.


#6 Biggest Challenge

You could have your students think about the biggest challenge they faced this year and how they overcame it. It could be an academic challenge, such as struggling with a particular concept in math, or it could be a challenge in another area of their life. Maybe they overcame a behavioral, social, or emotional challenge. This assignment is great for helping them feel proud of their accomplishments!


#7 Summer Activities

Your students can write about things they plan to do in the coming summer. They should provide details about where they are going, who they will be with, and what they will be doing. They can also describe the feelings they are experiencing about whatever they plan to do, like being excited or nervous to go on a cruise, for example.

#8 Advice for a Future Class

The students can think about what it was like to be in your class this year. They should use their experiences to give good and helpful advice to your next class so they will have a successful year too. Examples of tips they might write are “Always tell Mrs. Smith the truth!” or “Make sure you read for 30 minutes every night.”

I hope these ideas will help you have plenty of engaging writing prompts for the end of the year, so your students will stay busy with something they will really enjoy!

To make it easier, I have created a ready-made End of the Year Memory Book resource that you can download here. It includes all of the ideas I mentioned in this post as well as many others. You can use the pages in the End of the Year Memory Book resource as separate activities, or you can put them together as a memory book that the students can take home at the end of the year.

end of the year memory book

After your students complete the memory books, they could even use the books to create keepsake videos for their parents. Find out how in my End of the Year Memory Video article.

I also have some free end of the year writing prompt pages that you can access by signing up for my free newsletter. You can download them as printables, or you can use the digital option that is in PowerPoint format. You can also easily upload the digital version to Google Classroom.

end of the year memory book freebie

Click on the picture or here to sign-up for the free memory book!

Also, I have a free tech course that will help you get a simple three-step system in place with using either Microsoft for Education or Google Classroom. You can find out information and sign-up for that here.

Using technology in the primary classroom to reach more students a free course


Thanks for stopping by The Candy Class! Happy teaching!


13 04, 2019

Spring Activities that Integrate Science & Literacy

By |2019-05-13T11:16:23-04:00April 13th, 2019|Reading|0 Comments

Spring has sprung! With warmer weather and brighter days, now is the perfect time to integrate science and literacy into your spring activities. However, with so many cute spring themes to choose from (just ask Pinterest), it can be tempting to let academic rigor fall by the wayside in favor of adorable spring crafts and projects.

Well, the good news is you can actually have the best of both worlds—fun and engaging spring activities that also meet Common Core standards—by incorporating science and literacy into your thoughtfully chosen spring themes. In this post, I’m going to show you my recipe for spring success and also hook you up with access to my free resource library at the end!


When planning your spring activities, stick to a simple format:

  1. Read aloud
  2. Reading response
  3. Extension activity

With this formula, you’ll save time, meet standards, and make learning hands-on, while also celebrating spring in meaningful and memorable ways. Some of my favorite spring activities that also lend themselves well to science and literacy integration are ants, bees, earthworms, the life cycle of a butterfly, the life cycle of a frog, the water cycle, the life cycle of a flower, and types of clouds.

Here are the details for planning each component.


Once you have chosen your spring theme, look for nonfiction read-alouds that support your topic. A great nonfiction read-aloud will use simple language and will introduce and define key terms. It may also contain some sight words and decodable words that match your students’ independent or instructional reading levels.



Most importantly, your great read-aloud will have excellent color photographs that will captivate students’ attention and demonstrate important aspects of the topic. Your students will enjoy pouring over every inch of high-quality photographs such as the inside of an anthill or a pollen-dusted bee flying from flower to flower.

If your nonfiction book is in digital format, you can easily print multiple pages to a single page and create mini-books for your students. You can use them in guided reading or whole class lessons, and students may enjoy highlighting sight words or vocabulary words in their own copies as a literacy center activity.

Pre-teach Vocabulary

Nonfiction books often have new vocabulary words that require explicit instruction for students to understand. Before starting a read aloud, you can introduce key vocabulary words on index cards along with a matching picture. For example, if you’re reading about the water cycle, you can introduce words such as evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection. Afterwards, post the vocabulary words in your writing center for students to use and reference.

To help solidify the new vocabulary words, teach a hand motion to accompany each new word. This is especially helpful for English language learners and is a kinesthetic way to commit science words to memory.

For example, for the water cycle, you can wiggle your fingers and move them up for evaporation, swirl your hands together above your head in the shape of clouds for condensation, move your wiggling fingers back down for rain, and join your hands together in a circle for collection.

Nonfiction Reading Tips

Reading a nonfiction book as a read-aloud is different than reading a traditional story. Think of it as being on an educational road trip with your students and plan on taking lots of stops along the way. You’ll want to pause frequently, sometimes after every page, to make sure students are understanding key concepts, are able to ask questions and make connections, and are noticing nonfiction text features such as diagrams, labels, and photographs.

You may even want to read the book multiple times to ensure students are grasping the new ideas and vocabulary. On a second or third reading, you can start reading a sentence aloud and then pause before saying the last word to see if students can identify it.

For example, you might read, “At 12 weeks, the tail is shrinking and is only a stub. It is a _____?” Students can raise their hands and say “froglet.”

Reading Response

After the read-aloud, your students can create a reading response craft to reinforce the new concepts. This is a great way to integrate literacy, science, and art into your spring theme. There are many options for nonfiction reading response craftivities including labeling a diagram, recording facts and observations, and creating a life cycle.



If you use interactive notebooks, you can have students complete the projects in their notebooks and display them at Open House. Or, the reading responses can be stand-alone crafts that can be used to create a cheerful bulletin-board display. Either way, students will be proud to share their work with their parents and the school community.


Diagrams with Labels

After discussing diagrams as a special nonfiction text feature during your read-aloud, you can have students create their own. Spring themes that work well for diagrams are the body parts of an ant, the parts of a flower, the water cycle, and types of clouds. With all four of these, you could create an amazing bulletin board with ants and flowers on the ground, and water and clouds in the sky.


With this ant diagram, students will label the parts of an ant. They cant attach this in a notebook or they can attach it to a sheet of paper.

Writing Response

Writing craftivities are another great way to supplement a read aloud and celebrate spring. You can do these craftivities as a whole class or put the materials and a sample in a center for students to complete on their own.


After reading about bees, you and your class can do a shared writing activity and create a list of bee facts on chart paper. Students can then work independently to make their own craftivity full of their favorite facts about bees. Worms are another small creature that students love learning about. Students can record their worm observations and create a simple accordion book.

For learning about flowers, students can create a book with a colorful flower as the cover. On the inside, students can describe the life cycle of a flower. Adding a writing-response component to your spring theme is a great way to integrate writing and science and demonstrate student learning.


Create a Life Cycle

After reading about the amazing transformations of frogs and butterflies, students can create their own interactive life cycles.

For the butterfly life cycle, students can cut and paste the four stages of a butterfly and hide them behind flaps on the butterfly’s wings. Using flaps can also serve as an assessment tool. Students will enjoy testing each other and their parents on the butterfly life cycle and revealing the correct answer. They will become butterfly experts!

For the frog life cycle, students can use a lily pad spinner to reveal each life stage. Matching up each picture with the correct description will be a worthwhile challenge for students and they may need to consult the book for help.


Extension Activities

There are many fun extension activities that you can do to celebrate spring and extend the learning for your students. If you are studying ants, buy an ant farm. If you are learning about worms, start a worm-composting bin in your room. Learning about clouds? Simply go outside, lay on the grass, and identify the different types of clouds in the sky. Of course, the most well-known spring extension activity is raising caterpillars and watching them transform into butterflies. If you time it right, you can release them during the last week of school or even during your graduation ceremony.



If you are looking for a comprehensive resource for spring, check out my Spring Activities Bundle here. It includes 8 nonfiction read-alouds that use high quality, professional photographs, and 9 reading-response crafts that can be used on their own or in an interactive notebook.


Also, how would you like free access to a teacher resource library full of quality freebies? Gain access when you sign-up for my free newsletter here.

For more tips on how to integrate science and literacy into your classroom check out these two blog posts, Fitting Science into Your Primary Class here and End of the Year Writing Prompts here.

I hope this spring success guide helps you make your spring activities interactive, artful, and academically challenging for your students. Science and literacy can easily be integrated into any spring theme, and by following these three steps your spring topics will never be the same!

Thank you so much for stopping by The Candy Class! Happy Spring!

11 04, 2019

Fun and Simple Activities for Bossy R & a Freebie

By |2019-04-11T18:25:38-04:00April 11th, 2019|Reading|0 Comments

I have some fun and simple activities I want to share to help you teach Bossy R. My ideas can be changed and used to teach other phonemes as well. With so many phonics concepts to teach, it’s hard to find time to create quality resources for all of them, so I like to use things that are pre-made. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s just as much work to prepare other people’s resources as it would be to make my own! That’s why I love finding activities that don’t require much preparation either.

Fun & Simple Activities with Bossy R

In this post, I will share several examples of activities that will make teaching phonics much easier for you because they will require little prep, but will still be fun and effective in teaching phonemes like Bossy R. These activities will build students’ identification, blending, comprehension, and higher order thinking skills. Many of the activities I will discuss can be found in my Bossy R No Prep Free Sampler, which you can download here for free.

Free Bossy R No Prep Printables

The skill I usually start teaching phonics with is identifying the phoneme.

Identifying Activity #1 For a quick and simple activity to help students distinguish between words that contain r-controlled vowels and words that do not, you can call out different words that contain the letter R. When they have the r-controlled vowel sound, students can point their bossy finger!

Identifying Activity #2 Students can find and color pictures that contain the Bossy R sound. You can give students a reference sheet at the end so they can check their work.

The next skill I work on after my students identify and isolate a phoneme is how to blend it.

Blending Activity #1

You can write different Bossy R words on index cards and let the students practice blending the words. This can be used as an activity for individuals, small groups, or as a center activity.

Blending Activity #2

Students can show they know how to blend by completing activities that ask them to connect words to pictures. You can give students a reference sheet again to check their work.

Identifying R Controlled Vowels

Moving Beyond Blending

Towards the end of the unit, students can start demonstrating mastery of Bossy R by completing comprehension activities. These will help them practice reading Bossy R words in context in sentences, passages, or books.

Comprehension Activity #1

You can give students sentences to correct that contain words with the r-controlled phoneme. This not only helps them read Bossy R words, but it also helps them practice correct grammar.

Comprehension Activity #2

Students can identify Bossy R in passages they read by underlining them when they find them.

R Controlled Vowel Reading Comprehension Passage

Incorporating Higher-Order Thinking

After students have mastered a skill, I like to challenge them and give them activities that require higher-order thinking. An example of an activity that can help with this is for them to create their own short, silly stories using Bossy R words.

writing with Bossy R

I hope the ideas in this post will make teaching phonics easier. You won’t have to take out a lot of time to prepare or create materials, but you will still have fun and effective activities to teach phonemes like Bossy R.

If you want teaching ideas for other skills like segmenting and spelling with Bossy R, check out my other post Building Up with Bossy R here. It goes into more depth by talking about other focused skills such as isolating Bossy R, segmenting Bossy R, subbing Bossy R, and more. Additionally, you can find all these skills covered in my Bossy R No Prep Printables pack found in my TPT store. It includes 85 no prep printables covering everything from identifying to writing with Bossy R. Link here to learn more.

Bossy R Worksheets Packet for R Controlled Vowels

Click here or the picture to link to the Bossy R No Prep Resource on TPT

Also, you can receive many of the activities I discussed from my Bossy R No Prep Free Sampler when you sign-up for my free newsletter here.

Free bossy r worksheets

Thanks for visiting The Candy Class! Happy teaching!


8 03, 2019

How to Teach Guided Reading: Prereading to Word Work Extensions

By |2019-04-16T19:23:49-04:00March 8th, 2019|Guided Reading, Reading, Reading Strategies|0 Comments

Planning how to teach guided reading can be an intimidating task in the beginning. My first year of teaching, I was extremely nervous that I was going to fail. I had never taught a child how to read. Would I be able to do it? While I was far from perfect and had lots to learn, I ended up finding joy watching students take flight while reading.

Without a doubt, guided reading is my favorite thing to teach, so I am going to share today how to teach guided reading.  I will also include some tips and ideas that can be helpful to those looking for ways to improve their guided reading teaching skills too.

How to Teach Guided Reading


Before I jump in, I want to mention that I am a firm believer that students should read for the majority of guided reading. Other activities are to support their reading growth, and those should be short and sweet.

To show you how to teach guided reading, I am going to show you the framework by going over each component of a guided reading lesson, with tips and resources for each.

Prereading Activities

Before you begin to plan, keep in mind that prereading activities should be kept to a minimum of 5-7 minutes. The goals of prereading activities are to get students engaged with the text, teach new words, and review or introduce sight words that will help support them during reading.

introducing new sight words

Whenever there is new sight words to introduce from a book, this is the time to do that.

mix and fix it word work activity

If you are retargeting sight words from a previous guided reading lesson, you can review those sight words during this time as well. That will allow students to notice the words you just reviewed as they read. One way to review sight words is to have students mix up the letters of a word in a soup bowl and put them back together.

Missing Letters Sight Word Activities

Another activity is to have them look for the missing letters. It is also helpful to have the students write the sight word.

Additionally, it is a good idea to introduce new vocabulary during this time too, but remember to get to the reading. Don’t plan to do all these activities in one lesson. Completing one prereading activity will do, so keep the words you review to a minimum to stay on track with the time.

You also want students to get acquainted with the book. Asking students about the topic, taking a picture walk, or having students make a prediction about the book based on the cover are some ways to introduce the book.

If students will be reading the book again later, asking reading comprehension questions, such as questions about the characters to peak the student’s interest in the story.

Teach a Reading Strategy

While I have heard some teachers say to teach the reading strategy after students read, I believe it makes sense to teach it before they read. This gives students the opportunity to apply it while it is still fresh in their mind. Would you remember to apply a newly taught skill the next day? Probably not. Teaching the reading strategy first means they will have a chance to apply it meaningfully. Being able to apply a concept immediately, always encourages successful retention.

Reading strategy explanations should only take about three minutes. You want to introduce the strategy, model it, then have the students practice it quickly.

An example of how to teach a reading strategy:

We are going to hop through part of the book. I am going to read the sentence (Read a sentence from the book but make a mistake on purpose that makes the sentence wrong.) Now that does not make sense. I am going to hop back and reread because I might have made a mistake (Reread the sentence correctly.) Now that makes sense. I used the Hop Back Rabbit reading strategy. (Show the anchor chart or poster and discuss it.) When something does not make sense while we are reading or we realize we made a mistake, we can always hop back to reread. (Have students practice the strategy by choral reading a sentence from the book. Then pause and say, “Let’s hop back rabbit.” (Have students read the sentence again.)

As you can see, teaching the reading strategy does not need to consume the lesson. The key is to hop back and review that reading strategy every now and then to reinforce it. Pun intended.

The best way to provide a visual to support the reading strategy is to use a poster or anchor chart. Posters can display the reading strategy as you teach it. These are also good for reference while reviewing strategies.

Guided Reading Strategy Posters

An anchor chart can ask a question to get students thinking, and their responses can be recorded too if desired.

This activity with the anchor chart is great for introducing reading strategies for the first time.

Guided Reading Anchor Chart for Reading Strategies

Prompting Strategies During Reading

You can reinforce reading strategies with the feedback you give to students as they read independently. When a student makes a mistake and keeps on reading, you could say a prompt. An example is to say, “Hop back rabbit to reread it.”

It is handy to have some prompts on hand for reading strategies, so you know just what to say to quickly guide students to apply that strategy. Remember, don’t take over their independent reading with a lecture. A quick prompt is all that is needed to redirect.

Performance Assessment During Reading

Performance assessments during guided reading are to simply observe students as they read and record it. Checklists and running records are the two assessment tools to use for this. Performance assessments will let you evaluate students and their reading levels, saving you a ton of valuable guided reading time. They also tell you when your student is ready to move on to the next reading level.

Level A Mastery Checklist

Now sadly, sometimes schools want us to apply several formal assessments that don’t always provide much value in actually guiding our instruction on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes, we must do what we are told because, at the end of the day, we still have to make a living.

You can’t minimize the time spent on those required formal assessments. However, performance assessments will minimize your need to opt out of guided reading due to time constraints. Since performance assessments are quick, they allow you to get the information that you need daily to guide your day to day instruction.

Assessments for Guided Reading

Though sight words, phonics skills, and more can be assessed through observing students as they read, some other assessments will need to be done to evaluate skills that may not be measured by performance assessments. For example, you might still need to do an assessment for things, like sight words, but you can do them less often if you are completing performance assessments. Minimizing your assessment time will help you get more guided reading lessons completed throughout the year. More guided reading lessons mean your students have more time to grow their reading skills.

After the Book

After students have completed independent reading, it’s time to zone in on reading comprehension. This can be done with a prompt or by simply asking students to tell you about the book in their own words. You only need a few minutes dedicated to this part of the lesson to make sure that they understood the story.

Extensions that Support Guided Reading

About ten minutes, give or take, should be used towards activities that support reading growth. These activities should include guided writing, word work, or phonemic awareness activities. You don’t have to include all three components with each lesson, but it is good to include two if time allows. You can also make a schedule, alternating between activities, to make sure you are covering them all on a regular basis.

Guided Writing Dictated Sentence

Guided writing is not the same as writing workshop. It should consist of a dictated sentence that incorporates sight words and graphemes that students are currently working on at their reading level. On the first day, students can build the dictated sentence. The next day, students can write the sentence with support. You can also have students write the sentence without support if you think they need more challenge.

Dictated Sentences for Guided Writing

Phonemic awareness activities play an important role in supporting reading growth.

Beginning Middle and Ending Sounds

If students have not mastered their alphabet, this is the time to work on that with them. Alphabet charts are a quick and easy tool that can be used to reinforce letter recognition and sounds. Alphabet books are another great resource. You can make it tactile by having students trace the letters with their fingers. During alphabet activities, you simply focus on a letter or two at a time. It is always best to start with the letters in a student’s name if they don’t already know them.

Sorting Letters by Characteristic

Other phonemic awareness activities should include rhyming and syllable activities. Asking students to identify words that rhyme by putting their thumbs up is a quick activity that can be done in a minute or two. Another effective activity is to have students clap out syllables.

Phonemic Awareness Activities

Word work tasks are also an important extension to support students with understanding phonics concepts. As a tip, I like the concept of using mats because they don’t involve prepping and managing a million pieces. They are easy to whip out quickly and to put away too! Plus, they are still hands-on and engaging.

Blending Words Activity

Some examples of word work activities include subbing sounds. This word munch activity has students spinning for a letter, covering up the first letter in the word, and substituting the sound with it.

guided reading letter subbing activity for word work

Another activity is to have students sort pictures by sound. You do need picture cards for this activity, so it does involve a little prep. If you laminate them, you can reuse the pictures cards for sorting every year.

Sorting by Beginning Sound

Word building is also a good activity to use for word work. You can actually use this activity to practice sight words too.

Building Sight Words

guided reading word building activity


Word work can be having students swap out letters for other letters to create a different word. I like to call this Extreme Word Make-Over. For example, sad gets changed to bad. Then bad gets changed to pad. Pad then gets changed to pat. Then pat gets changed to bat. This reinforces the concepts of beginning, middle, and ending sounds.

guided reading swapping letters activity for word work

These activities will help students strengthen their word decoding and word recognition skills. It helps students extend the guided reading lesson with guided writing, word work, and phonemic awareness activities.

Knowing When to Move Students Up a Level

Having a mastery checklist for each reading level will easily guide you when it comes to pairing students with the right reading level.

Guided Reading Level Mastery Checklist

Between occasional assessments and performance assessments, you can check off what students have mastered using this mastery checklist. Simply bump students up when they have sufficiently mastered that reading level.

Being Successful with Teaching Guided Reading

Keeping routine and consistency with these practices each day will allow students to grow their reading abilities. It’s important to constantly monitor progress and regroup as needed to best support student learning and growth.

Guided Reading Mega Bundle with Lesson Plans and Activities

Click to link

To better support teachers, I put together a resource that includes all the activities and tools needed for guided reading levels AA-D in one large mega bundle. It includes everything, but the books! Literally, it is full of over 1,700 pages. There are many activities in a one page mat format. I tried to keep it as low prep as possible without compromising on the quality of the activities. Click here or the bundle picture to follow the link to the resource.

It is my hope that this bundle will help support teachers through planning and teaching guided reading to their students. It was created with a lot of love.


Guided Reading Freebie

Click to link

If you would like to test drive my guided reading bundle, I have a decent size sample that you can receive for free when you sign-up for my free newsletter. You can do that here. Make sure to check your downloads folder for it! Click here to sign-up!

Also, make sure to check out some of my other guided reading posts here, here, and here.

Now before I close out, I also want to let you know about my free tech course. This free course shows you a simple three-step system for setting up the use of technology in your classroom. With the abundance of tech options out there, it can get overwhelming in the primary grades. The key is to wisely pick just a small amount of tools and add on from there later on if desired. This course will help you get a system in place, includes some free tech resources to utilize with the system, and even includes short student tutorials to get your class on board. Find more information about it here.

Using technology in the primary classroom to reach more students a free course

Thanks for stopping by The Candy Class. Be blessed!

Candy Class for Teaching Resources and Ideas

Jolene Mathew from The Candy Class







20 07, 2017

Strategy Share: Teaching Story Elements

By |2019-03-12T21:05:59-04:00July 20th, 2017|Guided Reading, Reading, Reading Strategies, Strategy Share, Teaching Strategies|0 Comments

Hi everyone! Today, I wanted to share some teaching strategies for teaching story elements. These ideas are meant to pair with fiction read alouds. Although, I will offer some ideas for guided reading too. I also will include a freebie to help implement these ideas.

Teaching Strategies

First, let’s go over the basic story elements that you would teach in a kindergarten or a first grade classroom. These elements are the characters, setting, and plot. The plot can be easily taught with a simple summary of the beginning, middle, and end or B-M-E. You may be familiar with the five finger retell that includes character, setting, and three details from the story or B-M-E. If not, now you are 😉 Now, let’s jump right in!

Strategy #1: Main Character vs. Other Characters

It is important that students are able to identify the main character in a story. One way to make this concept visual is by illustrating the main character as huge and the other characters as small. It’s a visual that will help young learners because they are very concrete with their thinking. Then when they are reading, they can try to picture who is the big character in the story. This will help them to understand the roles the characters play in a story.

Strategy #2: Character Feelings Sticky Map

This pairs well with a story where the character’s feelings change in the story. On a board or chart, divide up three significant events from a story. Ask students, “How do you think the character felt when _______ happened?” Have students draw up the character’s face on a sticky note and add it to that section. You would do this for each event in the story. You can then draw out the discussion more by asking why they think the character felt that way. Lead them to site clues from the book and to make inferences from their own experiences such as “I would be sad if my friend moved away.”

Strategy #3: Thought Bubbles

Example of a thought bubble for teaching story elements

Have students pretend they are a character in a story. Ask the students, “What would you think if you were the character?” Have students either illustrate or write their thoughts on a thought bubble. For fun, you could take a picture of the student, cut it out, and place it on a bulletin board with the thought bubble.

Strategy #4: Make a Sticky Map

Section off areas for the characters, setting, and B-M-E on a board or chart with arrows between each section to connect them. Then lead students to draw up the characters. Place some of them on the chart (all if you have room). The other students can put the sticky on their shirt for fun. Lead students to discuss the characters as you create the sticky map. Do the same for the other story elements.

Strategy #5: Create a B-M-E Mural

Divide the class into teams B-M-E. Each team focuses on drawing up that part of the story with the characters, setting, and event taking place. If you have a rather large class, you might want to do more than one mural. Once done, have each team present their part of the story. If you want to organize it more, you can assign students each a roll for each team such as character illustrator, setting drafter, story teller, and so on.

Strategy #6: Puppet Retell

Example of retelling puppets for teaching story elements

Yes, this is something that has been around for years, but I also think it is something that has been well forgotten in the last decade or just not used very often! Puppets are a fun way for students to retell the plot of a story, identify the characters, and recreate the setting. With this, have students make the character puppets. They can simply draw them up and attach to a popsicle stick. Then have students illustrate the setting. Students can work in pairs if you like with this project or even in a small group. Then let students retell away using the five finger retell strategy. (Note: I found these awesome popsicle sticks with a sticker that make it easy to have instant puppets. I bought the colorful ones locally in a craft section of a store near me. I could only find the plain ones on Amazon. You can find those here: Jumbo Craft Popsicle Sticks with Self-Adhesive Tips Please note, this is an affiliate link that is of no additional cost to you and that pays me a very small commission that goes toward the monthly costs to host this blog.

Strategy #7: Graphic Organizers

Picture of graphic organizers for teaching story elements

Okay, totally very common, I get it. However, these are very important, so I had to include it. Plus, I include a graphic organizer in the free download for you, so if I included it there, I had to cover it here. 🙂 Now graphic organizers can vary. Some can just focus on the character. Some can just focus on B-M-E. Some can incorporate all of those. When you are first introducing story elements, it is good to just zoom in on the characters. Who is the main character? Who are the other characters? Then branch out to the setting. Where did the story take place? When did the story take place? After that, you can branch out to B-M-E and start to dig deeper into character traits.

Here is the free story elements resource. I hope you enjoy it! Just fill out this form to grab it. If you are already a subscriber, simply fill it out again to have it sent to your email too.

 You can also view my privacy policy here.

Thanks so much for stopping by the Candy Class!

Jolene 🙂