Monday, February 24, 2014

Making Words & Word Work

I try and give my students the opportunity to "build words" in some capacity every single day.  One of the most fun and engaging ways I've found to do that is through a simple "Making Words" activity.    Each student receives one sheet of paper that has letters to cut out.  Students manipulate the letters to create real words, and they list them on their original sheet of paper.  I've created a pack of 31 Making Words printables that can be used throughout the year!
When to use Making Words activities...
1.  Morning Work/Bell Ringer
2.  ELA stations
3.  WORD WORK center
4.  Partner activity
5.  While the teacher sets up for the party or next activity  :)  
Students will work on a variety of skills as they are building words...Word families, phonics, phonological awareness, spelling, sight words, etc.   Before having students begin this activity, it is very important to DEMONSTRATE and MODEL how to build words.  Scaffold students' learning by thinking aloud and showing students your thought process while making words on your classroom Smart board or projector.  
{Please note...Answer keys are not included in this product because every child will create a different list of words.}  Here are a few examples:


1.  Give students a snack baggie to store their letters incase they do not finish the activity.
2.  Have students work individually or in teams of two.  
3.  If you have a competitive group, add a timer to the equation!  My students are always motivated to beat the clock.  Have older students compete to create the longest word, the most words, or even the most unique word...Something NOBODY else in the class thought of.  
4.  If your students sit at a table, print the Making Words activities on different colored paper so the kiddos' letters will not get mixed up.
5.  As time passes, give students a hint.  "Can you make a word that means..."  "Can you make a word from the word wall?"  "Can you make one of our weekly spelling words?"
6.  For older students, you can assign point values for different size words like in Boggle.  (3 letter word equals 3 points, 4 letter word equals 4 points, etc.)
7.  Use blank spaces for "wild" letters.
8.  When students get stumped, have them share a word with a friend or trade 3 of their letters with a friend so they can build and create even more words.  

I hope your students will love Making Words as much as my students always have!  Leave a comment below (AND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS), and I'll send this Making Words Printable Pack to a few lucky winners.  :) 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Hello, 2014!

Happy February!  I'm linking up with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her latest Currently link party.   Be sure to read to the bottom of my post because I've got some Brain Breaks for ya!  
Listening: Silence is truly golden.  :)
Loving: My hubby got me a MacBook for Christmas, and we got a beautiful, old desk from his Aunt. So now I have my very own office at home!  I've gotta be honest...I have no clue how to do most things on my Mac yet.  I feel so OLD and behind the times!!
Thinking: I love creating TPT freebies, and I love teaching in the spring.  Hope to post it later this week.
Wanting: With a 9 month old, sleep is still hard to come by, but isn't he precious!?!?

Needing: I celebrated my 29th birthday on Jan. 31st.  Yay!
2 Truths & a Fib: The first is TRUE.  I'm working from home while my little one is teeny tiny.  Then I'll be back in the classroom when he hits Pre-K.  I tutor and substitute on occasion, so I still consider myself a real teacher.  :)
The second is so FALSE.  I can't even remember what my resolutions were...
We moved to our new house about two weeks ago, and I'm the happiest lady around!  More space is exactly what we needed!  

One of my very first posts on TheHappyTeacher has become one of my most popular posts...BRAIN BREAKS!  
I've added some more ideas that you can instantly use in your classroom Brain Break repertoire.  There are 23 ideas listed on the post in all.  Have fun! 

Sunday, December 1, 2013


December really came quickly this year!  Maybe it was because we spent the past week in Florida celebrating Thanksgiving with my family!  :)  Baby Reed had such a fun time at Grandma's house!  
Most of these are self explanatory.  However, I must explain my favorite tradition.  Every year, I make cinnamon applesauce ornaments with my students.  They sound edible, but they are not.  They are sparkly, festive, and smell DELICIOUS.  I have so many on my tree at home!  I always let the kiddos wrap them up in tissue paper and Christmas wrapping paper to give as "gifts" to their parents.  It's a fun tradition that I plan to continue with my son at home! 
Find the recipe for Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments here!  

I must share a Pinterest success story!  You know how you always find super cute ideas on Pinterest?  Then when you try and recreate them, they go OH SO BAD!  Well, here is a TRUE success story!  I created these adorable Christmas light name strings with my kiddos.  They looked darling in the hallway.  So bright and festive!  

Note:  I took these pictures while the glitter was still drying so that's why there is no yarn stringing them together.  Hehe.  {Original Source}  I have a pattern for the light bulbs that I created.  It's nothing fancy, but if you'd like the blackline that I made, e-mail me at and I'd be glad to send it to you ASAP!  

If you're looking for a math FREEBIE to use during the holiday season, check out my Word Problem Task Cards.  They are perfect for "Problem of the Day" or math centers.  Best part is they are FREE!

Happy December from TheHappyTeacher and The Happy Baby!  :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Currently October

Time for Currently with Farley!
Listening: Fox News was doing a special on infant sleep so they came to our house and got some footage of Baby Reed!  If you are interested, check out the clip!
Loving: My new blog design!  I still have some work to do on it, but the design is so fresh and new!  
Thinking: We had a little cold front last week, but then the 90 degree heat returned this week.  I'm all about fall and ready for the cool, crisp air!  :)
Wanting: Mama lives in Florida, but we would do anything to have her in Texas with us...Maybe I'll hit the lottery so I can buy her a house, hehe.
Needing: I'm struggling to keep up with my blog and baby right now.  I'm hoping my fresh new blog design will keep me motivated!
Treat: I heard up the "Head's Up" app on Ellen.  It's 99 cents, but that's a cheap treat for all the fun this game will provide you.  Serious fun.  :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Currently September

I love linking up with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her Currently linky party!  
It's a rainy, hot day here in Texas, but I'm off to enjoy the holiday with my hubby and little one!

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Inside Recess Fun

I don't know about you, but it seems like there are so many days each year where we are stuck INSIDE for recess.  It's either rain, snow, temperature, or ozone alerts that prevent us from going outside.  Sometimes I let the kids have "free time," but honestly, that can be very loud and messy!  :-)

When we are stuck inside, I KNOW my kids need to expend energy and exercise!  I came up with some fun physical activities for the kids to do.  I set it up like stations.  I hang posters around the room, and kiddos rotate with a partner to each "station."  None of the activities require any equipment so it's fast and easy to set up.  The exercises are all common, and kiddos are familiar with them from PE class so they really have a ball with it.
Check out a few example posters from my Inside Recess Fun product:
As always, set your behavior and noise level expectations before beginning!  Have fun!

Comment on this post and let me know what you think.  Don't forget to include your e-mail.  I'll choose a few lucky winners, and send you Inside Recess Fun for FREE!  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Currently August

Time to link up with Farley for Currently August!
Listening: To all my Dallas friends...Do you love Urban Taco as much as I do?  Can't beat free Wi-Fi and a delicious taco.
Loving: I LOVE going to the mall to shop for new outfits and ACTUALLY finding things that fit and look cute!  Such a happy feeling!  :)  These are my two favorite dresses I found  yesterday...One is for a baby shower on Saturday and the other is for my brother's wedding in a few weeks.

Thinking: My girlfriends and I are baking and decorating 100 sugar cookies tonight for the baby shower on Saturday.  Hope they are AWESOME!  
Wanting: I'm such a bag of emotions...I'm so lucky and blessed to be able to stay home with my sweet baby boy, but I'm also super sad I won't have a classroom of my own.  I plan to substitute and volunteer all year, but it won't be the same without a classroom of my own.  I'll up for helping decorate anyone's classroom that needs my helps in DFW.  :)  
Needing: Still need to lose that baby weight, LOL.  I'll be more motivated when the weather is cooler.  
B2S Must Haves: Sharpies make my heart beat a little quicker.  <3
Yes...I wear heels to school on most days so I'm always in need of a new, comfortable pair every year.  These are my absolute favorites...I can wear them ALL DAY and not hate myself...They are a little spendy but totally worth it!  
Teaching rules, routines, and procedures is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing about Back 2 School!  This is a sample of the PowerPoint I use in my classroom every year.  It comes in so handy the first few weeks and then again throughout the year as students need a review of my expectations.  It's completely editable too!  
That's all for now!  Must get home to my little man!  :)  

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Classroom Management FREEBIE!

Do your kiddos have a hard time differentiating between noise/volume levels like mine always do?  It often seems like kiddos only speak in their OUTSIDE voices.  I designed these **free** voice level posters to help students understand the different voices that are used at different times.  I spend A LOT of time teaching voice levels during the first week or two of school.  {I also spend a lot of time REVIEWING these voice levels throughout the year, hehe.}  These posters are an easy way to remind students of your expectations for volume based on what is going on in your classroom.  
I created similar posters in a BLUE, GREEN, and WHITE design.  You can download those for free HERE:
Do you use "secret hand signals" in your classroom?  My kiddos love learning and using my secret hand signals during the first week of school.  It's our special way of communicating.  :)
I created the same hand signals in a green, blue, and white version as well!  Check it out! 
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
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