Friday, August 12, 2011

Word Work Center etc.

Whew!  It's been a crazy-hectic day!  I spent a ton of time in the classroom labeling books, laminating, setting up centers, and completing a plethora of other little odd jobs.  I think I rearranged bookshelves and desks at least four times.  My room is finally shaping up the way I want it to be, especially since I have two more bookshelves now!  I have two days of  "new" teacher orientation on Monday and Tuesday, and then my first official teacher day is the 19th.  The kiddos will be there soon after that.  :)  So, I'm going to try to take this weekend to email everyone back who has emailed me in the last week or so.  I'm sorry it's taken so long for me to reply!  Switching districts is exhausting!  :) 

I will be addressing several questions from my lovely followers throughout the week.  Today, I want to focus on my current Word Work activities.  All of them are going to primarily focus on the Reading Street spelling and vocabulary words for each story, but I also wanted it to address sight words.  I also wanted to encourage kids to read the room and expand their vocabularies in more organic ways.  As skills are taught, I will probably throw in some centers that I will rotate out that are more skill-specific.  Right now, I'm going to show you what will always be in that area.   I'll share my other centers another day.  Prepare yourselves, this is a super LONG post! {I'd love to hear what you all do with your students for word work too, so comment away!}

I have the kids work on file folder games that I made for a college project eight years ago! The file folders are not included in the file. They were hand-drawn, and I have not scanned them in. However, they are used as a supplement in my classroom.

It's so funny to see my hand-drawn centers now that I am lazy and use clip art for everything!

I have four different colored sand tubs for writing words.

My Phonics Box now houses about eight white boards, four sand boxes, file folder games, and puppets.  {See below}

You're probably wondering about this one, but I threw this in for syllabication practice.  They can bend their little fingers to count syllables... or they could use them to spell words too!  Think "Spelling Buddies".  :)

The magnetic letters are pretty self-explanatory.  The kids use cookie sheets with them to spell words.

The kiddos can use pipe cleaners to spell words too!

You can find this printable at  There are other ideas there too!  I am so ordering a set of letter shakers!  They are like Boggle, and they look like tons of fun!  Click the link to check it out!

These are sight word/spelling word chants.  I can't remember where I found them online.
I ordered the sight word flashcards from Lakeshore, and the magnets were from Walmart.

The dry erase word strips were from Walmart.  The mini pocket chart was from Target.  I have four in the center.

Stamps & ink for stamping words.

The trays formally known as math trays are now used in my Word Work center since I no longer teach math.

Another shot of flashlight for reading the Word Wall and funky straws for reading the room.

A close-up of my cookie sheet storage on top of a two drawer organizer.

Cut up pieces of plastic canvas to create bumpy word art. 

Here's an example.  The kiddos use crayon to write their words!


Crayon storage!  Love these containers from Walmart!

I stuck crayons, dry erase markers and an eraser in this little nook by the other materials for easy access.

Big Bling Spelling with the "word work trays"!  I picked up three packs of these letter gems at Pat Catans.

I threw in two more pointers as I was working in the room.  This shot shows you where I tucked the pocket charts.

Sparkle Spelling with pom poms.  This really makes you focus!  I would write out large sight words on a laminated sheet of paper if I were using this with younger kids, because it really forces you to think about letter formation. 

Hot Dot Writing with bingo markers.  Use a crayon to write the word in block letters, then use dots to decorate it. 

I found these little photo holders at Target, and I thought it would be a neat way to practice vocab words with partners.

I cut dry-erase strips in half for this activity.  Everything is kept in a gallon sized bags, including a few markers.

I didn't realize how crooked my baskets were when I took this.  Oh well, this is how it will look when the kids use it, right?

Large flashcards for the Reading Street spelling (yellow) and vocabulary words (green).

I will be sharing some of my other centers for the Daily 5 throughout the week.  Can you feel the suspense building?!  Instead, here are the answers to some recently asked questions.  If I overlooked yours, I'll double check tomorrow and address any other questions this weekend! 
The posters on the bottom are the fluency posters from my TpT store:  The top posters are by Made for First Grade:

I use my buckets for all sort of things.  These three buckets are used to teach metacognition:

Some buckets are just basically sitting around looking pretty... for now.

I like to use my buckets for hidden storage.  In this case, this bucket is a nice place to store magnifying glasses for mysteries.

I keep the alphabet in one bucket at all times for any alphabet books we make, like with Miss Alaineus.
Lastly, here are a few new shots showcasing the finishing touches.  I think my room is ready for kiddos!

Here's a shot of my newly created genre posters on TpT.

Thank you Amy Lemons! I love this!  Snag your own numbers here:

I got an actual listening center today to replace my sad little CD player.  Someone asked about the Books in the Spotlight page.  You can find that here:

Finally organized & labeled!

The bookcase on the right is broken, hence the curtain.  Luckily I had a spare rod and valence from my old school.  This is where I will keep materials for Guided Reading groups.

Not the most impressive photo!  This is my Buddy Reading center featuring parts of my literature circle collection!

This little beauty will house all of my teacher binders.  :)  


  1. Thanks for sharing your ideas! Love your blog!

  2. Looks amazing! I love your listening center- so cozy! How do you use your buddy reading station? Do you put all the double/multiple copies in there? All your materials are wonderful!
    Rambling About Reading

  3. I sooo love what you've done with your room! It's so organized. I'm groaning right now when I think how far I have left to go. Good luck with the "new" year :0)


  4. Thanks for your pics. I am a visual learner to it is nice to see the materials. I went to Oriental Trading and ordered the Boggle sets and downloaded your recording sheet. I think that the kids will really like this option.

  5. Everything looks amazing! Thanks for sharing! :)

  6. Wow! Now you just need kids. Thanks for sharing all of the word work pics!

  7. Thanks so much for answering my questions, I truly appreciate it. Looking forward to your next post. The room looks fantastic. Mary

  8. You. Are. An. Amazing. Artist. Too. (Picks jaw up off the ground) Do you ever stop overachieving?!!! (Giggles... Well, I don't, so there is no reason for you to stop, either.) - Victoria :)

  9. Thanks for sharing the centers ideas!! So cute!

  10. Amanda-have you been to I printed off all sorts of games with Reading Street vocab. At least for 2nd grade there are voc. dominoes and other goodies

  11. I love your room! I'll keep stalking your blog because we also use Reading Street. SInce this is my first year in Third Grade, I need the ideas!

    Pitner's Potpourri

  12. Your room is adorable!! Thanks for sharing some pics!! Where did you get your polka dot trays? I am having my first giveaway if you want to check it out!!

    Miss J @ smilescrayonsandendlessstories

  13. Everything looks terrific! Now, I'll be making sand boxes and bubble words this weekend, to use for writing. I have a bag of sparkling pompoms, just waiting to be used!


  14. All of your ideas are fabulous. I already do a couple of them as well, but loved seeing ways to use pom poms for other ways. Thanks for sharing.

  15. wow great post!! Thank you for taking the time to do that for us!

  16. Wow! Absolutely LOVE your Word Work ideas. Thank you so much for sharing.

  17. Yay, great ideas!!! I'm hoping to translate some of them into speech therapy practice for my little guy. Thanks so much for sharing your work!!! It's nice to not have to reinvent the wheel.


  18. These are some great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

    I love the file folder games ideas but am at a loss of what type of games to put in them. In the game you show, how do the students play the game?


  19. I love all of your pictures. Where did you get the cute trays at?

  20. Sorry I forgot to put my e-mail so you could answer my question. It is

  21. These are some of the best ideas that I have seen for practicing words! I am going to use all of them in my class!!


  22. These are amazing! I'm adding them to my wishlist.


  23. My kiddos love the Bumpy Word writing too! I have not seen anyone else use it:) So glad you do. I just bought a stylist for my tablet so my kiddos can us it for word study and I always have a computer or laptop open to It is a favorite in class! Thanks for sharing all of your word study ideas. They are perfect for Back to School!
    The Schroeder Page

  24. Just printed out some of the activities for this week's Word Work center. I am thrilled you put in a blank for those activities not included. Quick question...would you be willing to share the fonts you used? I'd like to keep them the same, if possible. Thanks! Hope your year is off to a great start.

  25. I had to hunt & hunt for the letter gems. I ended up finding them on a site under bird toys lol! :) Great on a light table!

  26. I went to download your centers for free but when I went to TPT it says it's $5. Are you charging for it now? Your work is awesome! I want to pull a few of these ideas to build some fine motor skills with some of my students still working on identifying letters! Thanks for sharing!

  27. HI Awesome ideas!!! I was wondering how they play the file games.

  28. I love this! I am moving from teaching middle school to elementary and needed this to help me get going!