Wednesday, September 21, 2011

S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G Review Ideas For Home

Josiah is a first grader and he has weekly spelling tests now.  Doing homework isn't his favorite past time in the world, so I have pulled together my own ideas and scoured the Internet, blogs, Pinterest for other ones to make spelling review a bit more fun for ALL of us. 

Plus, I must confess I LOVE to "teach".  In college I studied and obtained an elementary education degree.  I taught 5th grade my first year out of college, substitute taught another two years and then left the teaching profession.  However, teaching is part of my innermost being and I certainly love being able to use my gift to help Josiah, his teacher, and classroom of friends.  Indeed, we have wrestled with home schooling Josiah, but we feel that isn't the best choice or decision for him/me/us right now.  So, I'll stick to volunteering in the classroom and teaching kids about Jesus at our church, The Ransom :). is a repertoire of my "bag of tricks" in case any of you need to "spice up" spelling test practice with your kids.  Some of these "tricks" are geared toward younger kids while some of them are suitable for any age.  The last game is our favorite review game!!

  • Word Cheers--Spelling Word Cheers (I printed and laminated these cards created by first grade teacher, Heather Price.   We pick one out for each different spelling word or you could use a different cheer for all the words each night you practice.)

  • Stencils--Give your child a set of stencils to practice spelling words. 

  • Scrabble-- If you have a scrabble board, dump out all of your letter tiles and have your child try and fit all of their spelling words on the board. 

  • Pom Poms-- Use pom poms to spell out words. 

  • Index Cards-- Have your child copy down their spelling words on individual index cards.  Have them sort them in ABC order and rewrite them in ABC order on separate piece of paper.

  • Stamps--Have your child use stamps and ink pads to spell their words. 

  •  Wipe Off Boards-- Give your child a white board to write their words on while you orally give them. 

  • Play dough-- Give your child play dough to write/shape their spelling words.

  • Colored Sand-- Place colored sand in a rectangular shaped disposable plastic container and provide an UNsharpened pencil for your child to practice writing their words in the sand.

  • Flashcards-- Use letter flashcards to spell out words. 

  • Foam shapes-- Write alaphabet letters on foam shapes and kids arrange them to spell words.  These came out of a boxed game no longer use.   

  • Pipe Cleaners-- Bend pipe cleaners into letters to spell out words.

  • Computer-- Type each spelling word in different fonts and/or color on the computer. 

  • Magnetic Letters-- Use magnetic letters to spell out words on a cookie sheet or pizza pan.  I suggest buying 3-4 sets so you have plenty of vowels.  
  • Roll & Write-- Number spelling words according to a board game dice (or two die if more words).  Roll dice and have child write corresponding spelling word.  I also have used this game to provide more intensive work on just a few spelling words Josiah specifically needs to concentrate on. 

  • Tip It-- I randomly placed circle stickers (leftover from a garage sale) on a light weight pizza pan.  Balance the pizza pan on a 2 liter bottle (with or without liquid still in it).  Assign different colored counting bears for child and parent.  After parent gives each word, he/she should place counting bear on pizza pan.  Then, child spells the words (up to you whether they spell words orally or on paper).  If the child spells words correctly they DO NOT place a counting bear on the pan.  But, if they do spell it incorrectly, they place on of their counting bears on the pan.   Students will quickly learn it is important to strategically place them on the pizza pan to avoiding "tipping" the pan.  Whoever tips the pan first loses and the winner gets a treat, coin, special privilege, etc.... So, the object is NOT to tip the pan.  This is also a great review game for other subject areas-- reviewing for social studies/science tests, math facts, etc...

Of course, all of these activities/games can be adapted to your family's/student's needs.  Does your family have any fun review games/ideas you use with your kids?  We would love to hear them :)

Also, I have found some math fact review ideas, as well.  I would be happy to share those too, if there is enough interest.  Just let me know. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Boohoo....Yahoo....Back To School Brunch

While I was recently browsing online I came across a school website advertising a back to school gathering just for moms.  They called it a "Boo Hoo! Yahoo! Party"--isn't that clever?  As a mom I dread saying goodbye to my son for 8 hours a day, but on the other hand I also look forward to the freedom of not having him tagging along as I run errands, etc... 

I knew I had to "steal" the idea and decided this would be the perfect way to reconnect with my fellow girlfriend mommies, as well.  So, I threw together some invitations, mailed them out and started planning a menu.  Today I hosted several ladies for my first "Boo Hoo! Yahoo! Party."  I definitely plan to make this an annual event!

Here's a look at the food I served and a link to print out all the yummy recipes.

The best part is that we are going to start meeting monthly to reconnect AND craft together!  I was given the distinct honor of hosting and organizing our first gathering.  :)  I'm so thrilled! 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Chicken Wire Picture Frames

I recently have fallen in love with the 8th and Railroad Center in downtown Sioux Falls.  It's a quaint "strip mall" that has a boardwalk feeling to it and is full of unique boutiques.  It's also home to "K's", the cutest little resturant, that serves the yummiest lunches and just recently started offering dinner too.  The area is just charming!!!
This past Spring, Korissa (one of my college best friends) went out to lunch and window shopping at 8th and Railroad Center.  As we browsed, we were chatting about ways she could decorate her loft area in her home and how she could incorporate pictures of her travels into the decor. 

Korissa and I
At one point, we eyed the cutest little bird cage with pictures clothes-pinned on it and we instantly fell in love with the idea. However, Korissa isn't really into bird cages and that's when I thought of making her chicken wire picture frames :) 

It was such a fun project yet so versatile and inexpensive! I upcycled some "old" picture frames my Dad made me years ago by painting them red, recruited Dad and Tyler's to help staple in the chicken wire, and mod-podged scrapbook paper on clothespins to embellish them a bit. That's it--- it really was that simple!  

Work in Progress

 These would also be a perfect substitute for a bulletin board in which you can easily find field trip permission slips, recipes, game schedules, spelling word lists, etc... :) 

Even though, I fell in love with them and wanted to keep them all to myself...  I wrapped 'em and gave them to Korissa for her birthday gift!  :) 

 Happy Birthday Korissa-- I am so blessed by your friendship!