I have to be able to think on my feet quickly and have activity ideas up my sleeve. It is harder than you think, when you are kind-of in someone else's room!
I purchased an easel pad over the weekend - you may also call this 'chart paper' or something similar. Basically it is just a HUGE sized notepad. I want this to be able to create some small group games (you might call them 'centres', 'centers' or 'groups'). Our students work in small ability-based groups at various times through the day - mainly for reading and number.
I am going to have this pad on hand to whip up some games in a flash! If you know me well, you will notice that I do like carefully prepared, laminated, cute and colourful activities. I am not naive or a super-human however, and sometimes, you just have to make things easy. You also have to be able to respond very quickly to needs and interests in the classroom. Being able to respond to needs in the classroom quickly, means you can have more fluid groupings of students that change daily or weekly. At times, we need to change planned or programmed activities. Enter Mr. Big Notepad.
I got a Crayola one - $10 at K Mart. My faithful Micador Giant Megacolors work great on this paper.
For this quick game, I drew up a rough table, and chose three letters of the alphabet. Students have to find flashcards that match each letter and place them in the row. Great way to utilise the old flashcards packets you might have lying around. I have quite a few.
You could easily do a few pages to make a couple of games. Change the rules and ask students to find the next three letters that come AFTER these in the alphabet. Once they have sorted the cards, you could also ask them to write the sounds or words that contain these sounds, on the chart paper itself. Finish by displaying their work on the board for the rest of the day.
On a side note - I used to store all my games and flashcards in old VHS boxes. I just printed a cover for each box. These keep your games and resources very neat and well protected. I have to admit, I was influenced by the fact that I got 200 for 20c on sale one day!! I now store as much as possible in plastic documents wallets- as they are less cumbersome and can be filed!
Another game that is easy to prepare is to make a game board from a grid of sounds - in this one, I put initial consonant blends.
Students take turns to toss a counter (or bottle top) onto the board. All students in the group then have to write a word into their Busy Book (or on a piece of paper) that contains this sound.
As I get busier and my own children are creating their own busy lives, I am looking for ideas that make me work smarter in the classroom, not harder. Hopefully I can share some more with you as time goes on, and I would love to hear and see yours as well!
Thanks so much for stopping by!