Magnetic letters were always one of the most used items in my classroom. They are used a lot here at home too!
When I had a classroom full time, I had a corner of the classroom set up with a nice big pocket chart with 26 pouches. I had it mounted on the wall adjacent to a whiteboard at student height. A daily small group activity was to build words with the letters. Having the letters so accessible and organised made such a positive impact on our class program.
I also utilise these portable magnetic letter organisers. I found them in the hardware section of a cheap store and they are fantastic. When I first started teaching, I was very concerned with finding 'matching' magnetic letters that were consistent in size and shape. Let me tell you, do not worry about that at all! With experience I have learnt that the greater the variety, the better! A variety of letter styles, sizes and shapes will assist your students in learning to identify letters in multiple font styles. I do like to try to provide my students with lower case letters for spelling activities, so sort my letters into two boxes - one for upper case and one for lower case.
Asking your students to pack away the letters at the end of each activity is a valuable learning experience. It will help them with practising letter identification and alphabetical order.
A simple activity for small group time, is to provide your students with just a small selection of letters on a sorting tray. Challenge them to see how many words they can make using just those letters provided.
If you do not have time to get your letters sorted, ask your students to do it for you! Another easy-to-prep activity is simply having a big box of magnetic letters and a pile of alphabet flash cards.
Students in the small group take turns to select a card, identify the letter and then the whole group search for it. The first child to find the identified letter is the winner for the round, and may keep it until the end of play. The student with the most letters at the end of play may be declared the winner. Challenge students to see if they can make a word from their letters at the end!
How do you use magnetic letters in your classroom?