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Make a Name Puzzle

October 31, 2015

What You Need:

1. An envelope
2. Two strips of paper (about 9-12 inches in length)
3. Scissors
4. A red magic marker, and a black magic marker

What You Do:

1. Use the black marker to write your child’s first name neatly in big bold letters on the first strip of paper. Do the same thing in red on the second strip. You’ll want to leave about a finger-width of space between each letter so that you can cut them apart later.
2. Show the black strip to your child and tell him that this is his name. Run your finger under the name from left to right as you say it aloud. Have your child do the same. Now point to each letter, one at a time, and say the letter name aloud. Ask your child to copy you.
3. Leaving the first strip intact, pick up the second strip with the red letters and cut the letters apart into individual pieces. As you make each cut, say the name of the letter that you are cutting off the strip.
4. Mix up the pieces.
5. It’s time to get puzzling! Ask your child to help you put the red name puzzle back together, using the black strip as a guide. This provides him with lots of support as he matches letters to their mates.
6. Speaking the names of the letter aloud helps kids make connections between what they see and what they hear. So for the best practice, nudge your child to say the name of each letter aloud, as he puts it into place. He should also try to put the pieces together in order, so he gets used to the sequence of the letters. You can help him along with hints. (For example, to complete a name puzzle for “John,” you might ask your child to look for the letter “J” first, rather than picking up a random piece and putting it in its place.)
7. After he’s successfully matched the red letters to the black ones to build his name, it’s time to fly solo! Ask him to build his name from memory, without looking at the black strip.
8.Finally, when clean-up time comes, slide all those reds and blacks into the envelope, and help your child write her name on the outside of it, saying each letter aloud as he writes.

Store the puzzle pieces and the name strip for later practice. And there you have it—a super easy way to make learning letters fun!

Craft Story Sequence Cards

October 30, 2015

What You Need:

    Favorite book
    Crayons or markers
    Few large sheets of paper
    Ruler
    Scissors

What You Do:

    Using a ruler, draw squares on a large sheet of paper. The squares should be large enough for a young child’s
drawing to fit inside. A 6″ x 6″ square should be enough space. The number of squares drawn depends on your child. You can start with just three squares at first and then create more as your child gets the hang of sequencing.
    Have your child pick her favorite book.
Ask your child to help you remember what happened in this book.
    Let her retell the story by drawing pictures inside the squares. Encourage your child to draw the main
events from the book. Use the book for reference, if needed. For example, with the book The Rainbow Fish, in each square, a child could draw: the Rainbow Fish, a group of fish asking the Rainbow Fish to play, the little blue fish asking for a scale, the Rainbow Fish all alone, the Rainbow Fish talking to the octopus, and the Rainbow Fish giving his scales away in the last square.
    When the drawings are complete, cut them out and mix them up. Ask your child to arrange the squares in order, starting at the beginning and working towards the ending.

These easy and versatile story sequence cards are the perfect way to get your child to think about the beginnings, middles, and ends of her favorite stories.

Toss and Blend: A Carnival Game

October 30, 2015

What You Need:

1. Paper, for recording words
2. Markers
3. 5 paper cups
4. Tape
5. Handful of coins, buttons, or game chips

What You Do:

1. Using a thick marker, write one of the following beginning blends on the inside lip of each paper cup: BL-TW-QU-CH-SH
2. Next, tape the cups to the floor so they are touching, and visible when viewed from a standing position by you and your child.
3. On chart paper or a pad, create a beginning letter blends chart. Write the blends as you did on the cups across the top of the paper. These blends form the headings for the columns of your chart. Underneath them, you’ll list the words your child brainstorms, in the appropriate individual column. Not in the mood to create your own chart? Print out our template.
4. Time to toss! To start the game, take turns with your child tossing a chip into the cup of your choice. When the chip lands in a cup, the player must come up with a word that starts with its beginning blend. For example, if your child’s chip lands in the BL- cup, she needs to dream up a word with that beginning, such as “blue” or “black”. Each time someone comes up with a word, let your child (with your assistance) record it on the letter blend chart.

How many words did you come up with for each blend? Ask your child to tally the results! Can she come up with other beginning blends to use for a future round? Does she think she’s ready to tackle the game with ending blends instead? Get her feedback. And if she’s game, get out those chips and keep tossing!

Fairy Tale Dice

October 29, 2015

What You Need:

    2 Styrofoam cubes
    White construction paper
    Clear laminate sticker, or adhesive paper
    Scissors
    Tape
    Markers
    Ruler
    Pencil

What You Do:

    Measure one side of a styrofoam square. With the measurements, help your child cut down the white construction paper into squares to cover each side of both dice. There will be 12 white squares total.
    Set aside 6 white square pieces of paper.
    On each of the 6 pieces of white paper, write the name of a different fairy tale character. Some examples are:
Queen, Fairy, Jester, Wicked Witch, Princess, Knight.
    On one styrofoam cube, help your child tape a drawing to each side.
    Set this cube aside and begin on the second cube.
    On the other set of square sheets of paper, write six different locations that exist in a fairy tale.  Some examples are: Castle, Cave, Tower, Dark Woods, King’s Chambers.
    Help him tape these drawings on to each side of the cube.
    Assist him in covering both cubes with clear laminate to protect the drawings.
    Time to tell a story!
    Have your child roll the die with characters on it. The story begins, “Once upon a time there was a…”
    Whichever character is on the top of the die, will be the main character for the story.
    He can then roll the second die, and continue with, “…who lived in a …”
    Have him continue the story until he needs to add another element. Then, have him roll the dice again.
    If he gets stuck, ask him what actions or verbs his characters are doing, or what may happen next to his
characters to encourage story development.

Guess My Word: A Vocab Game

October 29, 2015

What You Need:

1. Two players
2. Your child’s vocabulary list.

*Feel free to think outside of the box, too. You don’t need to limit yourself to lists of words from the language arts folder; you could use new words from your child’s new math unit in measurement, such as volume, capacity, length, height, width, weight, and temperature. Oftentimes, teachers will provide vocabulary lists at the beginning or ending of units for the purpose of studying at home. Check with your child’s teacher for a list of words your child is learning.

What You Do

1. Start by explaining to your child that you will be playing a guessing game together. Let her know that you will be giving her three clues to try to guess which vocabulary word from the list you are describing. It may be helpful to have the list of vocabulary words available for your child to look at when playing the game. As your child begins to feel more comfortable with the vocabulary words, she can try to guess words without the list.

2.Give your child three clues to describe the vocabulary word you have in mind. For example, when thinking of the word “weight,” the first clue may be: “You use a scale to measure this word.” Your next clue may be: “A pound is one unit of this type of measurement.” The third clue may be: “Ounces is another unit of this type of measurement.” If your child is unable to guess the word at this point, give her additional clues as needed.

Jumble Story!

October 28, 2015

What You Need:

    5 picture books
    Index cards
    Colored pens or markers

What You Do:

    Count out fifteen index cards. Label five of the cards CHARACTER, another five SETTING, and the last five
STORY PROBLEM.
    Using the first picture book, fill out a “character card” with the name of the main character, a “setting card”
about where the story takes place, and a “story problem card” telling what the character is trying to do.
    Repeat Step 2 for the four remaining picture books.
    Invite your child to mix and match a story with you! Separate the cards into three piles. Shuffle one pile at a time and have her choose a character, a setting and a story problem.
    Explain to her that these are from her favorite stories. You may need to discuss which stories they come from and what happens in each story. Now she has the chance to make up a new story using these parts of the stories she loves.
    Coach her as needed. When she is done, discuss how this story differed from the originals. What changes came with a new setting or a different story problem?
    Shuffle the cards and play again!

Learn Parts of Speech

October 28, 2015

What You Need:

  • 8 brown paper lunch bags
  • Index cards
  • Pen or pencil

What You Do:

  1. Go over the eight most common parts of speech with your child:
    • Noun: a naming word. It names a person, place, thing, idea, living creature, quality, or action. Examples: cowboy, theater, box, thought, tree, kindness, arrival
    • Verb: describes an action (doing something) or a state (being something). Examples: walk, talk, think, believe, live, like, want
    • Adjective: describes a noun. It tells you something about the noun. Examples: big, yellow, thin, amazing, beautiful, quick, important
    • Adverb: usually describes a verb. It tells you how something is done. It may also tell you when or where something happened. Examples: slowly, intelligently, well, yesterday, tomorrow, here, everywhere
    • Pronoun: used instead of a noun, to avoid repeating the noun. Examples: I, you, he, she, it, we, they
    • Preposition: usually comes before a noun, pronoun or noun phrase. It joins the noun to some other part of the sentence. Examples: on, in, by, with, under, through, at
    • Conjunction: joins two words, phrases or sentences together. Examples: but, so, and, because, or
    • Interjection: an unusual kind of word, because it often stands alone. Interjections are words which express emotion or surprise, and they are usually followed by exclamation marks. Examples: Ouch!, Hello!, Hooray!, Oh no!, Ha!
  2. Prepare for the game by labeling each of the eight brown bags a different part of speech. Then, on index cards, have your child help you think of and write down 10–20 words, any words will do, for each category. Write only one word on each index card.
  3. Place the appropriate card in each bag that fits its part of speech.
  4. Pick out one word from each bag and use those words to build a long sentence. Each word used correctly in context wins a point for the player.
  5. Play until all cards are used up, or until one player manages to use every single part of speech in one sentence. The first person who can use all the parts of speech wins immediately; otherwise, victory goes to the highest point-getter. Note: you may need to conjugate the verb tense and/or include articles, such as, “a”, “the”, “an” to make the sentence complete. If this format is proving to be a little too tough, modify the game for your child by omitting some of the parts of speech at first, such as interjection, conjunction, and/or pronoun. As your child gains mastery over the more prominent parts of speech, slowly introduce the remaining parts of speech into the game.
  6. After you've built a few sentences, reverse the game! Dump all the words onto the table, scramble them up, and correctly place each word back into its corresponding bag.

Tell an Edible Story

October 27, 2015

What You Need:

    Jello
    Cookie sheets (about an inch deep)
    Cookie cutters
    Platters

What You Do:

    Make several batches of different colors of Jello on separate cookie sheets and let cool in the refrigerator.
Have the kids help stir the Jello.

    After gathering all the cookie cutters in your house (feel free to mix Christmas ones with Easter ones,
whatever you have), have the kids choose which ones they want to use for their story.
    Give each child a platter (or a clean plastic place mat) to put his or her Jello shapes onto. Have them press
their chosen cookie cutters into the Jello. After they have collected all the shapes, have them arrange them on their mat or platter.
    Get ready to hear a story! When they’re done, it’s gobble time. Let everyone have a turn and save the leftovers to go at it again on another day.

“Bump!” A Spelling Game

October 27, 2015

What You Need:

1.Several sheets of card stock or index cards
2. Marker
3. Small brown paper bag

What You Do:

1. Cut paper into 30–40 cards.
2. With your fifth-grader, write a word from her weekly spelling list on each card. Be sure to include review words. On 5–7 separate cards, write the word “BUMP.”
3. Place all the cards in the brown paper bag and shake it to shuffle. Players should sit in a circle around a table or on the floor. The first player reaches into the bag (without peeking!) and pulls out a card. The player reads the card, covers it, and spells it out loud. If she spells it correctly, she keeps the card. If she spells it incorrectly, the card goes back in the bag. Pass the bag to the next player who repeats the process.
4. Once a player has one or more cards and then pulls a BUMP card, all of her cards (including the BUMP card) go back in the bag. If she doesn’t have any cards and pulls a BUMP card, she simply puts the BUMP card back in the bag.
5. Set a timer for 3–5 minutes. When time is up, the player with the most cards wins!

Sequence Those Sentences, A Story Game

October 26, 2015

What You Need:

  1.  Pencils
  2.  3″ x 5″ index cards
  3.  Markers
 4.   6 flat, stick-on refrigerator magnets

What You Do:

   1. Start by inviting your child to think of an
event. It can be something small like a trip to the park or the journey
to school, for instance. It does not have to be a big or recent memory,
just so long as it has a beginning, middle, and end. For reference,
some sample stories are listed below.
 2.   Once you’ve chosen your event, let your child
describe the event in three short sentences as you write down what she
says verbatim on the index cards. Use only one index card per sentence.
These cards are your sentence strips.
 3.   Place two magnets on the back of each card, and
stick the strips on the fridge in a random order. If you child is
reading independently, have her read the three sentence strips in any
order she chooses. If she needs assistance reading, you can help her
read the sentences—just remember to read the cards out of order if you
do.
 4.   Ask your child to place each sentence strip in
order from beginning to end so that the story makes sense. Read aloud
together to confirm the strips are in the right order.
5.    Once your child gets the hang of the activity,
you can write and sequence more stories together. As your child gets
better at sequencing, you can vary this activity by increasing the
story to four or five cards or even by putting extra vocabulary words
in, too. Or save your best stories and keep them up to make a family
“fridge library!”






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