Thursday, August 27, 2015

My Summer Project: Wooden State Signs and Coasters

As summer comes to an end, and we start to get ready to go back to school, I thought I would share a project I have been working on this summer. Your Home State

This summer I decided to work on another project that would make use of the tools I have in my shop.  My garage houses a fairly decent wood shop so I figured I would make something using wood (Yes dear, I will clear out your parking spot before the snow flies). 

Here in Michigan we are pretty proud of our state.  It doesn’t hurt that it is a pretty cool shape!  I decided to go with coasters and signs that had the shape of Michigan on them.

As I started this new project it quickly dawned on me that state pride is not a Purely Michigan thing, and that I should branch out and offer my items with any state.  So, that’s what I did.  *See what I did there- Purely Michigan, PureMichigan

I’m not sure if you realize this or not, but stencils are expensive!  Luckily my mom had a Cricut machine just laying around that she let me “borrow” until I get my own.  After I figured about how to use that and found a stencil medium that worked well I was good to go.  I cut, sand, stain, paint, and apply a satin clear coat to all of my items by hand.  It would be easier to use some kind of spray system, but I think the brush strokes add something to the pieces.  In the end these are what I have so far.  All items are custom orders so you can choose your state and colors.  Take a look and let me know what you think.   The next item I am going to work on will be wooden state magnets.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sight Word Foldables: PK All 40 words from the Dolch Sight Words Pre-K List

By Learning is the Game™

Learning sight words can be tricky for students, especially my EL students.  This year I wanted to come up with a way for my students to practice their sight words that would be more engaging than just memorizing a group of words on a ring, or in a baggie, so I created this activity.  40 different foldables, one for each word from the Dolch Sight Words Pre-K list.

Each foldable has six tabs that provide plenty of repetition writing and using a sight word.  Don’t be fooled by the word repetition.  This activity is much more engaging than simply writing each word multiple times on a piece of paper.   It involves tracing, writing, coloring, and cutting and pasting.  That’s right, these are hands-on activities that get students excited about practicing their sight words!

The front of each foldable has the target sight word at the top, and tabs that explain what is on the inside sections.  The back has the name of the foldable, so you know what list the word belongs to, a place for the student’s name, and the date.   The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) addressed are also printed on the back of each foldable.

Students start by folding the paper in half vertically and coloring the front of the foldable.  Actually, I always have my students start anything they do by putting their name on it first.  (Yep, I’m that guy, walking around the room asking, “Is your name on your paper? Is your name on your paper?”)  Then the real fun begins. 

Open up the foldable and start working on each section.  For the first section at the top, trace the word twice.

For the 2nd section, write the word on the lines twice.

For the 3rd section, Rainbow Write the word on the lines twice.  For rainbow writing, start by writing the word with a colored pencil or crayon in any color.  Then, trace over the word a few times using a different color each time.

For the 4th section, write the word in the word shape boxes.

For the 5th section, cut off the bottom of the foldable on the dotted line.  Then, cut out the letters from the bottom part and glue them in the boxes in the correct order.

The 6th section is a little different.  This section helps track progress and gives the adults and students a quick visual to see if more practice is needed.  For this section the student reads the sight word to the teacher, or another adult.  You could just have them fill a star in for each time they read the word to an adult, but I like to use a color coding system.  If the student couldn’t read the word at all, color the star red.  If they were close, color it yellow, and if they were correct color it green. 

When students finish their foldable, they should hold on to it so they can practice on their own, with a partner, or at home.  If you use interactive notebooks, these work great because part of the bottom is cut off, making it just the right size.

My students really enjoy these foldables, and I hope your students do too.  Click HERE to check out a free preview of this activity.

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Friday, October 17, 2014


It is finally here!  The Michigan Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (MITESOL) conference and it is just down the road in downtown Grand Rapids, MI.  The theme this year is Expanding our Perspectives: From the Classroom to the Community.  

If you are attending the conference be sure to look me up.  I will be presenting a 2 hour workshop Saturday morning at 10 am called Hands On With Common Core.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Back to school Sale 28% off entire store

It is finally here!  The back to school sale on Teachers Pay Teachers!  Everything at my store is 10% off with the Promo code BTS14 plus an additional 20% off.  That's a combined savings of 28% off.    

While you're there be sure to check out some of my best sellers, including:

I have… Who has… Add and Subtract Mixed Numbers -4.NF.B.3c

I hope you find something you like!
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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mixed Numbers and Improper Fractions Fly Swatter

Check out @ LearningitGame's Tweet: LearningitGame/status/ 494911004707680256

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

2 for 50% off on Tuesday

I have been looking at the Two For Tuesday linkups on The Teaching Tribune for the past few weeks but, I have been too busy with my now three week old son to join in.  Today I have decided to pass him off to his mother for a while and try it out.   The first item I have listed at 50% off is my Long Vowel Sort and Write Teams/Pairs.   The second item is my I have… Who has… Multiply Multi digit Numbers Bundle.  

Long Vowel Sort and Write Teams
by Learning is the Game™

$1.99 $.99 (Tues & Wed)

This activity is more than just a long vowel sound sorting activity.  For starters, it gives your students a valuable hands on activity that is engaging and fun.  Since your students are actually creating something, they will have a visually pleasing graphic organizer that both of you can refer back to as the year goes on.  This activity also includes a writing element.  Once students have correctly sorted the words according to their long vowel sounds, they will write sentences using those words.

Here is how I use this activity, but of course you should use it whatever way works best for you.
             Print pages 3-5 for each student.  Be sure to print them double sided!
Step 1-Intro   
             Introduce/review the long vowel sounds in a way that fits your teaching style.  It is a good idea to also review the words the students will be sorting since they will need to use some of them in their writing.
Step 2– Color
Each vowel sound is assigned a color.  Color the tabs and boxes with the vowels and long vowel symbols.  Then, color the words in the boxes (page 5) with the corresponding color.  Example: If the boxes with the Aa and ā were colored blue, the box with the word made and other long a words should also be colored blue. 
*I like to have my students color the words because I can quickly check to make sure they are identifying the words correctly before they start cutting and gluing.  I also suggest doing all of the coloring before any cutting because it is easier/cleaner when done first.

Step 3-Fold and cut
Look at the side with the dotted line.  Fold on the dotted line, and cut on the solid lines. 
Step 4-Cut and glue
Cut out the words, and glue them in the boxes next to the matching long vowel sound
Step 5– Write
On each line provided write a complete sentence using the long vowel words in that box.  Circle the words you used with the corresponding color.

This is a fun activity that can be used with any students just learning about long vowel sounds, especially K-2nd graders.  I have even used this with my upper elementary English language learners with great success. 

I know my students and I have enjoyed it, and I hope you and your students do too!

Common Core State Standards practiced. 

*CCSS are printed on the back of the foldable.

Click here for a FREE preview.  It has some directions and suggestions on how to use this activity in your class.

I have… Who has… Multiply Multi digit Numbers Bundle
by Learning is the Game™

$3.99 $1.99 (Tues & Wed)

I have… Who has… is a card based game where students can practice and review ideas and concepts learned in class. Each deck is specifically designed with content based on a specific common core standard. By playing the game students will also practice other important skills including speaking, listening, comprehension, and self-control.


This I have… Who has… bundle comes with THREE full and different decks! Each deck is based on the common core standard 4.NBT.B.5 (printed on the back of each card).  Each deck also gets progressively more difficult.

Deck #1 students will multiply single digit numbers by double digit numbers (6 x 43).

Deck #2 students will multiply single digit numbers by three and four digit numbers (6 x 4,365).

Deck #3 students will multiply double digit numbers by double digit numbers (63 x 43).

If you are looking for a fun, engaging, hands-on way for your students to practice multiplying multi-digit numbers (4.NBT.B.5), you have come to the right place! Students will also practice reading, listening to, and saying numbers ranging in place value from 1 -100,000 depending on what deck they use.

Each deck can be used in a whole group, small group (using the bonus 8.1 card) or individual setting. See Rules page in the free preview for more information.

*Because of the content in these decks, I like to give my students whiteboards or scrap paper to use during the game.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Equivalent Fractions Fly Swatter

Equivalent Fractions Fly Swatter
by Learning is the Game™

I originally created this game for a friend of mine, Heather Q of My Clever Endeavors, who teachers fifth grade.  She saw my Fly Swatter Dolch Sight Words game and asked if I could make something similar for her with equivalent fractions.  We all know equivalent fractions can be tough for our students.  It can also be difficult to find engaging hands on activities we can use with our students that get them excited about working with equivalent fractions.  So, I was happy to help out.  My friend has found her fifth graders still need plenty of practice with equivalent fractions even though the Common Core State Standards addressed in this game are for third and fourth grade:


You will need the following:

-Equivalent Fractions Fly Swatter
-Soft Velcro dots
-Rough Velcro strip

How to Assemble:

-Print out the flies double sided (lengthwise) on cardstock and laminate
-Cutout the flies on the dotted line
-Attach soft Velcro dots where the wings connect
-Attach rough Velcro strip to a clean flyswatter

This game is printed double sided so students can self-check.  The self-checking ability is helpful since this game works best in pairs or small groups.  On the front, with the picture of a fly, is a fraction not in lowest terms.  On the back is the equivalent fraction in lowest terms.  For instance, 2/4 on the front and 1/2 on the back. 

How To Play The Game
Choose the fractions you want your students to use.  This activity includes 90 flies with different fractions.  Fractions reduce to the following lowest terms:  1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, 1/7, 1/8, and 1/9.  Then, spread them out on a table or the floor.

In pairs or small groups players take turns.  During a turn the player first identifies a single fly and reads the fraction shown.  Then, the player swats the fly with the fly swatter and says the corresponding equivalent fraction in lowest terms.

The player then turns over the fly swatter to reveal the back of the fly to see if he or she was correct. 

If correct, the player removes the fly and places it in his or her pile and the next player goes.  If the player is not correct the fly goes back in play, face up, and the next player continues the game.  The game ends when all of the flies are gone.

This activity is great for small groups, math centers, or when a few students have finished their work early and you need to keep them working on something educational!

If you are interested in this activity you can check out the free preview here!

If you have any questions, or have used something similar leave a comment, I'd love you hear from you!

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