Sunday, January 9, 2022

Winter Long Vowels Reading Practice

Winter long vowels reading practice is one of my favorite concepts of the year! Firstly, what's cuter than penguins and polar bears? Move over reading passages - these little phonics readers (books) for long a, i, o, and u are my favorite way to practice comprehension skills, long vowel patterns, and fluency all in one! 

Winter long vowels reading practice with these adorable little readers! Fun books for kids to work on comprehension, fluency, and phonics all in one!

I wrote a little reader for each vowel sound. For example, this is the Long A reader to practice the a_e sound. The a_e sound is when there is a silent E at the end of the word so the a makes the long a sound (example: lake).

Long A silent E reading practice with this fun little book filled with a_e sound words!

"Let's Skate at the Lake" is filled with words with Long A silent E for tons of practice! You could have students underline/highlight the long A words while reading. These are AWESOME for small groups reading practice! 


I love this little story and try to have a kind, positive message in each of my readers if it's possible to do so while squeezing in as many words with the phonics sound as possible. I love this one because it's a story about helping your friend when they need you and little Kate in the story gets to illustrate both kindness and friendship when a group of friends go ice skating. :)


I also made a black and white version of each book! 

Long a silent e book for kids to color! So much fun to use for centers, homework activity, reading to a partner, so many ways to practice this phonics skill along with comprehension and fluency!

Having black and white versions are wonderful for:

  • Coloring the pictures to help them feel a sense of ownership over the books (plus it's fun!) then keeping a copy (yay!) at their seats to read whenever they have extra time
  • Have their own copy to take to their seats to read to a partner or their group during centers
  • A center activity all on its own! Read and color the book, highlight/underline the words with the sound they're practicing, read to a friend, read to yourself - there are so many ways you can make these a center activity
  • Sending these home to read with their adults (They can also read to their stuffed animals like I did as a kid :) Anything you want to tell them to get them to practice them at home! They will probably be proud to bring these home to read to their family!)

Long A book in color and black and white for learning phonics sounds in fun ways! Practice fluency, comprehension, and retelling stories with these adorable printables!

I personally think it's nice to have color AND black and white versions of the same materials so that you can use the color versions at your small groups table (only printing enough for 1 small group). Then, make copies of the black and white version for everyone to have their own copy to keep. :) 


Not all students have books at home. I would also bet that, if they do, they might not have phonics readers that practice a specific skill like these, so they are GREAT to send home for reading practice at home, even for kids who have lots of books at home!


I couldn't get enough reading at home when I was a kid. I had a lot of books but I always wanted more, so I loved when my teachers let me take home books. :)


"The Penguin's Kite" is the Long I silent E book I wrote!

Long I Silent E book about a cute little penguin and his kite! Winter reading practice is so much fun with these materials for homeschooling or in the classroom during small groups!

How cute is that little penguin?? I looove penguins themed anything for winter time! 

Long i reading comprehension passages in a book instead of on a worksheet page! Way more fun!

Also in black and white, of course! These are SO fun to color!


What I love about phonics readers is that they provide SO much reading practice and are basically winter reading passages but in the form of a book! 


Each set of 2 pages when they open the book contains the text of a phonics-based reading passage, but with picture support..... and it's a story that's fun to read! So much better than a reading passage. I do love my phonics reading passages too, but I love when I can make reading a little bit more fun. 


For example, like my Phonics Fluency Puzzles! You can use them in notebooks like I show in that post or as full color puzzles. I actually made winter versions of those if you want Winter Fluency Puzzles by the way! Also so much fun!

Winter Fluency Puzzle Penguins Activities for reading practice perfect for first grade literacy centers, small groups lessons, or homeschooling support!

These aren't phonics based but I tried to make them at around what I'd expect a first grader to be able to read around winter time! Some are easier and some are a little harder so you can easily differentiate in that way. For example, the bottom puzzle in the picture above is a lot easier than the top puzzle. The top puzzle has more words, is a little longer, and has slightly harder words. The bottom puzzle is really simple. :) Kindergarten students can also enjoy these as a guided activity for practicing retelling / sequencing a story. 2nd grade students can also enjoy these as simply a fun reading activity! It's okay if it's a little easy for them and, for some of your 2nd grade students, this may be just the support they need to feel like successful readers too! :) 


They're great for a center as puzzles, a small groups activity, and the black and white versions are wonderful for students to color, read, and glue into notebooks! A fun reading lesson you can do in small groups is to simply read the top together and put the pieces together as you read and sequence the story. 


You can also build a puzzle for them and ask them which pictures are out of order - that's a fun small groups game you can play with these! Here's an example:

Winter Fluency Passages that are puzzles! Great for comprehension, sequencing, and retelling! These are around a first grade reading level (halfway through the school year) but could definitely be used in kindergarten and 2nd too!



Did you guess which ones were out of order? This is such a fun small groups game!

You can grab these cute little reading sequencing puzzles in my Winter Fluency Puzzles pack if you want them!


Anyway! Back to Winter Long Vowel Reading Practice! :)


I think my favorite book I wrote in this little pack is "A Day at Home" about a polar bear who is bored at home after waking up from hibernating. Isn't he adorable?? :)

Winter Reading Polar Bear book that practice Long O silent E words with an adorable story with a cute message!

He wakes up from his "long nap" and goes out to see if his friends are back yet who left for the winter, so it's a great way to start introducing hibernation, migration, and all that fun stuff in a cute first grade-y type of way! :) His friends aren't back yet so he tries to find fun things to do around the house by himself while he waits for them to get back.

Long O Silent E reading practice with this adorable reader in black and white and also in full color. Perfect phonics activity for winter! Love the polar bear character in this one!

Of course there's a black and white version to color too! :) This shows the color cover, but there's a full black and white version. Can you tell I have a slight obsession with cute winter animals wearing scarves and sledding? I just find it so cute!


Another polar bear character in this set is Duke! He is the main character in "The Duke's Dune" book. He doesn't want to share his dune with a group of friends sledding down hills on tubes. (What sound do you think this is? The tricky Long U silent E sound!! I LOVE finding ways to make this sound easier and more fun, because it can definitely be a bleh sound to learn if you don't have fun materials!)

Long U silent E sound phonics book to practice this vowel pattern in a super cute and engaging story about a polar bear!

I absolutely LOVE the message in this one. Like I said, I try to instill a positive message into my books and this one is about kindness and sharing. The polar bear tells the friends they can't use his dune. After he doesn't share and is alone on his dune, he sees how much fun the friends are having anyway and feels bad that he didn't let them use his dune. He tells them they can. They are super happy and invite him to tube with them and he is thrilled. I think it's a cute message about sharing and how it's so much nicer to be nice to people and enjoy what you have with friends. :)


So those are my Winter Long Vowel Books! You can grab the 4 books (there is not one for Long E because I don't personally believe that you should spend much time teaching that sound explicitly as there are so few kid words with that sound so I don't usually make anything with it) in the Winter Long Vowel Books BUNDLE!

Winter Long Vowel Books BUNDLE of cute readers for long a, i, o, and u!

You can also get them individually if you prefer! I linked each one in the spots where I talked about them above this. :) 


Here's another picture of what the black and white covers look like, since I showed the color cover next to some of the black and white books. 

First grade winter reading practice long vowel readers phonics books


I also have NON-phonics winter readers if you want more cute little stories to read with your students! If you learn different phonics sounds during winter or simply want more books, I have these:

Snowman School

Bunny Has a Fun Day

A Penguin Came to School

Toss the Snowball

The Polar Bear Cubs Love Winter


I also have a LOT of winter math activities

Winter Word Problems Worksheets

Winter Who Am I? Math Center (You may recognize this format from my big Building Number Sense blog post that shows a bunch of pictures of First Grade Math Unit 1)

Winter Missing Numbers Center (If you have First Grade Math Unit 2, you'll recognize this fun winter version too!)

If you want to see real pictures of these in action, please let me know! I'll probably write some blog posts about them eventually so check back! :)


You can also see tons of pictures of the NO PREP writing activities in my Winter Writing Crafts Bundle in my January Writing Crafts blog post! :)


I think that's enough winter fun to show you for now! I hope you loved seeing my winter long vowels reading practice ideas and can use some of them with your kids! I am going to be sharing more tips about winter math and reading in my groups! If you're not in my free Teaching Math in First Grade and First Grade Phonics groups and you teach any kids at around a first grade reading/math level, I highly recommend joining us!! :) I only approve requests that answer all 3 questions so make sure you do that if you want to join & I will see you in there! 


Thanks so much for reading!!

Monday, December 13, 2021

Christmas Addition Word Problems

Christmas Addition Word Problems! I wanted to show you some fun worksheets I made to practice and review addition to 10 story problems. Each one has a different theme and pieces for your students to cut out to help them add and solve! :)

Christmas Addition Word Problems worksheets to practice math in December in a super fun way!


Instead of simply plopping Christmas themed pictures on the page, the images they see and work with are actually the objects the passage is talking about. I feel like this is great reading support too and also simply helps them understand the math better too! I dislike when word problems are hard for kids to read so I try to write with simple words so kids can simply focus on the math AND these will have picture support for those who need a little extra help with their reading. :)

Christmas addition worksheets with pictures and stories to read and solve word problems


So you give them a worksheet like this. They read it.

Then, they cut out all of their pieces and start building the problem.

How to practice and review word problems in December


See how the first line is that they put 5 candy canes in the jar? So they put 5 pieces down.

Then they'd continue to build the word problem:

First Grade Christmas Math Worksheets for Addition


Encourage them to keep each number together - a row of 5 then a row of 4 - like this.

Then, they simply add up their pieces to get the answer and write 9! Awesome, fun addition learning support! :)

Another thing to notice is that I didn't put the exact number of pieces they need.... they had 1 extra. This is a purposeful design element. I want kids to count out how many they need for each number and know that they may not use all of the pieces. See how the original worksheet had 10 pieces but they used 9?

You can also keep all these pieces to use in games later if you want to reuse them! For example: If you do this worksheet with your students in small groups, they can do this sheet with you. Then, you can have them use the pieces to do tons of addition problems using the candy canes that you all do together. 

Quick example small groups lesson: Have them put all their pieces in front of them (10 candy canes in this example). Have them take 3 from their pile to put in front of themselves. Then ask them to take 2 more. Ask how many they have now. 5! Repeat for lots of problems for easy Christmas addition word problems practice that you do verbally! Such an easy and simple way to practice that is NO PREP for you because they cut them out already. :)

If you wanted them to do this independently or with a partner (or an extension activity for kids who finish their work quickly), you could also give them a piece of paper to write the number sentences they make (or a little board and a dry erase marker if you want to really score some cool teacher points). :) 

Christmas word problems for first grade


You can also easily differentiate by giving problems with smaller numbers to students who struggle a little. This Christmas word problem only has them add 3 and 3 so it's a little easier.

Another way this worksheet is slightly differentiated is that the 2 objects they're adding are technically different (red stockings and green stockings). This helps them visually see the 2 numbers added a little clearer than them simply being separated into piles or rows. 

Solving word problems in first grade December


They'd do the same process, but with smaller numbers and a little bit more of a visual difference between the 2 addends.

This is also a doubles fact so that helps too if they know their doubles facts. Speaking of doubles facts, I have super cute Christmas Doubles digital math game and also a Christmas Doubles Plus One digital math game if you use digital math games in your classroom or at home. Those go directly to them on the platform you play them on. If you want to see all of my Christmas Math Digital Games, I wrote that little post last year to show them. I made them for place value, missing addends, addition, subtraction, and some more topics because it was fun and made me feel like I was a video game designer. :) I talked in my post yesterday about how writing little Christmas books makes me feel like an author. I have to tell myself these things to get myself inspired enough to make things sometimes, ha! :) 


All of the Christmas addition word problems worksheets also come in black and white.

Christmas Addition to 10 Word Problem Worksheets

That makes it super nice to have kids do them as morning work (or classwork anytime during the day) where they also color the pieces to match the story. Plus, it's fun to color the rest of the picture including the border. :) It makes the activity take longer and gives everyone a little bit of a calm rest during these weeks leading up to Christmas.

If you want these Christmas Addition Word Problems Worksheets, they are in this pack:


I also have a completely WINTER version of these if you have any students who don't celebrate Christmas. They are the same format so they look just like these ones but have no Christmas imagery. They are suuuper cute (in my biased opinion since they're mine :) but I love penguins and snowmen and all of that fun winter stuff so I love these too!) and, again, are winter only.

If you want extra, then the winter pack is super easy to mix in with the Christmas to extend this activity for longer. For example, if you wanted to do a new word problem each day for morning work, then you could mix the 2 packs to have 2 weeks worth of daily word problems (10 days).

I have A TON of winter and Christmas activities in my Miss Giraffe TpT Store if you want to see more of my December and January fun! Make sure you follow my TpT store so you see when I post new resources too! 

I also wrote a post yesterday showing some ideas for Christmas Blends Activities (beginning blends) and I also have a big post of Christmas Writing Crafts if you want to look around more! I love writing and sharing the activities I make with all of you so I hope you enjoyed this post! :)

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Christmas Blends Activities for First Grade - 5 Fun Ways to Practice!

Christmas Blends Activities for First Grade! I am excited to show you 5 fun ways to practice. Puzzles to match pictures and their beginning blends sounds, cute little readers to practice reading stories with each phonics skill, and fun worksheets that are differentiated!

If you know my resources, you know I have A TON of blends activities. They are always a favorite so I made some Christmas versions! :)

Christmas blends puzzles for kindergarten to cut out and practice initial sounds with fun December words


Cut these cute Christmas blends puzzles out and they're an instant reading center or small group activity!

Kids simply match the Christmas word to the beginning sound they hear.

Christmas blends puzzles for reading practice where kids simply match the beginning sound to the picture of the word. Easy and fun literacy center for kindergarten or first grade!


If you want them to record their answers, there is a little worksheet they can write the beginning blend in the box next to the picture.

I think it's nice to have a recording sheet for centers so you can quickly check their answers later. I also feel as though it helps solidify the practice for kids when they practice writing each blend by writing it next to each picture. It's almost as if they're doing the center twice because they match then record and any time you can have reading repetition without it feeling repetitive, that is a win!

First Grade Christmas Blends Activities - cute puzzles where kids match the picture to the initial sound they hear in the word which is great for building phonological awareness in kindergarten and first grade students

Simple, easy, fun! 

You can grab these puzzles here if you want them:


Speaking of simple, easy, and fun, you know I love cut and paste worksheets! 

If you use my Phonics No Prep Packs for teaching each sound, then you'll recognize this format. I made a Christmas Blends worksheet version of these worksheets! :)

Christmas Beginning Blends Worksheets


Kids simply match each Christmas themed picture to its beginning blend. I also made a word support version. 

Christmas Blends Worksheets with Words Support


I personally prefer no words the majority of the time but the word support versions are super helpful for:
a) differentiating, and
b) if you send these home at all

If you send a page like this for kids to do at home, it's nice to send the version with words. It's really helpful for an adult who may be helping them and not hearing blends words all day so they aren't immediately recognizing them. 

All kids do is cut out the pictures.......

Christmas Blends Activities for First Grade



then place them under the blend they hear! 

Christmas phonics worksheets

For any cut and paste activity, I highly recommend teaching kids to place all their pieces first. THEN, glue. Tell them not to glue until they put all their pieces where they want and check their work. :) I highly un-recommend allowing them to glue as they work. Arranging and then checking also teaches them great skills such as checking their own work and process of elimination.

If you have students who struggle with blends, I included a beginning sounds version with single letter sounds. The format is identical so you can differentiate easily without it being obvious. :)

Christmas Beginning Sounds and Blends worksheets with words support under each picture

You can grab both the blends AND alphabet letter sounds version of this worksheet for only $1! :) 


Now that you've done centers and worksheets.... let's read words with blends!

Christmas R S and L Blends Books


I wrote these 3 little blends readers - one for each blend! 

Santa Wants to Ice Skate focuses on words with S blends!

S Blends Christmas Book Reading Practice

I absolutely LOVE writing phonics readers. It's like a puzzle for me (and I love puzzles!) because I try to stuff as many words with that phonics sound into the sentences as possible. That can be hard to do while still making it be a cute story, but I was so happy with how these turned out!

If you look at these pages, it uses small, skates, skate, small, smiles on one page & skates, small, stop, sledding, steep on the other page. That is SO many S blends words in a short amount of reading. Because some of the words repeat, that really helps with their confidence and fluency too! I also make an effort to make the rest of the words very easily read words. I dislike when readers have hard sight words kids don't know yet in between the phonics sound they're practicing so I try to avoid that and use only easier sight words and words that can be sound out easily. It is a little hard to do with blends especially but I wanted to emphasize how much I do value that and look for that in readers.

(P.S. Speaking of sight words, if you've never seen my Sight Words Sentences cards, they are my favorite way to introduce sight words!)


Reindeer Class practices words with L blends!

Reindeer reading comprehension book L blends

This one was my favorite to write! I love the little reindeers. :)


We Prepare for Christmas practices words with R blends!

Christmas R blends reading comprehension


Anyway! I was so excited to show you all these 3 books. I always wanted to be an author so it makes me sort of feel like I am to get to write these. :)

Christmas readers for first grade phonics


I have more Christmas books than this! 

For example, Santa's House is a cute one that gives a peek inside Santa's house!

I would recommend these readers for 1st grade in December or easy 2nd grade reading. It'll be a little easy for some of your class in 2nd grade but I think they would still really enjoy reading them. Loving reading is the best part of reading in my opinion! :) I wrote them for 1st grade but you could also read them to your kindergarten students or send them home to be read with their families.

All of these books come in black and white too! So kids can color them and make them their own. Perfect for sending home! 

If you want to see a picture of a black and white version of a book, let me know! :)

I also have Winter Long Vowel Books if you're also reviewing long vowel sounds during this time of year (or after winter break). I also have non-phonics winter books at around a 1st grade level as well that are simply cute stories that take place in winter. Polar bears and penguins are so fun to use in stories and kids love them!


I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my Christmas blends activities for first grade! These can be used in kindergarten and 2nd grade as well and I also have a ton of other Christmas resources if you need more. I absolutely love creating and I love Christmas so I have a lot! 


If you want some WRITING activities for Christmas, check out this blog post full of pictures of December writing activities:

These are super cute prompts for various genres!! Even if you don't want to do the crafts, you can hopefully get some super cute writing prompts ideas for December writing and see my real picture examples! It changes each year but I think "If Santa Rode the Bus" is my current favorite! :)


I also have Christmas Word Problems Addition to 10 worksheets you may love if you like the blends worksheets I showed.

If you need DIGITAL activities (for math especially!), I have a lot here:

and also here is a cute list of books you can read in December! 


I have a lot more Christmas activities I love but I think that's enough to show you right now! :) I hope you enjoyed this post!! 

To read more of my posts, check out Miss Giraffe Blog Posts Organized List and also look for me on your favorite platform! I'm probably on there sharing ideas. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Multiplication Facts Practice Worksheets Games and Fun Activities for Fluency

Multiplication facts practice is an activity that can be SO fun if you have engaging math games and worksheets to use! I am excited to show you some of my favorite ways to help kids master their facts. Building fluency and automaticity is really important and it can be made easy with a few secrets.

Want to know how to teach multiplication facts? Here are my top 5 tips!

1. Make it super fun, of course!

You can do mazes. Puzzles! I love puzzles for math!

Multiplication activities games and worksheets to make mastering 0-12 facts fun, easy, and engaging for kids in any grade! Puzzles, mazes, art - this pack has everything you need to build fluency!


Number searches! Cutting and pasting activities! 
You can use these activities with any age.  Even "big kids" will be so excited to get to use scissors and glue during math lessons!

There are SO many ways to practice. I'll show a couple of my favorites while I share my tips.


2. Master ONE number's multiplication facts at a time.

Repetition is what will help students memorize their multiplication facts fast. And it doesn't have to be boring! 

Use activities that have students seeing the same multiplication problems over and over.

Rollin' Facts is a multiplication dice game that is one of my FAVORITE ways to do this!

Multiplication dice games to memorize facts 0 through 12 in super fun ways for kids! Love these tips for activities you can do at home or in the classroom

Each page is its own multiplication dice game that focuses on ONE number's multiplication facts at a time. They will roll dice to practice multiplying by ONLY that number (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.... all the way to 12) by whatever number they roll.

This is such a fun way to get them practicing 0 facts, 1 facts, 3 facts, and so on for each number without it seeming repetitive. Especially if they play it as a game!

They can do this independently but I think it's way more fun with a partner! 

If you're a parent teaching your child at home, you can play it with them and be their partner. Having it be a game you play together is a wonderful way for them to view multiplication facts practice as fun and something you're learning and doing together. :)

To play with a partner: Each student would get a sheet for the same number. Then, they each take turns rolling and filling in one equation. After each round (each partner has rolled and written their answer), they look to see who rolled the highest number and that person gets to circle their equation for that round. The person with the most circles when the sheets are filled wins! Super simple and easy game!

Multiplication Dice Games that are so much fun for kids to practice math facts for each number

One of the great things about games like that is, when they play with a friend, their friend will check their answers too. They want to win so you can basically guarantee they're proofreading each other. It's a great way for them to support each other without it feeling like they're being helped.

The goal is for them to do the same problems over and over and over until they memorize them, but without them feeling like they're doing the same problems over and over and over and games like this definitely help with that! The best part is EVERY multiplication problem they roll is practicing the facts for the same number so it gives them so much repetition with the facts while feeling like a game!


3. Color code the multiplication practice tests you give to kids. 

I recommend printing small strips of printable multiplication quizzes for each number. I have them in 3 sizes (3 to a page, 2 to a page, and a full page). I recommend starting with the 3 to a page size (shown here) so you can print a lot of them. Once they master that one, give them the full page test to officially master the number. 

Multiplication facts quizzes for kids to master 0-12 facts and fun ideas for helping students learn them with automaticity!


Always have the number be the same color so kids can say, "I'm working on my yellow facts" and can quickly see visually which one to grab. This makes it super easy for kids to know/remember the color they're working on.

For the record, I would call them worksheets instead of tests. Maybe quizzes. :) You want it to be fun, not stressful.


Quick Differentiation Note:

I also recommend letting them master the numbers in ANY order they choose. This helps SO much with kids potentially feeling embarrassed for feeling behind their peers. 

If they can start on any number, no one knows how many numbers they've mastered and where they are. 
Differentiation is SUPER important to me but I always want to try to be as discrete as possible. 

Have a bunch of these strips printed out and in a place where they can grab whichever color they need to practice and do it on their own. This will help them build independence and ownership over learning their facts.


4. Make a couple "rewards" for mastering a specific number's multiplication test or quiz that are technically more practice worksheets but look fun!

Now this is a super tip. :) 

Act like it's such a big deal when they master the facts for a new number because they EARNED the right to get to do a new MAZE or "Circle the" worksheet! Because they're so super smart, worked so hard, and are ready for it! Play it up like it's a big deal and they'll think it's a big deal. Because it IS a big deal. :)

Multiplication math centers to practice facts and build fluency in engaging ways kids enjoy. These mazes are so fun and include many problems to solve all on the one worksheet!


I recommend handing out the "Circle the" fun worksheets at first to your students who struggle a little more, starting with smaller numbers. They all look the same except the numbers are different so, again, it's discrete.

Give the mazes to your more advanced students, slowly giving the mazes to your struggling students as they master more facts. Make sure it's not obvious you're doing this, if you can, and act like it's more of a what-happens-to-be-in-your-stack as you hand them their reward. "Great job, Martin! You get aaaaaa Circle the 12s!"

AND they'll be doing so much more additional practice with this sheet that they view as a reward. How awesome is that?! A TON of problems are packed into just one of these sheets.


5. Have a variety of activities to practice EACH number and its facts, AND each product, in many ways. 

Puzzles, mazes, plain worksheets, more interactive worksheets, games, partner activities - there are so many ways to practice the multiplication facts!

I recommend a ton of variety so they get a lot of repetition with each number's facts, and each product, without it feeling like a ton of repetition.

It still probably will feel that way a little bit but this helps a lot!


Here are some of my favorite multiplication activities:

* Simple games with playing cards and dice!

Multiplication card games and more fun ideas for kids to practice their facts. Engaging math activities to do at home or in the classroom at school


Here's one example multiplication game you can play! Have kids sit with a partner with an upside down deck of cards with the face cards (king, queen, jack) taken out. They each have their own blank piece of paper.

Kids take turns drawing 2 cards, multiplying them, and writing their equation. When both kids have laid out their 2 cards, they see who made the bigger product. That person gets to circle it AND keep all 4 cards.

This will give them tons of practice multiplying numbers 1-10!

Whoever has the most cards when all the cards are used wins! 

You could also say the first person to get 5 circles, 10 circles, however many you want depending on how long your math centers are.

You could also make it "endless" by not having the winner of each round keep all 4 cards and have them go in a pile to be played with again. When they run out of cards, they shuffle, put them upside down again, and keep playing and writing equation until math time is over.

Another variation:
You can also make it a little more fun by leaving in all the jacks (or all the kings, or all the queens) and saying they're a special card where, if someone draws it, they can make it be ANY number 1-10. This makes the game more exciting but also helps them see the bigger the number they make it, the more likely their product will be higher.


* Worksheets where kids cut and glue! 

Multiplication facts worksheets that are fun where kids build multiplication problems for each product to get a ton of practice!


I love to throw in a ton of these into my math units because they're fun and great practice! Getting to physically move around the numbers really helps solidify the facts. Plus, it's basically like doing art! 

These also look like a ton of fun if you print them on color paper!


* Puzzles where kids match the multiplication problems to the correct product. I LOVE puzzles for math! If you read my blog, you know I love to make puzzles for pretty much everything kids learn! :)

I recommend print them on color paper so they look super fun!

Multiplication facts puzzles and more fun ideas for learning each number

I loved puzzles as a kid so I try to bring that fun and excitement that I remember having to the math centers I create as well.

Multiplication facts puzzles and activities to learn each number in super fun ways

You can easily differentiate for students by which puzzles you give them. Some are easy (smaller products) and some are harder with more pieces for the larger products. I am a huge fan of differentiating. 

Another way you can use these is to print them on regular copy paper and slightly scale them down with your print settings then give them to students to make a FACTS page for each number to glue onto a notebook page to make a multiplication notebook!


* Circle the ? worksheets where kids do a search to find all the hidden ways to make the product. Each worksheet focuses on 1 product.

Multiplication Activities Circle the Worksheets for fun facts practice for each number

This is one of my favorite activities because it's fun but packs in a ton of multiplication practice as they search for the multiplication facts in each worksheet puzzle.


P.S. 
If you need addition facts practice too, check out my: 
which shows the ADDITION version of these activities :) 



If you want ALL of the activities I showed in this blog post (and more!), you can get them here:


Multiplication Fact Fluency Math Unit that is packed with games, worksheets, and activities for practice and mastery of 0-12 facts!


It is PACKED with fun multiplication fact fluency activities, including all of the ones I talked about here (except the playing cards you'll need to get separately if you want to play that game). 

Each game comes with teacher directions, as well as student friendly directions you can set out to have it be more independent.



If you have any students struggling with multiplication or you're trying to teach a child at home, I highly recommend checking out my Arrays activities blog post!

Rectangular arrays are a fantastic way to introduce kids to the concept of multiplication. It's very visual so it helps students understand what multiplication actually means and is a fantastic introduction.

Those activities use cookies, cereal, painting, and games to learn multiplication arrays so it's a really fun way to learn.

I hope you have enjoyed this post! Thank you for reading! :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

How to Teach the OA and OW Sound

How to teach the OA and OW sound is simple. They both make the long O sound and there are so many fun worksheets, games, activities, and reading passages (including in the forms of puzzles!) you can do to help your students learn them. I will show you a couple of my favorite strategies.

First, let's go over a couple examples of OA and OW words.
  • OA Words: boat, coat, goat, soap, road, coast, goal, coach
  • OW Words: blow, mow, grow, snow, show, glow, throw
If you say these words aloud, you'll notice the OA and OW inside of them says the long O sound. OA usually appears in the middle of a word. OW usually appears at the end of a word. This is a fun, silly worksheet to practice this spelling rule.




Fun OA and OW Worksheets

Worksheets with pictures are the number 1 way I would recommend introducing the OA and OW sound. If the pictures are engaging and kids can easily recognize the words they represent, they are a very effective learning tool for phonics. I make my worksheets super fun so kids don't even realize all of the reading they're doing. They think the pictures are cute and fun to color in, but really they are providing a lot of reading support.

I recommend starting with a very simple worksheet like my "Write the Word" style sheets. Kids simply look at the picture and match it to a word at the bottom. Then, they write it on the line.

     


I always try to provide differentiation that is effective yet not obvious. As you can see, these worksheets look so similar but the 2nd one is actually a lot harder. It practices OW and OA sounds on the same worksheet. The one on the left only practices OW words. 

You could give the one on the right to your more advanced students and the one on the left to the students who may need a little more support. This way, every child is practicing on their level and can feel happy and successful while doing the same activity. :) I love this specific worksheet because it's very easy to differentiate, it's simple and it's fun. Kids get to color in the pictures and read the words. 

Another fun way to practice matching OA OW words to pictures is by cutting and pasting!



These are a very simple worksheet style where kids cut out the beginning sounds for each word and match it to the ending. Great reading practice!

As you can see, it's really great beginning sounds review too!



You can also provide support for your students by having them highlight the sound you're focusing on IN the word so it's a lot easier to read. If they highlight the OA in all these words, they can know right away that it's the long O sound. This is a great building reading fluency strategy!




See how that makes the OA in each word so obvious? It really helps them be able to zip through the words fluently. Any little trick like that can build their reading confidence like that is GOLD.


For students who take a little extra time each week to master the phonics sounds, I recommend focusing on a couple worksheets and activities that are all OW first. I feel like it's easier since it's at the end of the word. 

Then, focus on a few only OA worksheets. Then, have them do sorts where they can complete it even if they technically aren't reading the word first. It's VERY valuable practice, even if they're not even reading the words! 

They're recognizing the OA and OW within the words and that's a really important skill. It's wonderful if they ARE reading these words while sorting, but the beauty of these is they don't have to. This means ALL your students can feel so successful doing them and, again, it's all about building that confidence. Especially when you start learning the vowel teams.

OA and OW Sorts

Here is a quick sort you can do for sorting OA OW O-E long O sounds.



Like all of the worksheets in my Phonics No Prep Packs, these are NO PREP! :) You simply print them out. Then kids will cut out the words and sort them. 


Reading Sentences with OA OW Words

Once your students have done a lot of work reading WORDS with OA and OW, start on sentences!

Let your students see the words in simple sentences. This is a fun one that gets them thinking and reading!



I love cutting and pasting worksheets for filling in blanks because kids can move them all around. There's no erasing and rewriting. They can move them all around until they all make sense. THEN glue. :) I love how knowing they're going to glue it down makes them check and recheck their answers. Something kids often skip.

If you have some students who need advanced work, but you want them to practice the same skill, I love providing higher level activities too! My crossword puzzles are a favorite and also my A-Maze-Ing Sentences!


 
These provide a lot of reading practice for the phonics sound. As you can see, there are a lot of OA words in the boxes. But it's a maze! Kids have to read through it to figure out the secret sentence. So much fun! Especially for kids who love puzzles and need a little bit more challenging work.


To sum it up, focus on WORDS first using pictures. Use a lot of pictures! Teach OA and OW at the same time unless it's a student who needs a little extra support. If so, teach OW then OA then mix them. Then, move to sentences. I have worksheets in my Phonics No Prep Packs that practice sentences with picture support, too. That's a nice bridge between words and sentences too. I just didn't want to fill this post with a bajillion pictures like I often do. :) If you DO love scrolling pictures of fun teaching ideas, definitely check out my Giant List of My Favorite Blog Posts and click on the topic you want to see my ideas for. 

Do you want all of the worksheets you saw in this post for OA and OW? Get it here - OA and OW No Prep Pack! I'm so humbled that thousands of people have this pack & use it to teach their students. I hope that you love it if you get it too!


I have packs like this for almost every phonics sound. Check out my Phonics No Prep Packs category on TpT to see if the sound you're teaching next is on there. 

This OA OW pack has over 85 no prep worksheets and activities for teaching the sounds. I love making these fun, differentiated phonics packs and I hope you enjoy using them as much as I enjoy making them! 


Thank you so much for reading!