Sunday, November 30, 2014

Word Work Centers For Big Kids and Tips!

Need some center ideas for word work for big kids? I know sometimes upper grades are skeptical about centers because of the management issues, but if you keep them engaged with meaningful activities, you'll enjoy your small group instruction so much more!
TIP: I know this may sound obvious, but think for a few minutes before you set up your centers and ask yourself..."What do my students need in order to be successful?" For most of these centers, they will only need sharpened pencils and a dictionary, but it's the simple things like including a trash can if they're required to cut and will have scraps that will save you from having disruptions.
Here are a few word work activities I use in our classroom:
Building Words {Hands on word building activity}

 Each page is designed with a student tracking sheet and letters that make up a big word at the bottom. Letters are cut off from the bottom of the page for students to manipulate and make new words. This is the easiest way to teach plurals, past tense, root words, etc.! Each page also includes a prefix or suffix that can be introduced. You can differentiate by requiring students to make a certain number of words. Fun while increasing vocabulary and writing fluency!
TIP: Make sure all centers are modeled prior to leaving it out for your students to tackle alone. If I want quality work, I need to model quality work and let them practice with me first. 

One of my favorites!!! This word building activity will be loved by all your students! Expand-a-word is a word work activity I created to "expand" my students' collection of words. Students will make as many words as they can by inserting letters in front, in between, and behind the three letters, without rearranging the order of the three letters. This can be used for whole class or small group instruction, partners, individually, centers, enrichment homework, or an engaging 5 minute filler.This is another opportunity to introduce plurals, base words, prefixes/suffixes, spelling patterns, and new vocabulary! (My store has the "new" version of this activity!)
TIP: If your centers have questions or tasks that are timed, be sure to include a sand timer (nice and quiet). For example, at my Expand-A-Word center I put out 4 cards and give them 3 minutes to make as many words as they can individually. Then they have an additional 3 minutes to share with each other and add new words before moving on to the next card. The timer keeps them focused and moving.
I LOVE Boggle! The best part of this set up is that you don't hear all that racket from the real game with the cubes! {Insert happy teacher face!} And, I do love that it's portable in my pocket chart. Another plus? It's a student's job to change out the letters at the end of each week. Oh, but Joanne, I don't have those letters and I don't have time to make some...problem solved! Head on over to my Facebook page and grab them for free! Yay! It's Christmas!
Your New Best Friend!

Another {quiet} version of Boggle! :) All the guesswork is eliminated with this book. The letters on each page have a special arrangement to make words! Guaranteed success! My Boggle Brainbusters is out of print and only available for $70 (yikes), but the another version has been released, Boggle Brainbusters 2 at Amazon. Click here if you're interested. It's worth every penny!

The Most Amazing Center Keeper

TIP: Make your life easier by keeping all your center materials organized and easy to manage. Once you set it up, you'll be set for the rest of your teaching career! You just put the cards back in the container!
This is by far one of my favorite finds while shopping through the aisles of Michael's trying to figure out how I can use everything and anything in my classroom! I mean, why would I put photos in the photo boxes when I can put Scoot Games, task cards, and center activities??!!
So, if you haven't heard...there's a big sale tomorrow and Tuesday! My store will be on sale plus TPT is giving you an additional 10% off! {Enter code: TPTCYBER}.You can snatch both Building Words and Expand-a-Word for less than a McDonald's combo! You'll have word work activities for the rest of the year! Enjoy your week back with your students!


  1. You are an organizational genius. I need to spend more time shopping with you!
    :) Michele
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