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Monday, June 3, 2024

Use Staff BINGO to Easily Boost Morale!

Looking for a no-fuss, fun way to boost staff morale in your school building? Would you like to actually include ALL staff members, not just the teachers? If you said YES, I have the perfect solution for you! Come along to see how my favorite Staff BINGO Game will transform your school into a bright and bustling community of staff members who are excited to come to work! 

Use this amazing staff BINGO activity to boost morale in your school this year.

What is Staff BINGO?

Staff BINGO is the number one most popular staff morale resource in my TPT Shop. But long before that, it was everyone's favorite activity at my school. Back when I was head of the Sunshine Committee in my building, this tool proved to be powerful in fostering a sense of community. 

Staff BINGO is an amazingly fun way to get your staff involved in fun activities that not only cover self care, but every day tasks as well.
It's essentially a life-size BINGO board that takes up a whole wall. I recommend placing it in an area with heavy staff traffic, such as the hallway leading into the breakroom or the office corridor. You'll set up your board with pages that contain different prompts for staff to try and complete. As they do, they sign their name to that square. This continues with the goal being to hit 5 in a row either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. 

I left this game open for a selected time period, and then after the allotted time to play BINGO has passed, we count up the winners and award prizes! Everyone loved this game and it's really easy to work into the schedule since staff can complete the tasks as they have time. Many of these tasks are on their regular to do list, so it doesn't always mean more work for staff as well. 

Why Staff BINGO is a Clear Winner 

So what makes this staff morale game so special? So glad you asked! Let's take a look at all of the key benefits of this game. 

Versatility

Personally, I loved it because of the versatility. There are over 100 different BINGO task options to choose from, yes you heard that right! With over 100 choices, there is a little something for everyone. You only need 25 choices to complete the board, so the great thing about this resource is that you can choose only the tasks that align BEST with your staff members or school philosophy. Don't like a particular prompt? No worries, just choose another! 

Includes ALL Staff Members

I also love that this BINGO game includes more than just the teachers. As a leader of the Sunshine Committee, I struggled to find activities and games that were targeted at the other staff members in the school. It's usually pretty simple to find ideas for teachers, but I wanted to include ALL the staff!

Use this staff BINGO activity to include everyone in your staff in the fun.

This Staff BINGO game means that everyone can participate and everyone has a chance to win a prize! 

There are lots of prompts that can apply to any employee in the school.  Prompts like "I drank only water today" or "I received a compliment" can be completed by anyone on campus.

There are also some prompts that are more specific to teachers and non-teaching staff. These prompts are organized accordingly in the resource so you can find the perfect prompts for your campus. 

If you have a particularly large school, you might even choose to make multiple BINGO boards for each category of staff member. The options are endless! 

Increases Productivity 

Another fun benefit of this resource is that it actually helps to increase productivity. The prompts on the BINGO board are carefully selected to positively impact work and morale. There are even some self-care prompts included to help ensure your staff members are filling up their own buckets as well! 

Some of the prompts include:

This staff BINGO activity isn't just fun, it also increases productivity for your staff.
  • I hosted an observer in my classroom today. 
  • I successfully made copies today. 
  • I put up a new bulletin board today. 
  • I learned how to use a new piece of technology today. 
  • I increased my water intake yesterday. 
  • I tried a new recipe last night. 
  • I took a walk yesterday evening. 
  • I tucked a pair of slippers under my desk in case of sore feet.

These prompts help ensure that all of your staff members are improving, trying new things, and remembering to take of themselves! 

You could even change out your BINGO board to have a different theme at different times of the year. For example, we all know that the beginning of the school year is a crazy busy time and self-care often gets put on the back burner. That might be the perfect time for a BINGO board that is filled with self-care activities. Spring fever hit the campus? A BINGO board that targets productivity tasks might be just what you need.

Fun Way to Boost Morale


Oh, and I can't forget the biggest reason why this game is a clear winner... it's simple and FUN! I love that staff can come and go to participate in this activity and they love how simple it is to complete. No complicated rules or tasks, just great, morale-boosting fun! 

What's Included in Staff BINGO

Let's look at some specifics of what's included and how to set it up. Inside this resource, you'll get BINGO letter cards, teaching staff-specific task cards, non-teaching staff-specific task cards, and directions for use. Remember, there are over 100 different task sign-up cards included, so there is plenty to choose from! 

How to Set Up & Use Staff BINGO

To get started, you'll print out the BINGO letter cards on cardstock. I recommend using Astrobrights for all of your printing to really make this pop on your wall. Then, choose 25 of the prompts to include in your board. You can choose prompts only for teaching staff, non-teaching staff, or a mix of both. And don't forget, this is totally customizable! If a particular prompt doesn't work for your school or aligns with your philosophy, no need to include it! 

Use a bulletin board in a high traffic hallway, staff lounge, or front office to set up and display your staff BINGO cards.
Once you have your cards, you will attach the B-I-N-G-O letter cards to the top of the wall. Then, align your task sign-up cards underneath in a 5x5 pattern. This will create one big, colorful BINGO board!

Once you're done, it's time to start playing! You'll want to explain to staff that they have a set amount of time that you choose to complete (we did 2 weeks) as many of the tasks on the BINGO board as they can. As they complete a task, they sign their name on that card. Once a card is full, no more names can be added. This will continue, with the goal of getting 5 in a row until the allotted time is over. 

Once it's over, you'll count up the BINGOs and award prizes! We added the staff member's name to a hat for each BINGO they completed and then drew for prizes.  This means the faster you complete the tasks, the more opportunities you have to win! You could also give out a prize for each BINGO that was completed. Just like the cards, how you award prizes is very versatile so that you can make it fit your campus.

Add-On Options 

This has become such a popular staff morale game, that I actually created an add-on option for anyone who is looking for even more customization options! In this Add-On Resource, you can choose 13 additional cards with custom prompts of your choosing. 

Grab this add-on pack for even more staff BINGO fun everyone will love.

This is great if you want to choose things that align specifically with your school philosophy or goals! Once purchased, you'll send me an email with the tasks you would like to have and I will create your custom cards and send them to you. Then you can create your very own, custom Staff BINGO board with even more choices! This addition is also a fun way to mix things up if you play it year after year or if you want to create a board that has a specific theme.

Staff BINGO Makes Boosting Morale Simple 

All in all friends, this is my favorite way to easily boost staff morale. Everyone LOVES to participate, it's super simple to set up, and it boosts productivity - I mean really, what could be better?? Add this amazing Staff BINGO Set to your staff morale toolbox! And don't forget about the custom Add-On Resource if you need additional cards. Have fun playing this game with your staff!

Grab this staff BINGO activity to use in your school this year to increase staff productivity and fun in your school this year.

Looking for More Simple Ways to Boost Staff Morale? 

Check out these posts for even more ideas to make your staff smile! 

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Make sure to pin this post on Pinterest so you can come back to it when you're ready to set up your own staff BINGO board! 

Looking for a fun and interactive way to celebrate your staff this year? Use this staff BINGO resource to increase fun and productivity in your school this year. Get everyone on your staff involved with fun cards and activities everyone can participate in. #tarynsuniquelearning #staffbingo #staffcelebrationideas #schoolbingo

Thursday, May 23, 2024

4 Fun Activities to Help Students with Hearing and Counting Syllables

As a primary teacher, so much of our time is devoted to activities that support phonological awareness. One of the topics that always seemed to take a fair bit of time and attention to master in my room was understanding syllables. If I'm being honest, this can be a pretty tricky topic to teach! But don't worry friend, I've tried all sorts of teaching methods for this topic over the years and have found some clear winners. Keep reading to learn more about teaching students with hearing and counting syllables!

Counting syllables will be easy and fun with these 4 exciting activities your students will love.

Teaching Students to Count Syllables

Teaching all about counting syllables starts in the early years with activities that use pictures and auditory exercises. As children grow older, this eventually expands to include printed words as they discover the magic of syllable division to help decode words. But how do we even begin teaching students to count syllables?

As I mentioned above, this topic can be a bit tricky for some kiddos. We've all had those kids that struggle to break words down into syllables and instead say the word as one, single sound over and over. It's important to remember that this process won't look the same for every student, so it's a good idea to offer multiple different options that will appear to a variety of learners. 

Methods for Counting Syllables

There are a few different ways you can help facilitate the process of hearing and counting syllables with your students. Here are the methods I used again and again in my room:

Use several different methods for counting syllables to help all of your diverse learners understand how to hear and count syllables.
  1. Clap it Out! - This is the most common way to identify syllables in a word. Students will listen to or say the word and clap it out. This will help students easily hear the number of syllables and count them as they listen. 
  2. Table Tap - Tapping on the table or the palm of your hand is another way to illustrate the number of syllables in a word. Students will use their fingers to count out each syllable on their hand or the tabletop.
  3. Chin Touch - Finally, for students who really struggle to hear those syllables, the chin touch might be most helpful! Have students place one hand under their chin. As they say the word and their mouth opens for each syllable, they will feel their chin touch the top of their hand to help them count the number of syllables in the word.
I liked to use all of these methods in my teaching to ensure that the students had exposure to many different tools for learning to count syllables. Everyone has a different learning style, so offering multiple ways of reaching the same goal is super helpful! 

Ready to see my favorite resources to use alongside these methods of teaching students to count syllables? Here are my four favorite teaching activities to facilitate this skill.

1. Counting Syllables Scoot 

Have you ever played Scoot in your classroom? If not, you're missing out on an amazing opportunity to take ordinary task cards and turn them into a fun-filled movement activity your students will LOVE! 

Scoot is played by arranging task cards around the room, typically one card on each desk or on the floor around the room's perimeter. Each child is armed with a recording sheet before beginning. You'll decide how much time you want to give students to solve the problem on the task card. As a rule of thumb, it should be challenging, but not so challenging that it's frustrating. 

Use this counting syllables scoot game in your classroom o help students understand how to hear and count syllables in a game-like way.
When you're ready to begin, you start the timer and students will work on the card in front of them. When the timer goes off, you say "Scoot!" and each student moves to the next card. This continues until students have visited every card and filled out their recording sheets completely. 

In this Spring Counting Syllables Game, students will identify the picture on the card, say it aloud, and clap or tap out the syllables. Then, they find the corresponding number on their recording sheet and write their answer down in that space. 

Scoot is so much fun because it incorporates movement with your learning activities and makes everyone an active participant. It was always my go-to when students were restless or checked out to help rein them back in again. This game can be played as a center activity, too! Check out this bundle for themed games for the whole year. 


2. Counting Syllables Clip Cards 

Next up, this activity is great if you're looking for center games that facilitate the practice of counting syllables along with fine motor skills. These Counting Syllables Clip Cards are super simple to prep, and can be used again and again for practice! Simply print, cut, and laminate the cards for durability and provide students with a bin of clothespins. 

Use clip cards like these in centers for a little counting syllables independent practice your students will love.
To play, they will say the picture name on the card and count the number of syllables they hear. Don't forget to encourage students to use the counting method that works best for them (clapping, tapping, or chin touch) as they work. This is especially helpful for our little learners who are just getting started with this skill! 

Once they count the syllables, they will use a clothespin to mark their answer choice. These cards come in both color and black and white so you can choose what works best for your printing needs. The black and white pages look great printed on colorful cardstock. You'll love having this simple, effective activity on hand for students to use as a morning activity, small group warm-up, or independent center activity! 

3. Counting Syllables Sorting Game 

If you're looking for a fun counting syllables game to play in your small groups, I know you'll love this next idea. 

This counting syllables sorting game is perfect for centers, independent work, or even as a fun team game.
This Counting Syllables Sorting Game is designed to help students who are just getting started with syllables and for those who have progressed to using the printed word as well. Because of this, there are two card options, one with words and one without. There are 78 cards to sort, 4 syllable categories, a recording sheet, and an answer key to allow for plenty of versatility. 

Kiddos will choose a card, say the word, count the syllables, sort their card into the correct category, and then mark it on their recording sheet. If you're playing in small groups, you can have children take turns with this and allow everyone to write down the correct answer on their page as each kiddo answers. This game can also be played as a partner game or independent center activity using a pocket chart to sort. No matter how you choose to use it, the variety of options and ways to play will make this one a sure winner among your group! 

4. Syllable Division 

This last resource is a bit more advanced, for use after your students get the basic idea of counting syllables. This game has students work on dividing words in print, which comes after they've worked on the auditory/verbal lessons to count syllables. This activity works really well for both demonstration and student practice! 

Inside this resource, you'll find 24 cards to model breaking down words. These cards are great for showing students the different types of words and how to break them down. I recommend laminating them and using a dry-eraser to write on them as you model this process. 

Use this counting syllables resource to help students identify the break in words that they can hear when counting syllables.
Also included are 68 picture/word task cards for student practice. They will follow the same process you use with the plain cards, but the pictures will help prompt young readers who aren't quite ready for the word-only option. There are also 10 corresponding worksheets for student practice. They will write each word out in broken-down syllables in the box. 

These activities are super versatile and great for students who are expanding with counting syllables and ready for a bit more of a challenge. I like to use the first 3 resources mentioned first and move on to this one when we're ready for diving words in print. 

Simplify Learning to Count Syllables

I hope these resources inspired you to try something new when it comes to teaching this topic. I know it can feel a bit overwhelming, but I promise it doesn't have to be hard! Once you find some fun, activities that incorporate hands-on learning, fine motor skills, and movement, your students will love working on counting syllables, too! You can find all of these resources in my TPT shop if you'd like to take a closer look! 

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Pin this post on Pinterest to keep track of these fun ideas for learning to count syllables! 

Looking for fun and easy ways to teach counting syllables to your students this year? Use these 4 engaging and fun activities to not only teach your students how to count syllables but how to hear them in individual words as well. #tarynsuniquelearning #countingsyllables #countingsyllableactivitiesforelementary #hearingsyllablesactivities #syllablegames

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

End of the Year Staff Morale Ideas

The end of the year is a crazy time in any school. With the final countdown underway, teachers and other staff members in a school are working harder than ever! Help boost motivation and keep staff members smiling with these simple, end of the year staff morale ideas everyone will love! 

Use these end of the year staff morale ideas to show your teachers and staff how much you appreciate all the hard work they've done this year.

Why Staff Morale Matters at the End of the Year

This time of year is notorious for burnout. Everyone at school is focused on testing, graduations, parties, student recognition, final grades, and preparing for summer vacation. Teachers, administrators, secretarial staff, and everyone else at school are all burning the candle at both ends. This means that it's more important than ever to show staff members their hard work is appreciated. 

There's nothing worse than feeling frantic and unappreciated. By getting intentional with your staff morale activities, you can ensure that the staff members in your school have a smoother, successful end to the year. And don't worry, your end of the year staff morale activities don't need to be complicated! Here are 9, simple ideas to help you boost staff morale and end the year on a positive note!

1. Summer Mirror Shout Outs 

Use these summer mirror shout outs in your end of the year staff morale ideas to remind your staff how special they are throughout the summer.
First up, I've got a fun idea that I know will put a smile on everyone's faces. Best of all, it's super easy to execute! These Summer Mirror Shout Outs, allow you to leave inspiring, kind notes on the bathroom mirror in your school. As staff members use the restroom, they will be greeted with a sunny reminder that they're doing a great job! 

All you need to do is print these meaningful messages on some colorful paper and hang them up! This resource includes funny puns such as "Long time no sea" that will help your staff remember that summer break is just around the corner! 

I also loved using these in a staff photo booth for the end of the year party. Just print them out, add a popsicle stick to hold them up and you're in business. Either way, these fun little notes will make your staff members smile! 


2. Staff Rock, Paper, Scissors

Looking for a fun and easy game to boost staff morale at the end of the year? You'll LOVE this Staff Rock, Paper, Scissors Game! This is one of my favorite ideas for end of the year staff morale boosters since it's easy to implement during this busy time of year. Staff members will play throughout the day as they pass each other in the halls or see each other at lunch. 

Use this silly staff rock, paper, scissors game in your end of the year staff morale ideas for silly fun your staff will love.
To get started, you'll need to purchase beaded necklaces or Hawaiian leis from a place like the dollar store. You'll need one per staff member. On the morning of your game, you'll drop one in each mailbox with a special tag and directions to play. Staff will wear the necklace and as they see another staff member, they can challenge each other to a friendly game of rock, paper, scissors. The winner of the game gets to keep their opponent's necklace. 

At the end of the day, the necklaces are counted up and the winner is awarded a certificate and/or a fun prize! This game is a great way to sprinkle a little fun into this crazy busy time of year! 

3. Summer Scratch-Offs 

Summer scratch-offs like these are a great addition to your end of the year staff morale ideas.
Have you tried using Scratch-Offs at your staff meetings yet? These are some of my favorite ways to show staff they are appreciated all year long. These are printable tickets that come with pre-programmed options as well as blank versions to fill in your own prize ideas. These work just like a scratch-off lottery ticket, and can be prepared with stickers or paint. Staff members will simply scratch them off to reveal a prize!

These June and July Scratch-Offs are the perfect addition to your end of the year staff morale ideas. They're super quick to prepare and have a fun summer theme that everyone will love. If you need some ideas for prizes, be sure to check out this post with 25 staff prizes that are perfect for scratch-offs!

4. Teacher Yard Sale 

This end of the year staff morale idea helps teachers clean out their rooms and get some fun freebies to start off the new year.
If you've ever had a classroom of your own, you can probably relate to that feeling of overwhelm that sets in as you begin to pack it up at the end of the year. Teachers accumulate a lot of stuff over the school year and it can feel a little crazy to get organized in those final days. Help encourage your staff to clear things out and pass on unused items to a new home with a Teacher Yard Sale! 

This resource includes signs, sign-up sheets, and directions for helping your staff give new life to old things. They will love the boost of motivation to clear things out at the end of the school year and get organized as a whole school! 

Plus, it always feels good to pass on used items to another colleague. This is a wonderful community-building activity that is perfect to boost staff morale at the end of the year! Not to mention, your teachers will be so thankful to return to a classroom that's already been decluttered in the fall. 

5. Staff Post-It Notes 

Staff Post-It notes like these remind your staff how much you appreciate everything they do when you include them in your end of the year staff morale ideas.
Looking for a simple and easy way to recognize individual staff members at the end of the year? These Staff Post It Notes make it super quick and easy to spread a little sunshine any day of the week! Included in this resource, you'll find 18 different messages along with two printing templates. Simply select your design, load your Post-It's in the printer and you're ready to go! 

I loved printing these on bright, summery paper to add a little extra sunshine to the mix! The messages include things like, "Here's a little sunshine to brighten your day" and "You are masterful at the art of teaching". 

There's bound to be something for everyone on your staff roster! Simply print these off, add a personalized message to the back if desired, and leave them in mailboxes, on teacher desks, or anywhere else staff report to. 

6. Jar of Sunshine 

Include a jar of sunshine to brighten up your staff's days when included in the end of the year staff morale ideas.
Do you have a valued staff member retiring this year? Use a Jar of Sunshine to wish them a happy retirement and celebrate as a whole school. The idea behind this is similar to individual retirement cards but will give your retiree a jar full of sweet messages to read through instead. This also works as a whole-staff pick-me-up by prepping one jar for each person at the end of the year. 

Included, you'll find 12 sentence stem worksheets that will work for all staff members, and 4 additional for retirees only. Choose the ones you need and pass them out to staff to complete. Collect them afterward and place them in a pretty mason jar that you've prepared with the included card. This is such a fun gift to present and always makes staff members feel valued and appreciated. 

7. Teacher Self-Care Challenge 

Self-care is often last on the list for our dear teachers and school staff members. They are some of the hardest-working people on the planet who will always put others first. Encourage them to incorporate a bit of intentional self-care into their daily routine with this Wellness Challenge. 
Help your teachers and staff take the time to take care of themselves with this teacher self care BINGO style game perfect to include in your end of the year staff morale ideas.

Included, you'll find 10 different BINGO boards with ideas for self-care such as light a candle, take a hot bath, go to bed early, and take a walk. These simple, doable ideas are perfect for encouraging some after-hours self-care among your staff. 

I like to pass these out at the beginning of the final month in school and encourage staff to work on them throughout the month. After they fill in their board, they can turn it in to receive a small prize. Everyone loves this activity and it's a great way to avoid burnout! 



8. Windshield Notes 

Your staff will love these sweet and inspiring windshield message you can include in your list of end of the year staff morale ideas.
Sometimes a simple note is all that's needed to brighten a person's day. That's why I love these Spring Windshield Messages. They each have a cute, seasonal message printed on them that the staff will love! Some of the included messages are: 

  • Live like it's Spring!
  • You are the Bee's Knees!
  • We've got sunshine on a cloudy day! 
  • To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

To use, simply print them out and place them on staff windshields before the day ends. They will love coming out to their car to find a fun message just for them. This is a super simple, yet meaningful staff appreciation idea that's really easy to fit into the end of the year chaos! 

9. Friday Oranges 

Everyone loves yummy oranges and will love them even more when you make it a Friday habit as part of your end of the year staff morale ideas.
Last, on my list of simple, end of the year staff morale ideas, I've got a Friday treat that everyone will love! Use this Friday Oranges resource to give staff a tasty snack in a fun way to close out a busy week. All you need to do is print off the signs and/or tags, buy some oranges, mandarins, or cuties, and set everything up in the lounge for staff to enjoy. 

I liked to print a few of the colorful signs that read "Orange You Glad It's Friday?" and post them in staff hallways and on the lounge door. Then, place the bowl of fruit on the table and scatter a few of the smaller tags on the table. You can also place a tag and orange in each person's mailbox if you prefer to pass them out individually. Either way, this is a fun and healthy treat everyone will love!

Start Planning Your End of the Year Staff Morale Activities

I hope you found something fun and new to try in this post! What I love most about these ideas is that they are all simple and easy to implement. It doesn't take much to show staff that they are appreciated during this extra busy time of year. Pick and choose the options that work best for your school and have fun planning! You can find all of these ideas and many more in my TPT Shop. Wishing you a wonderful end to your school year!

Looking for More End of the Year Staff Morale Ideas? 

Check out this post that's filled with 6 fun ideas for a Staff Snack Bar! These ideas are perfect for your end of the year meeting or party and are sure to show staff they are appreciated. 

Looking for fantastic ways to show your staff how much you appreciate them as the year draws to a close? Use these exciting, fun, and creative end of the year staff morale ideas to end your year on a positive note for everyone at your school. #tarynsuniquelearning #endoftheyearstaffmoraleideas #summerstaffideas #staffmorale

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

7 Engaging Ways to Practice CVC Words

If you teach kindergarten or first grade, I'm willing to bet you spend a lot of time working on CVC words. We all know how important it is for our kiddos to master CVC words, but do you ever feel like the teaching process can get a little monotonous? If you're raising your hand, this post is for YOU! Today I'm sharing 7 engaging ways to practice CVC words and keep your literacy lessons feeling fresh! 

Make practicing CVC words easy and fun with these exciting activities your students will love.

Why Do CVC Words Matter?

Learning CVC words will be the key to your student's overall success in reading for years to come.
So what's the deal with CVC words anyway? CVC words are one-syllable, three-letter words that use a consonant, vowel, consonant format. CVC words help children learn to break words apart into segments and understand that words have a beginning, middle, and end. This simple pattern is easy for students to decode and helps build confidence with phonics development. 

Now, why are they so important? Well, first off, they help to improve blending skills which ultimately leads to fluency. CVC words allow children to practice decoding words that use a combination of vowels and consonants. When students learn these patterns, they can begin to read more fluently - this is the end goal, right?! Not to mention, these simple words stack beautifully with sight words your students are practicing, allowing them to read short sentences and learn new vocabulary. All of these benefits are put together to make CVC words a concept worth teaching in depth to support our young, budding readers!

Finding Fun Ways to Practice CVC Words 

Now that we've reviewed what CVC words are and why they're important, let's chat about how to find fun ways to practice CVC words. We all know that topics that require repetition and constant practice are the biggest targets for getting a bit boring over time. If you're not careful to vary your teaching techniques and activities, your kiddos start to tune out. But you already know this! That's exactly why you're here, right? On that note - let's jump into 7 engaging ideas for practicing CVC words that will WOW your students! 

1. Blending Slides 

If you're looking for a way to help students learn to blend letters together to form CVC words in a way that makes sense, you're going to LOVE this first idea. These CVC Word Blending Slides use a hands-on learning format that kiddos absolutely adore! 

This blending slides activity is a great way to get students excited to practice CVC words this year.
To use, each student will get a metal cookie sheet, a blending mat, and a set of magnetic letters. You'll pull a card and they will name the picture on the card. Then, they will identify the letters in the word by segmenting the sounds. Next, they grab a magnetic letter for each sound and place it on the mat. Then, they read the sounds and blend them together to form the word. I remind students to do this with one big breath to help them naturally connect the sounds. 

I love using this visual for teaching new CVC words and modeling blending for my students. They catch on to the idea of blending so quickly with this activity, and actually enjoy practicing this skill on their own! You can prep this activity once and use it for years to come in your small groups or intervention classes. It's the perfect support for a structured phonics program that also aligns with the science of reading! 

2. Real and Nonsense Word Sort 


As your students are beginning to learn CVC words, have them try this real and nonsense words game.
The sound of laughter in the classroom is music to my ears. When students are actually learning and having fun at the same time, I consider it to be a personal victory as a teacher! If you're looking to claim this win in your classroom, I know you'll love this Real and Nonsense Word Sort. 

In this activity, students will pull a card, read it aloud, and determine if it is a real word or a nonsense word. As children read and come across a nonsense word, you'll hear the giggles explode! I love watching them segment, blend, and then ponder on the word. It's like you can see those wheels turning as they work through each card! 

This resource covers all short vowels, using words with a CVC pattern. You can introduce this game in small groups and then reuse it during centers. I like to pair kiddos up and have them sort words into the correct category using a pocket chart. 

3. CVC Word Inference Riddles 

Your students will love reading these fun CVC words inference riddles in small groups or with partners.
Have you ever tried using riddles to practice CVC words with your students? If not, I think you'll love these Inference Task Cards! In my room, I was always a big fan of wordplay and riddles because they make students perk up and listen. There's something about a rhyme or riddle that's just so appealing! 

These task cards are great for whole-group learning or your morning meeting. They're great for warm-ups as they really get those wheels turning! 

To use, you'll read the clues aloud and have students guess the CVC word that the riddle represents. After they give you the correct answer, have them say the sounds for each letter and spell the word aloud to take it a step further! Unfold the tab and your students will love this self checking feature. This is a fun activity that won't even seem like learning to your students. 

4. CVC Word Worksheets 

Incorporate worksheets like these in your CVC words activities for low prep options you and your students will love.
I know, I know - worksheets don't sound like a particularly engaging activity, but hear me out! These CVC Word Worksheets engage your students with multiple steps. First, they'll identify the picture and say the word aloud. Then, they tap for each sound and color in a circle for each sound. Next, they segment those sounds in sequence and write each letter individually. Last, they write the whole word as one. 

This activity provides an excellent visual for students to help them understand breaking apart words into sounds and then blending them together. I love using this activity as a follow-up when we learn new words. Plus, since it's low-prep, it's easy to sneak into just about any time block of the day. If you need a last-minute center or a meaningful time-filler, this activity will come to your rescue! 

5. CVC Word Stamp or Build 

Next up, this is another low-prep option that uses elements of hands-on learning to practice CVC words. These CVC Word Stamp or Build Pages will be a huge hit in your classroom. 

Get in some fine motor skills practice with these CVC words stamp or build activities.
There are two options included in this resource, one for stamps and one for magnetic letters/letter tiles. I loved having both of these options to continue practicing CVC words in new ways. 

To use the stamp version, kiddos will draw a card, say the word, and break apart the sounds. Then they stamp each letter in the box on their paper and finally blend them together to say the word once more. 

The magnetic letter version is the same except they place letters on the mat as they go. These are great to introduce in small groups, and then use again during centers. 

Once kiddos know how to use these pages, they can be fully independent as they practice! That means these pages can be used as centers throughout the school year.

6. Seasonal CVC Blending Mats 

Use these seasonal CVC words blending worksheets throughout the year to keep students engaged and excited about practicing CVC words.
There's something about seasonal and holiday resources that just make learning more fun, right? I think this is true for both students and teachers, which is why I was always mindful to include them in my lesson plans. I loved using these Spring Themed CVC Blending Mats during small groups. 

To use, students will identify the picture, and then lay down magnetic letters for each sound. Then, they will blend the sounds together and say the word again. There are also recording sheets included for students to write the final word. 

The mats come in two versions, with and without letters to support and differentiate as needed. I liked to laminate these mats and use them every year. I have also included black-and-white options for quick, no-prep practice as well. My kids loved the seasonal themes so much that I actually made a huge bundle of these resources so that we could use seasonal practice all year long! 

7. CVC Word Park and Spell

I've saved a student favorite for practicing CVC words for last! This CVC Word Park and Spell is going to be a huge hit for your students who love cars! 

This park and spell CVC words activity is not only a great way to get students excited to practice spelling CVC words, but will make it feel more like a game than practice.
In this activity, they will get to match up magnetic letters with their blending mat and then "drive" a car across the mat, from left to right, as they blend the letters together. If you've got reluctant readers, this is the activity for them!

I love saving this activity for use on a fun Friday. By the end of the week, everyone needs a little extra motivation to stay engaged. 

This activity will make it fun and easy to continue practicing CVC words and finish the week strong! Best of all, simply laminate these mats and then use them again and again all year long and for years to come. 


Even More Ways to Practice CVC Words 

Well, there you have it friends! Which of these 7 engaging ways to practice CVC words was your favorite? Hopefully, you found something fun and new to try in your classroom. Over the years I've found that variety really is key to keep learning fun and engaging! You can find all of these activities and many more to practice CVC words in my TPT Shop. Have fun with your students!


Save These Ideas to Practice CVC Words

Pin this post on your classroom Pinterest board to keep these ideas top of mind! 

Looking for fun and exciting ways to get your students excited about practicing CVC words this year? Grab these engaging activities to use in your classrooms as individual practice, small group work, or as a center activity. Your students will love the varying activities and will never get bored while practicing CVC words. #tarynsuniquelearning #cvcwords #cvcwordpractice #cvcwordactivities #cvcpractice

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Fun Ideas for Staff Appreciation Days

A school is filled with many important staff members who all play a vital role. While many of us initially think of teachers, there are so many other people who help make the school day run smoothly! If you're an administrator, principal, or member of your Sunshine Committee - this post will offer some fun and inspiring ideas for all of those upcoming Staff Appreciation Days! Best of all, these ideas get your students involved too! 

Use these fun ideas for staff appreciation days to show every staff member in your school how much you appreciate everything they do to keep your school running smoothly.

Celebrating Staff Appreciation Days 

School nurses, bus drivers, secretaries, custodians, support staff, cafeteria workers, and administrators are all important staff members in any school. In addition to the teachers, these people help make each day run smoothly and support our students. These staff members deserve recognition just as much as our dear teachers do! Luckily, each of these titles has its own appreciation day when we can let them know how much they are valued. 

You don't have to wait to celebrate staff appreciation days at the end of the year with these fun ideas.
And even if you don't want to stick with those specific days, you can choose any day to show staff members at your school that their hard work matters! This is especially fun when used as "bookends" to the beginning and end of the school year. During these crazy busy times, our school staff members are working hard and can benefit from a little boost! 

There are lots of ideas out there for teacher appreciation day, which is of course, so valuable! But what on earth do we do to celebrate the other staff members in our school? Come along to see how I helped make everyone in our school system feel valued during my time as the leader of our Sunshine Committee! 

Letters to Support Staff and Specials 

Aside from our primary teachers, the paraprofessionals and "specials" teachers play a huge role in the education and development of our students. Not to mention, they are a big support to teachers as well! Over the years, I've found that students tend to have a valued relationship with these people. The time spent with them is a little different than their time in the regular classroom, so they have an opportunity to create a unique bond. 

Use letter like these for support staff to celebrate staff appreciation days throughout the year.
My favorite way to show appreciation to these staff members is by having students write "Letters of Thanks". To do this, I had students each write a page detailing their favorite thing about each person. For example, they might write about their favorite thing about gym class, art class, intervention, library, speech, or music. 

Then, they illustrate their personalized letter in any way they like! This is the fun part because you'll see a huge variance in illustrations by grade level. Once you've collected all of your letters, bind them together into a book. I used a cute cover page that had a picture of the class or support staff environment. The covers all had titles that said something like "We Love Speech!" or "We Love P.E.!" I know your support staff members will LOVE looking through these cute appreciation books! 

School Nurse and Secretarial Staff Appreciation Days

Use a fun and creative worksheet like this to show your school secretary how much you appreciate them during their staff appreciation days.
These special days usually fall sometime in April and May, and they're a great opportunity to show your staff how much their time and care for students is valued! Both the school nurse and the school secretaries are invested in ensuring our kiddos are healthy, safe, and cared for on a daily basis. No visit by the office is complete without a wave to these important people! 

A signature frame was one of my favorite gifts for showing appreciation to our school nurse and our secretaries. To create this, I printed off a page with a fun phrase. Then, I had every student sign their name on the page. Finally, I placed these pages in a nice frame and presented them to the staff members on their specific day of appreciation. These look super cute displayed at their desks and were always a huge hit! Take a closer look at the resources I used for  School Nurse Appreciation Day and School Secretary Appreciation Day if you're looking for a unique gift for these staff members!

Use a word bank and letter template like these for staff appreciation days celebrating your school nurse.
I also have another option in both of these resources that has a page for students to write letters of appreciation to each staff member. If we had time, I really liked to have students work on both projects. There's just something so special about a personalized letter from a student, right?!

To make this easier to facilitate, I've even included a word bank that can be projected up on the board to inspire student learning. Some of the included words for the nurse are band-aids, cot, and thermometer. The word bank for the secretary includes desk, telephone, computer, and more.

These words help ensure the letters are personalized and relate to what that specific staff member does for our students! This can be especially helpful for younger children in K-2. The extra prompting and vocabulary help them think about what they'd like to include in their letters of appreciation. Once students write their letters, I bind each book together, add a cute cover, and gift them to the person.

Show Appreciation for the Custodial Staff

Where oh where would we be without our wonderful school custodians?! Schools are messy, germy places and they work hard to keep our rooms feeling fresh and clean. We all know this is such a big job, and I think I speak for everyone when I say that it's SO appreciated! 

Don't forget your school custodian with this creative signature page you and your students can use during staff appreciation days this year.
I think that these staff members are often the ones that are forgotten the most since they typically work after school day hours. I like to talk to students about these important people and how they "shine up" the school while we're at home every evening. 

Once explained, the children view this important task differently and begin to understand the magic they provide to our classrooms. It's a great way to make sure each and every one of your students understands why this special gift to our custodian is so necessary! 

I liked to have kiddos create a framed signature page just like the one we make for the nurse, except it says "The World's Best School Custodian!". The kids love helping to make this and it's always a fun gift to give. I also have options for writing letters if you'd like to present them with a book as well! 

Cafeteria Staff Appreciation Booklet 

Everyone loves lunchtime, and our cafeteria staff works hard every day to make sure there is plenty of food for everyone! In my school, our cafeteria workers seemed to know every child's name and their specific food allergies. I was so appreciative of this because their daily greeting to students made them all feel valued. 

Staff appreciation days include cafeteria staff as well, and fun gifts like these are sure to be appreciated by all cafeteria staff.
To show appreciation to these important people, I worked with students to create a cute booklet. For this activity, each child will fill out a cute "lunch tray" page that details some of their personal favorites. The prompts include things like favorite thing to eat, favorite thing about going through the line, and more. The responses will vary by grade level, so try and get a few from each one to mix it up! 

When you have them all collected, bind them into a book, add a nice cover, and present it to the cafeteria staff. I know they will love reading through it!

There are also letters of appreciation and student crowns they can wear to the cafeteria when you go to present them with appreciation gifts. I like to encourage the kids to use their very best work to decorate colorful crowns and pictures. The staff always light up when they see the kids walk into the cafeteria with their crowns on! Plus, it's really fun to get a picture of the staff and the kids in their crowns to hang in the cafeteria! 

Bus Driver Appreciation Day 

Our bus drivers help ensure that everyone gets to and from school safely and promptly. Show them a little love with one of the fun ideas in this resource! Inside you'll find:
Include bus drivers in your staff appreciation days with a meaningful certificate like this.
  • Bus Driver Awards 
  • Bus Driver Letter Booklet 
  • Bus Driver Appreciation Crowns 
I like to have students write a letter that details their favorite thing about riding on the bus. They can share a fun experience, or share a detail that they love about their driver. 

Then, bind these letters into a pretty booklet, wrap it up, and add the bus driver award to the top. Then, have your students create their appreciation crowns and wear them as they are getting on the bus. Present your bus driver with their gift and watch their surprise! Your students will be so excited to participate in this activity, and I know your driver will love it too! 

Administrators

We can't forget about our tried and true leaders.  Our principals and assistant principals often get left out of the appreciation because they are busy planning it all. But. . . with a few simple steps, you can show your administrators just how awesome they are.  A bulletin board or hallway display declares to the world that you have the #BestPrincipalEver.  Surround that with words that describe the administrator and then let your students and teachers add notes to the display.  

Create an interactive hallway bulletin board to show your administrators that you appreciate them.

It's a great way for the entire school to work together to show appreciation for all that administrators do.

How to Use These Resources 

Depending on the size of your school, you might be wondering how to facilitate these activities. Here's my favorite suggestion - choose a few grade levels or classrooms for each person. For example, maybe K-2 will work on gifts for the bus drivers, cafeteria staff, and custodians. Then grades 3-5 can make gifts for the support staff, secretaries, and nurses. 

Get the whole school involved in writing letters, putting together booklets, and more with these staff appreciation days printable worksheets you can use all year long.
From here, you can assign specific classrooms to work on individual activities. For example, all of the bus riders in Ms. Jacob's classroom will make pages for the bus drivers, while the other students in the room will write letters for the school nurse or secretary. This will make sure you're assigning activities that are applicable to each student and allow for a nice mix of letters and notes among the grades. 

I recommend giving teachers plenty of time to plan for these activities and it's best if you can offer support to facilitate this as much as possible. Perhaps your Sunshine Committee or parent volunteers can come in to help students work on these projects during center time. Or maybe you can offer to lead the activity with a couple classrooms at a time in the multipurpose room. Whatever you choose, try to lighten the load for teachers and not add another thing to their plates! 

Get Started with Staff Appreciation Day Gifts! 

Love all of these ideas? If so, be sure to check out the Staff Appreciation Bundle! Inside you'll find all of the activities in one place, so you can make sure that everyone in your school gets the recognition they deserve! 

Grab this bundle to use all year long for staff appreciation days celebrations your whole school can get involved in.

As a bonus, you'll also find volunteer appreciation gift tags inside the bundle as well. These will come in really handy if you'd like to thank your school volunteers as well! Grab the bundle and use it year after year for fun and personalized gifts that your staff will absolutely love! 

Save This Post 

This post is jam-packed with fun ideas to show staff appreciation. Be sure to pin it on Pinterest to keep these ideas at your fingertips! 

Looking for ways to celebrate each of the unique and amazing staff members who help your school be the best it is each and every year? Use these fun ideas for staff appreciation days to celebrate custodians, cafeteria workers, the school nurse, and more throughout the whole school year. #tarynsuniquelearning #funideasforstaffappreciationdays #staffappreciationdays #staffappreciation