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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Check out my new website
I am so excited to announce this big move.  The blog will now be moving to my official website.

Make sure you pop on over and check it out.  You can subscribe through email or BlogLovin so that you don't miss a thing.  In addition to my teaching resources, my new site will feature my favorite picture books.  
I have some exciting new freebies in the works that I don't want you to miss.   

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Ultimate Long Vowels Bundle

Are your little ones working on long vowels?  This bundle is filled with over 500 pages of engaging games and activities that they are sure to love.  Mastering long vowels takes a lot of practice.  There are so many different spelling patterns to learn.  This bundle focuses on most of the common long vowel spelling patterns.  It will give them a chance to really focus on decoding these words while supporting them with wonderful picture clues.

Clip Cards
Clip cards are an easy, engaging reading activity.  Not only do they give you a chance to quickly assess a readers ability to decode correctly, but they also work on fine motor skills.  They are also great for your struggling readers, because they allow them to work on decoding without overwhelming them with an entire page of words.  I love how these can be a short and sweet warm up to guided reading groups, a literacy center, an early finisher activity, or an activity that is already prepped and ready for parent volunteers.  

Board Games


Kids love games!  Why not let them play while practicing long vowel words?  This bundle comes with 17 different board games.  Each one focuses on its own long vowel spelling pattern.   

Spot it & Dot it
Time to break out the mini erasers or paint dabbers.  This activity can be laminated and used over and over again with mini erasers.  Students search for the pictures of the words listed at the bottom.  Each sheet focuses on a specific long vowel spelling pattern.

Word Family Booklets
I absolutely love the benefits of working with word families.  They help students become familiar with common spelling patterns and this gives them to ability to use those chunks in decoding.  Rather than sounding each letter out individually.  Each long vowel comes with its own booklet of different word families.  You can fill it out by brainstorming as a class.  There is also a page at the back for students to use the words in a sentence.

Also included for each long vowel: 

Long Vowel Puzzles

For extra hands on learning, each vowel comes with a variety of picture to word puzzles.  For durability I recommend laminating these.  

Long vs. Short Vowel Picture Sort

I love using word and picture sorts for phonics practice.  These sorts help students identify and differentiate between long and short vowels.   They cut and paste the words into the correct column.  This also helps work on fine motor skills (added bonus).

Spy and Spell Whole Group Activity

This activity is similar to a read and write the room.  You hang the picture cards up around the room.  The students have to find the picture that matches their recording sheet and correctly write the word on the writing lines provided.  I love that this lets readers get up and out of their seat, as well as letting them move and write at their own pace. 

Unique Small Group Game

  Each vowel comes with a simple, and engaging small group game.  This game allows students to really focus on the spelling patterns and decode the words without the picture clues.  Each game comes with some silly rules to keep it entertaining for your little learners.  I love to use them for guided reading warm ups, fast finishers, or as an activity with parent volunteers.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Color Safari {Free Color Recognition Activity for Preschoolers}
Are you looking for a fun, FREE activity to help your little ones recognize colors and color words?   With this Color Safari activity little ones will be able to get up and explore their surroundings while searching for the hidden Color Safari Creatures.  The recording sheet is has a black and white version of each creature just waiting to be colored.  Once they find an animal, they color their recording sheet to match.  Under each animal the color word is written to help young readers begin to recognize the printed color word.  For added excitement, make your own colorful binoculars for the safari. 

What you will need:

 Bright paper cut into strips
Empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls
ribbon or string
Packing tape or hot glue to connect binoculars
 tape to hang your colorful creatures around the room (I like to use painters tape for easy removal)


My preschooler loved having binoculars for his safari.  Not only were they fun during the activity, but we turned creating them into a learning activity.  He wanted his binoculars to be the colors of the rainbow, in order.  As he wrapped the colored strips around his binoculars he sang the colors of the rainbow song to help him keep the correct order.  We also discussed repeating patterns as we got to purple and still needed to add more to cover the cardboard roll.  

You can make your binoculars colorful in many ways.  We chose to cut colored strips of Astrobrights and wrap the glued strips around the tubes.  I think this is a great opportunity to teach patterns or the order of the rainbow.   After securing the paper strips I used packing tape to add the ribbon and stick the tubes together.  Hot glue would probably also work for this.

 Setting up the safari:

Once you have created your binoculars, you are ready to set up your safari.  Hang the creature cards throughout the room for your little ones to find.  You can choose the difficulty of your hiding places.  I like to keep them all visible, but at varying heights and on different pieces of furniture.  Then print out the number of recording sheets you will need.  Each explorer will need their own recording sheet.  This activity works in a classroom with many kids or at home with only 1 explorer. 

 During the activity:

You can scaffold for increased learning throughout the safari by asking questions.  For example:  for a child who is just learning to identify colors you can ask them to tell you the color of the animal they found.  For a little one who knows all of their colors, you can ask them to read the printed color words.

 I hope you have loved your freebie! 
For more color games and activities check out my Colors resource. Click the picture for more details.

Want more FREE color activities?  Click the links below to check them out.

Color Word Match It! // The Primary Post
Color Puzzles // A Dab of Glue Will Do
Coloring Sheets // Playdough to Plato
Color Safari // Literacy with the Littles
Color Hunt Around the Room // Mrs. Jones' Creation Station
Walking Water Rainbow // The STEM Laboratory
Color Games // Fairy Poppins
Add, Color and Build Flowers // Happy Days in First Grade
Rainbow Train Color Graphing Game // Stay at Home Educator
Color Matching Fish // Teach Me Mommy
Matching Colors and Numbers // Liz's Early Learning Spot
Color Sorting Mats // Sweet Sounds of Kindergarten
Learning Colors Memory Game // Sara J Creations

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

What Does the Fox Say?
How many of your little ones love this song?  I know mine does.  He wants to listen to it on repeat.  Well one thing I have noticed as a mom and teacher, is that kids are much more willing to read if it is something that interests them.  My little guy is getting ready for Kindergarten and learning to read.  He LOVES games and he also LOVES this song.  So I created a game that I knew he would beg to play over and over again.   These CVC words are perfect for giving beginning readers decoding practice and confidence in their reading abilities.  

How to play:
Place all of the talking fox cards in a pile face down.  Each player takes a turn drawing, and reading a card.  They get to move the number of spaces indicated in the corner.  First player to the finish wins.

I hope you love it as much as we do.  Click here to check it out.

Friday, April 6, 2018

STEM Starters

Do you have STEM activity bins or morning tubs in your classroom?  

I love letting children learn through play and exploration.  These little STEM Starters were designed to spark ideas and encourage creativity.  No more- "I don't know what to make." Put these task cards on a ring and toss them into your STEM activity bins.  Students will have 60 choices to help give their big imaginations a boost.  These are not patterns, just ideas to get those wheels turning. 

They can be used with so many things.  Here are a few that I suggest trying them with: LEGOS, Magformers, Bunchems, PlayDoh, pattern blocks, geoboards, and building blocks. 

So many possibilities.
With large picture clues and simple text these are appropriate for Preschool to 3rd grade.  They are naturally differentiated, because the student can make the design more simple or complex depending on their individual level.  Two students can choose the same task card and have completely different designs.  
I think these would be wonderful for morning tubs as students arrive in the morning.  They would also make an engaging early finisher activity.  
You have the option of printing them in full color or in ink-saving black and white.  I chose to use the ink-saving black and white and print on bright card stock.  I recommend laminating them for durability.
Click the photos to shop. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Funny Bunny Freebie

Need an engaging and festive literacy activity?  This "Funny Bunny" activity works on nonsense words, word building, decoding, and blending.  Just grab some plastic eggs and write different onset and rime combinations on the eggs and let the fun begin.  There is a recording sheet and sorting mats FREEBIE in my TpT shop.  Click the picture to snag it.
This activity is so easy to differentiate for different reading abilities.  For your beginning readers it can be CVC words such as sat, pin, bug, etc.  To make the activity more difficult you can add blends, digraphs, or long vowel word families. 

It is also fun to add to a sensory bin.  I added mine to colored rice.  It would also work great in Easter basket grass.  For more activity ideas be sure to follow @literacywiththelittles on Instagram.

To make the colored rice:

For each cup of rice: add a teaspoon of vinegar and a few drops of food coloring. (Tip: food coloring gel makes them even more vibrant) Shake it up in a food storage container until the rice is evenly colored.  I spread the rice out on tin foil overnight to dry.  Repeat the process for as many colors as you would like to add to your sensory bin. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Flattening and Securing PDF's

This post is for other teacher authors, or anyone who sells PDFs online.  So first off let's talk about what flattening is.  Basically, it makes each page a solid image, instead of layers of moveable pieces.  This keeps your work from being altered or stolen.  A lot of clip and font artists require this in their terms of use.  I will be honest, I thought that simply saving my creations as a PDF protected them and all of the components I used.  With lots of online research, reading seller forums, and blog posts I realized I needed to find a way to secure my teaching products.  

These were the most common methods I found.

Method one:  Adobe Pro.  While I hear this product is amazing.  I couldn't justify spending the large amount of money, simply for the one feature I needed: to flatten and secure my PDFs.  

Method two:  Saving each page as an image (JPEG or PNG) then reinserting EACH PAGE individually into a new PowerPoint document.  I love that this method is free, but some of my products are hundreds of pages long.  I needed something that was quick and effective.  I don't want to spend hours after my product is created to make it secure.  Can't there just be a button I can press that automatically flattens and secures my entire product?  

Good news!!!  I found the one click solution!
Bearwood Labs Flat Pack on TpT was the answer I was looking for.  I was literally able to download the file, read the instructions and flatten and secure a product in less than 5 minutes.  Now that it is installed into PowerPoint I just use that tab to save, flatten, and secure in one simple click.  Are you as amazed as I am?!  I read through the reviews on TpT just to make sure it wasn't too good to be true.  The reviews were all fantastic.  They raved about the simplicity, effectiveness, and how their images stayed crisp using this product.  
Another perk to this product is if you are creating editable PDFs it allows you to select parts of the page to allow edits.  I have not tried this feature, but I am really excited that it leaves me the option to use it in future creations.  
I was concerned with keeping my products clear and crisp.  If this is you, just simply adjust the image quality setting in preferences to "maximum".  I could barely tell the difference between my regular PDF and the secure PDF when I used the maximum setting.  
There are tutorials and videos provided to give assistance as needed.  The creator of the Flat Pack is also willing to answer any individual questions through email.  So far, it has been self explanatory for the purpose I needed it for.  But I am happy to know that if a question arises in the future, there is great customer support available.  
This product only works with PC right now, and you need to have PowerPoint installed. 
Bearwood Labs creates other products to help TpT sellers.  For example:  if I want to provide links to related products in my product description.  There is a free link generator on the website, that is super easy to use.  You can check out the website by clicking this link.

* I received this product for free in exchange for my honest review after testing it.