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Creative & Easy Games and Activities to use with Flashcards!

I've never known a teacher who doesn't have an overwhelming number of flash cards on hand. Flash cards for vocabulary, spelling, alphabet, number, math problems, pictures... and the list goes on. They're cheap, easy, and have a ton of different uses. In my classroom, we had DRAWERS full. They're great to just grab for an simple, yet effective, lesson or activity. However, I also know that sometimes we ended up using them for the same basic routines on a regular basis! Well bore no more! Here is an extensive list of fun and simple ways to use flash cards, whether you're at home or in the classroom!

{Category Sort}
Grade Level: K & Up
Additional Materials Required: Category Cards
Basic Activity Instructions:
Students sort their cards into categories. This could be by beginning sound, by syllables, or by categories that fit the theme of the vocabulary (mammal or reptile, liquid or solid, etc).
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Have the students create their own categories
- Have the students record their categories & items in each category on {My Freebie Categorizing Graphic Organizers}.

Grade Level: PK & Up
Additional Materials Required: None
Basic Game Play:
Just like in your traditional game of Charades, students simply pull a card and act out the vocabulary word! Keep score with tally marks or by allowing the teams to keep the cards they've guessed correctly.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Puppetry: Students use another student as a puppet. The puppeteer sees the card, but the puppet does not. The puppeteer positions or moves the puppet in a way for the puppet and their team to guess the word!
- Set a timer and see how many teams can act out in a set amount of time.

Grade Level: K & Up
Additional Materials Required: Paper & Coloring Materials
Basic Activity Instructions: 
Students simply draw a picture to match their vocabulary words.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Assign words or let the students choose their own.
- Have students write a sentence to accompany their word
- Place cards around the room and have students wander & draw in different locations.

{Jar Game}
Grade Level: PK and up
Additional Materials Required: A jar
Basic Game Play:
Students close their eyes and pull a card out of the jar. If they can read, identify, define, etc. they get to keep the card. If they cannot, they put the card back. The student with the most cards at the end, wins.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Add a "ZAP" card. This could simply be a card that says ZAP or it can be a themed picture (a turkey during Thanksgiving, a planet if you're studying the solar system, etc). If the student pulls this card, they have to put ALL of their cards back in the jar.
- Add a variety of cards to your game. My {Bug Juice Game} has several ways to change up this game, including cards that "save" a player, allow students to challenge other players, take other player's cards, etc.

{Flyswatter Game}
Grade Level: PK and up
Additional Materials Required: Flyswatters
Basic Game Play: Two or more students are given flyswatters. Another student (or teacher) calls out the letters, words, definitions, or questions. The students race to find the appropriate card and slap it! Keep score with tally marks or by allowing the students to keep their cards.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Student may only swat once per call. (No swatting every card til you find the answer!)
- If a student swats a WRONG card (in an attempt to just rush), they must identify the card (letter, word, definition, etc).
- Students must turn away from the cards while listening to the caller. Give them wait time to think of what they're looking for. Then the students turn on "go!"

{Memory Match}
Grade Level: PK and Up
Additional Materials Required: A duplicate set of your flash cards
Basic Game Play:
This is a twist on your traditional match game! Simply lay two sets of the same flash cards face down. Students look for matches by flipping two cards at a time. IF they find a match, they must identify the card (by reading it, defining it, solving the math problem, etc). If they can identify the cards successfully, they get to keep them! The student with the most matches at the end of the game, wins!
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- For older students, consider adding an additional set and making the students find THREE of the same card.
- Have students record their pairs and answers on paper to turn in.

Grade Level: K & Up
Additional Materials Required: Butcher Paper and Coloring Supplies
Basic Activity Instructions:
Students simply draw pictures onto a mural to represent their vocabulary words. Hang the mural in the room while you are studying this set of words! This activity is great for centers or early finishers.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Have students label or write sentences with each word.
- Segment the mural into squares and require students to fill an entire box.
- Turn the mural into a guessing game. Do NOT have students label their pieces. Then have other students guess what vocabulary word is represented by each section of the mural.

{High Five Partner Quiz}
Grade Level: 1st and Up
Additional Materials Required: A wall or board.
Basic Game Play:
This game works best with spelling words. Hang all of the words on the board. Partners face each other, one with their back to the board and one facing the board. The partner facing the board chooses a word and tells his partner. The partner facing away from the board then attempts to spell the word. When the student spells the word successfully, they give each other a HUGE high five and switch places!
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- If the spelling partner does not get the word correct the first time, the quizzing partner can give a hint: breaking down the word slowly/phonetically, reminding the partner of a spelling pattern ("remember th needs two letters", "remember k can be made with C or K."
- Have the partners write down their correct words as they play
- Set a timer and have the students record how many words they can spell correctly (collectively) in that time span.
- Have quizzing partners use the word in a sentence when giving it.

{Partner Testing}
Grade Level: K & Up
Additional Materials Required: Paper & Pencil
Basic Activity Instructions:
Students work in partners. One partner draws a card and then reads it to the other partner. The partner then works to spell the word correctly on their paper.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- I used this game with spelling words. You could also have the students give hints about a vocabulary word and have the guesser write on whiteboards!

Grade Level: 1st & up
Additional Materials Required: Whiteboard, Smart Board, chalk board, paper & pencil, etc
Basic Game Play:
A twist on your traditional game of Pictionary! Students draw a card. The student must read the card independently and then draw a picture for her team. When the team guesses the word correctly, they can keep the card or receive a point.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Students must draw certain words with their eyes closed
- Have students write down the words {possibly with a picture} that they scored with.
- At the end, have students use their words in writing sentences.
- Set a timer and have teams draw & guess as many as they can in a certain amount of time.

{Rotation Game}
Grade Level: K & Up
Additional Materials Required: Paper & Pencils and a timer or clock.
Basic Game Play:
Set the flash cards around the room. Explain the order of the cards. Each student will start at one card and rotate around the room to each card. When the time starts, the students will record the word, letter, problem, etc from their flashcard and then define, answer, draw an appropriate picture, etc. When the timer goes off, students rotate to the next card.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Number the cards and create a numbered sheet so students don't have to record their flash card before recording the answer.
- Play music for a more fun atmosphere
- {Here} is a Freebie variation of this rotation activity.

{Run & Slap}
Grade Level: PK and Up
Additional Materials Required: None
Basic Game Play: 
Set out the cards at one end of the room, hall, playground, etc. A teacher or student calls out the letter, word, definition, question, etc. Two or more students race to the cards to be the first to slap it.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Use a flyswatter
- Students must turn away from the cards while listening to the caller. Give them wait time to think of what they're looking for. Then the students turn on "go!"
- Student must complete a challenge before being allowed to run. This could be shooting a ball in a basket, rolling a certain number on a die, spinning around a certain number of times, doing a certain number of jumping jacks, push ups, etc, writing their answer down first on a whiteboard, etc.
- Students work in partners. We will use partners A & B as an example. A partners get a word from the teacher. Then partners A must give CLUES to partners B. For example, "It's the capital of TN. It's where Elvis lived!" Etc. When partner B thinks he knows, he runs for it!

{Sentence Strips}
Grade Level: K & Up
Additional Materials Required: Sentence Strips & Pencils
Basic Activity Instructions: 
Have students choose two random vocabulary flash cards. Work independently or in partners to write a sentence using these cards.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Have students write a sentence ABOUT the card without including the words. OR using synonyms instead of the vocabulary words. Then have other students guess.

{Treasure Hunt}
Grade Level: PK-1
Additional Materials Required: Telescopes or Magnifying Glasses
Basic Game Play:
Flash cards are spread throughout the room. A teacher or student calls out a card letter, word, definition, math problem, etc and the students "search the room" using their telescope or magnifying glass. For a full blog on this game, {click here}.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Play music for more fun
- Have one partner blind folded and another partner guiding (using words) the student to find the card.
- For younger students, lay cards on tables and floors; for older students, hide the words really well (in cabinets and drawers)!

{Vocabulary Quilt}
Grade Level: K & Up
Additional Materials Required: Construction Paper & Coloring Materials
Basic Activity Instructions:
Students draw a word from the flashcards and then make a quilt piece to go with it. On each piece you could require the letter or word, a picture to represent it, a sentence, a definition, synonyms, antonyms, etc.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Make a class quilt or have each student make their own mini-quilt.

{Word Webs}
Grade Level: 2 & Up
Additional Materials Required: Paper & Pencil
Basic Activity Instructions: 
Students draw a word from the flashcards. Then they create a web with their word in the middle. In the branches of the web, they can add synonyms, attributes, sentences, pictures, etc. This is a great activity for walking in the room or when they're finished with other work.
Variations & Additional Challenges:
- Have students leave the center of their web blank and have other classmates guess the center. Consider hanging all of the webs up and having ALL of the students guess ALL of the web words.

I would LOVE to hear your ideas on flashcard games! Comment below to share! :) I will add more games as I think of them.

Need flashcards? I have TONS in my store, including alphabet flashcards, vocabulary flashcards, and sight word flashcards! Check it out! :)


Teaching your Kiddo the Alphabet: #Alphabet Hunt

My sister-in-law is a stay at home mom with a three year old. She's working on teaching him is alphabet, so she came to me for guidance on what in the world to teach and how to teach it. For you moms who have NO CLUE what you're doing, here are some tips: Take is slow. Keep it simple. Be prepared for this adventure to last a loooooong time. :)

Learning the alphabet is HARD WORK! At 3 years old, you have NO concept of a little picture on paper representing a SOUND, that blended with other sounds make a WORD, which is yet another little picture that represents a THING or CONCEPT, which strung together with other words... you get the idea. It's a huge, abstract world - the English language - and it's gonna take your little one a while to catch on. So when you've mastered A, B, and C and you suddenly hit a wall and D seems impossible, don't freak out. Your kid is normal. ;)

Anyway. I suggest learning one letter at a time and practicing it until it's pretty well mastered. If you start with A, it will probably only take a day. Then when you add in B, you may be able to master that {plus differentiating between A & B} in just one more day. But once you get started with more than two letters, you'll want to have lots of review time and take it slow!

Here is on idea I suggested to Brittany:

{Letter Hunt Game}

You'll need:
- Several different "sets" of the alphabet: {Flashcards}, Magnets, Large Beads, Alphabet books, etc.
- A toy telescope or magnifying glass. You can make this out of rolled up construction paper.
- Some fun music
- A lot of cheesy energy

On day 1, you'll JUST put your As around the room. For example, magnets on the fridge, letters written in dry erase on the window, beads on the table, flash cards on the floor, etc But ONLY the letter A. You'll challenge your kiddo to find the letter A. Then you'll go on a "hunt" around the room, using your telescope, of course, and find As. When he finds them, make a HUGE SILLY DEAL out of it! YAAAY!!! Review what the letter is, and pretend that finding that letter is the most exciting thing that's happened all day. Then keep looking for more! :)

As you master the letters, you'll add more in. So maybe A-F will be out, but you'll still look for just one letter at a time: "Let's hunt the Es!"

Brittany said Eli had a BLAST with this game. :)

I hope you're little one enjoys this game! And make sure to check back for more ideas! :)


I Have, Who Has #Obsessed!

Alright all, I am OBSESSED with the game {I Have, Who Has}. You can incorporate just about any Common Core Standard into in to review with your class, plus it practices reading aloud and listening skills, which are particularly great for your English Language Learners! I have a couple of Freebie {I Have, Who Has} games in my store. If you've never played, this is a great way to check it out! Otherwise, here's a fun new pack for practicing Common & Proper Nouns, Syllables, and Categorizing Person, Place, & Thing! I call it my Nouns & Syllables {I Have, Who Has} Pack, because it includes a couple additional worksheets for student practice! Enjoy!


How I Stockpiled Diapers on a Budget


It's a bit funny to me the reactions that I've received in the last nine months over this one word. I've been the target of some serious opinions for sure. All women are opinionated... But Moms... whooo-weee! Moms LOVE to dish their advice. Over the last nine months (and even before) I've been bombarded with opinions over cloth or disposable, Huggies or Pampers, brand name or generic... and the list goes on. Apparently if I use certain diapers, my kid will die of rash and never be potty trained. True story.

Actually, I'm being sarcastic... only because that's my spiritual gift. So let me clarify: THANK YOU MOMMIES! I do sincerely appreciate mommy advice. I've never done this before, and I definitely could use some guidance from the pros! Hence my love for mommy blogs! It still cracks me up. And please, don't be offended if I nod politely and ignore your opinion. I'm sure you've done the same. ;) #SolidarityMommies.

I decided to go with disposable diapers for now. Here's the situation: I have no illusion that I will have this mommy situation figured out any time soon. And even without an infant, I'm the WORST laundry doer ever!! Seriously. No exaggeration. My husband does the laundry in our house. This is me:

No lie. Nine out of ten times I have to rewash my clothes. Therefore, I cannot pretend that I will keep up with cloth diapers! So now you understand.

Anywho.. on to the point of this here rant: How I stockpiled my diapers. Check this out.

My Diaper Stockpile
I lost count at around 1700, but since this photo was taken, we've added several more packs. Depressingly enough, this is still not enough to last Beckett until he's potty trained. Anyone else feeling a twinge of guilt for the destroying the earth situation? Maybe I'll consider cloth for the next kiddo.

Wanna know how I did it? It was EASY PEASY.

1. Couponing. For some of you, this is a bad word. "I don't have time for that" is the number one response I hear. Well, lucky ducky for you, just because you're couponing for diapers, doesn't mean you have to become an extreme couponer. You're looking at snipping 3-4 coupons every couple of weeks. *It's. Worth. It!* I learned my couponing skills from The Krazy Coupon Lady. She has a YouTube Channel and an AWESOME blog. Here's their {video on diapers}. Here is their {website}. And HERE is what you're going to do!: Start NOW. (They recommend first trimester!) Go to their website once per week (Saturday or Sundays are best) and peruse the store deals on diapers. You'll see deals at CVS, Walgreens, Target, and RiteAid pretty regularly. I have ALWAYS found the best deals at CVS.

Here is what you need to know about CVS:
- You're going to look for a SALE + Extrabucks. Usually the diapers go on sale for $8-$9 per jumbo pack. Then CVS will offer $10 Extrabucks (like CVS Cash) if you spend $30. THEN you're going to use one coupon per pack of diapers you buy. So you'll print 3-4 coupons, hopefully for $2.50-$3.00 each. Krazy Coupon Lady will have links to tell you where to find these. THEN, once you've been shopping at CVS a while, you'll occasionally have CVS store coupons for diapers as well. My favorite is the random $4 off $20 baby products. You can use these all at the same time! The best I've done is about $1.98 per pack (about $.05 per diaper), but usually my goal is $.09 - $.10 per diaper. This is about $3.60 - $4.00 per jumbo pack. Sweet deal!

2. Clearance
Keep an eye out, because I HAVE found diapers on Clearance! Target and Walmart both have had diapers on clearance before. AND you can stack coupons with these already awesome deals! Those big boxes of Pampers you see: Originally $40, clearanced down to $15. (Our regular Walmart was clearing out to be turned into a Super Walmart).

3. Showers
Of course, you're going to get diapers at showers. But my mother-in-law helped me hit the jack-pot! At the shower she threw me, she sent out special notes in the invitations just for the men! All of our cousins, uncles, friends' hubbies, etc were invited to partake in a special "man shower" during my baby shower. The men gathered downstairs in the Man Cave, Carole prepped man food, and the boys just watched football and drank beer. The catch? Each man was required to bring a pack of diapers for entry! Cha-Ching! 

Halloween Classroom Activities

I love Halloween. How could you not? Dress Up + Candy = Fun for all. I know some peeps aren't into it. I'm not into the politics.

For those of you who adore the orange and black {and purple?} goodness-filled day, here are a few activities to liven up your Common Core Classroom, including a couple Freebies! I hope you have so much fun with these! And I would love to see pictures of these items being used in your classrooms!

{Candy Corn ABC Cards FREEBIE, PK-1}
{Halloween Vocabulary Cards, PK-2}
{Halloween Writing Center Bundle,  Grades 1-3}
{Halloween Print & Go Literacy Pack, K-2}
{Fall Themed Hundreds Charts, K-5}
{Halloween "I Have, Who Has" 
with Rhyming Words Freebie,  Grades 2-4}

Welcome to #TeacherMom

Hi! I'm Denise. I'm a twenty-eight year old Christian, wife, and almost mommy. I'm obsessed with planning, organizing, scheduling, calendars, itineraries, and hash tags. I also love all things cliche mom. Except mini-vans. No offense, but I'll be the SUV type mommy, but with third row seating, of course. Other than that, if it looks "mom-ish" I want it. I wish I could have a mom hair cut but I have thick curly hair, so there's no easy style. Ever.

I was a teacher for five years, until I was very recently {as in, I'm technically still pregnant} promoted to stay at home mommy.  As mentioned above, I LOVE planning. So my favorite part of teaching was, most definitely, the planning. I know I'm not alone in this, but I haven't made a friend in this club yet.

And so.. the reasons for this blog.

1. Teacher Stuff.
Even though I'm no longer in the classroom, I still plan on creating plans & activities for my teacher friends out there. It's partly to keep me from going insane and partly an outlet for all of the fun ideas I've had piling up in my brain with no time to create. If you're a teacher, you know what I mean. I even have a cutie little store on Teachers Pay Teachers. Here, I hope to share my plans {including lots of Freebies}, as well as my adventures of attempting teach at home.

2. Mommy Stuff.
I'm new to the world of almost mommy. But as a cliche mom in training, I have several favorite mom blogs. I adore all the mommies for letting me have a glimpse into their brilliant, creative worlds. And surprisingly enough, I've had a few projects and revelations myself that I thought maybe... just maybe... someone out there would be interested in. We'll see.

3. Whatever Else I Please.
Hey. It's my blog.

So thanks for joining me as I share in my adventures, whatever they may be.