Spice up your small group activities with these super versatile chalk blocks! If you’ve been to the Target dollar spot lately you may have seen these lovely little teaching tools.
As soon as I saw them I was brainstorming all kinds of fun ways to use them. I thought I’d share a few of my ideas here although the possibilities are endless!
I am always working on CVC words in small groups with my students in one way or another. Sometimes we are working on just saying the sounds of the letters, other times we are working on blending the sounds, and when we get even more advanced we work on changing a sound. No matter which skill we are working on, I love that I can easily erase and write letters that I want to target with different groups of students.
Roll it, Say it –
When students are still working on letters/sounds, write the letters you want to target on the blocks. Then have each student roll and say the letter and/or sound for their letter. You could begin to model blending the sounds together to read the word as students are ready.
Real/Nonsense Words –
As students are beginning to read and sound out words, use the blocks to practice blending sounds. Have students each roll 3 blocks (2 consonants and a vowel). Then each child should blend the sounds, read the word and decide if it is a real or nonsense word. Keep tallies as a group to see which type of word comes up most, and ask students to guess which one will “win.”
Change a Word –
This game is definitely for your more advanced students that are proficient at blending sounds to form words. Start with 3 dice for each student again. Students roll the dice and read their word. They then choose one letter to erase and change to make a different real word. (ex. 1st roll student gets “JEK”, they change the “K” to “T” to make “JET”)
Working with word families is so important for building fluent readers. I teach my students that once they can read one word they can read the whole family. Again these blocks are great for differentiating the word family endings and beginning sounds for different levels of students.
Roll it, Read it –
Roll both the beginning sound and phonogram (word family ending) blocks. All students read the word together. Leave the phonogram block in place and pass the beginning sound block from student to student to roll. As each child takes a turn rolling, they say the new word they’ve made. Repeat with a new word family each time.
Word Family Race –
Using just a phonogram (word family) block, one student rolls and then everyone tries to think of and write as many words as they can think of that fit in that word family.
This last idea is a real $$$ saver. Have you ever had a great game that needed dice with shapes, money, 2 digit numbers, etc. and wondered where on earth to buy and store all of these crazy variations? Well don’t worry anymore…chalkboard dice to the rescue!! You can just erase and write whatever you need for that game on each of the sides. Now of course this may not be ideal if you are sending students off to practice independently in centers…you know they won’t be able to resist erasing each side…but you could use chalk marker pens which are much more difficult to erase! I envision using them more for small group games however where I can quickly change the options on each side of the dice as needed.
Hopefully you can find these fabulous blocks in your Target Dollar spot, but if not I found this awesome DIY Chalkboard Block tutorial from Ada Lou Vintage that you can use to make them yourself!
I’d love to hear more creative ideas for using these blocks in the classroom. Please share your ideas in the comments!