Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Digital Homophone Treasure


Welcome to the Pirate Queen's blog, me hearties!  As you see by this post's title, my focus is on homophones.  Yes, those irritating words that sound the same but have different meanings and different spellings!  As teachers we all have our little tricks to help our students understand the meanings and learn the spellings of these rascally words.  For example, do you define "there" as a word that indicates a place?  In addition, do you point out the word, here, embedded in the word, there?  Of course you do!  And I'm certain that you point out that the word, here, also indicates a place. If your students know that here is a place and there is a place, and if they can spell here, then they can spell there.  Right?!  Unless they confuse here and hear!  Oh yeah, then we point out that ear is embedded in hear and we use our ears to hear!  Sorry, I got carried away their!  Oops! I meant there!  See how easy it is to select the wrong word.

It's not that students can't spell homophones or they don't know the meanings or uses of homophones.  The problem is that when students are busy writing, they are focused on what they are thinking.  As teachers, that's wear, I mean where, we want their focus to be.  After their thoughts are completed, that's when the focus turns to the spelling of the words they have used.  But do students always go back and examine their writing looking for errors with spelling or incorrect use of words, such as homophones?  Of course not! 

Then what are teachers to do to help their students?  Here's an editing suggestion that was shared during a writing workshop I attended.  First, have students circle words they know and/or think have been misspelled. More than likely, those circled words will not be homophones. After students correct the circled words, have them underline all homophones they used.  Next, they read each sentence containing a homophone.   For example:  

                  Too study for tomorrow's science test, George went to his room 
                     so no one could bother him.  

If you have covered or reviewed frequently used homophones, your students will know that "too" is a synonym for "also" or is used to show excessiveness as in "too sick to play outside".  They will also be aware that "to" is often followed by an action as in "to play" or used to express motion or direction as in "went to his room".

The key here is to review homophones with your students periodically and provide them with engaging practice.  When reviewing, create with your students a reference chart that can be posted in the classroom.  Ask students in small groups of 2-3 to define "homophones".  After sharing their definitions, have them assist you in determining the best definition to write on the chart.  Next, ask students to brainstorm homophone families such as there, their, they're.  You may want to add these families to the reference chart.  Then assign groups specific homophone families to investigate. Have them determine the meaning of each word in their assigned homophone family.  Once they have defined their words, they should also write a sentence for each word. Provide each group with poster paper to create a chart for their homophone family.  These charts can be posted in your room for students to use as references when they are editing their own writing.

I also recommend homophone sorting and editing activities which are available in my teaching treasure chest!  Below is a sorting sample for homophones: there, their, they're.  The homophone cards are to be placed on the floor or table.  For each sentence, students must determine which homophone fills the blank.  Then the sentence is placed below the appropriate homophone card.  Students can complete this activity individually or with a partner.  When all sentences have been placed below the cards, students may check their sort with the Answer Key.  

Here is a sample of the editing activity.

Students read the paragraph looking for the homophones.  When they come upon one, they stop and check to see if it is used properly.  If it is the correct homophone, then students continue reading until they come to another homophone.  However, if an incorrect word has been used, the student draws a line through the wrong homophone and then writes the correct word above the incorrect one.  (In the above picture, there appear to be underlined words along the left margin.  However, that is not the case in the PDF format.) 

Both the sorting and editing activities are available as PDFs as well as TpT Digital Activities.

If you are looking for resources to introduce or review Homophone Families, my treasure chest has three slideshows you might find useful:

  • There, Their, They're
  • To, Too, Two
  • Its, It's   

Thanks for sailing to my blog during your very busy day.  I hope you discovered some valuable treasure for your classroom.  Please visit again.  In the meantime, happy sailing!



Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Digital Vocabulary Treasure


Ahoy, Matey!  Just like you, the Pirate Queen has been on lock- down for a while 
and still attempting to adjust to the "New Normal"!  Of course pirates are resourceful and resilient so I'm confident that I'll be able to weather this COVID-19 storm.
As you may know, Teachers Pay Teachers has made it possible for sellers to add an interactive layer to their already published PDF resources to create digital activities that students can use on their electronic devices.  For schools that are starting online, these digital resources will save teachers valuable time.  So today I would like to share with you some of my vocabulary products which have been revised with digital activities.  
Designed for Intermediate grades, "Prefix Hunt" and "On the Hunt for Prefixes" focus on twelve commonly used prefixes.  Each resource provides two to three sets of prefixed words for students to work with.  Below are the activities for each set of words:
  • matching games
  • drawing activities
  • practice worksheets available as digital documents
  • assessment available as digital documents


Also available with digital activities are "Root Hunt: audi/dict" and "Root Hunt: man/ped".  These resources can be used with grades 4th - 8th and provide engaging activities to reinforce the meaning of these roots and to apply those meanings to unknown words.

For each root, students focus on four words sharing that particular root. These words are introduced in a brief narrative, and students are required to use context clues to determine their meanings. Once meanings are verified, students engage with these words by writing definitions, drawing pictures, completing sentence stems, and listing related words and phrases.

More practice is provided with games. There are two matching games. One matches words to definitions. The other matches words to sentences. In addition, there is a board game in which players attempt to be the first to reach the Root Word Forest by correctly selecting one of four words to complete a sentence in order to move along the path that leads to the forest.  Although the games are not digital, the game cards for the board game are available as a multiple choice digital activity.

Additional word lists are provided along with “Word Parts Activity”, a strategy for identifying word parts such as prefixes, roots, and suffixes.  This activity is also available as a digital document.

Thanks for docking your ship at my blog post!  I hope you will sail back here when you need more teaching treasure.  In the meantime, sail safely!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Distance Learning with Slideshows

Yes, the academic year is nearly over for many schools.  However, like the Pirate Queen, you are always on the lookout for treasure! And of course, you are always planning ahead for the next school year! Am I right, me hearty? If I am correct, ye best read on!

Slideshows can be a valuable resource for introducing a concept, teaching critical details, and reviewing.  Today I will share a few of my slideshow treasures which are designed for Intermediate grades.

Here is an ideal treasure  that can be used early on and throughout the school year.  First we begin with identifying sentences. This PowerPoint defines what a sentence is and explains its parts, subjects and predicates. Interactive slides require students to identify subjects and predicates in a variety of sentences. Also the slides are animated so that information is introduced and discussed in bits and pieces.

For example, on the slide below, the boxes are removed one at a time in order to focus on each element as it appears and is explained.

Fragments and run-ons which can be taught later are also defined, and the differences between them and complete sentences are explained. Interactive slides provide students practice in identifying and correcting fragments and run-ons. 

If you are looking for more treasure activities to strengthen students' knowledge of sentences, fragments, and run-ons, my store has a bundle that includes this slideshow, four practice activities, and an assessment.

This PowerPoint is designed to introduce the order of operations in three parts. You may choose to teach each part on a different day, especially if this a completely new concept for your students.

Each part has its own focus. Part 1 introduces the basic operations order: left to right; multiplication or division whichever comes first; addition or subtraction whichever comes first. Part 2 focuses on interpreting parentheses in an equation while Part 3 focuses on what to do when there are brackets.

Each section has interactive slides to guide students step by step through each procedure. Then students work in pairs or independently to create their own equations to solve together and exchange with other student pairs to solve additional equations.

Figurative language is introduced as a writer’s toolbox filled with a variety of tools, or techniques, to make writing colorful and sensory.

Six types of figurative language are explained: simile, metaphor, alliteration, onomatopoeia, idiom, and personification. Each type of figurative language is defined and explained, and examples are provided. Students are given the opportunity to practice identifying these writing tools. In addition, they will write their own examples of each figurative language technique and illustrate.


Also available is a Figurative Language board game that will provide more practice for your students.

Can you ever have enough teaching activities for the homophones: there, their, they’re? Of course not! This Common Core aligned product (Grade 4 and up) is designed to teach and review the frustrating homophones-- there, their, they’re. However, this resource can be beneficial for third graders as well.

The PowerPoint introduces each homophone with a sample sentence, a photo to illustrate, and a definition. Students are required to make note cards for each homophone to use as references for additional activities. The slideshow also includes an activity and additional partner practice. In addition, teaching tips are included as comments on the slides.

In addition to this slideshow, a sorting activity and an editing activity for this set of homophones are part of a bundle.  Also, I have created slideshows for the homophone sets: [its, it's] and [to, two, too].  All three sets of homophones are bundled together as well.

Thank you for docking at my blog today.  I hope you found some usable resources for your students.  Please visit again for more teaching gems!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

FREE Teaching Treasures

With school sites having closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am sharing  free teaching resources for teachers and parents.  

My most recent Freebie is a Distance Learning resource that contains a list of 20+ websites for PreK, Elementary, and Middle School students. These sources are listed according to subject matter, Math/Science and Language Arts/Social Studies. There is a third list for sites 
that are cross-curricular.  Most websites include games, puzzles, videos, and articles. 

These following products are mostly designed for intermediate grades and cover language arts and math.


Pirate Independent Reading Challenge 

This resource is an independent reading program I created for my classroom of 4th graders.  It can be adapted for any grade level and can be used for summer reading.  The book list is designed for grades 3-5. However, below are links to lists that include books for all ages as well as more recently published books:

Other features of this resource are reading logs for recording pages read and graphic organizers for journal assignments.


                                                                        Writing a Narrative - Like a Pirate Queen                          
Although this mini unit is about writing pirate stories, these lesson ideas can be used with most every type of narrative.  Included are:

  •  detailed teaching tips 
  • directions for creating pirate names 
  • graphic organizer for narrative elements along with  a completed sample                                     
  • the beginning of a pirate narrative
  • final copy sheets, narrative checklist & scoring sheet 


Plural Noun Land Board Game            

Games provide a fun and engaging way to practice grammar rules!  If you are sending packets to your students, you can print out the board parts as well as the noun cards, answer key, and Spelling Guideline Chart.  If instead you are teaching online and your families have access to printers, you can share this resource electronically. Both regular and irregular nouns are covered.   


                                                                     U.S. Customary Capacity Measurement
These 8 task cards are a sample of a 32 task card resource that provides practice of U.S. Capacity Measurement.  Each card contains a word problem about adorable Frog Chefs and their recipes for Cricket Stew, Fruit Fly Cupcakes, and other tasty frog treats!  Also included are U.S. Capacity Measurement Equivalents chart and the Big G chart, a visual diagram of equivalents, which students can color.  

Pumpkin Patch Place Value Riddles

This product is a sample of an engaging and challenging Place Value Task Card practice set designed for a range of students. Use these task cards to differentiate for advanced second graders, to provide practice for third grade students, or to review with fourth graders. There are 8 task cards. Each card contains a riddle involving two-digit and/or three-digit numbers. 

Thank you for visiting!  I hope you find these resources useful, and most importantly I hope your students find them to be engaging and fun!

Please sail back in another month or so for more teaching treasures!  In the meantime, stay safe.


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Word Parts: Searching for Morphology Clues

Yes, besides hunting for treasure, even pirates search for clues to determine the meaning of unknown words! For example, let's take a look at the title of my blog post, "Word Parts: Searching for Morphology Clues". Now, which word in the title will your wee pirates probably not know? I'm guessing it is "morphology"
The remaining words more than likely will be familiar to them and most can be used as context clues.

For example, the first two words in the title inform us that word parts must have something to do with morphology, but what?Intermediate students, particularly 4th and 5th graders, will have some degree of knowledge regarding prefixes, suffixes, and roots. The words, searching and clues, should be relatively easy for our students to define. They will know that searching means looking for something and clues are pieces of information that help us solve a mystery or in this case a word's definition. At this point, students will realize that the word, morphology, has something to do with words. In fact, some may conclude that morphology specifically is related to word parts, but they still do not have a specific definition. So what do they do now? 

Perhaps some students will recognize -ology or -logy. They may have seen this suffix in these words, geology or biology. Science units in Intermediate grades often cover types of rocks, fossils, and layers of earth as well as categories of animals and their habitats. During class discussions and related readings, the words, geology and biology, may have come up, and perhaps their teachers or parents may have informed them that -ology/-logy is a suffix that means the study of a type of science or branch of knowledge. If so, now they know that morphology is a science or specific area of knowledge. They're getting closer to the meaning!

But what about morph-? Well, perhaps during the animal study, there was a unit about insects and the word, metamorphosis, was discussed, or perhaps some of the students have read books from the series, Animorphs -science fantasy stories in which human characters change into animals. Now students may conclude that morph- means change.

So where do we go from here? Does morphology mean the study of change? If so the change of what? Here is where we use our context clues. We know we are searching for information regarding words and word parts. Might we conclude that morphology in this context is the study of word formation, how words are formed and how words are changed? 

If we look up morphology in the dictionary, we will find that morphology is a branch of both biology and geology. In addition, we will find that it means the study or structure of anything! However, we will also discover that morphology is the study of word formation and the word-forming parts that change words.  

Hurrah! We did it! We discovered the meaning of morphology!  

Now let's look for some morphology teaching treasure. Here is my most recent resource, an interactive slide show to introduce word parts. These 47 slides define roots, prefixes, and suffixes. It encourages students to create words with these parts and write sentences using their created words. Once students understand the roles of roots and affixes, they define underlined words from well-known children's books.


I have also created resources for prefixes. This product, Prefix Hunt, has a variety of engaging activities that will help students learn the meanings of these prefixes and assist them in determining the meaning of words formed by these prefixes.

In addition, there are challenging resources for what I call Root Families. These are roots that are related by meaning or content such as "Audi/Dict".

For each root, students focus on four target words that share that particular root. These words are introduced in a brief narrative, and students are required to use context clues and root meanings to determine definitions for these target words. Once meanings are verified, students engage with these words by writing definitions, drawing pictures, completing sentence stems, and listing related words and phrases. 

More practice is provided with games. Additional word lists are included with “Word Parts Boxes”, a strategy for determining word meaning by identifying word parts (new addition to this resource). Word Wall cards with illustrations are included for review of the target words, their roots, and definitions throughout the year. Also provided are suggestions and activities such as "Mystery Word" on how to utilize the Word Wall cards.


Thanks for taking the time to dock your ship at my blog and visit with me. I hope you find my morphology teaching ideas and resources useful and beneficial for you and your students.

Wishing you a safe journey!