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Spelling Series: Stamps and Playdough

Welcome back to the Spelling Station Activities for First Grade blog series! 

All of these activities are spelling stations that I use in my own first grade classroom that take little to no prep on my part (because who has time for that, am I right?).

These spelling activities can be done:

  • One at a time as a class (as your daily spelling practice/lesson)
  • In a small group setting (as intervention)
  • At a spelling station (set out one activity daily or set out multiple to give students choice over their activity – this was my personal favorite, I usually set out 4-5 activities for four weeks which saved me SO much time)

 

Here's a sneak peek at the entire series of first grade spelling activities that I will be covering:

Spelling Series: “OO” Words

Spelling Series: Stamps and Playdough

Spelling Series: Build A Word

Spelling Series: Interactive Spelling Wall

Spelling Series: Rainbow Words

Spelling Series: Magic Words

Spelling Series: My “dge” Words Freebie

Spelling Series: Keyboard Spelling

Spelling Series: Hangman Spelling

Spelling Series: Desktop Fun

My best advice is to make the most of the materials that you already have in your classroom. A lot of the spelling activities in this series don’t require any materials other than writing utensils and paper, start with those! 

Also, when it comes to incorporating spelling activities into your stations, don’t try to do it all at once. Start small and slowly add activities throughout the year! This will help your students maintain independence during station time because they aren’t having to learn a lot of new routines at once.

First Grade Spelling Knowledge

So what kind of spelling knowledge should a first grade student really have?

Here are a few foundations of spelling knowledge: 

  • Sounds can be represented by a single letter or a combination of letters (digraphs, blends)

  • Letters may have more than one sound

  • Some sounds can be represented by different letters

  • When spelling, words can be separated into single sounds or a combination of sounds

  • Knowing the 6 syllable type can help students spell

  • Some words do not follow typical spelling rules/patterns, BUT you can match letters to sounds in at least part of those words

  • Asking yourself “Does the world look right?” after spelling a word

Spelling words (encoding) and reading words (decoding) go hand and hand! They should be taught together, NOT in isolation!

First grade students are also expected to spell high-frequency words (sight words) without sounding out letter-by-letter.

Spelling Station: Stamps and Playdough

So, last year, I was knee-deep in my spelling station, using the usual alphabet stamps and ink pads. But oh boy, it was turning into a real mess! Ink everywhere. I had this lightbulb moment – what if I try using playdough to clean off my stamps for a week? Turns out, the kiddos not only loved it way more than the ink pads, but it became their absolute favorite station!

How It Went Down:

Picture this: a classroom, a bunch of stamps, and me desperately trying to find a solution to the stamp cleaning chaos. Enter playdough. It wasn't just a cleanup hack; it was a game-changer. The kids were hooked, and so was I!

Spelling Station-Kristen Sullins Teaching

What You Need:

  1. Alphabet Stamps: Grab those stamps with all the letters – the more, the merrier!

  2. Playdough: Get your hands on some soft, colorful playdough. It's the secret sauce.

  3. Spelling List: Can't forget the reason we're here – a list of spelling words to conquer.

Easy-Peasy Steps:

  1. Roll Out the Playdough: Kids start by flattening out that squishy playdough. It's like their mini art project.

  2. Stamp Out the Word: Armed with alphabet stamps, they go to town, spelling out words on their playdough canvas. It's like spelling artistry.

  3. Reform and Repeat: The magic happens here. Squish, reshape, and boom – ready for the next word. It's a cycle of spelling mastery.

Why It’s the Bomb:

  1. Feels Like Fun, Not Learning: The playdough brings a whole new vibe to spelling. It's not a chore; it's a playdate with words.

  2. Goodbye, Waste: Playdough's reusable, so no more wasting paper or dealing with excess mess. It's a win-win.

  3. Everyone’s a Spelling Star: Whether your kiddo is a hands-on learner or a visual whiz, this station caters to all styles.

 

What started as a ‘clean up the mess' experiment turned into the coolest thing in my classroom – the playdough spelling station. The kids are excited, I'm excited – it's a spelling party every time.

In the grand scheme of teaching, where keeping the kids engaged is the name of the game, this playdough twist is the MVP. Give it a shot in your class and see spelling practice go from “meh” to “awesome” in no time! 🌟

First Grade Spelling Tip: Use Spelling Lists

I mentioned earlier a few tricks I use in my spelling station so that I only have to switch out materials every four weeks. The key to this method is using spelling lists. 

What is a spelling list? 

As simple as it sounds, it’s a list of words that follow the same spelling rule/pattern. I’ve found that using a spelling pattern rather than a set “10 spelling words” helps students really understand the spelling rule rather than just memorizing those ten words. These spelling lists are also sometimes referred to as “word family” lists because words that follow the same spelling pattern are considered to be in the same “family”. 

How do you use a spelling list?

Spelling and word family lists can be used in a variety of ways:

  • Spelling Station to spell the word pattern of the week. This means I only change out the spelling or word family list each week and the activities can stay the same! Super low-maintenance!
  • As a “go to” list for teachers when generating word families whole group phonics/spelling instruction 
  • A list of words for teachers to review during small group warm ups for guided reading or interventions (make flashcards, build words, manipulate phonemes with plastic letters, etc.)
  • A list of words for families to practice reading and writing

Again, this is not anything that you have to buy. You can simply type up a list of spelling words or spelling pattern words and put it in your station.

Teacher Tips about Spelling Lists

  • I laminated my lists for durability from year to year, but you don't even have to take that step if you don't want to.
  • I used a different color of paper for each week. This made it very easy to make sure my long a lists didn't get mixed up with the long i lists. 
  • I had four copies of each list set out each week because I typically had 3-4 students visit that station at a time and I did not want them to have to share. 
  • I've also done it where I had a month's worth of lists connected with a binder ring which mean even less prep on my part, but the disadvantage of this was that students would often end up on the wrong list!
  • You could have all students share one list if you wanted to, or you could leave that list posted somewhere in your classroom.

There is no right or wrong way to use a spelling list as a station!

You can find my spelling lists HERE!

First Grade Spelling Activities

Are you a busy and tired teacher who needs to fulfill the phonics and spelling needs of their emerging first grade readers? This year long Phonics and Spelling activity bundle is a 5-Part phonics kit for teachers to use when teaching students about spelling and phonics patterns (word families).

 

Here's what other teachers are saying:

Using this resource for center work at the end of the day. Students are very engaged and successful!

-Kelly S.

This is a fantastic collection of reading resources to use during guided reading groups! Some of my first graders are still working on phonics skills that will help them read fluently. I love this set!

-Ramona K.

First Grade Reading Favorites

Stamps and Playdough Spelling Station

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Kristen Sullins

Kristen Sullins

I am a current Elementary Librarian and
Enrichment Teacher, mother of two, follower of Christ and Texas native. In my own classroom, I love to save time by finding unique ways to integrate writing, social studies and science into all parts of my day. I also love all things organization!

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