Little Log Cottage School

An Educational Blog to Inspire Creativity, Character, Grit, and the Love of Learning

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Word Work Activities for K-2nd Grade

word work collage

Hola!  I’m beginning to write this as I listen to Miss Francis, our Spanish teacher, working with the children outside.  So hopefully my writing won’t transfer between Spanish and English as I quickly write this!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to listen to Becky from This Reading Mama talk and explain to us how she uses word work as a spelling strategy.  We really need some more spelling lessons in our homeschool, because my Princess (8) can struggle a bit with spelling.  She hasn’t built up her confidence yet.  So after listening and thinking about how Becky teaches spelling in her home, I was excited to get back and implement a few of the strategies she had taught us!

Day 1: Word Sort

My Kindhearted Princess is working with long o words this week.  So I typed up a list of words with both short and long o sounds.  I also included the word “do” which has a different sound.  I did this to get her to think about the three different sounds that o can make.

We began the activity by reading through the 16 words that I created and then I chose one long o word like “boat” and one short “o” word such as “moss”.  I then put each word side by side on our pocket chart.  I told her to make two groups using the two words I selected as her guide.  She quickly put all of the short o words under the word “moss” and the long “o” words under the word “boat”.  She had placed the word “do” in the short o column.  After reading through each column with her she realized that the word “do” was the odd man out.  There was another tricky word in the list, “follow”.  It makes both the short o and the long o sound.  She put it in the middle.

word work1

Day 2: Word Sort and Write

On day two I had her do the activity all on her own.  After she had quickly put the words in the correct place I had her write down the words in her Word Work (or Reading) notebook.

Day 3: Build a Word

On day three I pulled some letter cards that I had left over from an old reading curriculum.  I asked her to see if she could build a word out of the letters.  I thought she was really going to enjoy this activity.  She did not.  She only wanted to spell one word and then be done with it.  However, I’m not going to give up on this activity.  I think it’s a great way to challenge and provides a hands-on way to practice multiple word patterns.  Here’s how we played it.

I set out various letters so she would have multiply opportunities to build a word.  After she built a word such as “shell” I would then ask if she could replace the second consonant with another consonant to make another word.  It took her a minute to find an “m” to build the word “smell.”

word work2 resize

We were able to review a lot of word patterns, but she found it a bit frustrating when she couldn’t figure out the word I was trying to have her spell.  I’m going to try another approach to this activity next time.  I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes!

More Spelling

Here Come Fun Activities For Beginning Reading and Spelling

Messy Fun!

Kindergarten Curriculum for Pixie

Using What You Have On Hand

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Little Passports 2 Day Flash Sale!!!

Hi everyone!  If you’ve been thinking of purchasing a subscription from Little Passports, here’s a great deal!  We just received ours in the mail last week and are super excited to get started!


Sale: $20 off any 12 month Subscription

Dates: 3/26 – 3/27
Promo Code:SPRING20

**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Surprise! Little Passports is having a 2 day Flash Sale! Click on a link or banner below to sign up for your 12 month subscription and get $20 off by using the code: SPRING20 at check out. But hurry, this flash sale ends tomorrow!

Fine print: *Offer valid on new subscriptions only and cannot be combined with any other offers and/or applied retroactively to previously placed orders. Offer applies only to the 12-Month Plan. Offer not valid on Personalized Products or the World Coin Collection. Offer excludes shipping and taxes. Offer valid from March 26, 2015 at 8:00AM EST to March 27, 2015 at 11:59PM EST.

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Morning Math Work for 2nd Grade-Subscriber Freebie

2nd grade morning math work

Long ago when I was a fourth grade teacher, I had the woes of making sure I had 20 + kids who could make the grade in math. After homeschooling for 3 years, I can see how silly it is to believe that 20 + kids from all different backgrounds would all be on the same level for math.  However, I did find a way to ensure that my kids were gaining confidence and accuracy in their math skills thanks to another teacher from another district.

Because it’s too difficult to tailor lessons and to move at the pace of the child in public school, the teacher in this other district would assign one problem from the day’s lesson for homework each night.  As new skills were introduced one problem from each new skill would be added to nightly homework. The first night you would only have one problem.  The next night you would have two.  By the end of the semester you may have 10-15 problems, but because the child had been doing the same skill every night it would only take 10-15 minutes to complete the homework assignment.  There are good things about repetition, and this concept really stuck with my 4th graders.

This past January I had the opportunity to review a math assessment program called A+ Math Interactive.  I really liked it because it assessed my child and then I could see her weak areas.  I was shocked to see that she really needed a tune up with some skills.  I was reminded of the math homework I used to create for my 4th graders and how well it worked for them.  Because of this I created a set of math review printables so she could work on them every morning and still be introduced to new skills during math time.  After the first week I could see a HUGE difference in her understanding and confidence of solving these problems.

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There are 10 days worth of math problems for number sense, addition, and subtraction.  If you’re concerned about Common Core Standards, I have attached a page with the standards covered.  Right now I am offering this packet as my Subscriber FREEBIE.  All you have to do is subscribe to my weekly newsletter.  You can do that by clicking on my Newsletter Subscription Sign up form on the right side of my blog.

If you just want the packet without the subscription you can visit HERE to purchase for $2.00.

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Adventure Storybook Club: St. Patrick’s Day Cooking With Kids

This month’s theme for Adventure Storybook Club is What’s Cooking?  It was  hard for me to decide what direction I wanted to go with this theme.  But, I think we came up with some fun activities to tie into our book choices for the month! Cooking is a fun activity for kids so I knew whatever I chose would be fine with them.  I chose the book “O Sullivan Stew” by Hudson Talbott to also use for St. Patrick’s Day.

cooking activities for kids

This book was full of “blarneys” told by the heroine of the story, Kate O’Sullivan.  This was a favorite with my kids.  I could tell because they kept asking me to read it over and over again!

Write Your Own Blarney

After researching a little on a “blarney” and looking up information on The Blarney Stone, I got my kids excited about writing their own blarney.  In second grade my kids have been working through the steps to write a story.  I created this printable to help organize their thoughts before they got started with their story.

blarney stew

Now, how did I tie this into cooking?  Well, I may have cheated just a bit, but we took the title “O’Sullivan Stew” and explained that Kate created a blarney stew by throwing in lots of different characters and exciting events to spin a great blarney.  For dinner I had the kids help whip up an Irish Stew in honor of our heroine, Kate O’Sullivan.


Another great book we read for our What’s Cooking theme was “Jamie O’Rourke and The Big Potato.”  The kids were very excited about this book because it was written by an author we studied in the fall: Tomie dePaola.  I found a really great resource for my Kindergarteners to review the story elements of this story.  You can find them here.

I found a really fun snack to make to go along with this story.  We made Irish Candy Potatoes.  To find the recipe for these fun potato candies visit Irish Potato Candy Recipe.

irish potato candy

These were very easy and fun to make.  We had fun trying them out as we had our Thursday Poetry Tea Party.

pixie eating irish potato candy

As you can see, we all had a great time reading “O’Sullivan Stew” and “Jamie O’Rourke and The Big Potato”.

Don’t forget to download your FREE Blarney Stew Graphic Organizer!

Looking for past themes?  Try these!

Elsa Verses the Snow Queen

Do You Want to Build A Snowman?

Activities Inspired by the Legend of the Indian Paintbrush

Here are the books we used this week.

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A Strange Few Months

The last few weeks have been really strange and uneven.  Meaning we begin to get on a roll with school and then something happens and we have to stop.





First off, The Weather.

For most homeschooling families it doesn’t matter if it comes a blizzard.  You keep up with school work in spite of what it’s doing outside.  However, since I run a cottage school and plan lessons for a group of kids, it can throw a wrench in your plans if families can’t get to your house because of snow and ice.

snowy house

Next up, Sickness.

I was out of commission a few days which can really throw your schedule and momentum out of whack.  No school, no lesson planning.  Plus I have had kids out of school for two weeks because of illness.  It’s been difficult to get back into a groove, so I’m so thankful Spring is almost here to get rid of snow, ice, and sickness!

Here’s what we’ve been doing this week as we wind up our school year.

Geometry, Addition and Subtraction Story Problems

On Tuesday, my PreK and Kindergarteners played a game identifying shapes and counting the number of sides.  I was really surprised they knew more than I thought.  Isn’t that just about always the case?

shape and roll

On Wednesday, I used these handy spring story problems as a whole class activity.  My kiddos loved it!

story problem pocket chart

And then I worked one-on-one with my little Pixie.  She used the story images to tell her own story.  We practiced writing the number sentences down as she told her story of the bees dividing the flowers among themselves.  So cute!

pixie story problems

My second grader has been working on becoming the teacher and explaining how she solves her story problems.  We’re also beginning to study multiplication or “arrays”.  I must say I am loving how Common Core preps kids for multiplication.  This is her favorite math skill.


Kindergarten Phonics

We’ve begun to work on adding silent “e” to cvc words with Pixie.  I had her write down how to change “man” to “mane” and “can” to “cane” in her reading journal.  She also illustrated each word.

silent e journal

On Wednesday, she began to write these words in sentences.  This was 100% her idea.  I just followed her lead.

silent e sentences

These are just a few skills we worked on last week.  What have you been doing with your kiddos?  Please leave comments below!


Teaching Writing With WriteShop {Review and GIVEAWAY!!!}

This is a conversation on behalf of WriteShop. Opinions are 100% my own.

Before we began our writing journey with WriteShop, I was teaching writing without a curriculum.  I’m obsessed with finding the right writing curriculum to meet all the needs of my children, so I just hadn’t invested in one.  When I had a chance to use and review WriteShop, you better believe I jumped at the opportunity!

Homeschool Writing Curriculm

I love writing.  It’s alway been a passion of mine.  I want it to be a fun, creative outlet for my children.  Finding the “write” curriculum was crucial in making this happen.  After going two years without using a writing curriculum, I was eager to try one out.

The intent of WriteShop is for parents to work together with their child. It’s a foundational resource in helping parents introduce writing at home.  This program is flexible enough to allow children to work at their ability level.  WriteShop offers many different levels of writing curriculum.

We started using WriteShop Primary Book C  in September. I was sent the Teacher’s Guide and the activity worksheet pack.  The Teacher’s Guide is extremely detailed with daily lesson plans, instructions, and ways on how to plan your own schedule to meet the needs of your child.

There are 10 lessons. Each lesson can be completed in 1-3 weeks and provides the following components:

  • Lesson Focus (new writing skills)
  • Lesson Objectives
  • Materials
  • Advance Prep (to help plan ahead)
  • Guided Writing Practice (to model writing)
  • Pre-writing Activities (warm up activities)
  • Brainstorming (to organize thoughts)
  • The Writing Project (creating the story or report)
  • Editing and Revising (proofreading and self editing)
  • Publishing the Project (creative ideas to publish and take pride in their work)
  • Want to Do More?  (if your child needs challenged)

Using the Program

I was so excited to get a beautiful spiral bound teacher’s manual in the mail.  I felt like it was Christmas!  After looking at the schedule I knew this was going to be a great fit for our homeschool.  You could go as fast or slow that you wanted.  I chose the slow route, because we have so many themes we study throughout the week.

I’m not much on advanced prep (with 3 kids, homeschool, and housework) so I just wrote out everything on our whiteboard for our writing practice.

We used chart paper for the guided writing.  For the first lesson Princess (age 8) and I wrote a story together.  I wrote it out on the chart paper and then she copied it on her own paper.  It was painless and very enjoyable!

first lesson

By the second and third lesson, we began sharing the pen during our guided writing lessons.  She is loving the writing process and is jotting ideas down about new stories all of the time!

We didn’t do every component of every lesson.  I usually skipped the pre-writing and brainstorming activities.  I think they would be wonderful components to add, but since Princess was proving to be a pretty competent writer, I chose to cut a few things to save time.

The editing and revising activities have been fun because WriteShop recommends using a stuffed animal to be your editing buddy.  Princess throughly enjoyed using her stuffed bear.

Thoughts About The Program

As a former public school educator, I had forgotten the importance of modeling, modeling, modeling!  The one thing you hear over and over at every teacher workshop is to model what is expected.  WriteShop hits the nail on the head by including guided writing in every lesson.  By the time we finish a guided writing assignment, Princess glows with pride to see how much we can write together.  She takes great pride in reading the story to her friends and her friends always respond with, “That’s a great story!”

write shop6 Alexander

She still wants me to write with her, but I feel confident that she will soon take the reigns into her hands and begin the writing process on her own.  I appreciate the repetition of the guided writing activities in every lesson.  This will instill the foundation for writing in everything she writes.  The fun activities in this program make the writing process a joy instead of a burden.

I highly recommend this curriculum for any learner.  Reluctant and advanced writers would enjoy the activities suggested.  The program also helps explain how to teach writing to every parent.  It highlights writing as a creative process, and that is what writing is all about.

Are you on Instagram? Show off your creativity with a photo writing prompt. Use nature, toys, kids, whatever. Or, make a collage like a comic book. Follow WriteShop on Instagram and then share your image with the hashtag #writeshopwriting. Be sure to tag @WriteShop in your photo. Their team will be choosing from your photo writing prompts to share in their social media!

Want to read more reviews?  Click the link the graphic below!



Just click on the link below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway product provided by WriteShop. Winner will be selected and notified by email on April 4, 2015. Winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be selected. If the winner is a US resident, a physical product will be provided. If the winner lives internationally, only a digital product will be provided. Void where prohibited.



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A Week’s Worth of Lessons and Activities With Dr. Seuss!

Dr. Seuss Activities

When you look at the first week of March on the calendar it can look like a regular, innocent week out of the year.  But when you are an educator you know this is not the case.  March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’s birthday and the whole week is dedicated to Read Across America!

For the record, I didn’t grow up reading Dr. Seuss.  My mom hated his books, so I was never exposed to them.  I never started reading them until I became a teacher and there was such a big hoopla on celebrating his birthday all week long. (Don’t worry, Mom.  It’s ok that we didn’t read Green Eggs and Ham.)

So I can’t quote any of his books, but that hasn’t stopped us from diving head first into Theodor Seuss Geisel’s strange and wonderful world of rhymes.  Do they make sense?  No!  That’s the glorious beauty I found in Dr. Seuss.  Throw out the rules, make up what ever creature and words that you want, and have fun!

Here are our activities for the week.  There are tons and tons more fabulous ideas I found, but they will just have to wait until next year!

The Lorax

Dr. Seuss1

On Tuesday our book for the day was The Lorax.  I procrastinate quite a lot when I’m planning for my themes, so I missed out on getting the books I needed from the library.  But knowing how popular Dr. Seuss books are, I knew I could find a decent reading on youtube.

My second grader wrote a letter to the Once-ler explaining why he shouldn’t cut down the Truffula trees.

Dr. Seuss2

The Cat in the Hat

On Wednesday we extended “The Cat in the Hat” by making word family hats.  My Prek and Kindergarteners made -at family hats.

Dr. Seuss3 Dr. Seuss4

My advanced PreK students made 4 letter -at word hats.

And my second grader made -ea word family hats.  These were the words she has been practicing in spelling.

Dr. Seuss5

There’s A Wocket in My Pocket

After the fun we had with the word family hats, we got back on the computer to watch and listen to “There’s a Wocket in My Pocket.”  This is such a great book for decoding nonsense words!

We counted our pockets and made up a bar graph.

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On Thursday we had a winter storm move through so we had to “play” school by ourselves.

We designed out own “Cat in the Hat” hats.

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My second grader wrote a descriptive paragraph about her hat.

Then we made cupcakes and celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday!

Dr. Seuss10


My kids even made their own hats and drew whiskers on their faces.

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Throughout the week we worked on Dr. Seuss flip books.

Dr. Seuss13


We wrote the names of the books we read and wrote rhymes, sentences, and drew pictures about each book.

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Needless to say, my kids had a blast this week.  The house is a wreck, but that’s what a creative house should look like, right?

Dr. Seuss Books

Follow my March Pinterest Board

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