Monday, September 5, 2011

Magnetic Letters: A Second Lease At Life

When I moved to kindergarten I was gifted five sets of magnetic letters inside plastic craft boxes (you know the ones people use to store embroidery thread?). I had a lot of great plans for these little letters but despite my best intentions they never made it out of their plastic home more than a few times a year. I just couldn't figure out a way for my kids to keep these organized. Everytime I peeked into a box there were h's in the f box, and u's in the n section. It just about drove me crazy!

This summer I decided that my little magnetic letter friends needed some more love. They also desperately needed a new home. Now we are all living happily every after...AND my little letter friends are coming out to play 1-2 times a week. Check out the solution that turned it all around:

 My magnets now live inside this drawer system that I got at Home Depot. The vowels all get their own drawer while most of the consonants "bunk" with another consonant. I used scrapbook letters to label the drawers and then to make them really stand out I put a dot label inside of the drawers to give the appearance of white background. Now it's easy peasy to find and put back letters.

A real problem with my old letter system was that all the b, p, q, d were always getting mixed up. As far as magnetic letters go d and p are the exact same, and q and b  are the same. In my new system I placed these "magnetic twins" together. Notice I marked the d/p letters with two dots on the curves and I marked the b/q letters with one dot for easy identification. The letters also have these dots on them.

So what do my new little letter friends like to do when they come out and play? Make words of course!! Every Tuesday we do a sight word mix and fix activity with our letters. I simply pull out the letters for the 2-3 sight words of the week. I have these awesome magnetic sheets from Really Good Stuff (I don't think they sell them anymore but little cookie sheets would work just as well!). I have enough letters and magnetic sheets for the kids to work in partners. I pass out the sheets and one partner mixes and then the other fixes. Then they switch. On Wednesday the letters come back out again to practice making our word families. I work with ten kiddos at a time while the other group finds sight words in their take-home story of the week. We make our word family stem and then practice adding different letters to the front to make new words. We're having so much fun with our magnetic letters this year! I hope your little magnetic letter friends can come out a play more this year too!



  1. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Love your blog, great for English language teachers!!!