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Whirl Your Word Wheelie

Give hands-on early reading (or learning another language) a whirl! Create a wheelie, read a word, and uncover the hidden picture to build your vocabulary.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
    Grade 3
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Pick a letter. Here’s a great small group project—whole alphabets are waiting, so you can exchange wheelies! Choose a letter or character (this works in any language). List several words that begin with that letter using Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils. Check spelling and erase to correct.
    2. Do a wheelie. Students choose a shape that begins with their letter and has a part that moves. For example, the letter O could be an octopus with a leg. We drew an apple and stem for A. Draw the shape on a recycled file folder. Cut it out with Crayola Scissors. Younger students may need assistance from an adult to help cut two holes in it: one on the outside, the other closer to the center (see the picture). Color the wheelie.
    3. Create a spinner. Draw a circle that is slightly smaller than the wheelie. Place the wheelie on top of the circle. Secure with a brass paper fastener. On the circle, write words in the inner spaces. Draw matching pictures on the outer spaces. Color code them if desired. Remove the paper fastener.
    4. Make a hider. From file folder scraps, draw and cut out the moveable piece. Make sure that it is big enough to cover the outer hole. Attach it with a paper fastener to the wheelie. Reattach the wheelie to the circle.
    5. Read! Cover the pictures. Whirl your wheelie! Read the word that shows. Uncover the picture to make sure that you read the word correctly.
  • Standards

    LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    LA: Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using adjectives and adverbs to describe (e.g., When other kids are happy that makes me happy).

    LA: Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Big Words for Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis; The Boy Who Loved Words by Ronni Schotter

    Encourage students to trade wheelies with other groups to expand the possibilities and introduce an element of mystery.

    Invite students to create similar wheels for other letters and other arts of speech, such as phonemes and digraphs.

    Reverse the process. Students cover the word on the wheel and look at the picture drawn. Students say and spell the word illustrated on the wheel.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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