Thursday, July 7, 2011

Alphabet Rocks

The other day I was at the Dollar Tree, and found bags of rocks and seashells they were selling for decorations. I thought both would make great manipulatives for different learning activities in my classroom. I spent $8 total to build my collection of shells and rocks. A bargain if you ask me!
The seashell packs came with quite a variety of interesting shells.

At first I was just going to leave the rocks as they were, but then I remembered the pebble alphabet magnet idea that I saw on the Playful Learning website, and felt inspired to turn some of my rocks into alphabet letters. I changed the idea a little though, and decided not to make them magnets. 
I just used a permanent marker, and selected rocks that were mostly flat and smooth. I made two sets of lower-case letters using the smaller rocks, and one set of upper-case letters using the bigger rocks.
I was really happy with how they turned out. I plan to use them for a variety of alphabet activities, such as letter recognition, matching upper- and lower-case letters, word building, etc. I also thought that they would work for a type of memory game as well, since you can turn the rocks over to hide the alphabet letter. This was a super cheap and easy way to make a set of interesting literacy materials for my classroom!

(It would have been even cheaper if I had taken the time to go find my own rocks out in nature, which you could also do. But Dollar Tree saved me the time of doing that and cleaning up the rocks so they would be usable. Thanks Dollar Tree!)

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