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January 11, 2013

Common Core Literacy Centers: CVC Gumballs!

Common Core Literacy Centers- CVC Gumballs!fbCommon Core Literacy Centers- CVC Gumballs!fb


This post will tell you how to make CVC Word Family Gumballs!  My kids tried them out this week, and they were a huge HIT!  The children could hardly keep their hands off of them, given the allure of the gumball machine and the wonderfully shiny little jewels with the words on them!


I have seen ideas from other bloggers and presenters using gumball machines in the classroom, and this was my inspiration for this idea.  Most notably, I pinned this wonderful picture from Shari Sloane’s website, KidsCount1234! Her students were putting pennies into her gumball machine and then writing the sight words that were written on jewels that came out.  It surely looked like a wonderful idea, but the gumball machines tend to be bulky (translate: hard to store) and expensive.   I knew that I did have a small, plastic gumball machine already.  So I decided to try something similar, but with CVC words so that my students could get a little more practice sounding out words and sorting them into word families.


As far as the little gumball machine is concerned, I found mine at a vendor booth at the I Teach K! Conference last summer in Las Vegas, but I realized that they also sell them online on Amazon for $5.73!  AND, now some readers have commented that they found the very same one at the Dollar Tree! It would be nice to have a gumball machine that would dispense just ONE jewel at a time, and that the kids would need pennies to work, but this one is not like that at ALL.  It takes NO pennies, and all you need to do is press down on the button to let out bunches of jewels.  And the longer you hold down the button, the more jewels will fall out.  And, occasionally, the jewels get a little bit stuck and you have to shake up the gumball machine to dislodge them.  In short, this is a very cheap little gumball machine and it’s not perfect.  If you want your center to last a long time, invest in a better gumball machine!  In fact, someone in my class FORCED the gumball machine to dispense a jewel when it got stuck and broke it, because it is very cheap.  My husband fixed it right away, but I don’t really know how long it will last.


For this reason, I do not think that this is a good gumball machine for having the kids write each word that comes out.  However, it IS a good machine for having them read and sort the words that fall in a small group, if the teacher is the one managing the machine.  And it even fits pretty well in a small plastic shoe box if you lay it flat on its side!

The gumball machine is only about 8 inches tall and can be stored easily in a plastic shoe box with plenty of room to spare.


My kids really couldn’t keep their hands off of it, and that was such the case that I actually had to take it away and put it out of reach during transition times in order to avoid problems with it!  They even chose to play with it during play time!


And what game did we play with them?  So far, all we did was introduce how to use the gumball machine and let them get used to the “thrill” of pushing the button and watching the gems fall out!  I let them read the words and try to sort them into word families.  We also took our CVC flash cards and tried to match up the jewels with the correct pictures.

The flash cards above are from the HeidiSongs CVC book.

So now, next time they play with it, I will release them to do the activity independently and let them push the buttons to release the gems, and then sort and match them to the correct picture cards.  The children were also interested in finding rhyming words, which of course meant that they were within the same word family.  That lead to an interesting discussion. 


To make these CVC jewels, just buy some decorative gems at a craft store or online.  I got mine at Michael’s with a coupon, of course!  Then I printed out all of the CVC words that are included in my CVC book, volume one, because I knew my students would be familiar with them.  I printed them on return address labels, and then trimmed them close with a small paper cutter.  Then I simply peeled off the sticker backing from the labels and put the words on the jewels.

This is what it looks like when the Mod Podge is drying.

After that, I took some Mod Podge (also purchased at Michael’s, of course!) and painted it over the tops of the jewels, and then let them dry for several hours.  I think I am going to put at least one more coat of Mod Podge on them sometime this week, just to make sure that they really last.


If you would like to download my words to put onto some CVC jewels of your own, you can download that master here in .doc format and in pdf format.  It is printed on the template for Avery Return Address Labels- the kind that have 80 on a page.  But you can just print them on plain paper and glue them onto the jewels yourself, of course! One thing you need to know about the master is that it is missing five of the CVC words from the CVC Volume One book:  shut, sun, run, fun, and bun.  This is because there is room for only 80 labels on the template, and there are 85 words.  I would have included a second page, but I must confess that “I am a Mac, not a PC.”  Therefore, Microsoft Word products, such as Avery Templates frustrate and confuse me!  I HATE them!  I could not figure out how to add a second page to that template, unfortunately.  Or, more specifically, when I did add the second page, I couldn’t seem to type in the label boxes, and I gave up when it was time to go to school!  So if you want those last five words, you’re on your own!  I just deleted five of the previous words and printed the sheet twice.  There’s a solution for you!  Also, if you have any trouble with the .doc format of the download, don’t call US!  Call someone that LIKES Microsoft products (and understands them!)  Use the pdf download instead.

Check to see which volume has the word families you need the most, or just get both of them. 

If you would like to have your kids match up the jewels to some CVC pictures, here is that same free short A unit from the CVC book that we have given you before!  And if you want to try some other units for other vowel sounds, please click here.

If you liked this post, here are some others that you may like!  And don’t forget to sign up for the email updates!

Common Core Literacy Centers:  Sight Word Wands!

Common Core Literacy Centers:  Phonics Spoons!

Brand New!  Hidden Sight Word Coloring Worksheets!

 Sight Word Sticker Books!

Math on My Mind
(Be sure to check out the section on the Shark Teeth Addition– it’s GREAT!)


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