I love making special gems and jewels to help motivate my students to learn critical skills like letters, letter sounds and sight words (see method here).  But my original method was way too time consuming.  I needed easy peasy.

I had a bag of those big sparkly jewels (from Michael's Craft Store).  Perfect!

Yes!  Super easy!  Just write the letters or sight words on the back with a sharpie.

Oh. my. word.  The children were stoked!

We had some old plastic hinged boxes in our resource room.  I let the children stick on little gems to decorate the top.   I purchased these self-adhesive little gems here.


Motivation Magic!  One of my students knew just 3 letters — half her name.  She was not motivated.  So . . . . I brought out the Magic Letter Jewels.   Goodness me!  She was bedazzled.

By the time we left today – she had mastered 10 letters.  She is obsessed about having a box full of jewels.  She even told me a story about her Magic Jewel Box.  The boys were just as excited to have a box of jewels.   And here's the deal.  They can not take home their box until the letters/sounds/ or sight words are mastered.

My Method:

Individualization:  I customize the jewels to fit each student's needs.

  • Level One Mastering Letter Recognition – I put a letter jewel into the box once it has been mastered.

If the child knows all the letters then ~

  • Level TwoMastering Letter Sounds – I put a letter jewel into the box once the child knows the letter sound.

If the child knows all the letters and letter sounds then ~

  • Level ThreeSight Words – I put a sight word jewel into the box once the child recognize the sight word.

If the child knows all the letters, letter sounds and beginning sight words then ~

  • Level Four –  Child's Choice – For children who have mastered the beginning sight words. I let the child pick a favorite word for me to write on the back of the jewel.  We build a dynamic vocabulary.

I write the children's names on the side of the box so I can easily see which box to grab.

Storage – You can use a box like this, muslin bags, or manilla envelopes.

Box source (20 boxes for $13.75): here

Muslin/Burlap bag source: here

Learning is a beautiful thing.