Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Conversations

Y'all!! What is about December that makes everything take double the time?? I have been dying to blog about all we've done this month, but in the midst of Polar Express week, it just hasn't happened. When I saw Abby's link up, I decided it was the perfect quick and easy opportunity to get a little blogging in and have a little Christmas fun! Here's my Christmas Conversation...
Want to read more {or make your own conversation}?? Head over to The Inspired Apple to see the link up!
http://theinspiredapple.blogspot.com/2014/12/a-christmas-conversation-linky-party.html

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Centers

Happy December everyone! If you're anything like me, you're wondering how December got here so quickly and you're a *little* bit stressed when you think about how to fit everything you want to do in at school and at home! I'm really trying hard this year though not to let it bother me if everything doesn't happen, and really enjoy this special season with my own child and my kids at school.
This past week, we had gingerbread week and the kids had a blast {I plan to blog about it, but you can click here to see what we did last year}! They also loved all the new Christmas centers we started during literacy workshops. During workshops, not all my kids always visit the same tub/activity. Because different children need work on different skills, I try to create lots of activities that all focus on different phonics skills so that everyone has something specific to their need. Here's what different partner groups are working on:

Matching uppercase letters to lowercase letters and recoding the matches:
Clipping letters for ending sounds {and getting fine motor practice in!}:
Spelling sight words:
A lot of my kids are working on reading cvc words:
{I've tried to start making a lot of puzzle activities this year in which I make random cuts, so that each puzzle is self correcting to give my kids extra support this year}

Determining the middle sound in words:

Matching pictures to their beginning letter:
Matching rhyming pictures:
These centers along with others are in my Christmas packs {click the images below to find out more}:
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Everything-ELA-December-1587481

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/A-Sleigh-Full-of-Centers-Christmas-Math-and-Language-Arts-Activities-411967

I'm off to work on the next pack in my Nifty Numbers series...I can't wait to finish and show you!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Little More Thanksgiving

Whew! We had our Thanksgiving lunch today and I am wiped out! It's so much fun though and I hope to blog about it this weekend!
I had hopes of sharing some additional ideas for Thanksgiving last week, but my sweet girl turned 2 and I was a little preoccupied. She's 2 y'all - officially a big girl and not a baby :(.

At school, we've continued hitting our standards hard, but with a Thanksgiving flair! In math, we used corn to practice our one-to-one correspondence while adding 1 more and also to practice making 10 {love this activity from Kelley Dolling!!}.


We also worked on making 10 by doing a shake and spill activity with feathers. I copied feathers on yellow and red paper, glued them together, cut them, and put 10 in a cup. Then, we shook them, spilled them, and sorted them by color. The kids colored the turkey feathers to represent the feathers we spilled, then we made the equation to match.

We also made this little turkey from my November pack to practice ordering numbers {and can I just say praise Jesus...everyone did it right the first time!!}.


This week, we've been learning all about turkeys. This book is a great informational book that the kids loved!
http://www.amazon.com/All-About-Turkeys-Jim-Arnosky/dp/0590481479#
After reading, we made a turkey tree map {and made some cutie turkeys to hold them} and also labeled the parts of a turkey.




We also talked about what we tell people to eat if we were turkeys and made these little guys {sorry the writing is a little hard to see!}.

As a surprise, Mr. Golden {my friend Deeanna's husband} brought the feathers, beard, and feet/spurs from a turkey their son killed years ago. The kids loved getting to see it up close and personal!

Another skill we've continued to work on is sequencing. We read I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie and A Turkey for Thanksgiving and sequenced both. The kids love these stories! {You can get them in my sequencing bundle or in the Thanksgiving sequence pack}.



Something else we do every year is have the kids work with their family to decide an Indian name. We use this name as part of our Thanksgiving lunch, but we also use it to make these little guys {I think my friend Deeanna made this one of her very first years of teaching - over 20 years ago}.


We've got 2 more days this week and then we get the whole week of Thanksgiving off {we haven't had a break since Labor Day!!}. I can't wait to bundle up in my PJs and watch some Hallmark movies!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ideas for Thanksgiving

I absolutely love this time of year! The kids are in a great routine, the weather is cooler, and tons of fun holiday festivities are happening! I especially love November in the classroom. There are just so many fun things to teach and creative ways to teach our standards with the help of the Pilgrims and Native Americans!
We started by reading one of my favorite books {I tried to find it on Amazon and I think it's not in print any longer, but it's worth getting a used copy!}.
It is such a sweet story of a little girl trying to figure out her mom's most thankful thing {I cry reading it every year!}. After we read the story, we charted what our most thankful things are, then made these turkeys to hold our writing. I've been making the turkeys since I was student teaching and I'm pretty sure the idea came from a Mailbox magazine.


Then, we started learning all about the Pilgrims and their voyage to a new land. We read this book, which has a TON of information!
Then, we did a little shared writing where we wrote what life on the Mayflower was like. We used our shared writing to do independent writing that we attached to our Mayflowers.

Then, we talked about what one thing we would take with us on the Mayflower, and made a little suitcase {the writing is from Deanna Jump's Thanksgiving Unit}



We read further in the book to find out what daily life was like for the Pilgrims. My kids loved learning about Pilgrim children {they couldn't believe Pilgrim boys wore dresses until they were 6!}. We made a group graphic organizer, then the kids used it to help them with their independent writing about Pilgrims.





We also read The Littlest Pilgrim {another great story} and talked character traits. The kids came up with words that described Mini, but they had to give me evidence from the story to support their adjective. They did great! We also made a super easy Mini craft {thanks to Cara Carroll!}


To round out our week, we made butter! I first showed the kids the whipping cream and asked them to predict what would happen if we put it in a jar and shook it.
Then, we started shaking. I let my kids take turn shaking the jar while we counted to 20. They were amazed when it made butter!

Of course, we had to have a taste test! I just gave everyone a half of a piece of bread with butter spread on it. We tasted, then graphed whether we liked it or not. For this graph, I let the kids tell me what they noticed about the data instead of telling them what I wanted to find...it made for great math conversation!



For our centers, I'm using most out of this pack I made last year. I'm frantically working on an additional ELA pack, but it is slow going!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Gobbling-Good-Centers-Math-and-Language-Arts-Centers-395485

And just for fun, we've been reading in a teepee {and yes I know the Native Americans at the first Thanksgiving did not live in them, but it's for sheer fun!}. The kids love it every year!! My granddad made the base from bamboo 11 years ago when I started teaching, then I let my first class decorate 2 sheets to wrap around it.
 I hope to be back this week to show you the math we've been doing with our Thanksgiving unit...the kids have loved it!