Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Rewind (Plus a Math FREEBIE)

This past week (or so) we have been having a little fun with Thanksgiving.  Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Native Americans, I love this time of year in the classroom.  
Here's a peek at some of the special projects and Thanksgiving inspired learning we've enjoyed . . .

One adorable craft my classes have made for the past few years are these wooden spool turkeys.  I pre cut turkey bodies from craft foam.  The kids glue the wooden spools to the body.  Once they are good dry, they glue the feathers to the opposite end of the spool.  After a little more drying time, they add the felt beaks and waddles and then finally the pipe cleaner legs.  
They are really cute and even more fun when they are all together in a group before they go home with each student.

Another craft we do around Thanksgiving time is a bean wreath.  They are so easy to make and I think the colors look like fall.
To make them, all you have to do is pour several bags of dried beans into a large bowl.  Next, add white glue and mix until the beans are well coated.  Give each student a piece of wax paper and a few scoops of bean mixture.
The students shape the mixture into a circle.  Let them dry for a few days.  Add any kind of bow you would like and you have a wreath that was super fun to make.

I also really enjoy these Native and Pilgrim photo projects.  As you can see, all you need for this activity is construction paper, glue, and photos of your students (feathers are also a nice touch).  Kids love using their pictures for this project.

For the past few years I have also really enjoyed using Babbling Abby's Spelling for All Seasons.  This packet has several paper toppers that are seasonally inspired, as well as a variety of recording sheets.
We used Abby's patterns for the three weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.  We made Native Americans, Pilgrims, and Turkeys to top our practice with word families.  
They looked fabulous hanging in the hall outside our classroom.

In math we worked on word problems using the math mini book that I made last year, It's Turkey Time.  Students work with a variety of skills in this mini book.  Addition, subtraction, fractions, fact families, and time to the half hour.  It is a great little review before going home for Thanksgiving break.

I'm all about using these types of seasonally inspired mini books to practice word problems.  
You can have a FREE copy of It's Turkey Time by clicking on the picture below.  (or maybe just pin it to use next year ;) 

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Thanks for stopping by.
Have a great long weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dominoes for Days (Freebies and Ideas)

I love things that you can use in lots of different ways.  It is so fabulous when you can buy something and put it to use in a few different activities.  Dominoes are one such item.  They can be used for so many classroom activities.  With a little creativity, dominoes can be a fun part of many math and literacy activities.
For math, they are a perfect way to work with math facts.  We use them for addition facts, subtraction facts, related facts, and fact families.
Before we started all of this domino math fact work we read, Domino Addition by Lynette Long.  This simple text helps students see patterns in the dominoes and how to generate addition equations using dominoes.

After reading Domino Addition, we played Domino Scoot (Addition).  I placed a domino at each student desk.  The students used their recording sheets to illustrate each domino and write two related addition facts to go along with that domino.  After about a minute, I signal them to scoot to the next desk.

We used the same setup to play Domino Scoot for subtraction facts.  After a little more practice, we will use this activity once again for fact families.  
Since the recording sheets are so open ended, I can use this exact activity again later for review or for reteaching purposes.  
At the bottom of this post you can find a link to my Domino Scoot recording sheets.  

Besides fact practice, we've also used dominoes for odd and even sorting.  This activity is super simple, with very little prep required.  Students just write odd or even on a note can and then sort the dominoes into the correct category.
You could use this same strategy with other skills as well, like less than 5/greater than 5 or doubles/not doubles.  Just think of different ways students can sort the dominoes.

Another low prep use for dominoes is to use them for word work.  They are very easy to arrange and use to make words.  My students like to use them to practice their spelling words.

Other domino literacy activities I've used require a little more work on the front end, but are fun and a great way to practice a variety of skills.  For example, we work on short and long vowel discrimination by playing domino match ups.  
I make dominoes with a picture on one end and the corresponding vowel sound on the end of another domino.  Students match the correct vowel sound with each picture.  When they complete the matching, there is an optional recording sheet.
I like to use these match ups as a partner activity with the whole group.  Which means, I print half as many dominoes as students so that all the partner sets can play at the same time.
I prep these by printing the dominoes on card stock, laminating, and cutting them.  However, for a quicker prep, you could print them and have students cut out their own sets.
Domino match ups can also be use for small groups, as centers, or as homework.

My young learners have also practiced contractions with domino match ups.  I printed dominoes that have two words on one side and the corresponding contraction on the end of another domino.  Students match the correct words with the correct contraction.  When they complete the contraction matching, there is an optional recording sheet.
If you would like a free copy of the Contraction Domino Match Up or the Long & Short O Domino Match Up, see the bottom of the post.

You can click on the pictures below for free domino activities for your classroom.

I hope you enjoy these activities or at least get some ideas to address your own student needs.  Thanks so much for stopping by.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Why I'm Super Thankful

Can you believe it's almost Thanksgiving?!  I can't think of a better time to stop and reflect on some of the big and little things I am super thankful for.  That is why I'm joining Primary Powers for Super Thankful Thread Linky.  
Here are some of the reasons I am thankful . . .

To read more from the Super Thankful Thread or to join in, be sure to visit Primary Powers.
Thanks for visiting and have a great week.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Five for Friday: November 7, 2014

If you're happy that it's Friday, clap your hands. (clap, clap)

I don't know what it is about this school year, but things seems to be extra, super busy.  I know it's not just me.  My teacher friends at my school and at other schools are in total agreement.  There are definitely not enough hours in the day.  
One result of this pace is that I have missed every Five for Friday so far this school year.  But, hooray, hooray! this week is an exception.  I am so happy to link up with Doodlebugs Teachings Five for Friday and share five things from my week.
So here it goes...

Number 1
One of my to-dos this afternoon, before leaving school, was to prep my Veterans Day math word problem mini book.  We'll use these on Tuesday, along with a few other activities, to learn more about the heroes that protect our country.  

With this mini book students will work with number bonds, ten frames, calendars, addition, and more.  If you would like to use this activity with your students, you can have a FREE copy of myVeterans Day Salute by clicking on the picture below.

Number 2
We made a favorite fall craftivity, my Scarecrow Glyph.  I love glyphs.  You can really learn a lot about your students through them.  They are also a great way to cover a wide variety of math skills (depending on your line of questioning) and can provide inspiration for student writing.  
I especially like this scarecrow because it works in September, October, and November.  So, if you have them on display in your classroom, you do not have to be in a rush to change them out with another project.

For more details about this project, click on the picture below.

Number 3
This week we launched our November math centers, Thanks and Giving {10 Math Centers for November}.

With these centers, students are working on addition, subtraction, skip counting, fact families, twenty frames, time to the half hour, place value and more.  They are a wonderful way to review and to lay the groundwork for upcoming instruction.
We use them during our Math Daily 3 time for the Math with Someone rotation.

If you would like a FREE center from this packet, click on the picture below.  Touchdown Turkeys is a basic addition center.  It has full color center cards and a recording sheet.  

Number 4
We also started work with our November literacy centers, Thanks and Giving {10 Literacy Centers for November}.

With these centers, students practice skills such as short/long vowel discrimination, parts of speech, ABC order, sight words, sentence order, syllables, blends, and more.

If you would like a FREE center from this packet, click on the picture below.  Autumn ABC Order is just what it sounds like.  Students will practice putting fall themed words in ABC order.  This activity has color center pieces and a recording sheet. 

Number 5
Finally, I've just have to say how proud I am my own sweet first grader.  She ran with her daddy and me in a race last Saturday.  It was unseasonably cold, but that didn't slow her down one bit.  She ran the entire race.  She continues to amaze us.  It was a fun morning for our family.

That's all I have for now.  Thanks to Doodlebugs Teaching for hosting Five for Friday.
Enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Long Vowels: Simple Ways to Get Started

For the first several weeks of school we spend loads of time working with short vowels.  We read with them, spell with them, sort with them, create rhymes with them, trade them out to create different words . . . you name it, we do it.  But, all of this work is (or at least should be) review.  
Today was our first day of many that we really focused on long vowel sounds.  Over the next few months, we'll spend lots of time learning about letter patterns that make the long vowel sounds.

My very favorite tool for teaching students about reading words with long vowel sounds is the saying, "Two vowels in a word, the first vowel says it's name, the second vowel plays the quiet game."  (There are other similar saying that get the point across as well.  This variation just sticks with me the best).
I say this to my young learners over and over and over.  Eventually they know it by heart.

I made these anchor charts to use as headers on the board as we brainstorm words that follow the two vowels pattern.  I (or the students) write words on the board and then we mark the vowel that says its name and cross out the one that's playing the quiet game.  Over the next few days, I'll repeat this activity using different words that follow the same pattern.

If you would like a free set of these anchor charts, click on the picture below.  There are eleven different charts with different long vowel combinations.  The clip art is from Graphics from the Pond and the fonts are by Kimberly Geswein.

Another simple way to practice this (or any other) spelling pattern is an anchor activity I like to call fold and draw.  Students fold their paper to create boxes.  In each box, they will write a word using the spelling pattern and then illustrate it.  Students can fold their papers twice to have four boxes or they can fold it three times to create six boxes.  
Like the anchor chart activity above, students can repeat this activity again by spelling different words and drawing different illustrations.

One more way we are practicing long vowels is with my recently bundled Words at Work Mega Pack {Word Work for Long Vowels}.  I designed these activities to be consistent as we progress to each vowel.  I want students to focus more on the skill than trying to figure what they are supposed to do to complete the task.

This packet works perfectly for independent assignments in class, as a word work practice, or as homework.  All of the activities are low prep, just print and go.  If you want more details more details, click on the picture below.

There are so many ways to tackle long vowels.  I love finding effective, simple, and easy to implement ways to practice this important skill.  I hope some of these ideas will be helpful to you.
Have a great week.