Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Cinco de Mayo in the Primary Classroom (Including Two Free Resources)

Since we're getting close to the beginning of May, I want to share a few ways to incorporate Cinco de Mayo into your classroom.  
Of course one great way to integrate Cinco de Mayo and Mexican culture into your class is through read alouds.  If your students are not familiar with Cinco de Mayo, fun and informative read alouds are a wonderful way to give students background knowledge for this holiday.

Some Cinco de Mayo themed read alouds you may want to check out are:
Marco's Cinco de Mayo by Lisa Bullard
Next Stop: Mexico by Ginger McDonnell
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the Mexican Hat Dance by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy
Cinco de Mouse-O! by Judy Cox
P is for PiƱata by Tony Johnston
Chicks and Salsa by Aaron Reynolds

After developing some background knowledge, students can complete a writing piece about Cinco de Mayo.  My students have be working hard on topic sentences and supporting details.  By this time of the year, they should be ready to fly with this project.  
Students will be prompted to write information they know about Cinco de Mayo.  When the writing is complete, students will put together their Cinco de Mayo kid peek overs.  
These projects will be a colorful and enlightening display outside of our classroom.
If you would like to make this project with your students, click here for a free copy of the pattern and writing sheet.

In addition to literacy opportunities, Cinco de Mayo can also be incorporated into your math time.  
A few years ago I made this Cinco de Mayo math mini book.  I've used it every year since then to give my young learners extra practice with word problems.
Skills included in this mini book are addition, subtraction, fractions, tally marks, time, nonstandard measurement, calendar, and patterns.
If you would like a free copy of Celebrate Cinco de May: A Math Mini Book, you can click here.

In addition to Cinco de Mayo word problem work, I also incorporated Cinco de Mayo into some of our monthly center work.  
In math centers students will practice Cinco de Mayo themed fractions and coin counting.  In literacy centers, students will work with Cinco de Mayo themed synonyms.  

The math and literacy centers we will be using in May have been newly updated.  If you already own these sets, you will want to download the newest versions.
Flower Power {10 Math Centers for May} includes work with missing minuends, balanced equations, fact families, time to the half hour, place value, mixed addition and subtraction, fractions, and more.  You can click here for more information.

Flower Power {10 Literacy Centers for May} features practice with contractions, synonyms, antonyms, parts of speech, sight words, fact and opinion, vowel teams, compound words, and more.  Click here for more information.

The last weeks of school can be a little much.  Keeping your students engaged and moving forward with their learning will truly benefit them (and help you keep your sanity).  I hope some of these ideas will help you get your May started on the right track.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

How to Catch the Easter Bunny: A FREE Writing Craftivity

Hi all.
I know some of you are enjoying a well-deserved spring break.  Sadly my spring break was about a month ago.  On the bright side, during this week leading up to Easter, my class gets to enjoy all sorts of Easter themed learning.
This time of year, there are so many sweet books that are great jumping off points for fun classroom activities.  One new addition to my classroom library is How to Catch the Easter Bunny, by Adam Wallace.

Before I even had this book in my hand, the title had already planted a seed for a writing project.  I often use books to provide my young writers with background knowledge, examples, or inspiration for their own writing.  But, with How to Catch the Easter Bunny, I decided to approach the lesson in a little different manner.

I usually read the selected text before students write.  But, I was afraid that my writers might have a difficult time coming up with their own original ideas of "how to catch the Easter Bunny," if they heard the story before their pieces were complete.
So, to start out, we brainstormed all the info we knew about the Easter Bunny.  This information helped students as they completed their rough drafts in their journals.
After the initial writing time, we made our bunnies.  The next day we took our rough drafts and copied them on to the How to Catch the Easter Bunny writing sheet.
Pictured below are a few of the completed writing craftivities.

My students loved creating these bunnies.  They were simple to make and they made an adorable hallway display.  For a free copy of this project (which also includes two other writing prompts), click here.

If you are looking for some additional classroom resources for Easter and the remainder of the month, my April math and literacy centers are newly updated and available at my store.

Hop To It {10 Math Centers for April} includes work with place value, time to the half hour, fractions, money, basic addition/subtraction, fact families, missing addends, double digit addition, and more.  For more details, you can click here.

Hop To It {10 Literacy Centers for April} provides practice with syllables, contractions, facts/opinions, abc order, parts of speech, compound words, antonyms, and more.  For additional info, you can click here.

Keeping your little bunnies busy this time of year is so important.  I hope some of these ideas are helpful.
Happy Easter!