Thursday, November 28, 2013

Getting My Red and Green On and Two Free Centers for December

Snow before Thanksgiving!  I live in the south and I never ever remember snow before Thanksgiving.  There was just enough to cover the branches and make a few snowballs.  It was also enough to get me geared up for all the festivities coming during the next few weeks.
I have an endless to do list between now and Christmas.  But one thing I can check off is literacy and math centers for December.  On our last day before Thanksgiving break, I stayed late and put away all of the November centers and got out the December ones.  We only have two and a half weeks before winter break, so we need to hit the ground running on Monday.
For math centers we will be using my To Be Jolly {10 Math Centers for December} packet.  
Skills included in this packet are:  number order, place value, addition, subtraction, missing addends, time to the half hour, nonstandard measurement, fact families, and more.  Click on the picture above for more information.

Below is a free center from this packet, Silver Bells Measurement.  This nonstandard measurement activity features adorable Polar Express clip art.  Click on the picture for your own free copy.

During our literacy center time we will be working out of To Be Jolly {10 Literacy Centers for December}.  This packet includes work with parts of speech, sight words, vowel discrimination, contractions, antonyms, syllables, digraphs, blends, and more.  Click on the picture below for more info.

You can also have one center from this packet for free by clicking on the picture below.  In Naughty or Nice Noun students will sort words according to if they are people, places, or things.  

December is such an exciting (and distracting) time for kids.  Learning activities that incorporate holiday fun are a perfect way to keep progress moving forward with your dear students.
Speaking of holiday fun, don't forget Sunday is December 1st.  If your class has an elf, he or she will be reporting for duty.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Five for Friday: The Turkey Edition (Plus a FREE Math Mini Book Just in Time for Thanksgiving)

Let me start by saying, I love Thanksgiving.  This time of the year gives be such a warm feeling.  The weather, the food, family parties, really focusing on gratitude, and fun activities with my firsties are just some of the reasons Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year.  It's only fitting that my Five for Friday are all related to Thanksgiving.

Number 1
On Friday my students made these really cute wooden spool turkeys.  We used spools, feathers, craft foam, pipe cleaners, felt, and a sharpie marker.  These turkeys aways turn out adorable and the kids enjoy making them.

Number 2
This week my daughter's kindergarten class worked on a turkey in disguise for their homework.  She made her turkey into pigeon.  Yes I help cut out the pigeon body.  She took care of all the gluing and coloring.  It was a fun project.  The fat pigeon cracks me up.

Number 3
I just finished up a math mini book freebie that we will use next week.  We are in school for a couple of days before going on Thanksgiving break.  It's Turkey Time will be math on Monday.  If you would like a free copy of this mini book, click on the picture below.

Number 4
My love of Thanksgiving is on display in our house.  Among some of our decoration is a vintage turkey collection.  I'm always on the look out for new turkeys to add to the flock.  I love getting these out each year.

Number 5
Next week my students will, of course, complete a project about things they are thankful for.  Top on my list is my family.  My sweet husband is such a wonderful dad and my daughter . . . well there are no words.  I am so blessed to have them in my life.

Thank you for stopping by and thanks again to Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting Five for Friday.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

In November: A Mentor Text and a FREE Graphic Organizer

Hi All.
It has been an eventful week in our household and in particularly for my daughter.  On Wednesday A's dear kindergarten teacher did what I could not bring myself to do, she pulled one of A's very loose front teeth.  Bless her heart.  We were finally able to have a meal with no tears that evening.
On Friday A's class had pajama day.  I know, huge thrill, right?  Even better, A was given a Key Award at a school wide assembly.  Her award was for speaking with good purpose.  We are very proud of her.
By Saturday her other top tooth was super loose and this time she got it out on her own.  An award, pajama day, and two visits from the Tooth Fairy in one week, big news for a 6 year old.

Moving on . . .
I'm linking up with the Collaboration Cuties for their weekly Must Read Mentor Text Linky.  This week's topic is science.  My must read recommendation is by one of my favorite authors and is perfect for this time of year.  It is In November by Cynthia Rylant.

This book is a wonderful jumping off point for all sorts of science topics.  Changing seasons, migration, hibernation, weather, and more.  The illustrations are lovely and capture the feel of this time of year.  

In addition to science topics, there are many skills you can hit on with this book, such as inferencing and adjectives.  Below is a graphic organizer I created to use with this story to combine our science with writing.
After listening to In November, my students will complete the bubble map and eventually use it to write their first paragraphs.  Of course if you have older students, each bubble can be its own paragraph to create an essay.
If you would like a free copy of this graphic organizer, click on the picture below.

In November is a great addition to any elementary classroom library.  This book establishes the mood of November that your students will identify with and enjoy.

For more must read science recommendations, be sure to visit the Collaboration Cuties.  Thanks so much for reading and have a great week.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

10 Fat Turkeys: A Must Read Mentor Math Text and a Turkeytastic Freebie

Sunday evening.  Wow does the weekend fly or what?!  Before I attempt to turn in for the evening, I'm joining with the Collaboration Cuties for their weekly Must Read Mentor Text Link Up.  It's the second Sunday of the month, so I'll be sharing about a math text.
Since it is November, my pick is 10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston.

This rhyming book follows 10 funny turkeys as they, one by one, fall off the fence where they are perched.  This text has a nice rhythm and a fun repetition that students enjoy.  The illustrations are very detailed and give each turkey a unique personality.

Pictured below is an activity to go along with 10 Fat Turkeys.  It is a basic turkey pattern that can be used for many other skills.  In this case my students will write subtraction equations that reflect what is happening in the story on each feather.  

If you would like a free copy of this pattern, click on the picture below.  This pattern is fairly open ended and works for more than subtraction facts.  You can use it for other math skills, spelling words, sight words, parts of speech, etc.

I hope this book and activity can be useful to you as we get closer to Thanksgiving.  Speaking of thanks, I like to thank the Collaboration Cuties for hosting this link up.  I have found so many great books and activities through the fab teachers that share each week.  

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Veterans Day Salute: A Free Math Mini Book

Hi friends.  It's the Saturday before Veterans Day and I'm tying up a few loose ends for next week (instead of folding an endless mound of laundry . . . oh well-it will wait).  In math we have been working and working and working on addition and subtraction.  It's time to move on to place value.  But before we do, we are going to spend a little more time with word problems.
I love combining social studies and math on special days with thematic word problem mini books.  I just completed the one we will be using for Veterans Day.  If you would like a free copy of it, you can click on the picture below.

The word problems in this mini book include work with ten frames, addition, subtraction, and more.  At this point in the year, we are working on word problems together.  I usually read the problems to the class.  We circle the important information and underline the question.  Then students solve the problem independently.  After some work time, we go over the question, the answer, and all possible solution strategies.  Students can make corrections as needed.  If you have a document camera, it's a great time to use it.  Veterans Day Salute is a fun way to integrate math, reading, and social studies into one lesson.

Also if you are looking for a read aloud, check out Veterans Day (Rookie Read-About Holidays).  It is a simple book that explains the basics of Veterans Day (when it's celebrated, why it's celebrated, and how it's celebrated).  

I hope these ideas help you introduce Veterans Day to your young learners.  The sacrifices members of the armed forces, veterans, and their families make truly deserve to be honored.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Desk Fairy Kit {A Freebie for You}

Hi friends.  Hope your week is going well.  My students had a little visitor this afternoon from our Desk Fairy.  Today was her first trip this year.  She usually starts making appearances as my little sweeties begin getting a little too relaxed with their desk organization.

When the Desk Fairy visits students will see the Desk Fairy magnet on our front board.  She usually has a comment for the class, but not always.
If you are unfamiliar with the idea of a Desk Fairy, she makes unannounced visits to check on how well students are cleaning and organizing their materials at their desks or tables.  The Desk Fairy then rewards the students that did a good job with some type of treat.
Today my Desk Fairy had a little helper to check desks and pass out goodies.  A  really takes this job very seriously.

In the morning students will come in and either find a treat in their desks or find a note from the Desk Fairy.  The treat is, of course, for the neat and tidy desks.  The note says "try again," for desks that are not in order.
My firsties love the Desk Fairy.  She really does help (most) them stay on top of keeping their desk areas clean.  It is my hope that they begin a habit of organization that continues with them as they grow older.

If you would like the printables I use for the Desk Fairy in my class, you can click on the picture below.  This freebie includes a variety of Desk Fairies, tips, and printable coupons/notes to leave in student desks.

If your class has never had a visit from the Desk Fairy, invite her in.  There is a good chance your students will take better care of their spaces if they think she is watching.
Have a great week.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Strega Nona's Harvest: A Language Arts Mentor Text and a Freebie

A Sunday morning with an extra hour before church.  Perfect time to join up with the Collaboration Cuties for their weekly Must Read Mentor Text Linky.  It's the first Sunday of the month, so I'll be sharing a favorite language arts text.  My pick for this week is Tomie dePaola's Strega Nona's Harvest.
This book is wonderful selection for this time of year.  It is the story of two gardens, Strega Nona's and Big Anthony's.  One is well planned and well executed.  One is not.  When it's harvest time, things become a bit complicated for Strega Nona and her young helpers.
The Strega Nona books are great jumping off points for many language arts lessons.  There are opportunities to discuss vocabulary, predictions, story elements, sequencing, and more.  Below you will find a Venn diagram to use with this story.
Students will compare and contrast Strega Nona and Big Anthony.  If you would like a free copy of this activity, you can click on the picture below.
The clip art is from Melonheadz.  The fonts are from Cara Carroll and A Cupcake for the Teacher.

Strega Nona's Harvest is a great addition to your class library.  If you have it already, don't forget to bring it out to share with your students.  I'm sure they will love it. 
For more mentor text recommendations, pop over to Collaboration Cuties.  There you will find loads of great ideas from classroom teachers.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Five for Friday on Saturday with Two Free Centers + A GIVEAWAY

Burning the candle at both ends this week?  Yes indeed.  School, family get together, Halloween party, trick or treating, ballet, soccer, choir, birthday party, sleepover, you name it . . . we did it.   Therefore my Five for Friday is on Saturday.  Let's get started.

Number 1
This morning my little family did a race together.  It was A's school system's annual race.  We did the mile fun run portion together.  I was so proud of her, she ran the whole way.  It certainly helped that her best buddy was there and they ran together.  You should have heard their conversation during the run, too funny!  We finished at the 50 yard line of the high school football field with the band playing.  It was a fun morning.

Number 2
Friday I changed all of our October centers out for November ones.  Whenever I change out centers, I go over all of the instructions on the front end.  My firsties have to do a lot of listening.  I am very careful with my selection of activities and skills.  I try to put out activities that are simple to execute and some that are already familiar (but maybe with new skills).

Number 3
Speaking of November centers, if you would like a free copy of one literacy center from my Thanks and Giving {10 Literacy Centers for November} packet, click on the picture below.  Autumn ABC Order is a center that allows students to practice putting words in ABC order.  It includes twelve fall themed center cards and a blackline master recording sheet.

Number 4
You can also have a free center from my Thanks and Giving {10 Math Centers for November} by click on the picture below.  Touchdown Turkeys is a math center that focuses on basic addition facts (doubles and near doubles).  There are full color turkey equation cards and football sum cards for matching, as well as a recording sheet.

Number 5
Interested in winning the complete set of Thanks and Giving Math and Literacy packets?  Join School Is a Happy Place as a follower.  I will do a drawing on Monday evening for two winners.  If you have already joined, you are automatically entered for the drawing.  Good luck!

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading.  Enjoy your extra hour of sleep in the morning.   
Also thanks to Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting Five for Friday and allowing for late comers.