Monday, November 21, 2011

My Top Ten Christmas Ideas!!!

Since a large number of my "followers" are fellow teachers and because I know teachers like to get ahead, I thought I would post a few of my favorite Christmas ideas that we have done in my class in one place. You can also use the search feature on the side to find additional ideas. Click on the links below to see pictures and detailed descriptions of the lessons.

  1. Christmas Tree Doubles - Dot paint ornaments on paper Christmas trees to practice addition.
  2. Stockings Descriptive Writing - Send home paper stockings for students to decorate however they wish. Students will write about their stockings in class and then hang them on the class fireplace.
  3. Better to Give Than to Receive - Read Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera to learn about character traits.
  4. Affirmation Tree - Display a large tree inside or outside of the classroom with blank ornaments. The students write affirmations to one another and add to the tree.
  5. Santa Study - Research, compare, and contrast the role of Santa Claus around the world including his name, appearance, transportation, etc.
  6. Polar Express Day - Wear pajamas, read the story, drink hot chocolate...enjoy!
  7. Classroom Christmas Tree with Book Covers - Print out pictures of your students' favorite books and laminate. Hot glue an ornament hook on and the students can add them to the tree.
  8. Christmas Story Maps - Read Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto and Merry Christmas Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola to discuss the different elements of a story. Create story maps for both stories and then create a Double Bubble Map or Venn Diagram to compare the stories.
  9. The Snowman - Read The Snowman by Raymond Briggs or watch the movie (great for the day before Christmas break). Have the students create their own snowman out of construction paper. These are great to leave hanging in the hallway as a transition to January.
  10. Fact Family Wreaths - Have the students create wreaths from paper pattern blocks. You can download the wreath pattern from PreKinders. You can download the recording sheet that I made to go along with the wreath pattern at my TPT store for FREE. You can download the printable pattern blocks here.

Our Turkey Poem

Last week we studied the various attributes of poetry. We learned about alliterations, rhymes, and sensory details. To assess their understanding of poetry, the students worked together to write their own poem about turkeys.

Turkeys are tasty to eat,
They are juicy like meat.
Turkeys are soft and fat,
And have smooth wings like a bat.
They talk with a loud gobble,
And walk with a squeaky wobble.

The students first brainstormed as many words as they could think of to describe a turkey. They then chose six of those words to brainstorm rhyming words about. We charted their words on Circle Maps. They then chose which rhyming word they wanted to start with and we reviewed that rhyming words usually are at the end of poetry lines. After brainstorming the lines, we went back to decide where we wanted to add sensory details. The students chose to describe the turkey using taste, touch, and smell. They then divided into small groups to illustrate their part of the poem. They later read their poem to the school secretary and music teacher.

Thanksgiving Feast

Thank you to the parents who provided so many treats for the students' Thanksgiving Feast. They feasted on the modern day Thanksgiving - turkey sandwiches, popcorn, grapes, and of course cookies and cupcakes!

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We Are Thankful...

The students recorded what they are thankful for using Audacity recording software. You can visit our podcasting site to listen to their recording. Parents, the recording can be downloaded to any MP3 enabled device. Some of the students also wrote about what they were thankful for and some brought in pictures to share.

Cornucopia Placemats

The students made cornucopia placemats for our Thanksgiving feast tomorrow. After coloring, cutting, and gluing the cornucopia and fruit, they listed people and things they are thankful for. After they were printed, they glued them around the cornucopia.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Number Pattern Turkeys

Today we practiced skip counting by twos with both even and odd numbers. The students started by coloring the even numbers of a thirty chart. They quickly discovered that they were skip counting by two. They then colored the odd numbers on the chart. We discussed that this is also skip counting by two. The students then picked a number card from 1-20 and identified if their number was even or odd. We formed two groups based off of the numbers - an even group and an odd group. The students then circled their number on the thirty chart. They then circled the next five numbers in their skip counting pattern. Using feather and turkey body patterns, the students traced and cut out shapes to create their own turkey. They then wrote their skip counting pattern on the turkey's feathers and identified whether their numbers were even or odd. They then shared their number patterns with their table groups.

Additive Patterns

This week we are learning more about additive patterns. The students followed three and four step pattern cards to create various additive patterns with color tiles. The students then formed small groups to create their patterns with paper color tiles. They then wrote about how their pattern grew.

Pattern Turkeys

As a part of our study on repeating and additive patterns, the students created pattern turkeys. Each student started with the same hexagon pattern block. They then could choose whichever shapes they wanted to add around the edges. They continued adding to the pattern until they were satisfied. The students then recreated their pattern on white paper with paper pattern blocks and added a turkey body. As they worked we talked about how the number of blocks needed gets larger as you go. You can take a closer view of the pattern turkeys by watching the slideshow below.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Drop Everything and Read

On Tuesday our district held Drop Everything and Read Day (also called "Every Child, Every Seat, Everyone Reading") to emphasize the importance of reading. All of the students and staff took thirty minutes to enjoy our favorite books! Fellow teachers, I keep several large floor pillows stored under my easel for the students to lounge around on while reading and writing during stations time. They were perfect for D.E.A.R. time. I also have a "couch" in our classroom library made out of an infant crib mattress, a fitted sheet, and a body pillow. We have several different stuffed animals that "live" on the couch and on the shelves for the students to read to.

Five Fat Turkeys Podcast

This week we are learning more about poetry. In particular, we are learning about the use of rhyming, alliterations, and sensory details. The students practiced reading "Five Fat Turkeys" to identify rhyming words. To help them increase their self-awareness when reading and to increase their fluency, we used Audacity to record their readings. The students would give themselves a rating, a part of our Capturing Kids' Hearts process, and decide if they should record it again. Once they were satisfied with  their reading, we saved the recording. I later uploaded the recording to our podcasting site hosted by PodBean. You can also download Audacity for FREE to use at home. All you need is some kind of microphone input device which can be found at most electronics stores or Walmart/Target for cheap.

You can listen to their podcast of Five Fat Turkeys here. You can download the podcast to any MP3 enabled device.

Mayflower Experiment

After learning about the Mayflower and the Pilgrim's voyage, the students created their own Mayflower using a walnut shell, playdough, a toothpick, and a paper flag. The students then predicted if their boats would sink or float. We created a quick bar graph about their predictions. The students then tested their boats in a container of water. They found that the Mayflowers created with the least amount of playdough were the ones that floated. It was a great way to explore the concept of heavy and light.

Turkey Descriptive Writing

This week the students wrote about turkeys using our Write From the Beginning strategies. This was the first week that I did not model the process for them. I am so proud of how much they have learned and how independent they have become. As the students wrote, they helped each other spell and reminded one another to add details to their sentences.

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