Ginger Cookies and the Festival of Lights

Oh my goodness! I cannot believe it is almost Friday! I thought for sure this first week back after having a week off would go by so S-L-O-W, instead it flew by. We were very busy this week getting started on all of our holiday activities.

We continued our gingerbread unit with some tasty writing. Each student was given one gingerbread cookie that they COULD NOT eat! Boy, was that hard for a few of them.
First, we used our senses of sight, touch and smell to fill out our gingerbread chart. The kids gave me adjectives to describe the cookie. Here is our chart:
Then, I told the kids to take one bite of their cookie and put it down! What? You said one bite? That's right! I wanted to graph where they each took their first bite of their cookie. Today we wrote about our gingerbread cookie experience and used some of Lori's activities in her freebie gingerbread unit. (Click on the picture to grab a copy). They used so many adjectives to "pump up" their writing. It was great to see how excited they were to put their ideas down on paper.

Next week, we are going to start our Hanukkah unit. I love teaching the kids about different cultures and holidays. Hanukkah is a great one to teach the kids about because we get to eat potato pancakes (latkes), play games (dreidel) and learn new traditions. The kids love it! I just finished putting together these literacy and writing activities which we will be using throughout the week.
We are going to taste latkes and graph how we like to eat them and do some data analysis with our information. We are going to work on main idea and details with the story Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel. Each student will make a menorah. The middle candle (shammes) will have the main idea and the other candles will have the details on it. (You can use the menorah patterns for any Hanukkah story). Here is a sample:
If you would like a few activities to help introduce Hanukkah to your students, click HERE to check out this little unit.
What are you doing in your classroom to celebrate the holidays? I would love to hear your ideas. Have a great Friday!

Gingerbread Glyphs and A Few Hours Left

I don't know about you, but these first two days back to work have been C-R-A-Z-Y! I want to get all our holiday project underway so we can enjoy them before we have to take them down and go on winter break. Three weeks is nothing! We've got a lot to do people!!

Today we got to work on our gingerbread glyphs. The kids love these projects. I never tell them what we are going to be making. I try to see how long it takes them to figure it out. Here they are answering the questions on their white boards.

Next, they started assembling their glyphs depending on how they answered the questions.

Once their glyphs were assembled, we did some whole class data collection. Here are a couple of examples.

To display the glyphs, I decided to make a cookie jar on one of my interior classroom doors. Some of the gingerbread men are jumping out of the cookie jar, while others are happy as can be to be inside the jar!

The kids were cracking up as they were gluing the eyes on. Some kids were very traditional, while others were goofy as can be. I love their creativity!

If this is a project you would like to do with your class, just click on the picture below and grab your copy while it is still in sale at TpT!

I also have the gingerbread men activity in my Gingerbread Fun Literacy Centers (It does not include the data collecting sheets). It includes writing prompts and primary and intermediate writing papers. Click on the pic below if you are interested. It is still on sale at TpT as well!

I hope everyone was able to get their TpT wishlist filled these last two days! But if not, there is still time to shop! I have a couple things I still need to get before the night is over, too!

Incredible SALES and "An Old Lady Who..." FREEBIE

I hope each of you had a wonderful and restful Thanksgiving with your family and friends.  I want to share some pics of our Thanksgiving table.
My mom and my two boys colored each of the place mats and then we laminated them. My mom always does something creative to make the table festive!

Dessert was this beautiful home made apple tart. So delicious! Thanks, Mom!

Today I am off to conquer the shopping world bright and early with my mom and sister in law. It's a tradition in our family for the women to go shopping and out to lunch on Black Friday,while the men bond with the wee ones. I LOVE this day and look forward to it ALL year! Who knows what I will come back home with!

I am so excited to be participating in the Teachers Notebook and Teachers Pay Teachers sales this weekend! This Saturday, Sunday and Monday everything will be on sale in my TN store. TN is also giving an extra 10% off for those 3 days! Click on the picture below to take you to my store so you can load up your cart and then check out on the sale dates!


I will also have all my items on sale at my TpT store this Monday and Tuesday! TpT is also giving an additional 10% off, if you use the promo code: CMT12 during checkout.
I have just add several literacy units for the holidays and winter season. I hope you will check them out and load up during these fabulous sales!

To get everyone in the holiday spirit, I have a little FREEBIE I want to share with each of you. I just bought the book There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bell to add to my class library for the holidays. It is such a cute book and I can't wait to share it with my kids. I created two activities to go with it. The first is a sequencing activity. After you read the book to the kids, they can color, cut and paste the story events in the correct order.
The next activity is a writing activity where the kids will color and cut out the old lady and then write and draw about one of the things she swallowed and why.

You can grab your freebie copy of these activities at my TpT store by clicking on the picture below.
Thanks for taking the time to read, follow and leave sweet comments on my little blog. I love sharing my ideas with you and want to thank each of you for helping fill my world of teaching with such joy. I appreciate all of you! 

A Little FREEBIE and some Gingerbread Fun!

Although Thanksgiving has not even arrived yet, I have started planning for the short three weeks I have when I return from Thanksgiving break. That's right! Only three weeks and then we are off for winter break. It is going to be jam packed with learning, singing and getting ready for the holidays. I wanted to have some fun and engaging activities for my students when they return from their week off. I need to reinforce skills I have taught and support some new ones.So I created Gingerbread Holiday Fun! This unit has 8 literacy centers and a writing craftivity that goes with it.

I am going to read them a version of the gingerbread boy and they are going to fill in the beginning, middle and end worksheet.

Then, each student is going to make a gingerbread baker or a gingerbread boy cookie. They are going to choose to write about their gingerbread from one of the six writing prompts included. 

During center time, they will work on ABC order, synonyms, antonyms, writing, revising and much more!

I have also taken the gingerbread craftivity and turn it into a gingerbread glyph for those of you that would like to practice data collecting with your students and also give them some writing practice. 

Here is a little FREEBIE I used this last week with my students. We are working on estimation of numbers and number sentences. Each student got this little guy:
In the middle snowball, they wrote their own 2 digit addition problem. On the bottom snowball, they showed the estimated addition problem and how to solve it. Any time I bring a craft to our math lesson, they kids just eat it up! If you would like to use this in your classroom, you can grab the template HERE.Also, if you are at school this week and need a few last minute ideas, don't forget to check out my previous Thanksgiving post with a FREEBIE class book you can make with your students about how to save the turkeys.

This is a time to be thankful! Some of us are thankful to have a week off from work. Others are thankful for a short week ahead. But in all seriousness, it is a time to reflect on all that is wonderful in our lives. It is a time  to reconnect with family and friends and take a few moments to appreciate all that we have. I want to thank each of you for taking an interest in my sweet little blog and sharing your thoughts and ideas with me. Thank you for your inspiration and wisdom. I hope this is a week full of love and happiness for each of you.

Turkey Apples and Thanksgiving Freebie

Oh my goodness! I can't believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I wanted to share two fun projects with you. The first is an oldie but goody from my childhood- TURKEY APPLES! My mom used to make these for my class when I was a kid. I also remember making these as a "how to" project when I was in third grade. I brought all the ingredients to school, so each kid could make their own turkey apple as I explained the process step by step. So now, I am going to share it with all of you. Here is what you need for each apple:
One apple, 5 toothpicks, a candy corn, 2 raisins, a candy orange slice, mini marshmallows and orange icing.

1. Place candy orange slice on one toothpick so toothpick does not poke through the top. 
2. Put a dab of frosting on top of the candy slice and adhere candy corn.
3. Put a dab of frosting on each side of the orange candy slice and place a raisin on each to make the eyes.
4. Push tooth pick into one top side of the apple. (see pic)
5. Put 4 marshmallows on 4 toothpicks to make the feathers of the turkey.
6. Push each toothpick into the apple on the opposite side of the turkey head.
7. Enjoy!

Turkey Apple
I am in the process of making 30 of these for my son's kindergarten class for their Thanksgiving feast this week. My son has been a great help, peeling off all the apple stickers and "tasting" all the ingredients!

If you would like to turn this into a "How To" lesson with your students, I have provided a template to use. You can down load it HERE

Fonts from Jen Jones and Graphics from KPM Doodles

The next freebie is a follow up activity after a reading of 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey.

After I read this book to my class, we made a class book called "Save the Turkeys." Each student wrote one or two things they would eat instead of turkey on Thanksgiving. Here are a couple samples:

soup with vegetables

You can grab your FREEBIE copy of this class book HERE. I hope you can find a moment to fit this into your busy week and enjoy the story with your students. If you decide to download the copy, I would love for you to leave a comment and let me know what you think. Have a great evening!

Thanksgiving Performance, Books and a Giveaway

I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around the idea that there are only 4 more school days until we are off for a week for Thanksgiving. I feel like we just got into the swing of Thanksgiving activities and POOF they are going to be over. This week we are gearing up for our big elementary fall feast and performance on Friday. It is a tradition at my school for the elementary students to perform a dance and/or sing a song for all the parents and then it is followed by our traditional feast. This year my kiddos are singing a Turkey Named Bert (LOVE this song) and dancing the Virginia Reel. They have been practicing for weeks and have come so far since we first started. I am so proud of them. After our performance the parents set up for our elementary feast. Each grade level brings in different items to contribute to the feast-main dishes, side dishes, desserts, drinks etc. It is a wonderful community event that brings everyone together. It helps get the holiday season started in the right direction. I will post pictures of all these activities at the end of the week.

I wanted to share some of my favorite Thanksgiving books with you. I am going to try and fit in as many of these stories as possible next week. This is my favorite:
A Thanksgiving Wish by Michael Rosen. It is about a little girl who is worried that Thanksgiving will never be the same since her grandmother just passed. The book explains how the power of tradition brings comfort and peace to her family. It is a beautifully written story that hits home with me every year when I read it.
10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston is silly book about 10 crazy turkeys and it helps kids with counting backwards.
The Littlest Pilgrim by Brandi Dougherty is a sweet story to read about friendship and kindness.
What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving stories? Please leave a comment and let me know. I love adding new books to my classroom collection.

Also, hop on over to my friend Rebecca's blog at Classroom Compulsions. She is having a Fall Giveaway with TONS of amazing items from several bloggers. There is something for everybody at every grade level. If you enter, you may even get something from my little store to use for Thanksgiving in your classroom. 
Have a great Sunday everyone!

Pilgrim Craftivity Freebie

I love Thanksgiving and I love a great freebie! Yesterday, Nancy at First Grade WOW posted the most adorable freebie for Thanksgiving. Nancy is so incredibly generous and has the cutest ideas! My kiddos loved making these Pilgrims and writing what they are thankful for in life.
Boy and Girl Pilgrims

It was heartwarming to read what all the kids were thankful for.

I just can't get enough of these cute little guys. Don't you just want to eat them up? They are the PERFECT addition to all our Thanksgiving activities in our classroom. I made a pattern for the buckle on the pilgrim hat. You can grab it HERE.

Nancy as been sweet enough to provide everything else you need to make these adorable Pilgrims. Check out her blog and download this amazing freebie today! Your kids will be so thankful you did.

Excited for Election Day

Happy Election Day Everyone! I hope you were all able to get out and exercise your right to vote! My family and I are sitting around the TV watching the minute by minute updates and commentary. I love watching my kids get excited and question things that they are hearing on TV.

Today we brought the election process into your classroom with the book Duck for President.Product Details

We used Lisa's unit from Learning is Something to Treasure to help the kids understand the election process. She has this perfect unit Election Day Fun With Duck for President. The kids were so excited to cast their vote for Duck or Farmer Brown for President. Each student made a Duck which will hold their persuasive writing pieces about who should be president.

Tomorrow we will make a Venn Diagram comparing Duck and Farmer Brown and list reasons why each would be a great president. Then the kids will write their persuasive stories and we will attach them to the Duck. The kids were very excited to vote and see who their peers voted for as well. I would love to hear how you each supported and taught about Election Day in your class.

If you are still looking for some Thanksgiving ideas for your classroom, I have a couple items that I am putting on sale until tomorrow that you might love to have. The first is my Gobblin' Up Thanksgiving Fun  Literacy and Craftivity Unit:

The second item is my Thanksgiving turkey glyph It's Time for Turkey!
Grab them up at a discount while you can! Have a great night!

Tom D.Turkey and In A Nutshell FREEBIE

I am still in shock that it is already November! I spent yesterday afternoon taking down many of my October and Halloween activities in my classroom, so I could get the room ready for Thanksgiving. I just realized there are only 9 (yes, count them-9) days of school before we have a week off for Thanksgiving break. That is a short time to get a lot of November love covered in my class.

Yesterday we wrote narrative stories about Tom D. Turkey.

November ideas for the classroom include a tom turkey writing and craft and an acorn mental math craft

Before we started, we brainstormed adjectives and verbs to describe Tom. We created this chart to use during the writing time.

November ideas for the classroom include a tom turkey writing and craft and an acorn mental math craft

Then each student created their own Tom Turkey.

November ideas for the classroom include a tom turkey writing and craft and an acorn mental math craft

November ideas for the classroom include a tom turkey writing and craft and an acorn mental math craft

If you think your students would love this activity too, it is included in my Gobblin' Up Thanksgiving Fun Literacy Center unit.

We have also been working on mental math addition strategies this last week. I am a visual learner, so I really have a hard time teaching this concept the way it is delivered in our math series. It is very abstract. I decided to create a hands-on visual for the kids. All in hopes that it will help them grasp the concept easier. These activities grabbed my kids attention- hook, line and sinker.

Each student made an acorn and wrote their own 2 digit addition problem on the "shell" of the acorn. Then on the "nut" they showed the steps to add the problem using mental math. They added the tens, then the ones. Then they add the sums of the tens and ones together to find the original sum.

November ideas for the classroom include a tom turkey writing and craft and an acorn mental math craft 

I used the acorns to frame my math focus wall.

November ideas for the classroom include a tom turkey writing and craft and an acorn mental math craft

We are going to continue our practice of mental math addition with these activities:

If you would like your FREEBIE copy of my In A Nutshell activities, just click on the title and it will take you to my TpT store where you can grab it! All I ask is that you leave a comment and/or follow my sweet blog or TpT store. I hope your students love learning about mental math with these activities.