Getting to the Core

1-2-3 Come Study 2D Shapes With Me

Since fall is in the air, I decided to put some autumn decorations up.  I have lots of scarecrow-themed things, as they can stay up through Thanksgiving.  I LOVE decorating for the seasons, but hate taking stuff down and putting it away, so the longer things can hang around, the better. 

My love for scarecrows probably stems from fond childhood memories, seeing all sorts of creations watching over large gardens and small farms in Wisconsin.  My Y5's enjoyed this mini-theme as well, so I used scarecrows to help teach all sorts of standards.  Here are some that I designed to reinforce 2D shapes.

scarecrows, scarecrow crafts, shape activities, shape crafts, scarecrow activities, 2D shapes, ccss shapesMy personal favorite is Socrates.  He's a "slider" as the paper strip of shapes, slide through the "window" to make his nose.   It was fun drawing and putting him together. 

As I putzed with what to do for his hair, I decided to put a sheet of yellow construction paper through a shredder. 

Rubbing a glue stick on the edges of his head and neck, then pressing down various pieces of shred, made the perfect scarecrow hair and "hay stuffing" peeking out of his neck and hat.

So that you can cover more standards, I've also included "sliders" for numbers 1-30, skip counting by 2's, 3's, 5's and 10's, as well as upper and lowercase letters.  Click on the link to view/download Socrates the Scarecrow Shape Slider.

scarecrows, scarecrow crafts, shape activities, shape crafts, scarecrow activities, 2D shapes, ccss shapesSocrates came about, because I made an easy reader booklet entitled: My Scarecrow's Nose. In the story, an adorable little scarecrow needs a nose! 

It's up to your students to decide which 2D shaped nose is the best for their scarecrow

scarecrows, scarecrow crafts, shape activities, shape crafts, scarecrow activities, 2D shapes, ccss shapesIt's a quick, easy and fun way to learn about shapes, at the same time helping strengthen finger muscles, as children trace and draw the nose shapes and then trace and write the shape words

scarecrows, scarecrow crafts, shape activities, shape crafts, scarecrow activities, 2D shapes, ccss shapesTo reinforce concepts of print, when everyone is done, read the booklet as a whole group.

I've also included a graphing extension where students vote on their favorite shaped nose. 

There are also 2 worksheets. Students trace and write the shape word, then match the shape to its shape word.

Finally my last scarecrow-themed shape activity is  Sam and Samantha. They are full-body scarecrow "danglers"

Give students the option of whether they want to make a boy or girl scarecrow.

scarecrows, scarecrow crafts, shape activities, shape crafts, scarecrow activities, 2D shapes, ccss shapesAs with Socrates, I used shredded paper.  Picking up the long shred, ripping it into smaller lengths and then pressing them to the back of the scarecrow, is wonderful fine motor skill practice. 

However, if you think this is too time consuming, use a few pieces of double-sided stick tape, then cover with a piece of regular tape when children are done decorating.

Because a pile of shredded paper is tempting for all sorts of shenanigans, remind students ahead of time, that if they throw the shred around and make a mess, they will not be able to use some on their scarecrow.  I never had a problem.

scarecrows, scarecrow crafts, shape activities, shape crafts, scarecrow activities, 2D shapes, ccss shapesSo that you can review lots more 2D shapes, I've included a template with extra shapes on it.  Students can cut and glue as many shapely "patches" on their scarecrow as they want.

Children can opt to keep the shapes separate, (see photo of Samantha) and glue the various shapes onto a piece of yarn, or they can glue their pieces together, which is a bit easier for little ones. (See photo of Sam.)

Punch a hole in the top triangle and suspend from the ceiling, back-to-back with another child's scarecrow.  Adding a few real buttons adds a bit more pizzazz.  Click on the link to view/download Sam/Samantha The Shapely Scarecrow craftivity.

scarecrows, scarecrow crafts, shape activities, shape crafts, scarecrow activities, 2D shapes, ccss shapesThanks for visiting today.  For more scarecrow fun, be sure and pop back tomorrow  The timer's ringing, so I need to dash off and check the big pot of Veggie soup I'm making for dinner.  Nothing like a nice hearty bowl of soup on a crisp fall evening.  Wishing you an ed-venture filled day.

"Trying times are times for trying." -Unknown

 

 1-2-3 Come Do Some Vocabulary Building With Me

If your school has to fulfill the Constitution Day educational requirement, you'll enjoy this vocabulary-building packet.  There is a lot of vocabulary that goes along with explaining the Constitution. Many of these words are new to your students. 

42 constitution vocabulary words, constitution day activities, constitution day lessons, constitution day ideas, vocabulry building activities, alphabetizing words activitiesTo help kiddos understand the Constitution, it's necessary to go over this vocabulary.  To make this easy-peasy for you, I made an alphabetical list of 42 words related to the Constitution

If you thought of anymore, I'd enjoy hearing from you, and will add them to my list. diane@teachwithme.com

I used the list to make 42 cute patriotic word cards. Choose the ones that are appropriate for your grade level. 

42 constitution vocabulary words, constitution day activities, constitution day lessons, constitution day ideas, vocabulry building activities, alphabetizing words activitiesYou can use these in a pocket chart or as flashcards to explain words and give definitions, then post them by your word wall.  

42 constitution vocabulary words, constitution day activities, constitution day lessons, constitution day ideas, vocabulry building activities, alphabetizing words activitiesThere are also 42 definition cards.  I numbered these so they match the list of words. 

This makes it easy for you to match the word cards up with their definitions.  Make an extra set and use as an independent center.

You can also play all sorts of games with the cards, like Memory Match or "I Have; Who Has?" 

Hold up a card and ask students to read it.  Who is familiar with this word? Can anyone give a definition? 

Place the cards in separate baskets. Have students choose a card from each basket and give the definition of the word card that they chose or the word that is being defined.  Students can work with a partner and alphabetize some cards, or play "Speed" against each other to see who can alphabetize their set first.

42 constitution vocabulary words, constitution day activities, constitution day lessons, constitution day ideas, vocabulry building activities, alphabetizing words activitiesUse the cards for Daily 5 word work. Choose several cards for students to use in a sentence.  and/or have older students think of synonyms for some of the word cards. 

I've included a cover so students can make a Constitution Vocabulary Dictionary as well. Constitution Day Word Work Packet.

42 constitution vocabulary words, constitution day activities, constitution day lessons, constitution day ideas, vocabulry building activities, alphabetizing words activitiesClick on the link to view/download the Constitution Day Word Work packet.

42 constitution vocabulary words, constitution day activities, constitution day lessons, constitution day ideas, vocabulry building activities, alphabetizing words activitiesThanks for visiting today.  I'm off to go figure out how to turn the new thermostat to heat instead of air. 

Unfortunately the fall weather today is a bit chilly on the outside, as well as the inside.  Hope you have a fun-filled day. 

"Teamwork divides the task and multiplies success." -Unknown

 1-2-3 Come Do Some Constitution Day Activities With Me

easy constitution day activitiesWith a federal mandate that any schools accepting federal funds, need to do some educational activity associated with the Constitution, on September 17th, I wanted to think up something that my Y5’s could easily understand.  

With everything else that teachers have to cover, I also wanted what we did to be something simple and especially relevant to them.

This packet does exactly that, because I've tied it into classroom management: jobs of students and teachers, as well as the rules and regulations they must follow.

These activities not only tie in with the Constitution, they are quick and easy to implement.  Children can wrap their heads around these Constitutional comparisons and the result will be a more caring classroom climate, with less inappropriate behavior.

The Constitution is a document that serves as the foundation of American government.  To help explain this to students, make a document of jobs as well as rules for your classroom and have all of the children sign it.

The Constitution is broken up into 3 branches.  (Legislative, Executive, and Judicial) They all have specific jobs.   Like wise, teachers and students have jobs. 

classroom management ideas, constitution day ideas, constitution day activities, social contracts, classroom contracts, writing prompts for constitution day, classroom rules, qualities of a good student, lessons for constitution day, qualitites of a good teacherFirst, discuss and make a list of all the  jobs and responsibilities of a good student. Then make up a list of jobs (responsibilities) for teachers.  I’ve included headers for you to put up on your board, so that you can brainstorm with your students and write things under the appropriate heading.

Children’s discussion will often involve what they think the qualities of a good student and good teacher are.   I’m sure some of their ideas will make you smile. ( “Teachers need to smell nice.” )   

classroom management ideas, constitution day ideas, constitution day activities, social contracts, classroom contracts, writing prompts for constitution day, classroom rules, qualities of a good student, lessons for constitution day, qualitites of a good teacherWrite students’ ideas on the board.  I’ve included a completed list of things we thought of to help you, as well as blank templates to fill in your own.  I’d enjoy seeing what your kiddos come up with. You can e-mail me at: diane@teachwithme.com  

classroom management ideas, constitution day ideas, constitution day activities, social contracts, classroom contracts, writing prompts for constitution day, classroom rules, qualities of a good student, lessons for constitution day, qualitites of a good teacherHang up your lists on a bulletin board.  There’s also a poster that you can put in the middle of your board, after all of your students have signed it.

Next, discuss your rules.  Because students have been in school for several weeks, you’ve hopefully have already established a list of rules with them.  If you don't have a set of rules posted, click on the link for my simple rules poster.

Review the rules and make a list of them on the board.  (Tie this in with the Constitution, as our country also has rules, which are laws that people must follow.)

classroom management ideas, constitution day ideas, constitution day activities, social contracts, classroom contracts, writing prompts for constitution day, classroom rules, qualities of a good student, lessons for constitution day, qualitites of a good teacherDiscuss how things are going .  Is everyone following the rules?  Are they good rules; fair rules; necessary?  Do you need to change, modify, or add any rules? (Tie this in with the Constitution by briefly explaining the amendments to the Constitution.) I've included a writing prompt page where students can jot down 3 reasons why doing their job and following rules is important.

What are the consequences of not following the rules?  What do they think would happen if there were no rules to follow and everyone adopted an “anything goes” attitude? (Briefly discuss the correlation of this to the Constitution’s checks, balances and punishment for breaking laws.)

An easy way to make your classroom constitution is to make a social contract.  Head your poster: “We the (kindergarten) students of (Orchard Trails Elementary) promise to . . .” and then list what students feel are important promises (rules, jobs and responsibilities).

classroom management ideas, constitution day ideas, constitution day activities, social contracts, classroom contracts, writing prompts for constitution day, classroom rules, qualities of a good student, lessons for constitution day, qualitites of a good teacherHave each child sign the poster.  (Remember to have new students sign it too.)  This is now a working document (like the Constitution).  Discuss how signing something is a big deal.  This is binding.   Even young children understand the importance of a promise and following  through.   (“But you promised . . .)  If the class as a whole, or an individual student, is not keeping their promises per the terms of your social contract, refer to the poster and ask:

“Did you promise to follow the rules, be a good listener, be kind to one another? etc.”  (Obviously they did.)  After thy take responsibility for their actions then ask: “What would have been a better choice?  What should happen now?”  Click on the link to view/download the Constitution Day Jobs & Rules Packet.

classroom management ideas, constitution day ideas, constitution day activities, social contracts, classroom contracts, writing prompts for constitution day, classroom rules, qualities of a good student, lessons for constitution day, qualitites of a good teacherI found a cute social contract over at Corner Character blog spot.  I like how she wrote each promise in a different color marker and then had students add their painted handprint to the side of the chart, adding their names when the paint dried. 

classroom management activities, social contracts, constitution day activitiesI designed my own social contract, tracing my students' hands on a variety of colors of construction paper.

I glued our "promise poster" to the center of a piece of tag board, then "framed" it with the colorful prints.

For more accountability, have children sign their own names, which makes them feel important & more accountable. For added pizzazz, when school pictures come back, copy, cut & glue one to each child's hand.

school rules, constitution day activities, social contracts, classroom management activitiesOur social contract has been so successful, that I decided to share it in a "School Rules Classroom Management" packet.  Click on the link to check it out.  

classroom management ideas, constitution day ideas, constitution day activities, social contracts, classroom contracts, writing prompts for constitution day, classroom rules, qualities of a good student, lessons for constitution day, qualitites of a good teacherFollow up these activities by reading “We the Kids”  by David Catrow.  He makes understanding the Preamble to the Constitution accessible to children in a fun and humorous way.  A glossary of terms and a foreword by the artist are also included.

classroom management ideas, constitution day ideas, constitution day activities, social contracts, classroom contracts, writing prompts for constitution day, classroom rules, qualities of a good student, lessons for constitution day, qualitites of a good teacherSince the Preamble is one of the most famous and familiar parts of the Constitution, I’ve included several trace and write worksheets in the packet.

I find that a short video is often the best way to review and get more information into my students’ minds.  A nice way to end your day is to choose a short video from this American history website.

The first one is only 4 minutes, another on the Founding Fathers is 3 minutes and a final one entitled America Gets A Constitution is 4 minutes.  They are easy for little ones to understand and include some good background information.

classroom management ideas, constitution day ideas, constitution day activities, social contracts, classroom contracts, writing prompts for constitution day, classroom rules, qualities of a good student, lessons for constitution day, qualitites of a good teacherThanks for visiting.  Time to go watch the Detroit Lions hopefully win a football game!

"If you want to know where your heart is, go to where your mind goes when it wanders." -Unknown

1-2-3 Come Do Some Alphabet Activities With Me

Lorraine, over in Texas, has 3 cats.  Her love for them spills over into her preschool classroom, as she has a cat theme going on.  Pete the Cat stories are some of her favorites.  She also collects the seasonal alphabet cards I design, using them in her ABC center. Mrs. K wondered if I had time to make some alphabet cards with cats

pete the cat activities, alphabet activities, alphabet games, alphabet assessments, alphabet worksheets, CCSS alphabet, common core alphabetSince I was already putzing with the "Cool Cat"  packets, it was perfect timing! Do you decorate your room with a cat-theme?  Do your kiddos enjoy Pete the Cat stories?  If so, I think you'll like this alpha cat packet.

The packet includes separate upper and lowercase letters that are purr-fect for Memory Match and "I Have; Who Has?" games. 

There's also a set of cards with both the upper and lowercase letter on them.  Cut them up to make puzzles, or run off a set for each student.  They color, trim, collate and add a cover to make an Itty Bitty ABC booklet.

pete the cat activities, alphabet activities, alphabet games, alphabet assessments, alphabet worksheets, CCSS alphabet, common core alphabetThe packet also includes an upper and lowercase letter assessment mat, recording sheets, plus matching upper to lowercase letter worksheets. 

For easy printing, there are 2 different worksheets on a page.  Simply cut them in half to use for table top lessons, morning work, something for your sub folder, or for "early finishers" to work on.  Send them home with struggling students for extra practice, or as homework if your district requires that.

pete the cat activities, alphabet activities, alphabet games, alphabet assessments, alphabet worksheets, CCSS alphabet, common core alphabetI've also included 2 trace and write the letter worksheets. (One for uppercase letters, the other for lowercase.)  There's a 3-page tip list of ideas for using the cards, plus a Kaboom game as well.

Click on the link to view/download the Alpha Cat packet.  Thanks for visiting today. 

pete the cat activities, alphabet activities, alphabet games, alphabet assessments, alphabet worksheets, CCSS alphabet, common core alphabetI'm off to a huge "It's all about kids" consignment sale.  With 4 wonderful grandsons and a baby girl on the way, I'll be in search of "pinkalicious" stuff, toys, books and whatever else I just have to have...  Hope your day is as exciting. 

"Think less. Do more." -Unknown

 

1-2-3 Come Make Some Sliders With Me

I enjoy designing "sliders."  They are a quick, easy and fun way to whole group assess all sorts of standards.  I gave them the name "sliders" because students trace the numbers or letters on the strip of paper. 

The teacher chooses students to call out a letter/number and then everyone slides their strip of paper 'til that letter/number shows in the "window" of their slider.   Since this is like an "I Spy" game, students really enjoy sliders, and teachers can see at a glance who is having difficulty.

pete the cat activities, alphabet activities, number recognition, cat crafts, skip counting activities, shape activities, alphabet games, number games, shape games, alphabet assessments, alhabet games, I spy games, slidersBecause I've been making some activities to go with Pete the Cat, I decided to create a cat slider.  One turned into 4 and there went my day... 

You can choose the cat for your students, or give them a choice.  Run the cat patterns off on blue construction paper (for a Pete the Cat one) and have students trim, or run them off on white construction paper and have students color their cat

pete the cat activities, alphabet activities, number recognition, cat crafts, skip counting activities, shape activities, alphabet games, number games, shape games, alphabet assessments, alhabet games, I spy games, slidersTo add a bit more pizzazz to the blue construction paper cats, I've included patterns for little tennis shoes. Run them off on white paper. Students trim and glue to the appropriate cat.  

pete the cat activities, alphabet activities, number recognition, cat crafts, skip counting activities, shape activities, alphabet games, number games, shape games, alphabet assessments, alhabet games, I spy games, slidersCutting out the cats, can be a bit tricky, so I would not do this option for really little ones. Instead, use the smaller cat patterns, with the dashed lines, and run off on white paper. 

pete the cat activities, alphabet activities, number recognition, cat crafts, skip counting activities, shape activities, alphabet games, number games, shape games, alphabet assessments, alhabet games, I spy games, sliders Younger kiddos can easily follow the lines and get some cutting practice in, but are not overwhelmed with twisting and turning their scissors.

Since the blue ones turned out especially cute, you may want to make a set of your own and laminate them.  After students have found the letter/shape/number that is called out for the "I Spy" game, and everyone's hand is raised, you can hold up your cat and ask: "Is this letter/shape/number showing on your cat?"

Students make adjustments, so you are reinforcing the correct answer, without having to take the time to individually correct a struggling student, or embarrass them. 

pete the cat activities, alphabet activities, number recognition, cat crafts, skip counting activities, shape activities, alphabet games, number games, shape games, alphabet assessments, alhabet games, I spy games, slidersThere are "sliders" for upper and lowercase letters, numbers, counting backwards from 10-0, shapes and skip counting by 2's, 3's, 5's, and 10's. 

Pick the slider for the standard that you want to practice, run them off and trim on a paper cutter. You could also reuse the sliders and review another standard, with a different slider on another day.  

For more teachable moments, review patterns or odd and even numbers, by having students choose 2 or 3 colors of crayons or markers and trace the letters/numbers in an ABAB or ABC pattern. (I did this in my samples, so be sure and look at the photographs closely. )

pete the cat activities, alphabet activities, number recognition, cat crafts, skip counting activities, shape activities, alphabet games, number games, shape games, alphabet assessments, alhabet games, I spy games, slidersTo review shapes, I'd suggest using the cat head pattern.  Children color the shapes on their slider, which will then become the "nose" of the cat when they slide the strip into that position.  I think they turned out pretty cute if I do say so for myself.

pete the cat activities, alphabet activities, number recognition, cat crafts, skip counting activities, shape activities, alphabet games, number games, shape games, alphabet assessments, alhabet games, I spy games, slidersClick on the link to view/download the Cat Slider packet.  I hope it's simply "purr-fect" for Pete the Cat or any other cat-themed activities you have going on. 

pete the cat activities, alphabet activities, number recognition, cat crafts, skip counting activities, shape activities, alphabet games, number games, shape games, alphabet assessments, alhabet games, I spy games, slidersThanks for visiting.  The chill is in the air today and really feels like fall.  Time for a brisk walk with my pup Chloe, to help get energized.

"Your current safe boundaries, were once unknown frontiers." -Anonymous

 

 

 

 

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