1-2-3 Come Plan A Christmas Party With Me
The day before any vacation can be pretty wild, as children are bound to be filled with lots of energy. Their excitement for the season finds some of them not sleeping well, so you have cranky pants to deal with too.
Because of this, I planned all sorts of educational games and especially fun activities for the last day before Christmas break. Our official "party" was "supposed" to take place at the end of the day. Let's face it, when it's Halloween or Christmas time, the entire day might as well be a "party" and by the time the "end of the day" rolled around, my Y5's were also pretty much done and tired as well.
Wearing my Santa hat and jingle bell necklace, I told my students that we'd be doing extra special lessons, games, crafts etc as part of our "party" and that we'd be having a great time all day, ending quietly with our gift book exchange and snack. I never once had a child say: "When is the party going to start?" They were also happily focused, busy learning all day, just in a different way.
Behavior was wonderful, because they got the chance to get the wiggles out throughout the day. Gross motor activities were a part of our report card standards, so even our dancing and prancing around was legit. To keep children calm, I also played soothing Christmas music throughout the day.
I've compiled a list with brief explanations, of all of my favorite classroom Christmas games that I've played with my students over the years. They are quick, easy, educational and fun. Most of them require little or no preparation. (Woo hoo!) I ho-ho- hope you find something that will fit in perfectly for your party day. It's so important to give students brain breaks to keep them refreshed. Click on the link to view/download the Christmas Games packet which includes 36 games!
I've up-dated the packet to include stationery for students to write how many words they can think of using the letters in Merry Christmas.
Give students 5-10 minutes to work on this individually, then have them work in groups of 3 or 4 to combine their lists. Remind children that they can make more words by adding an s or es to make plurals. (A teachable moment.) Contractions are another option, or ask students how many of their classmates' names can be made with those letters.
What team had the most? Put my list on an overhead; did they think of words that weren’t on my list? Have them guess-timate how many words are on the list and then have them count them to see who has the closest guess. (I thought of 657!)
Make a copy of the list and have students circle all of the words that they don’t know. For whatever time remains, challenge them to look up as many words as they can and then share one or two with the class.
Here are a few other table top lessons you could plug in to cover standards in a game-type fashion; also, any of the winter alphabet cards that I've been posting, would work well. All those letter packets include a 3-page tip list of ideas, including games to play.
If you're set for party day, but want something for that busy first day when you return after break, any of these snowman themed activities would also work.
This snowman matching game is a lot of fun and reinforces numbers, number words, counting and tally marks. It also includes a keepsake "craftivity." Click on the link to view/download the Snowman Number Puzzles.
Help reinforce upper and lowercase letters + numbers from 1-20 with an "I Spy" game. Teen numbers are sometimes toughies for little ones. Practicing with an "I Spy" game makes it more interesting. My Y5's enjoyed playing "I Spy" daily. It was a fun way for them to practice, as well as a quick and easy way for me to whole-group assess.
Teacher starts by calling out a number or letter; students trace it and then raise their hand when they are done. I could tell at a glance who was having difficulty. Play continued with different children taking a turn to choose the number or letter for classmates to find.
The worksheet served double-duty, as I'd tell my students to take it home to play again with a family member, this time circling the letter/number. Click on the link to view/download the Snow Spy packet.
Finally, students catch on fast to the concept of small-medium and large, as well as the difference between a 2D and 3D shape, when they can do a hands-on craftivity.
This was the reason behind "Snowman Melt" "My snowman was 3 snowballs, 3 spheres with a hat, now he's melted into 3 circles that are flat!" Click on the link to view/download it.
For more games and activities click on the link to visit Miss Mary's Victorian and Vintage archive.
If you're looking for some online Christmas games for your kiddo's to play as a computer center, I found a site that lists over 1,000.
Make sure you play any online games first to make sure that they are age and content-appropriate for your kiddo & educations.
For more ideas and FREEBIES, check out my winter Pinterest boards. They are themed and filled with lots of creative fun. I spend a lot of time searching the web for interesting and educational FREE stuff, so you don't have to. You can also click on this December link to pop on over to that section of TeachWithMe.
Once there, you'll find categories for the following: Christmas, Elves, Gingerbread, Ornaments, Reindeer, Santa, Snowmen, Snowflakes & Wreaths. Lots of these activities would also be terrific for your last day or Classroom Christmas party, particularly the ornament section if you're looking for a quick craft to do as a center.
That's it for today. I hope you found some "We're Winding Down" tips and FREEBIES for those last few days before you can collapse, rest, rejoice and get energized for next year! Feel free to PIN away.
"A good conscience is a continual Christmas." -Benjamin Franklin
1-2-3 Come Do A Few More Scarecrow Activities With Me
I enjoy making ABC cards; they don't take that long, so I'm always happy to oblige special requests, even if they come from only one visitor. I think others will also enjoy them as well.
Click on the link to view/download the scarecrow alphabet cards, along with a 3-page tip list of what else to use them for, and some "Kaboom!" cards to make alphabet games even more fun.
Click on the link to view/download The Scarecrow's Nose Shape Slider. For extra pizzazz I added "straw" that was made by running yellow construction paper through my husband's shredder!
Children are bound to get antsy when doing seatwork, so I liked to include some gross motor activities to help get the "wiggles" out. Brain breaks are equally important. I tried to include my theme whenever I could.
One of my Y5's favorite movement-songs was This Scarecrow. It's sung to the tune of This Old Man. The packet is filled with lots of silly rhyming fun.
I hope your kiddo's enjoy "snapping, clapping, tapping, and slapping" as much as mine did. Click on the link to view/download it.
Finally, because it's difficult to fit in science to an already packed day, I try and design things that incorporate some science, along with a variety of other Common Core State Standards. My Scarecrow's Senses does just that.
Students read, trace, write, add end punctuation, underline the adjectives and color. After asking the scarecrow what he see's, hears, feels, smells and tastes, it's the child's turn to write about their autumn senses. Click on the link to view/download My Scarecrow's Senses.
Thanks for visiting today. I design and blog daily. I hope you can stop by tomorrow for the newest FREEBIES that I so enjoy sharing. Feel free to PIN away. If you'd like to take a look at all of the wonderfully-creative educational items that I pin, click on the heart button to the right of the blog.
"For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be." -John Connolly
1-2-3 Come Review The Alphabet With Me.
I like to do "regular routine" stuff with a different theme each month. Even tho it's the "same old-same old" things are kept fresh and interesting by simply tweeking them for the seasons. With that in mind, I designed 20 Letter of the Day anchor charts. There are some for each month as well as a few extra's for popular themes.
If you’d like to use these each year, print, laminate and clip to your white board changing things up each month. This is also a nice activity to use as a review if you post it on your calendar board.
Another option is to not laminate the pages and have children fill in the information. When the page is complete, add it to your Letter of the Day binder. (I've included a cover for this. )
When you have done all 26 letters, put this student-made booklet in your classroom library.
Occasionally, you may want to run a page off for your students to work on for Daily 5 Word Work.
It's easy to make this a part of your morning routine, job chart, or calendar time. Using a dry erase marker, write the upper and lowercase letters in the boxes. You can show correct formation of the letters, or choose a student to do so.
Ask students, “What sound does the letter make?” Say the sound several times. Ask them if they know any words that begin with that sound? Write the words in the appropriate boxes. Have students look at your word wall to see if they can find any more to add to the list. Another question could be, "Is this letter a vowel or a consonant?"
Make it personal, by also asking, "Do any classmates have a name that starts with that letter?" You can either write their name on the paper or have the child with that name come up and write it.
Choose another child to circle the letters in the “Find it” section. This is a good time to point to each letter and say the letter or sing the alphabet song. Click on the link to view/download the Letter of the Day Packet.
If you're looking for more alphabet activities, click on the link to zip on over to that section of our site to grab some more FREEBIES.
Thanks for visiting today. I design and blog daily so I hope you can stop by tomorrow to check out the newest FREEBIES. Feel free to PIN anything. To ensure that "pinners" return to THIS article, click on the green title at the top; it will turn black, now click on the "Pin it" button located on the burgundy menu bar. If you'd like to take a look at all of the wonderful-educational items, that I spend way too much time pinning, click on the heart button to the right of the blog. I have an entire board on just alphabet stuff.
"The life you live is the lesson you teach." -Unknown
1-2-3 Come Do Some More Spider Stuff With Me!
The spider shape activities are popular downloads, so I decided to do a few more spider-themed things. All of these lessons will help your kiddo's practice upper and lowercase letters. (To see the spider shape activities, scroll down for that blog article.)
Since the apple and pumpin clothespin "craftivities" were also very popular, I thought it would be fun to design a spider one too. I named him Alphie. Use my patterns to make templates; and then trace, cut and glue your spider together. I added wiggle eyes and black pipe cleaner legs for that extra pizzazz.
So that students can self-check, I've included a spider ABC chart. For more letter practice, I designed a match the uppercase letter to the lowercase letter worksheet as well.
Alphie makes a wonderful independent center, or something for early-finishers to do. You may want to make a few extra spiders to send home with children who are struggling. I've included a note home, + a reminder note incase a family "forgets" to send Alphie back. Click on the link to view/download the spider alphabet matching game.
I had a request for some spider alphabet cards. If you collect ABC cards so you can change them each month, I have lots of themes available, and am always open to any requests visitors have for others. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I've also included a BLANK color, as well as a black and white set of cards, for you to program with whatever + a 3-page tip sheet of ideas for games and other activities that you can do with the cards. Click on the link to view/download the spider alphabet cards.
Because assessing can be overwhelming for little ones, I like to dream up fun ways I can do that. Assessing is time consuming too, so I did a lot of whole-group assessment to weed out the strugglers.
Playing "I Spy" is a fun game that enables you to see at a glance who is having difficulty. I designed a spider upper and lowercase letter bookmark that's perfect for an "I Spy" game.
Run off the spider bookmarks and give each child a spider ring or piece of candy corn to use as a manipulative. Whenever I'm using candy as a marker, I always allow students to eat one at the beginning of the activity.
It saves a lot of time reminding students that they cannot eat the candy 'til the game is done, and helps them enjoy the game and stay focussed better.
The teacher starts by calling out a letter, children move their marker to that letter and raise their hand to signal that they have "spied" it. The teacher then calls on a child to choose the next letter. Play continues 'til all of the letters are called. If you don't want to reuse the bookmarks each year, students can also circle the letters and then take their bookmarks home.
If you are doing an individual assessment, circle the letters the student does not know, write a note on the back asking parents to work on those letters and send it home with the child. There are also 6 alphabet worksheets for even more practice. Click on the link to view/download the spider alphabet activities.
Finally, if you're looking for a bit more, you may enjoy an older Spider packet that has a few alphabet activities in it, as well as lots of math fun. My kiddos especially enjoyed working with the paper flies and spider web sorting mats.
If you want to see all of the other spider freebies I offer, click on the link.
Thanks for visiting today. I hope you found something you can use for your spider studies. I'm off to check the basement after a ton of rain. Hopefully there are no disasterous puddles down there, or spiders for that matter. :-)
"Children don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." -Unknown
1-2-3 Come Make a Pumpkin Slider With Me!
Making a hands-on craftivity, is a fun way for students to learn about, and review the basic 2D shapes and the shape words associated with them. I tried to do at least one shape activity a week with my Y5's. The more exposure they had to shapes, the better the chances of their light bulb going on, in an interesting and non-stressful way.
My "sliders" have always been extremely popular, so I wanted to make a pumpkin one with shapes. They are called sliders, because students pull(slide) their strip through slits, to reveal whatever I want to teach. Sliders are a quick and easy way to whole-group assess. Simply call out a shape and have students find it on their slider and then hold it up. You can also individually assess with a slider; the game-like activity, lessens a child's apprehension when being tested.
Here's how to make the Pumpkin Shape Slider:
Click on the link to view/download the Pumpkin Shape Slider. I also made a Pumpkin ABC-123 Slider that has different strips, so you can review: upper and lowercase letters, numbers from 0-30, skip counting by 2's, 3's, 5's and 10's, as well as counting backwards from 10 to 0 and 20 to 0. Run off whatever strips you want your students to work on. Make a laminated one yourself to use as a demonstration, review, or assessment sample.
So that the strip is easily managed, students can fold the ends up. Have children TRACE the letters/numbers with two different colored highlighters in an ABAB pattern. Click on the link to view/download the ABC-123 Pumpkin Slider. There are 3 pumpkin templates to choose from: students can draw on their own face, add wiggle eyes, or use the pumpkin that has a face on it. TIP: Decorate the pumpkin on both sides and glue 2 slider strips back-to-back for double duty.
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"The only place success comes before work, is in the dictionary!" -Vidal Sassoon
1-2-3 Come Practice Letter Recognition With Me!
The more you emmerse your kiddo's with letter activities, the more likely the light bulb of understanding will easily come on. Although important, trace and write worksheets, can become tedious and boring after awhile. (skill-drill & kill) It's important to give little learners a variety of hands-on activities.
I try to think up ideas that involve some sort of crafty aspect. Children LOVE these; they provide fine motor skill practice, and completed projects make great bulletin boards and wall displays, that help build a child's self-esteem. I call today's quick and easy letter "craftivity" Search & Find. I strived to do at least one activity a month that recycled something, so using old newspapers to trace on, fit the bill and the results look terrific. These are wonderful for a seasonal Daily 5 activity too!
Here's what to do:
Students find and circle the upper and lowercase letters that the shape starts with. i.e. If a child chooses an apple, they will search for Aa’s. I tried to think up themed-shapes for fall, and added a football, to help excite the boys in your class. To make this a bit more difficult for older students, have them search and circle all of the letters that are in the WORD and then tally or total, how many of each letter they found.
When they are done, students color their newsprint craftivity, with a watercolor marker or highlighter, so that the newsprint still shows through.
Students glue their work to the matching worksheet and fill in the data. Older students can use the greater, less than, or equals symbol, to show THEIR answer, to the correct answer.
When everyone is done, you can graph how many of each beginning letter, that your class found, counting by 10’s. Write each child’s amount on the board and show the addition, one step at a time, to get to a grand total.
Before graphing, have students predict which letter they think they will find the most of, and why. Click on the link to view/download the Search & Find Alphabet Craftivity packet. For more Alphabet FREEBIES, click on the link, to pop on over to that section of my site. Enjoy!
Thanks for visiting. Feel free to PIN away. To ensure that "pinners" return to THIS blog article, click on the green title at the top; it will turn black, now click on the "Pin it" button on my menu bar. If you'd like to take a look at all of the creative-educational items I pin, click on the heart to the right of the blog. Hope you can pop back tomorrow, for my newest FREEBIES hot off the press!
"Those with a lively sense of curiosity, learn something new every day of their lives." -Unknown
1-2-3 Play An Alphabet Matching Game With Me!
The Dollar Store is one of my favorite stores. My mantra when I go in one is: "What can I do with this, that will help my students learn?" so when I saw that they carried clip-on clothespins, I designed all sorts of games that students could "clip and match." I did this for colors, numbers, upper and lowercase letters, shapes, and even glued my kiddos' photo on the front and back, so they could clip it to a yes or no answer for Question of the Day.
I used another photo clip for attendance. This clothespin could also be used on your behavior board. i.e. Children all start out on the green apple for "good" behavior, and move to a yellow apple when they've been warned, and finally to a red apple if there's a consequence.
Because my little ones needed help recognizing and writing their names, I wrote them on clothespins for them to "find". These were kept in a bucket and were sometimes used when I graphed something. Children could also pick a clothespin out of the bucket and have that child be their partner.
My clothespin craftiness started 13 years ago. Creative minds must think alike, because I've seen clothespin activities all over Pinterest, with similar ideas. One gal used yellow alphabet clothespins as "rays" that were clipped around a sun. This gave me the idea to make several themed alphabet clothespin games.
I started with an apple and then made a pumpkin. I'll fool around with a turkey and its feathers for November. Hopefully by then, all of your students will be able to identify upper and lowercase letters.
Here are some tips to help you make the apple/pumpkin alphabet games. Directions for the pumpkin are similar and included in the packet.
If you are making multiple games, so that more students can play, make a template for the leaves and stem. Print, cut and trace onto an old file folder to make a pattern that’s easier to trace. Using the template, trace the leaf once on green construction paper and then cut several at a time. Do the same for the stem, only on brown construction paper. Glue to the back of your apples then laminate. Children will clip the Aa clothespins on the stem, and the Z or B clothespin on the leaf, depending on where you glue the leaves. Run off the apples on red, yellow and lime green construction paper.
I suggest you clip all of the clothespins onto the apples BEFORE you write the letters on. Since little ones are just learning about letters, it’s less confusing for them, if you print on the clothespins, so that a letter doesn’t appear upside down. i.e. I printed letters E, F, G, H, I, J, sideways with the “pinch” end of the clothespin going to the right, and letters Q, R, S, T, U , V and W sideways; with the “pinch” side going to the left. Letters A, B, C, D, Z, Y, X with the “pinch” side up,; and L, M, N, O, P with the “pinch” side down.
Another help for younger children, and allows for quick sorting, is to print the uppercase letters in red permanent marker, and the lowercase letters on the flip side, in black. Bag up this particular set of clothespins and mark them Apple Clothespins.
Children can also play with a partner, dividing the clothespins so that each child gets 13 to clip. Teacher chooses the partners, so that a stronger student can help a child who’s struggling. There's an apple and pumpkin alphabet anchor chart, so that children can self-check their work when they have completed clipping their clothespins.
Make a few extra games to send home with children who need more one-on-one help. Inform parents via a note (There's one included in the pack) that they may BORROW the game for one week and need to return it on a specific day. Jot yourself a note as to who has the game. I've also included a reminder note to send home, in case a child fails to return the game on time.
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"I was asked to memorize what I did not understand; and, my memory being so good, refused to be insulted in that manner." -Aleister Crowley
1-2-3 Do Some Apple-icious Activities With Me!
As I stated in the article after this, I wanted to finish up with all of the apple requests I've had this month, and move on to some other fall theme, so I put lots of apple FREEBIES in the blog today, that I hope you and your students will enjoy. Click on the "We Love Studying About Apples!" to grab your free poster.
Part of our morning, was spent doing "table top" activities, where students worked independently on various standards and skills.
With this in mind, I created the Caramel Apple Letter Find. Students find the capital letter A's and color them red; they color the lowercase a's yellow, and any Cc (for caramel) letter green. Click on the link to view/download it.
I'd also reinforce letter and number recognition, by playing "I Spy" games. Teacher starts out by calling out a letter/number.
Students find it, and either trace or color the apple, and then raise their hand. Teacher then calls on a quiet student to choose the next letter/numbered apple to find. Click on the link to view/print "I Spy a Letter!" apple game.
Besides "I Spy" my students enjoyed playing dice games. This helps with counting and number recognition, and simple addition for older students.
Click on the link to view/print the Apples On A Roll dice game.
To help increase my students' vocabulary, I always had themed words to add to our word wall.
I encouraged my first graders to refer to the wall when they'd write. Understanding, and using adjectives, is also very important to build good writing skills.
I designed Apple Adjectives to help with that. There's a black and white version for students to fill in, as well as a completed one in color, to use as an example or anchor chart. I found that graphic organizers were extremely helpful for prewriting, so I designed an apple one, so students could write in descriptive words. Click on the link to view/download the Apple Adjective packet.
Finally, a Venn diagram is extremely useful, in helping students grasp the concept of comparison and contrast. Once there's understanding and a framework, students will write better.
Because we study pumpkins shortly after our apple unit, I thought it would be especially helpful to compare a pumpkin to an apple, using a Venn diagram. Click on the link to view/download the Apple-Pumpkin Venn Diagram.
If you're looking for some short, but informative YouTube videos on Apples, I spent the better part of a morning watching quite a few. Here are my favorites: The Life Cycle Of An Apple is put to music in this 2-minute catchy video.
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A favorite book that many teachers read the first few weeks of school is Chicka Boom Boom. I wanted to dream up some new ideas, as many teachers also make a Welcome bulletin board with that theme, and gear several days around letter activities as well.
The first FREEBIE is entitled Trunk Tricks and has a variety of activities based around the trunk of a coconut tree.
I've seen others make painted handprints for fronds, which is cute, but sometimes messy and difficult, as well as time-consuming to do, especially if you're teaching a bunch of little ones all by yourself.
I decided to trace my handprints to see how they would turn out and I really liked the effect.
Have a room volunteer do the tracing and cutting for you, or send the green paper home and have parents do this step.
With the handprint portion out of the way, this adorable keepsake artwork can be whipped together in about 10 minutes.
For extra pizzazz, I used brown textured wallpaper for the trunk of my tree.
Brightly-colored foam letters also add that bit of 3-D pop and the student photo on the coconut makes it all the more precious.
In Trunk Tricks you can also make a Name Tree, a Vowel Tree, a Color Tree and a count by 10's to 100 Tree.
Any of these would make quick and easy bulletin boards: "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Look What The K's Did In Mrs. Henderson's Room!"
Make A Chicka Boom Name Tag:
This comparison not only involves various math extensions, but you can toss in some science exploration as well, by having a discussion with your students about what they think is inside the coconut etc.
Chicka Boom Envelope Letter Game:
There's nothing like a game to help students learn lessons. Children can play with a partner or in a group of 3.
You can make a class set of Chicka Boom trees, or allow each student to make their own "Chicka Boom Name Tree". Play the game several times in class and then let children take them home to enjoy with family.
Children glue construction paper to a sealed envelope making a trunk so that they can insert letters into the back of their tree's "pocket". Students roll a dice to determine how many letters they put in their envelope.
If they roll a 1 they take 1 letter out; if they roll a 6 they lose their turn.
Chicka Boom Popsicle Stick Puzzle:
I love making Popsicle stick puzzles. They are easy and inexpensive and fun for students to put together.
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"80% of success is showing up!" -Woody Allen
1-2-3 Come Park It With Me!
If you do a unit on transportation, you'll definitely want to include "Park It!" in your lessons.
The original idea for the parking lot, came from a home-schooling mom over at "I can teach my child", who made one out of tape for her sons. Click on the link to check out her wonderful site.
I wanted to make this easier, and something you could put away, so I designed the template. I used traceable letters so children could also practice writing with dry erase markers. They can trace the top letter, park their car, and then write the letter(s) under their vehicle.
The Dollar Store sells small cars 6 in a pack. You can also pick them up at garage sales any where from a dime to 25 cents.
Instead of tape, I used tough-stick colored dots. Don't get garage sale ones, because they will peel off easily. For an even more professional look, watch for all of those 40% off coupons from Hobby Lobby, JoAnne Fabrics & Michaels, to buy stickers that already have the letters written on them!
Here's How To Make Your Letter Matching Parking Lot:
Click on the link to view/download the "Park It Packet." Thanks for visiting today. Feel free to PIN anything you think others may find helpful. My "Pin it" button is at the top. If you'd like to see all the adorable educational items that I PIN, simply click on the "Follow me" heart on the right.
"Time is the most valuable thing a person can spend." -Diogenes