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Getting to the Core

1-2-3 Come Learn About Martin Luther King With Me

Will you be celebrating Martin Luther King Day on Monday?  If so, I think your students will enjoy this quick, easy and fun craftivity.

mlk activities, martin luther king activities, martin luther king facts, martin luther king crafts, martin luther king bulletin board ideas, martin luther king writing prompts, jaunary bulletin boardsThis Martin Luther King “flip-the-flap” booklet is very versatile, and easy to diversify for your students’ skill levels, making it simple enough for preschool, while being challenging enough for older students.

mlk activities, martin luther king activities, martin luther king facts, martin luther king crafts, martin luther king bulletin board ideas, martin luther king writing prompts, jaunary bulletin boardsDon’t know much about MLK? No worries; as a huge time-saver, I’ve included a chronological list of 95 interesting facts about his life, so you can learn right along with your students.

The factual information makes it a breeze to make a timeline if you want.

mlk activities, martin luther king activities, martin luther king facts, martin luther king crafts, martin luther king bulletin board ideas, martin luther king writing prompts, jaunary bulletin boardsI’ve included a student worksheet for this.

Perfect for your non fiction studies.

mlk activities, martin luther king activities, martin luther king facts, martin luther king crafts, martin luther king bulletin board ideas, martin luther king writing prompts, jaunary bulletin boardsThe packet includes a teacher’s edition with colorful graphics, along with factual information on each page, which you can read and share with your students, who’ll be excited to make a booklet of their own.

There are several “fact flap” booklets to choose from:

* Use the black & white graphic pages with no words, for little ones who simply color the pages. The pictures will prompt them to explain the graphics by sharing what they’ve learned.

mlk activities, martin luther king activities, martin luther king facts, martin luther king crafts, martin luther king bulletin board ideas, martin luther king writing prompts, jaunary bulletin boardsThis provides a quick, easy and fun way to assess comprehension as well.

So that you can create a booklet with fewer pages for little ones, I purposely did not number them.
This also allows you to check comprehension for older students as they collate their pages in chronological order.

mlk activities, martin luther king activities, martin luther king facts, martin luther king crafts, martin luther king bulletin board ideas, martin luther king writing prompts, jaunary bulletin boards* Older students can also use the BW booklet, then write a few sentences sharing what they know about the pictures. (See the last oval in the photo with the pen.)

mlk activities, martin luther king activities, martin luther king facts, martin luther king crafts, martin luther king bulletin board ideas, martin luther king writing prompts, jaunary bulletin boards* There’s also a BW emergent reader booklet, which is packed with Dolch sight words. Children read the simple sentences then color the graphics.

When everyone is done, as a whole group activity, call on students to read a page aloud.

* As another booklet option, I’ve also included a template with 3 blank half-pages on a one-page pattern.
Run these off so students can write and illustrate their own booklets. 

mlk activities, martin luther king activities, martin luther king facts, martin luther king crafts, martin luther king bulletin board ideas, free martin luther king lessons, free martin luther king bookmarks, martin luther king writing prompts, jaunary bulletin boardsToday's featured FREEBIE is a set of MLK bookmarks, which make a sweet surprise placed on your students' desks, or tucked in their backpacks. 

mlk activities, martin luther king activities, martin luther king facts, martin luther king crafts, martin luther king bulletin board ideas, martin luther king writing prompts, jaunary bulletin boardsWell that's it for today.  Thanks for popping in. 

The bitter cold with minus temperature wind chills have subsided for a while, so it's time for some fresh air.

Love the sound of winter melting, with the promise of spring though quite far away, still in the air...

"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face." - Victor Hugo

1-2-3 Come Make An Educational Santa Craft With Me

activities for the night before christmas, christmas crafts for kids, santa crafts, december literacy centers, december writing prompts, december bulletin boards, christmas cards for kids to makeClement Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas” is said to be one of the most famous American poems ever written.

activities for the night before christmas, christmas crafts for kids, santa crafts, december literacy centers, december writing prompts, december bulletin boards, christmas cards for kids to makeBecause of its popularity, easy cadence, rhyming words, and the fact that the poem is packed with over 60 Dolch sight words, I wanted to design a craftivity to incorporate into our reading activities, while covering the poetry genre and practicing the “sequencing & retelling” a story standards.

I came up with this “flip-the-flap” Santa booklet.

activities for the night before christmas, christmas crafts for kids, santa crafts, december literacy centers, december writing prompts, december bulletin boards, christmas cards for kids to makeChildren color, cut & sequence the “beard” pages, then glue their top tab to the base, adding Santa’s face as the “cover”.

To retell the story, they flip his beard up to reveal the graphics, which prompt them to explain what’s happening. 

activities for the night before christmas, christmas crafts for kids, santa crafts, december literacy centers, december writing prompts, december bulletin boards, christmas cards for kids to makeFor some extra 3D pizzazz and to help strengthen finger muscles, have children pull several cotton balls apart, brush Elmer's glue on the brim of Santa's hat, then press on the "fur". 

A large white pom pom glued to the tip adds the finisheing touch. 

activities for the night before christmas, christmas crafts for kids, santa crafts, december literacy centers, december writing prompts, december bulletin boards, christmas cards for kids to makeWhile working on the sequencing booklet, I thought teachers could also use the pattern for a variety of other things.

So I tweaked the templates and included patterns for:

activities for the night before christmas, christmas crafts for kids, santa crafts, december literacy centers, december writing prompts, december bulletin boards, christmas cards for kids to make* A “Ho Ho Ho-ping you have a Merry Christmas” card.
Older students can compose, then write a letter to the recipient on the back.

activities for the night before christmas, christmas crafts for kids, santa crafts, december literacy centers, december writing prompts, december bulletin boards, christmas cards for kids to make* A “Dear Santa” letter with a twist.
Instead of having children write the usual “I’d like a …….” have students ask Santa to bring a specific gift to a special person in their life, then explain why.

For example: “Dear Santa, could you please bring a pair of boots for my baby brother Fred, so he can play outside in the snow with me. Love, Ean”  and finally,

activities for the night before christmas, christmas crafts for kids, santa crafts, december literacy centers, december writing prompts, december bulletin boards, christmas cards for kids to make* Blank patterns so that you can make a flip the flap booklet for another Santa story, or to use as a creative writing prompt of your choice.

Completed projects make a cute bulletin board or hallway display.

Also included in the packet are:

* A photo-poster of Clement Moore,
* Background information on the poem, and
* A copy of the story-poem, which you can read together as a whole group; calling on children to take turns reading a stanza. There's also
* An “alphabetize Santa’s reindeer” worksheet

Cover Snowman StackersToday's featured FREEBIE is "Snowman Name Stackers"

I like to do some sort of January craftivity, before Christmas break, so that we don't come back to a bare-looking hallway.

Since we do a big snowman theme, my kiddos enjoy making a Snowman Name Stacker.
They are a quick, easy and fun decoration for your students' lockers, or as a wall display.

activities for the night before christmas, christmas crafts for kids, santa crafts, december literacy centers, december writing prompts, december bulletin boards, christmas cards for kids to makeWell that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by. 

I am literally "dashing through December" with more fun-filled activities and committments to attend than ever before.

I have to keep in mind, that it's important to savor the journey of getting things accomplished, and not just the accomplishment. 

 Wishing you lots of warm and cozy moments.

"He who has not Christmas in his heart, will never find it under the tree." -Roy L. Smith

1-2-3 Come Do Some Polar Express Activities With Me

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, “All Aboard! The Polar Express is now leaving for the North Pole!”
Do you read this classic Christmas story by Chris Van Allsburg?

It’s a personal favorite of mine, especially because Chris is from my home town here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, so you can imagine how popular this book is with the teachers in my school.

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, With that in mind, I decided to make 3 Polar Express craftivities that would reinforce some language arts standards. First up, is the Lit Express.

As you can see by the pictures, I chose Christmas colors of red and green for my train, but you can run off a variety of colors of construction paper and give children a choice.

By the looks of the photograph the train appears small, but the pattern for each car takes up a full page.  I purposely made the templates large, so that there's plently of room for wtudents to write.

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, Teachers can make the train, laminate & then do this as a whole-group discussion activity with preschool and kinders, writing their answers down with a dry erase marker, then reviewing the story.

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, Older students can make their own Polar Express.

I suggest doing this over a few days, making several cars each day, or sending part of the project home to be completed there, and then returned.

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, Not enough time, but still want to give this cute craft a whirl? Simply have students do just the engine along with the “stat” car, or a -3-piece train with the engine, stat car and caboose.

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, Completed projects make an absolutely adorable, hallway wall border.

I’ve included an “All Aboard For Literacy” poster for your display as well.

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, Gluing a child’s school photo peeking out the engine’s window, makes them the conductor, and adds to the “awww” keepsake factor.

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, Later, the entire train accordion-folds, making the project small and flat, which easily tucks in a backpack, then unfolded, one car at a time, to retell the tale of The Polar Express to their family.

The project helps reinforce the parts of a story: Author, Illustrator, Setting, Characters, Problem & Solution, as well as practicing the ”sequencing & retelling” a story standards, via the “Beginning, Middle & End” writing prompt train cars. 

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, I've included extra page patterns, so students can write more if they want.

I have my kiddos write their rough draft on scratch paper, then after their final edit, then using red, black & green markers, they record their work on the approriate train car.

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, I’ve also included a “Here’s What Happened” worksheet, should you opt for a shorter train.

So that you can quickly and easily make an example to share, I’ve included the templates of my completed samples, plus plenty of photographs, with step-by-step directions.

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, Next up is a "Polar Express" storytelling wheel. This craftivity is another quick, easy and fun way to practice the "sequencing & retelling" a story standards.   

There are 5 “print & go” cover options to choose from. Pick your favorite, or give students a choice.

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, There are full color patterns to use for an independent center, as well as a sample to share, plus a black & white pattern, so students can make their own.

When everyone is done, practice retelling “The Polar Express" using the manipulative. Everyone starts by turning their wheel so that the boy in his pajamas appears in the “pie-slice window”, then call on a child to begin the story,

Continue to turn the wheel, calling on different students to tell you that portion of the story, explaining the “picture prompt”.

For writing practice, and to assess & check comprehension, and reinforce the “sequencing a story” standard, I’ve also included a “Here’s What Happened” writing prompt worksheet.

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, Besides BW, there’s a full color template so you can quickly & easily make an example to share, or do as a whole group activity with little ones.

I’ve also included a circular “Polar Express” puzzle. Use the colorful patterns for an independent center, and the black & white version so students can make their own puzzle to take home.

The base, which students place the puzzle pieces on, includes ordinal numbers so you can practice that standard as well.

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, Finally, my personal favorite is this Polar Express "flip-the-flap" Train Engine booklet It too, is a super-fun way to practice the "sequencing & retelling" a story standards.

Run off the engine on construction paper.

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, I chose the Christmasy colors of red & green, but you could print on a variety of colors and give children a choice.

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, Students color, cut & sequence the “window pages” and then glue them to their train.
Gluing a child’s school photo peeking out the Engine’s window, makes them the conductor, and adds to the “awww” keepsake factor.

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, Another way for students to sequence the story, is with the “Let’s Sequence The Polar Express” worksheet.

Children color, cut and glue the “picture tiles” in the correct order on the train car “windows”.

I’ve included a full-color version for teachers. You can do this as a whole group with little ones, as well as make up some independent, reading center activities.

To assess and check comprehension, I’ve included a “Here’s What Happened” worksheet for older students.

Free Polar Express Train ticket, Polar Express gift tag for a bellToday's featured FREEBIE is a TICKET to ride "The Polar Express" in your classroom. 

Polar Exprss train ticket, free polar express ticket, I believe gift tag, Besides the colorful ticket, I've also included a BW option, but I think it's more fun for children if they get a lovely and vibrantly colored ticket. 

Polar Exprss train ticket, free polar express ticket, I believe gift tag, Also in the packet, is an "I Believe!" gift tag to attach to a Christmas jingle bell. 

Sign your name on the back after the "A Merry Christmas Remembrance From", add a date, then run off.

Beileve git tag, silver bell gift tag for the polar expressA room helper can cut the tags out, fold them in half and glue the front and back together. 

Punch a hole at the top, insert a piece of ribbon or yarn (curling ribbon is inexpensive & adds extra pizzazz) then tie on a bell.  The entire thing can be hung on a tree.  Pass out to your kiddos as they leave for vacation.

polar express crafts, polar express activities, literacy centers for the polar express, train crafts, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activities, winter bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, Well that's it for now. Thanks for breezing in. 

As usual I'm off and running today.  This Santa's elf has much to accomplish. 

Wishing you a very merry day filled with the wonder of Christmas.

"The true magic of Christmas, is not in the presents, but in His Presence." -Unknown

1-2-3 Come Make a Nativity Craft With Me

Would you like your kiddos to be able to sequence & retell the Christmas story?  With that in mind, I designed 2 simple & fun craftivities, which will help them do just that.

nativity crafts, story of Jesus' birth, Christmas crafts, Christmas activities, Christian crafts, Sunday school crafts, December activities for Sunday school, retelling a story activities, sequencing activities, Nativity craft, manger craftFirst up: “Follow the Star”, which is a nativity “flip-the-flap” booklet,

If you do a "Christmas Around the World" ed-venture, this craftivity makes a nice addition to your travels.

nativity crafts, story of Jesus' birth, Christmas crafts, Christmas activities, Christian crafts, Sunday school crafts, December activities for Sunday school, retelling a story activities, sequencing activities, Nativity craft, manger craftThe stable is the base of the booklet and is printed on card stock to make it sturdy.

nativity crafts, story of Jesus' birth, Christmas crafts, Christmas activities, Christian crafts, Sunday school crafts, December activities for Sunday school, retelling a story activities, sequencing activities, Nativity craft, manger craftOnce the booklet is complete, it is free standing and makes a cute decoration.

The “doors” of the stable open, to reveal graphics of the major events that take place; from Mary & Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem to the birth of Jesus.

nativity crafts, story of Jesus' birth, Christmas crafts, Christmas activities, Christian crafts, Sunday school crafts, December activities for Sunday school, retelling a story activities, sequencing activities, Nativity craft, manger craftBesides black & white patterns for students to color, cut & glue, I’ve also included colorful templates so that you can quickly & easily make an example to share.

There are several page options as well.

I’ve provided pages with text for beginning readers, as well as pages without words for younger kiddos.

nativity crafts, story of Jesus' birth, Christmas crafts, Christmas activities, Christian crafts, Sunday school crafts, December activities for Sunday school, retelling a story activities, sequencing activities, Nativity craft, manger craftYou can also use these pages for older students, so they can write about what is happening and explain the graphic, or find a matching Bible verse to record on the appropriate pages.

To use for extra writing practice, I’ve also included a completely blank page.

nativity crafts, story of Jesus' birth, Christmas crafts, Christmas activities, Christian crafts, Sunday school crafts, December activities for Sunday school, retelling a story activities, sequencing activities, Nativity craft, manger craftOn the back of the stable, students can write “Jesus loves me.” or “Jesus is the reason for the season.”

nativity crafts, story of Jesus' birth, Christmas crafts, Christmas activities, Christian crafts, Sunday school crafts, December activities for Sunday school, retelling a story activities, sequencing activities, Nativity craft, manger craftThere are add-on graphics included as well: 4 star patterns for children to choose from, plus a cow & donkey they can glue to the back of the last, opened pages, so that when the doors are completely open, the animals flank the manger.

Brushing some Elmer’s glue on the star, then sprinkling with gold glitter adds extra pop & pizzazz. 

nativity crafts, story of Jesus' birth, Christmas crafts, Christmas activities, Christian crafts, Sunday school crafts, December activities for Sunday school, retelling a story activities, sequencing activities, Nativity craft, manger craftThe "looking down" photo on the right,  shows how the pages support the stable.

When everyone is done, read the booklet together as a whole group, calling on students to explain the various events taking place. Encourage children to sequence & retell the story of Christ’s birth to their families, as they share their nativity booklet at home.

nativity crafts, crhristmas crafts, retelling a story activiteis, sequencing a story activities, birth of Jesus activities, storytelling wheelsNext up is a nativity "storytelling wheel".

Since my storytelling wheels have been so popular, I thought it would be fun to design one for the Nativity.

Great for parochial schools, Sunday school, Christmas Around the World activities, or simply for your own child.

Storytelling wheels are a quick, easy & fun way for students to practice the “retelling & sequencing” a story standards.

nativity crafts, crhristmas crafts, retelling a story activiteis, sequencing a story activities, birth of Jesus activities, storytelling wheelsThere are 3, “print & go” cover options to choose from. Pick your favorite, or give students a choice.

There are full color patterns to use for an independent center, as well as a sample to share, plus a black & white pattern, so students can make their own.

After students have completed their wheel, practice retelling the nativity story using the manipulative.

Everyone starts by turning their wheel so that Mary & Joseph, who are traveling to Bethlehem, appear in the “pie-slice window”.

Call on a child to begin the story. Continue to turn the wheel, calling on different students to tell you that portion of the story, explaining the “picture prompt”.

Afterwards, have students pick a partner and take turns sharing their nativity wheel with each other. Sometimes we do this with our older reading buddies.
This is a quick, easy & fun way to check comprehension too.

nativity puzzle, nativity crafts, crhristmas crafts, retelling a story activiteis, sequencing a story activities, birth of Jesus activities, storytelling wheelsFor more sequencing & retelling practice, I've also included a nativity puzzle . There are two "base" options, which will help practice ordinal numbers as well as reading.

nativity puzzle, nativity crafts, crhristmas crafts, retelling a story activiteis, sequencing a story activities, birth of Jesus activities, storytelling wheelsFor writing practice, have students complete the “Here’s What Happened” writing prompt worksheet, then color it.

There’s a full color template so you can quickly & easily make an example to share, or do as a whole group activity with little ones.

December writing prompts, Christmas crafts, Christmas writing prompts, December bulletin board ideasToday's featured FREEBIE is a "Wishful Thinking" writing prompt craftivity.

Students finish the prompt: "If money were no problem and I could have 5 super-fabulous gifts for Christmas, I'd like..."

Completed projects make an adorable December bulletin board.

Christmas crafts, nativity crafts, december writing porompts, december vbulletin boardsWell that's it for today.  Thanks for stopping by. 

Two of my nine grandchildren are coming over today, so my feet have hit the floor running this morning. 

I've planned some "merry making" Christmas crafts.  Wishing you a day filled with warm hugs and happy giggles.

"Christmas is the kindling for hospitality." -Washington Irving

1-2-3 Come Do A Gingerbread Man Craftivity With Me

retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activiteis, gingerbread activities, gingerbread crafts, activities for the gingerbread man story, fox crafts, This “flip-the-flap” storytelling craft, is a super-fun way to practice the sequencing & retelling a story standards, using the popular tale of the “Gingerbread Man”

Simply run the fox pattern off on orange or brown construction paper.
Students trim & add a few highlights with crayons.

retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activiteis, gingerbread activities, gingerbread crafts, activities for the gingerbread man story, fox crafts, The “head” of the fox, is the “cover” of the booklet that flips up to reveal 6 oval pages, which feature graphics that help students recall the story, so they can retell the tale.

I purposely did not number the pages, so you can check comprehension, when students sequence the story.

retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activiteis, gingerbread activities, gingerbread crafts, activities for the gingerbread man story, fox crafts, Children color, cut & collate the oval-shaped pages into a little booklet, which is then glued to the fox’s face, making it a “flip-the-flap” activity. 


Besides the black & white patterns,  I’ve also included colorful ones, so that you can quickly & easily make an example to share.

Since there are two versions of the fairy tale,  I’ve also included page options with both endings of the story, as well as a gingerbread man pattern, to use as an extra manipulative.

retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activiteis, gingerbread activities, gingerbread crafts, activities for the gingerbread man story, fox crafts, As children finish retelling the story, I thought it would be fun for them to place the gingerbread man inside the fox’s mouth, to tell the version where the cookie is eaten, then hold the gingerbread man and have him scamper off, to explain that he escapes in the other story.

retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activiteis, gingerbread activities, gingerbread crafts, activities for the gingerbread man story, fox crafts, For extra pizzazz, I used white puffy paint to add realistic-lookig "frosting" to the gingerbread man.

My students absolutely love this "finishing touch", which really adds to the "way cool" cuteness factor. 

retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activiteis, gingerbread activities, gingerbread crafts, activities for the gingerbread man story, fox crafts, For writing practice,  have students complete the extra “last” page, where children  circle the ending they liked best, then explain why.

 

To check comprehension & further reinforce the sequence of the story, older students can explain “What Happened?” on the writing prompt worksheet.

When everyone's  done, have children pick a partner and take turns telling the story of “The Gingerbread Man” to each other.
We sometimes do this sort of thing with our older reading buddies. 

retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activiteis, gingerbread activities, gingerbread crafts, activities for the gingerbread man story, fox crafts, Today's featured FREEBIE isa set of gingerbread-themed "Parts of Speech" posters.

retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activiteis, gingerbread activities, gingerbread crafts, activities for the gingerbread man story, fox crafts, Thanks for stopping by.  I have a long "To Do" list of "must do" activities, so my feet have hit the floor running this morning.

retelling a story activities, sequencing a story activiteis, gingerbread activities, gingerbread crafts, activities for the gingerbread man story, fox crafts, It's all Christmas related, so especially fun, at the same tiime exhausting. 

Wishing you a "merry & bright" day.

"Christmas isn't a season; it's a feeling." -Edna Ferber

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