1-2-3 Come Do Some Groundhog Activities With Me
I do a variety of groundhog-themed activities during the week of Groundhog Day.
One day (February 2nd) is simply not enough time to take a look at these interesting animals, which provide a way for me to get in a bit of science, non-fiction reading, as well as use them as a fun theme for word work (GR blend, compound words) plus math centers, where we count groundhogs, do puzzles, and practice graphing (Will he or won't he see his shadow?) predictions.
With that in mind, I designed two groundhog “flip the flap for facts” booklets. One includes fun facts about groundhogs, the other has interesting information about Groundhog Day. First up, is the background information about Groundhogs.
Don’t know anything about groundhogs? No worries. I’ve done tons of research so you don’t have to.
Simply make the teacher’s edition booklet, familiarize yourself with whatever facts you want to share, then read them to your students.
I categorized simple and interesting information into: characteristics, habitat, home, diet, hibernation, young, predators & behavior.
There are 2 "flip up" pages to a one-page template for easy printing.
Besides the teacher’s edition, there are blank page patterns so you can program them however you want, as well as pages with the category headers, so that students have a guide for their research and written answers.
I purposely did not number any pages, so that you can choose which topics you want your students to explore.
The booklet provides a simple and fun way to introduce research and writing a report, which can be done individually, with a partner, or in a small group of four.
The cover (head of the groundhog) is run off on tan construction paper. Students add highlights and shading with crayons. The base or back cover of the booklet is printed on card stock.
The pages are trimmed and just the top "glue tab" is glued to the base of the booklet. When all of the pages have been collated, the cover is glued down on top of the base, so that the "mouth" portion of the groundhog "flips up" to reveal the informational pages underneath. Again you have the option to choose which pages you want your students to include.
There are just 8 pages to do independently, (if you choose all of the categories) which can also be divided into a 4-page partner assignment, or a 2-page small group activity; allowing you to do the project in a short amount of time.
The groundhog booklet can be done in class during your writing/reading block, or be finished as homework then returned. Be sure and check out the non-fiction groundhog books your school library may have or do a bit of research with your students, during your computer lab time.
The packet is also appropriate for younger students, as I’ve included a “fun fact” worksheet for little ones to color, then write down a favorite fact that they learned from you reading the informational teacher’s edition. As always, I've included completed samples for you to share with your kiddos to help explain things.
Completed projects make a cute February bulletin board. The booklets can also be displayed.
I’ve included 12 real photographs of groundhogs too. (Two-on-a-page for easy printing). Use them to introduce your lesson, then scatter them around your students’ work.
There’s a “Learning About Groundhogs” poster for the center of your display as well.
The other "flip for facts" booklet features information specifically about Groundhog DAY, so if you’re looking for a little something to share with your students, I think you’ll enjoy this craftivity.
It can be a simple card for little ones to make. There are 3 “Happy Groundhog Day!” greeting options, which are revealed when you flip the legs of the groundhog cover up.
You can also make a “Flip the Flap For Facts” booklet, with interesting information about Groundhog DAY.
Make your teacher booklet and read it to little ones so they learn a bit about Groundhog Day, then have them transition to making the card.
There are also 2 black and white versions so students can make their own booklet. So that you can differentiate your lessons, I’ve included an emergent reader option, packed with lots of Dolch sight words, as well as a preschool “trace the word & color the pictures” version.
Besides the 3 booklets and card, I’ve also included a “Fun Fact” worksheet.
Use this after you read your booklet to check comprehension. Children color the groundhog then jot down an interesting fact that they learned, or their favorite one.
Completed projects make a cute February bulletin board. I’ve included a “Groundhog Day Fun!” poster for the center of your display.
There are also 2 graphing extensions to go along with the optional "question" pages.
Because Canada also celebrates Groundhog Day on February 2nd, I included 2 pages with the alternate “colour” spelling, as well as a Venn diagram activity comparing our Phil with their Will, plus a photograph poster featuring both groundhogs. (Willie is an albino groundhog, so grab that teachable moment to teach a new vocabulary word.)
There are several map worksheets of both countries as well. If you studied Canada during your “Christmas Around the World” travels, this is a fun way to revisit those lessons.
So....you've covered non-fiction reading, a bit of science, some writing a dash of math, plus a smidge of geography all with one craftivity, which you can feature on an easy-peasy bulletin board!
Woo hoo for you!
Today's featured FREEBIE also has a groundhog theme and is titled: Groundhog Slappin' Games. (I was inspired by the "Whack-a-Mole" arcade game, because the critter that pops up reminded me of a groundhog poking his head out of his burrow.) The packet is a whopping 60 pages long!
Your students will really enjoy playing these games, as they slap a variety of groundhog cards, with a flyswatter, to show that they know specific standards. This is a super-fun, quick and easy way to whole-group assess as well.
Students practice recognizing skip counted numbers, shapes, colors, groundhog-related words, (there are 54!) + upper and lowercase letters.
Well that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by. If you can believe it, it has started to snow here in Michigan.
Although it's quite lovely, and covers up the ugly dirt and dead things, I am quite tired of winter and ready for the warmth of sunshine-filled days.
If a groundhog can truly predict an early spring, here's hoping he does NOT see his shadow. Wishing you a lovely day.
"No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn." -Unknown
1-2-3 Come Do Some Letter Gg Activities With Me
I find that if my kiddos can compare the hard & soft Gg sounds side-by-side, with a variety of different activities, their reading and spelling of those words is much more successful.
A few little rules, lots of examples and fun ways to practice, will help reinforce the different Gg sounds.
So I created this packet. I started out with just the gorilla & giraffe flip booklets, but as I was designing, I also wanted to include other quick, easy, and fun activities, where students could practice in other ways.
The variety keeps things fresh, while allowing for continued practice without reinforcement becoming boring.
Thus, the packet grew into jumbo size, as I combined both the hard and soft Gg activities into a BUNDLED packet.
They mirror each other, as the activities for the hard g have a matching soft g counterpart, which makes comparison super easy as well as fun.
Simply put, I know this “stuff” works because it’s worked for me.
My students are focused and engaged, enjoying learning some tricky things. I can use these centers year after year, which is a huge time saver. Win-Win.
The packet includes:
* A super-fun gorilla & giraffe flip booklet. So that teachers can quickly & easily make an example to share, I've included full color templates, as well as black and white so that students can make their own.
The "mouth" of the gorilla and giraffe flips up to reveal pages of a soft or hard Gg graphic, along with a "trace & write" word.
There are a variety of page options, featuring words beginning with that sound, as well as the sound within the word.
Choose your favorites or run them all off and give children a choice.
* The packet also includes 60 picture word cards with a tip list of games you can play, plus other ways to use them, as well as a nice selection of
* Posters, which you can use as anchor charts and a way to introduce the lesson.
* There are also a variety of "Word Work Worksheets", which includes alphabetizing as well as word searches. As with all of my packets, answer keys are included. Here are some more things that are included...
* 36 Ekonin Box cards with matching letters, makes for a quick, easy & fun independent center.
* “Mixing Math With Literacy number PUZZLES.
* "Going to the Zoo” alliterative, “hard & soft Gg” story craftivity, packed with Dolch sight words.
The reading passage is sprinkled with hard & soft Gg alliteration, which is sure to tickle your students' tongues.
My kiddos LOVE reading this aloud, and enjoyed making their own "open the door" worksheet.
* Giraffe & Gorilla word booklets for hard & soft Gg words. My kiddos keep these in their writing notebooks. (Colorful teacher's version, plus black & white patterns for students).
* “Feed the Gorilla & Giraffe” craft, with 194 (hard & soft Gg) word cards. (Snack crackers).The mini cards feature a banana (which gorillas love), as well as some acacia leaves, which giraffes are fond of.
I put the "head" on a Boutique Kleenex box, so that the "mouth" of the gorilla and giraffe goes over the oval opening in the box. I cut the mouths using an Exacto knife.
My students actually ask to play this game they enjoy it so much! Woo hoo.
Choose which words you want to reinforce, print the pages, laminate and trim. Pass them out to your students. We gather in a circle and sit on the floor. I hold both boxes.
Students show their word card and everyone reads it together. If you want, they can also point out the vowel that helps give the word its sound, or explain that this is a word that's an exception to the rule, or that this word contains both sounds. They "feed" their card to the appropriate animal. Play 'til all of the cards have been "eaten".
I often do this as a quick review before lunch. (Munch a bunch of cards before lunch!)
Besides using the cards for "feeding" the animals, you can also use them for an independent center, where children sort X number of cards onto a gorilla or giraffe sorting mat.
Older students can pick 3-6 cards and use them to make up sentences which they record on their worksheet.
You can use the variety of activities for...
* A whole group
* An independent center
* Partner fun
* Lessons for a sub folder
* A simple & quick time-filler or something for early finishers
* A game
* Something fun for ESL students or children who need extra help.
Today's featured FREEBIE is also a letter activity. The Alpha Cats packet is perfect any time of the year. Fun for a pet theme, and especially teriffic if your students are Pete the Cat fans, as these little kitties are wearing shoes!
Besides the upper & lowercase letter cards, there are also a few worksheets, plus I've included a 3-page tip list of ideas for using the cards, including the Kaboom game.
Well that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by.
My husband's brother flew in from Denver, so it's time to put on my hostess hat. Wishing you a happy day, filled with many memorable moments.
"It's all about quality of life. Finding that happy balance between work, play, family and friends." -Phillip Green
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.
This 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.
Don’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.
I’ve included a student worksheet for this.
Perfect for your non fiction studies.
The 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.
This 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.
* 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.)
* 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.
Today's featured FREEBIE is a set of MLK bookmarks, which make a sweet surprise placed on your students' desks, or tucked in their backpacks.
Well 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
Clement Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas” is said to be one of the most famous American poems ever written.
Because 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.
Children 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.
For 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.
While 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:
* 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.
* 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,
* 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.
Today'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.
Well 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
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Completed projects make an absolutely adorable, hallway wall border.
I’ve included an “All Aboard For Literacy” poster for your display as well.
Gluing a child’s school photo peeking out the engine’s window, makes them the conductor, and adds to the “awww” keepsake factor.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I chose the Christmasy colors of red & green, but you could print on a variety of colors and give children a choice.
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.
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.
Today's featured FREEBIE is a TICKET to ride "The Polar Express" in your classroom.
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.
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.
A 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.
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