Friday, December 16, 2016

My Best Snowman Ever! FREEBIE

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This month over at The Elementary Entourage we are sharing tons of winter freebies for you to enjoy! It's our way of saying, "thank you" for following along with us and being such loyal supporters. It's been amazing connecting with all of you!
I am sharing a fine-motor and writing activity with you this season. Your students will be putting together a snowman and writing about "My Best Snowman Ever." I like to have my kids: color, cut, assemble, glue, and write. This is a creative piece that the kids have a lot of control over. We did it yesterday and they turned out amazing!
After the kids make their snowmen, you can have them share out! It's fun to see all of the final creations and allows for some public speaking to go on in the room! 
Once we have completed the assignment and shared out as a class, I hang the snowmen around the room. It really makes our class festive and they look great!

I hope you have enjoyed this FREEBIE and will stop by to check out what else The Elementary Entourage has to offer! Have a great holiday!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Biggest Snowman Ever

Even though it's so cold, I love this time of the year! The stories are adorable and assist in so many ways. This month we are working on sequencing and I am using a cute snowman story to help out with that! What's better than talking about building a snowman in January?

The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll is a story of two little mice friends who are building snowmen. It's the perfect read aloud to introduce sequencing in the winter months!
 After listening to the story, we're going to sequence how to build a snowman. I'm using a three step sequencing activity where the students can either fill in the blanks or you can choose to give them the one with pictures for students who need it.

[Get the activity FREE here]

I find that in writing I need to do a lot of scaffolding, which is why I wanted to give you the activity with pictures. Kids often can get "writer's block" and I've found that picture clues helps to build confidence. You can choose to use either or both! 
After the activity, I am going to give out these brag tags that say, "Snow Much Organization." I'll explain that sequencing is like organizing ideas on paper or in your mind. I think they will love these brag tags! You can grab them here.

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Monday, December 5, 2016

Paper Bag Books in December

 I've started using paper bag books in my classroom and I am already hooked after the first lesson! There are so many bonuses to using these in your classroom!

1. Your students will integrate writing & art.
2. Fine-motor practice will happen.
3. At the end of the lesson your students have their own books to take home!
4. Your classroom family will blossom as kids share out their stories.

And so much more!
I start day one by having the kids set up their books. This includes cutting out the pictures and gluing them into the book. I like to staple the paper bags together because it is so easy to do and makes my life easier when we start the lesson.
Look at these beautiful fine-motor muscles moving! Cutting, gluing, writing, and coloring are all part of that fine-motor activity that your kids need and will benefit from! 

 One of my favorite parts of these books is looking at the illustrations. They are always so unique and special and even the parents love them! During the holiday break I am hoping my kids read these to their families!
Do you have your kids share out? One of our standards is speaking clearly so my kids have to share at least two pages. If they want, they can share the whole book with us.
I've been sharing my colored copies with the students and I've included the black and white printables for you to help save ink and allow the kids to color the pages in! Each page looks different and engages the students in a different way. My class is loving them!
 If you are interested in these books you can save *BIG* by purchasing the bundle or you can buy them individually:

December Paper Bag Bundle *SAVE BIG*
My Pet Reindeer
Dear Santa
Elf Life
How to Decorate a Christmas Tree

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Books Teachers Love: December Edition

I absolutely love this time of the year! The stories are just the best! Today I am sharing one of my favorite stories, Santa's New Suit with you! It's by Laura Rader and is darling!
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In this story, Santa tries to find a new suit for Christmas! It is such a unique and fun story that I read it every single year with my students.
This story is a fun fictional story so I like to review story elements with my students! We learn story elements in the beginning of the year, but it is always good to review skills/concepts that we have discussed. Plus, doing it with a Santa story is just the best!
I also like to have the students sequence the story to see if they can tell the difference between the beginning, middle & end of the story. We practice using some of the key vocabulary from the story.
You can try them here --> Santa's New Suit Story Elements
I just created these fun brag tags to give out after the students complete their work! I mean, if there was ever a silly Santa, it would be the one from this story!!

You can see the Silly Santa Brag Tags here.

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Disguise The Turkey: The Perfect Thanksgiving Project

Today I am sharing a classroom project that I hold dear to my heart. I've done it for the past 8 years and absolutely love it. Not only is it cute & loved by the families, I use it for classroom story writing and the kids just have so much fun! This project, called Disguise The Turkey, has been something that many classrooms have done and loved from year to year.

What Disguise The Turkey is All About:

I begin by introducing the project to my students by reading the story, Turkey Trouble. In this story, the little turkey disguises himself to hide from the farmer. He wants to survive Thanksgiving!

I let my class know that they will be given a regular turkey who they need to save for Thanksgiving! We look at illustrated disguised turkeys and they absolutely love it!
Then, I show them photographs of turkeys from past classes. They are pretty much in awe, as I have been each year! Let's take a look at a few!
Disguise The Turkey comes filled with many different writing resources. There are graphic organizers and other tools the students can use to describe how they helped their turkey survive Thanksgiving! 
I love having the students complete the sequencing activity because this gives me a peek at their processes and exactly how they created their turkeys! I love learning what materials they used and what family members help them! It's adorable!
I've also included other helpful classroom resources, such as these word wall cards. I've found that hanging these word wall cards in our classroom helps to hold the students accountable for their spelling.
After I've checked in with the students to see how they made their turkeys, the students write their own story from their turkey's point of view! They love keeping their turkeys on their desks while doing this.
Over the years we have hung our turkeys in the hall. Coincidentally, our parent-teacher conferences are around the same time! I love hanging the turkeys in the hall for the parents, teachers, and other students to see! Our classroom family always gets a kick out of showing off the turkeys!
This year I've incorporated a behavior management system into my classroom called, Brag Tags. Each student has their own ring where they collect these tags! At the end of the year they will take them home. This system has been great to reward and encourage students on an individual basis.
I do like to occasionally give the same brag tag to every student. This allows them to see that we truly are a class family! I've included these "Your Turkey is Safe" tags for you! If you don't use brag tags in your classroom, you can still give these out by tapping them in their assignment books, putting one on their report card, or even just handing it to them when they get their turkey back!
I hope you loved seeing these disguised turkeys! This is absolutely one of my favorite projects and I hope you try it out!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Books Teachers Love: November Edition

This is probably, hands down, my favorite month of the year! I love all of the stories that come with the month of November. Plus, it's my birthday month! Woo hoo! In other words, we have a lot of fun in November!

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Today I am sharing my favorite project that I have been doing for the past, well I won't even tell you how many years. Over the years it has received a few tweaks and updates and I am happy to tell you about the new and improved, Disguise a Turkey project that goes with the story, Turkey Trouble!

First I read the story, Turkey Trouble which talks about a turkey who is hiding from Thanksgiving! He doesn't want to be caught by the farmer and cooked for supper! 

As an extension to the story, I have created a project where the students disguise their own turkey! They get a regular looking turkey and can take it home to use any unique materials they want!

Over the years I have seen so many amazing disguised turkeys! Here is a sweet one that came in last year [it's a cupcake!].

My project comes with examples for your students to look at to get their minds in the disguising mode! 
Want to try out a couple of pages for free? Try it HERE! Your kids can brainstorm what a disguised turkey would look like and there is also a story elements page included if you choose to read the story, Turkey Trouble! 

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