Math Workshop

Themes & Holidays

My Classroom

Powered by Blogger.

Elf in the Classroom

There's nothing better than building classroom traditions this time of year! One of my favorites is this sneaky little guy that comes each year after reading The Elf on the Shelf.  A special delivery is sent to our classroom straight from the North Pole! The package is always cold because... brrrr... it sure is freezing up there! His special tag and personalized notes can be found over at The First Grade Parade. Cara's post also includes so many fun ways to integrate this holiday fun into the classroom. I hope this post inspires you to embrace the magic of the season!

This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.

Each year a new elf visits and each year the class gets the opportunity to give our new friend a name. Cheryl from Primary Graffiti was the little lady behind this cut bubble map name anchor chart idea. It's perfect to give students the ownership over our classroom elf. Each year I have students that may not celebrate Christmas, but love that they can join in on the fun by sharing something "their elf" did. More importantly, it's fun that each year our elf brings us our class tree and class menorah. Rather than not celebrating any holidays, I am passionate about celebrating them all! More details to come about our holidays around the world in a future post.

Please note that Jingles may have gotten these ideas from many of the amazing teachers on Instagram and Pinterest. Thank you all for your creativity!

Jingles took the lead last year. He sure was a sneaky little guy and my class ate him up! They came running into our classroom each morning eager to find where he would be next. They loved drawing and writing about all his hiding spots for morning work in Cara Carroll's Elf Diaries. You can get a copy of this free in her store!

Here are some of my favorite spots Jingles found himself over the years!

Jingles loved himself so much that he wanted to share some of his Elfie Selfies. He must have gotten this clever idea after we read the book Memoirs of an Elf. There are so many great elf picture books now. Some of my favorites include How to Catch and Elf and The Littlest Elf. Click on the titles to grab yourself a copy.

Jingles sure liked the sticker bin- there were just so many fun shapes and colors! 

Fri-YAY was his favorite day of the week! That way he got to go back to the North Pole for two whole days! :) Our holidays around the world display is from Lyndsey Kuster. You can find it here!

There was that one day when the whole class made it on the nice list except well, for me!

Snowflake was our class elf from a few years back. His favorite hobby was making snow angels.

And he *cereal*sly loved us (and the left over 100th day fruit loops from the previous year ;) ) He sure is a crafty fella!

Lastly, Jingles brought us a special Elf on the Shelf gift land dressed up in his dapper attire. Click the highlighted words to shop these items!

I'm eager to see who will be joining us this year. Follow my Instagram @firstgrade_made to stay up to date on all his sneaking around!

November Read Alouds

Turkeys have finally made an appearance in our classroom and I am excited to stretch them for all they're worth! ;) Thanksgiving holds a special place in my heart. It's the holiday that is celebrated at my house every year. Traditions are everything in my family and it seems that as a teacher, I have a few special traditions in my classroom too- some of the Thanksgiving read alouds are just to name a few!

There are great discussions to be had around the idea of giving and taking the extra time to think about all the we are thankful for. I find picture books are a great way to spark meaningful discussions around these topics... and of course to throw in a little fiction fun into the mix! I am excited to share with you some of my classroom Thanksgiving favorites and how we will be using them in the classroom during our shared reading/writing block.

I have included affiliate links to these books for your shopping convenience.

The Thankful Book by Todd Parr and Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes are perfect for your classic "I am thankful for..." activities. Each year after a few meaningful discussions on the spirit of the holiday, we list what we are most thankful for. This year I found an "I am Thankful" wreath at Target. I plan to use these read alouds as the inspiration for our responses for what we are thankful for.

Our reader's workshop unit in November focuses heavily on story elements, which works perfectly for Thanksgiving shared reading and writing activities. Last year my class absolutely fell in love with The Littlest Pilgrim. We read it for shared reading and worked together to identify and write the title, setting, characters, beginning, middle and end. My friends took the information on the shared anchor chart to put it in their own words in this pilgrim flip book craftivity. Can you even handle the cuteness with those little pilgrim heads?! I know I can't... freckles and all! And we think they aren't listening or noticing the small details...

While I whole heartedly believe in the power of writer's workshop, I often find a few rare instances in the year to do some creative writing! Thinking out of the box and writing something silly can often be a tough skill for our littles. I think this is the perfect way to engage writers and get them comfortable taking a chance with their creativity!

After reading The Great Thanksgiving Escape and Turkey Trouble, we wrote shared class books about what happened if the turkey escaped on Thanksgiving and what our turkey disguised themselves as. We came up with good "hooks." "I opened the oven and...." or "We sat down to eat dinner when....." Students had to fill in the sentence stem and add all their story elements. Which perfectly ties into our reader's curriculum. Run, Turkey Run! would also be a good fit for this lesson and is the perfect opportunity to tie in some procedural writing (I.e. How to catch a Turkey or How to escape a Thanksgiving Dinner)

A Plump and Perky Turkey and A Very Stuffed Turkey are perfect for teaching into adjectives. We will make our very own turkeys and list adjectives to come up with a turkey name. I am anticipating some of my kiddos will need a stretch, in which I will teach into alliteration and rhyme. I also built this anchor chart and ask students to turn and talk about different "adjectives" they heard in the stories. I added their responses to the chart on post it notes.

I have noticed my kiddos could use some help with identifying and remembering to capitalize proper nouns. I have seen "Proper Pete" anchor charts buzzing around Pinterest which is absolutely genius! Kudos to whoever came up with that genius idea! My kiddos absolutely adore Pete the Cat and I will use Pete the Cat's The First Thanksgiving to build a "Proper Pete" anchor chart to list examples of proper nouns.

Our science curriclum focuses on air and weather. We have been making all kinds of air and weather tools to explore it's properties and what we are noticing. One of mine and the kiddo's favorites is balloon rockets! In full disclosure, I have a super competitive side... it often comes out during this activity. The Great Turkey Race inspired me to have some turkey balloon races of our own. Last year, the kiddos worked in their tables to decorate and name their team turkey. Then we took turns racing each table's turkey. We made predictions on whether we thought if there was more air in the balloon, would it travel any faster? This was the perfect day before Thanksgiving break event. It's the perfect hands on STEM integration.

If you're wondering what a turkey balloon rocket is... it's teacher language for you take two strings, each with a straw on them and attach them to chairs. Then you take a balloon, blow it up, tape it to the straw and add any turkey decoration. Have the kiddos hold the air in the balloon until the class counts down and you let go! Its AWESOME!!!

In addition to this STEM integration, we used this text to complete this adorable craftivity from Cara Caroll over at The First Grade Parade. You can find her freebie here! Before the students completed this independently, we completed the anchor chart below as a shared literacy actIvity!

Another great read aloud for a STEM opportunity is Balloons Over Broadway. It's the true story of the puppeteer of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Since we are located so close to New York City, watching or attending this parade is a tradition for many families. It's incredible for our students to think about the math and science behind this yearly event!

I am always looking for new ideas to add to the ever growing collection. This year I am excited to do this darling craftivity I found over at First Grade WOW . Nancy had the amazing idea of reading 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving with her kiddos and doing a little reader's response. "Save the Turkeys! Eat more..." I am hoping to teach into some persuasive writing with this little number. And of course the stuffed turkey character to go along with it seals the deal. The picture below is featured on Nancy's post.

Follow my Instagram page Firstgrade_made for posts on anchor charts, complete craft displays and more through this wonderful turkey time!