Math Workshop

Themes & Holidays

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Memorial Day and The American Flag

Memorial Day is sneaking up on us here, despite how inconsistent our warm weather has been! I'd thought I'd hop on here and share some of the ways we celebrate our country and remember those who have served!

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Wearing red, white and blue might be one of my favorite ways to show honor and pride! I love how passionate my students are on our school themed days. Students come to school decked out in red, white and blue the Friday before Memorial day. For morning work, students come in and make a patriotic headband- which is perfect if any students forgot their red, white and blue! 

I snagged this cutie from Maria over at KinderCraze. You can click here to get a free template! 

After reading the easy-reader I created below about Memorial Day, I'll give the students a choice of a shared writing activity. The writing prompts are ...

"Tell me about your family's Memorial Day traditions..."
"How do you show honor and pride for our country?"
"Who is your hero and why?"

Students can add color to the illustrations after choral reading it together. You can get a copy of the writing paper, word search and easy reader for free here from my shop on TPT. 

One of the *best* books and my all time favorite when talking about the job of those who serve/d in the armed forces is "Brave, Like Me" by Barbara Kerley. It sparks engaging discussions and captures their attention. The real images of children and their families demonstrate their raw emotions. Bravery is the best theme to focus on when thinking and talking about those who lost our lives protecting our country. This book does it beautifully!!! 

You can find a copy of it here

In the spirt of all things red, white and blue, I also wanted to share a few ideas for you when exploring and learning about the American flag. Many of you might not be in school for Flag Day (many of my New Jersey friends are sure to be ha! ) however, you might take Memorial Day as an opportunity to do some American flag math!

After exploring the numbers and patterns and their link to history that make our flag, we spend time using rulers to draw the flag. After, we'll watercolor paint them and use tracing markers to outline each detail. 

May all those who passed protecting our country rest in peace and a big thank you to those who have fought or are currently fighting to keep our country safe! 

Mo Willems Author Study

This month marks the start of our Books in a Series unit. In reader's workshop students select a series of their choice to explore in book clubs, while also creating and writing adventures about a realistic fiction character of their own in writer's workshop. What better author to use for mentor texts than the one and only, Mo Willems?! His work is dreamy (insert heart eye emoji here)!

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I consistently choose his work each year to guide my students to explore all the potential there is with author's craft of such few words and pictures. In reader's workshop I use the Elephant and Piggie series during my mini-lessons and look to the Pigeon series in shared reading. 

As a culminating project, we make these sweet Pigeon headbands that make you go googley eyed at the first sight of them! I had seen them on students while watching Mo Willems speak at an elementary school at the end of one of the Knuffle Bunny DVDs. I am having a hard time locating where you can find the DVD. I took it out at my local library. You can find Knuffle Bunny, Knuffle Bunny Too, and Knuffle Bunny Free on Amazon by clicking the book titles. 

With this particular craft, I chose to precut the pieces for the students. I got very lucky that the blue paper and blue sentence strips that I had laying around happened to be the very same shade. Unfortunately I do not happen to know the brand of either. However, I have selected two online that I believe to be the closest match. The bright blue in the Astrobrights "bright" assortment pack gives you a great option! 

Students glued all the pieces for the Pigeon face.

Once they were finished gluing, they came to me to assemble the "neck and body." I chose to staple these pieces in effort to save time. One staple to attach two white strips to the head. Then I separated the strips and attached one to each side of the "body."

One tip- the longer the white strip, the more likely the pigeon head will lean to one side. I chose to keep them short to prevent this from happening! 

The body was a blue sentence strip. I did my best to match up the sentence strip color and found this multicolor neon pack from Carson Dellosa on Amazon. I measured each students head before attaching the Pigeon head.

I have also seen teachers incorporating curriculum needs by adding writing to the sentence strip. Student can practice adding dialogue tags to what Pigeon says in his speech bubbles. This is the perfect way to incorporate dialogue punctuation as well. Then students can write the whole sentence including the dialogue tag on their sentence strip. 

Click each Pigeon book title to grab yourself a copy!