Math Workshop

Themes & Holidays

My Classroom

Turkey Talk!

Turkeys have made their way into room A-14 and I am excited to stretch them for all they're worth! ;) Thanksgiving holds a special place in my heart because it is the holiday that is celebrated at my house every year. My mom and dad would wake up early to get the cooking started (and still do :)). My sister and I would wake up to the sweet smell of turkey and race down to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. 

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.

Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes and The Thankful Book by Todd Parr are perfect for your classic "I am thankful for..." activities. Last year I asked the kiddos to list 3 things they are thankful for before reading the books. Usually they list the first things that come to mind... I pads, Minecraft, Shopkins... am I right?! :) Ha! After reading, I ask them to flip the paper over and list 3 things they are now thankful for. Then we see our friends listing things like my family, my friends, learning, food, shelter... all the NEEDS in life. :)

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....
I got this darling craft in Bright Concepts for Teacher's store. You can find it here. Perfect for our "littles."

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 Turkey Escape, we wrote a shared class book about what happened if the turkey escaped on Thanksgiving. 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 :) .#winning 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 the latest addition to my collection, 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 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 in the fall. 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... :) 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. Here is an action shot... can you find the adult here? Because I sure can't. :)

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!!!

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.

Lastly, we will do a little nonfiction shared writing by reading various nonfiction Thanksgiving books and writing a different fact in the story of the first Thanksgiving on a sentence strip. Then I will type each sentence up on a separate page. The kiddos will then illustrate their page to match their words. I'll bind them up and make ourselves a class book on the *true* (in a first grade friendly fashion) story of the First Thanksgiving. 

I got a number of these books with my Scholastic reading club points. I am SO thankful for all that scholastic does to give back to teachers and fill our bookshelves, libraries and of course, our hearts! xoxo Follow my Instagram page Firstgrade_made for posts on anchor charts, complete craft displays and more through this wonderful turkey time! 

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