Math Workshop

Themes & Holidays

My Classroom

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! 

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