Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Math Freebies

We have been having fun in math the past few weeks with a few Christmas-themed games, so I wanted to share.  You all probably know about "Shake and spill."  (Put two-colored counters or beans in a cup, shake and spill them out, counting to see how many reds and how many yellows you have.  Then, write a number sentence to go with your results.)  Well, the math interventionist at my school brought me these foam trees to add some holiday fun to this station. 

The kids are loving this center right now, and I'm seeing how they are beginning to internalize number combinations.  I made a recording sheet for numbers 3-6.  You can grab it here.  If you don't have any double-sided counters, you could give students two different colors and have them make their own combinations. 

The other Christmas game also involves addition.  I give the students a recording sheet and two dice to add together.  They can play by themselves or race against a partner to see who fills their board first.  We usually use pom-pom balls to cover the numbers, but they really love it when we use M&M's or marshmallows.
I hope your kids enjoy the games!  (All graphics are from My Cute Graphics.)

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Wow, December has been a whirlwind.  3 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas is just not enough.  Here is a little of what we've up to, learning about 6 different holidays from different cultures around the world.

We started with Hanukkah.  we made these popsicle stick star ornaments, and read lots of Hanukkah books, including our emergent reader
Then we moved on to Kwanzaa.  Kwanzaa and Hanukkah are always good to compare, I think, because the kids confuse the kinara and menorah.  We made flags for Kwanzaa...super simple and the kids love them!
This past week, we learned about Diwali (a Hindu holiday) and Eid (a Muslim holiday).  These aren't necessarily celebrated in December, but they are important holidays, so I felt this was the right time to include them.  Also, I have a Muslim student in my class this year, so this was his chance to share about his family traditions.

Diwali is the festival of lights, so we made lanterns.  (easy-peasy directions)

We also did some gingerbread activities last week, including these gingerbread glyphs!   The kids loved making these.  Here's the guide I made:
Bow: In hair-girl, bow-tie- boy
Eyes: have pets - blue, no pets - green
Buttons: brothers - green, sisters - yellow, neither orange, mixed - both
Mittens: orange - likes ice cream, blue - likes cake
Shoes: red - likes apples, green - likes bananas
They are hanging from our ceiling and the kids love to look at each one and figure out who they belong to.
This week, we will learn about Christmas and Las Posadas.  So, I guess now I'm all caught up!  Before I go, I have to brag on one of my old students.  I taught her for K and 1, and now she's in third grade.   This weekend, she completed her first season of Girls on the Run with a 5k.  (It was reindeer-themed; that's why we have red noses and Christmas tutus.) I am so proud of her!
I hope you all have a great week...Winter Break is almost here!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Big Sale and 2 New Holiday Products!
Thank you Krista for the button!

Are you guys as excited as I am for the Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale?  I am hoping to stock up on some holiday stuff and clip art.  And, luckily I was able to find time to finish up two new holiday books for my Holiday Emergent Reader bundle.  (So if you've already bought it, go re-download to get those 2 for free!)

Introducing: I Am Ready for Diwali: An Emergent Reader about the Hindu Festival of Lights.  This is a great holiday to compare to some of the winter holidays we typically celebrate because of it's focus on light and family.
 The book is a Level B, after you've introduced vocabulary.  But there are 3 versions of the book to allow for differentiated word work!  Click any of the pictures to check it out.
The second book is about Eid al-Adha, the most important Muslim holiday.  The time it is celebrated varies...this year it was celebrated in October.  But since it is the main holiday, I wanted to include it in my holiday unit, particularly because I have a Muslim student this year.  It, too, lends itself to comparison with Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.  It is so interesting to see the many parallels between holidays in different cultures.
I hope you like the new books and enjoy the sale!  Have a great week!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Five for Friday...Almost Thanksgiving

I've done a terrible job of taking pictures lately, but I figured I'd post for Five for Friday and Freebie Friday anyways. 

First, here's my freebie.  Just a simple writing template we are using as part of our Thanksgiving placemats.

And, here are some turkeys we made for our windows.  We made them last year and I totally forgot to put wings on them.   This year, I almost forgot again, and then one of my kids asked.  So I hurriedly cut out wings while they put the rest of their turkeys together.  Turned out well though!
We've done lots of other fun turkey activities, but I don't have any pictures.  And, we've been working on some poems and songs for our Thanksgiving program next Tuesday.  My favorite Thanksgiving song is "Give Thanks" by Jack Hartmann.  I taught the kids sign language for it, and they love it! 

Our school has a Girls on the Run program, and some of my former students are doing it this year.  This is me and my running buddy after our practice 5k yesterday.  She was so proud, and so was I!  Our big race is in less than a month!
And...I've been updating some of my TpT files.  By request, I've updated all my Holidays around the World books, so they're easier to print double-sided.  You can buy them separate or all four in a bundle.  I am planning to add at least two more holidays (Eid and Diwali) to the book bundle, so if you buy now, you will definitely save some money!  Check them out by clicking on the pictures!
Let me know if you have questions, or if you have requests for other holidays you'd like to see included in this series.  Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Currently: November

Time for another Currently with Farley!  

Listening - I started listening to Christmas music November 1.  I love it so much.  My favorite right now is Do You Hear What I Hear? (Carrie Underwood version).  
Loving - I am so, so close to being done with conferences.  I feel like they have taken over my life the past few weeks, and I am ready to be done for a while.  
Thinking - It's been an exhausting week, and I am so happy to have a 3 day weekend to recover.  Plus, my best friend is visiting, which makes my weekend even better!
Wanting - More time, always!  
Needing - To work on a lot of school stuff.  I think I'll probably leave it in my school bag till Monday afternoon though, ha!

And a yummy sister made this S'mores Monkey Bread and it is delicious.  She didn't use Rolos, just regular chocolate chips and they worked great.  I love pretty much anything s'mores...just looking at it makes me want to make some!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Five for Friday: Week 11
I'm almost on time for 5 for Friday this week!  We celebrated Veterans Day this week and the kids really loved it. We talked about the flag and did one of my favorite art projects - finger painted flags (idea from Abby). 

 The last school day before Veterans Day, my school always invites veterans from the community to come speak to the kids.  My class was lucky enough to have our old assistant principal come back from retirement to speak to us.  He taught my kids about honoring the flag with the pledge and the national anthem, and he taught them how to march.  Most of them thought the marching was just hilarious, but a few kids took it really seriously and looked like they might have a future in the military!

 I haven't done a very good job of posting about the 7 habits this year... We have been working on Habit 4 - Think Win-Win.  I love this habit because there are tons of opportunities for practice during the kids' social situations.  When they come to me with a problem, I ask "Can you guys find a win-win solution?"  We did this take-home book.  The parents seem to really enjoy the take-home books because it helps them reinforce the habits at home.  (Update 8/22/15: Franklin Covey has asked that all 7 Habits products be removed from TpT, so this product is no longer available.  So sorry!)

And sadly, we had to say good-bye to a student who is moving across the country.  We made a book for him with letters from each of us.  Letter-writing was a little challenging this early in the year, but they were super motivated because they love this child so much.  We will really miss him! What do you do for students who move away?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Five for Frunday

Well...I've been a terrible blogger lately!  I'm linking up just a few days late for 5 for Friday!

1. I wanted to share this bulletin board my class made, to show what we learned about the pumpkin life cycle.  Sorry you can't really see the labels, but you get the idea :)

2. We also made these pumpkin life cycle projects with paper plates.  I got the life cycle pictures from a team member, so I'm not sure of the original source.

3. We always have veterans come speak the day before Veterans Day.  I made this little differentiated reader (4 different versions) to introduce the concept of veterans and Veterans Day to my students.

4. My friend Sara is celebrating one year of blogging!  Check out her awesome giveaway.  (It ends in 2 days, so hurry on over to her blog!)

5. Does anyone else feel like they're already scrambling trying to get Christmas stuff done?  I can't believe it's already November!  I am in the process of updating my holiday readers.  I just updated my Hanukkah book, so if you've purchased it already, go download the new version.
 Thanks for sticking with me through my unplanned blogging hiatus.  I'm hoping to finish up all my parent-teacher conferences this week, and then maybe I can be a better blogger!  Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

5 for Friday: Pumpkins and Other Random Stuff

So, I haven't been doing a very good job of taking pictures, but I figured I'd link up for 5 for Friday with the few pictures I have!  

1. We began to learn about pumpkins this week.  We still have a lot of pumpkin activities to do, so we will study them for at least another week.  We practiced the word "the" with this shared writing.  It also helped us work on describing words.  Next week, I'm going to turn this poster into a center where they have to write in the words "the" and "is."

 2. I found these little foam pumpkins in the dollar section at Target.  They were a huge hit.  We used this hastily drawn tens frame to practice addition, subtraction, and changing numbers.  One day, we rolled the dice and added sparkly pumpkins and non-sparkly pumpkins.  Another day, we rolled the dice then talked about how many more pumpkins we had to add to get to 10.  And we also rolled our big dice (4-9) and then rolled a small dice (0-4) to do subtraction problems.  I was surprised how popular this activity was!

3.  A few of my former students asked me for a picture of myself.  I gave them the free school pictures we got.  Then, one of my third graders made this for me.  Haha - so embarrassing, but I love the sentiment!

4. Next week, we are practicing the word "is" so I made this emergent reader.  It has four different versions for differentiation.  The different versions are either missing the letter g, the word is, or the feeling word, so they can practice writing/spelling.  There is also a version that is just normal.  Click on either picture to check it out!

5. Freebie!  We've been talking a lot about the first 3 habits.  I feel like my students understand Habit 1 and 3 okay, but still didn't seem to get Habit 2.  I made this little recording sheet for them to practice Habit 2 at blocks.   They had to make a plan, draw and write what they wanted to make, before they could build.  Click the picture to grab it.
I hope you all have a great weekend!  Hopefully I'll be back with more pictures soon!

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