Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Holidays are Here! FREEBIE

This time of year, I really start thinking about all the blessings I've had through the past year. I've had a fun year, with lots of great things happening in my classroom and blog. I'm really so blessed to get to be a part of the blogging community. Not only are you all THE.BEST. people around...I'm continually inspired by all the amazing things I read and see you all doing in your classrooms. It's made me a better teacher. Honest.

I know we're all gearing up for the super busy holiday season. I hope you'll enjoy this little treat, and that it'll make this busy season just a little easier. Just click the graphic to download!

Psst! Speaking of holidays.....have you heard about these super Black Friday deals?! After you download the freebie, you'll want to check them out!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Hi Everyone!  Are you looking to add some fun into your math lessons?  I love to have my students do hands on activities to master their math facts.  Making math fun helps my students to become Math Smarties. Want to make math more exciting for your young learners?  Keep Reading!

First up is my Part Part Whole Pack.  For this pack students learn how two part numbers make a whole number.  These puzzles really build their math thinking as they build the puzzles.
You can download my Part Part Whole Puzzle Sampler Pack here.  Love it?  You can purchase the whole pack by clicking here.

Next up is my Tens and Ones Puzzles....for these puzzles students match two part puzzles - one part with tens and ones and the other part with the number.  These puzzles are sure to make this math standard fun!
Click here to view the pack in my store.

One Greater Than Less Than, Equal To Puzzles.  Students match puzzles with tens and ones pictures with the right sign.
Click here to view this pack.
Check out my TPT "store" for more products, too! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Comprehension with Kinders & a FREEBIE!

Hi everyone!  It's Debbie from K is for Kinderrific!

Comprehension is a tricky thing to teach in any grade.  In Kindergarten, it is even more difficult.  Our students are just beginning to recognize letters, sounds, and words.  How in the world can we teach them about comprehension at the same time?


Kids need to hear stories being read to them every day.  More than once a day, if you can find the time!!  During reading, ask students questions about the pictures, the characters, and the ideas presented.  Have them predict what might happen on the next page or have them discuss what they would do in certain situations.  After reading, ask students about the main idea of the story.  Ask them about the problems that occurred and how they were solved.  Higher level questions such as how and why will only help increase students' comprehension of the story.  

Can Comprehension Be Fun??

Of course!!

I've created a forever FREEBIE that I think might help your students practice their reading comprehension skills.  It might also be fun for them….and anytime you can combine fun and learning, it's a win-win, right??  

This is a set of 26 comprehension puzzles.  There is one for puzzle card for each letter of the alphabet.  Simply print, laminate and cut apart.  Students will read each card and find the picture that matches the sentence.  Students will be practicing basic reading skills….and their reading comprehension skills!!

Head over to my store to grab these comprehension puzzles absolutely FREE!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Last Minute Ideas for Thanksgiving Week

Are you scrambling for ideas to do this week when you and your class are just really ready for a break? I have a few simple activities that won't take much planning to throw in centers or do during a Thanksgiving celebration. 

Grab these 3 FREE writing prompts to have your students. The "How to Cook a Turkey" prompt always turns out so cute no matter what grade level you teach. 
 I have some very detailed and gruesome writers! :)
Grab some construction paper, crayons, and sentence strips and you can make Native American headbands! I made this educational by having them make a pattern design on their headband. We also talked about Native American symbols and why they used them. History and math in one!
You can also grab this FREEBIE from my friend over at Mrs. Thompson's Treasures. My kids love doing her mystery pictures. 
I hope these simple and free ideas can help you get through this short week. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Christmas is coming and Santa's Elves are getting busy!

     The classroom is such a busy place when trying to get everything ready for Christmas. Many students are both excited and anxious about this season. Taking time to have activities that build classroom community helps to bring everyone together. Here are some of our favorite activities.

     Create a Classroom Christmas Bulletin Board where all your students “Lend a Hand!” 
Make a Tree: Have every student trace their hand on a 12” X 18” piece of green construction paper as many times as they can fit.  Be sure to model how to get the most hands out of their paper without a lot of waste! All hands are cut out and stapled to the board by layering them into a triangle-like shaped Christmas tree. Start at the top and make it as big as you can. The early finishers can make more hands!!!!

     Make some Presents: Once the tree is constructed, pass out white squares of paper (presents) and have them draw a picture of an item they want to GIVE to someone else. Add the “To-From” tag and staple these under the tree.
     Decorate the Tree: As time allows (or another day) have the students make ornaments to add to the class tree. These can be just their own drawings brightly colored.
     Enjoy this "creation" as a class and remark on how everybody working together can make something wonderful!

     Elves! Elves! Elves!- Who just doesn’t love those helpful little folks? Here’s a song/poem to use on your pocket chart called Did You Ever See an Elf?   It is sung to tune “Did You Ever See a Lassie?”  The words, a Little Reader, and the pocket chart cards are available for a FREE download {HERE}! When singing the song you must go back to the first line each time and then add in the next "new" lyric for the song to work! Check out the Little Reader to get the idea. 

      Quiet time is always needed during the daily activities during this busy season.  Here are some favorite books to read aloud! Jan Brett books are always very special literary treats this time of year!

     Excitement and emotions run high and one needs to pull them off the classroom ceiling at times! Use this engaging classroom community builder to practice being helpers to each other.  Follow this up with how to be helpers at home. This FREEBIE will provide your students with activities to discuss and practice being “Helpful Elves”.  It comes with a song (Tune: Are You Sleeping?) and a craftivity where the students turn themselves into little elves.  There is also a little writing booklet where they can write ideas of how they can be helpful elves at home and in school.  This would make a quick little gift to give to family members and remind everyone to be helpful around the holidays!  Click {HERE} to link to this FREEBIE at our TPT store.
Sometimes the "little elves" need to get the wiggles out so try this fun adaptation to the familiar Hokey Pokey!  Have fun with this little dance!
Here's another song we found a while ago...Nine Little Elves.  It is sung to the tune Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.   We also have children make a class book by illustrating the lyrics.  You can download the Dance chart (above) and the song chart (below) at our website by clicking {HERE}

We hope you have fun with an elf-theme in your classroom this coming Christmas season! Many children experience the whole "Elf on a Shelf" at home.  You can also bring that idea into your classroom. Either purchase the original "Elf on a Shelf" or buy a handcrafted one at a craft fair.  Be sure to give him/her a name! Your elf can leave little treats, special coloring pages, art projects, and notes to the students every afternoon to be discovered when the class enters in the next morning!  Do this only the last few days before the vacation break unless you are FULL of ideas!  Remember to move the elf to a different classroom shelf or the top of a file cabinet, etc. There are loads of creative ideas on the Internet so have a good time with your "elf" friend!  

Friday, November 21, 2014

Homework Choices

Hi there folks - it's Lisa from Second Grade Stories.  Time to talk about homework.
Blah!!!  Homework??!!  Honestly, I don't know a single primary grade teacher who really enjoys any part of homework for little ones.  How much should you give?  How directed should it be?  Any consequences for not returning it on time?  Who brought it back and who didn't?  Sometimes it just gets overwhelming.
My grade level took time at the beginning of this year to completely revamp our homework practice.  We talked about how to balance the importance of practice and review of skills with being able to work independently.  We talked about how to make homework easier for families.  We talked about how to make it a little more FUN for everyone.  And we decided to try homework choice menus.
Here's what the homework menu looked like for my kiddos this week:
Let me take you through it one part at a time.  The main idea is for students to choose at least one activity from each row of shapes.  That works out to one activity of about 15-20 minutes each night, plus nightly reading. 
We decided we wanted students to be reading every night, so they can either choose a different activity each night, or do the same one more than once.  The first circle always stays the same.  Our kiddos LOVE the book tower project.
This is what we do instead of a reading log.  We send home one tower a semester and when a completed one is returned, we hang it up in the hall, the student gets a certificate and gets recognized at our grade 2 monthly morning meeting.  It's a big deal :-)
The other circles are always an idea of a way to read (to an adult, under the covers, under a table...), an online book idea and a reading sheet that we send home.  Here are the two online ones we've shared so far:
Same idea.  An online game or app, an actual math sheet, a card game (one that we have already played in class A LOT!) and another idea.  The games and apps usually come from
One way to practice writing words (rainbow words, draw with chalk...), one movement way to spell words aloud, an online activity or app and the choice of spelling notebook ideas.  (We started using spelling ideas from Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade and we LOVE this product!  My kiddos have notebooks in school for different subjects and they like the idea of having one at home, too!)
So how has it worked so far?  Let's just say I have had more POSITIVE emails, notes and comments from parents this year than I have had negative notes in past years combined.  Parents really like the choice part - it gives students a chance to be invested in the homework.  The variety of choices has also proven to be important - some parents (and kids!) prefer sitting down and DOING a homework sheet, rather than having to think up an idea of how to practice something.  Most of my students do more than the minimum each week, as well!  We take time during one closing circle meeting each week to share what everyone has done from the menu so far - this often encourages others to try that activity, too.
Changing the menu every week is easy for me, too.  I'll usually leave the online choices there for a couple weeks before I change them out.  And if I hear one choice my kids really loved (like reading under the table!), that one will stay a few times, too.  Since the general idea of each activity stays the same, I only need to change the specifics.
After Thanksgiving, I'm going to start adding an optional "project" kind of activity each month, as well.  This will give students who want to do something extra an opportunity to extend their homework and add a creative aspect to the menu.
Although the choice menu idea is certainly not new, by tweaking it to work with my grade level and the unique needs of my class, I've found a way to make homework not only relevant, but also more enjoyable! I'd love to hear about other ways you've found to make homework successful with your class.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Gobbling Up a Freebie!

Gobble! Gobble! Gobble! Here in Canada we have already celebrated Thanksgiving but because of blogging I feel like I get to celebrate it twice a year.

Here is a Thanksgiving freebie for you. Included are a multiplication practice page, a crossword puzzle, and  funny Thanksgiving writing paper.
All of these are just a few pages from my Thanksgiving Worksheets and Activities for Intermediate Grades Bundle. 


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Turkey Carle-ages!

That's right!  Turkey Carle-ages (or turkey collages - Eric Carle style)!

I came across this fabulous website - - and was inspired by the wonderful art projects I saw there using painted paper.  This technique reminds me of the art of Eric Carle!

So I created a project for my Kindergarten class - using painted paper to make a turkey!  The entire project will take a few days.

Painted Paper - Day 1

You will need to start by making the painted paper.  You can find great directions {HERE}.

I copied the turkey body and feathers on the back of white construction paper.  If you are unable to copy onto construction paper, you can use the blacklines to make cardboard templates for tracing.

Then I had students paint on the plain white side of the paper, and use sporks and straws to drag a design.  We used brown, red, orange, yellow, and black paint.  Painted paper is for the whole class to share, so no need to write names on anything!

Let paper dry overnight.

Assemble the Turkey - Day 2

First, be sure to admire the beautiful paper!!!

Next, I turned the paper over so I could see the blackline patterns, and I cut apart the bodies and feathers.  I just gave them a rough cut between the lines, and the students cut them on the lines.

Students then choose 5 feathers and 1 body.  Because we are sharing paper with everyone, each project has a variety of different colors and textures.

After cutting out the pieces, they are glued onto a large piece of construction paper (18" by 12").

Next students use a black crayon to make eyes and feet.  They also cut a beak out of orange construction paper and a wattle out of red construction paper, and glue them down.

Think and Write - Day 3

We started off the last day of our project by brainstorming all of the things that we are thankful for.

I made a circle map of the responses.

Then the kiddos completed the paper by writing what they are thankful for.  Last they glued them onto the construction paper below their turkeys.

You can pick up the FREE directions and templates by clicking below!

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!