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Getting to the Core

1-2-3 Come Do Some Christmas Writing With Me

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Christmas activities, December bulletin board ideas, writing prompts for December, Christmas cards for kids to makeI love diddling around with a “play-on-words” and since my students especially enjoy Pete the Cat stories, I thought it would be fun to make some writing prompts using the word “Purr-fect”.

Whenever I toss a bit of craftiness into a writing prompt, my students can’t wait to get down to business.

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Christmas activities, December bulletin board ideas, writing prompts for December, Christmas cards for kids to makeWith that in mind, I designed 6 cat-themed picturesinside a semi-circle.

As always, patterns come in black & white for students, as well as full-color, so that teachers can quickly & easily make an example to share.

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Christmas activities, December bulletin board ideas, writing prompts for December, Christmas cards for kids to makeFive of the six patterns feature a blue cat, while the 6th is a brown-colored cat. 

Children of course can color their cats however they want.

The semi-circle shape makes it easy-peasy to cut, then glue to the top of their writing prompt once they color it.

A semi-circle may be a new concept for some students, so be sure & grab that teachable moment to explain this interesting 2D shape.

I’ve included 2 sizes of paper, with lined & unlined options.

Both are trimmed with a snowflake border.

pete the cat Xmas writing prompt craftsThere are 3 writing prompts to choose from.

Pick your favorite or give students a choice.

I've also included a blank template, so that students can write about something else. 

"A List of Things for a 'Purr-fect' Christmas" is especially simple and provides practice for the "make a list" writing standard.

I've included my sample in the packet.

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Christmas activities, December bulletin board ideas, writing prompts for December, Christmas cards for kids to makeYounger students can simply make a Christmas card using the “Wishing you a purr-fect Christmas” greeting topper, which they glue to their snowflake-bordered paper.

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Christmas activities, December bulletin board ideas, writing prompts for December, Christmas cards for kids to makeThis paper becomes the center portion of their craftivity where they write their name.

For that finishing touch, they can color, cut & glue a "dangler" to the bottom.

To add even more variety, there are 5 different “danglers for students to choose from.

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Christmas activities, December bulletin board ideas, writing prompts for December, Christmas cards for kids to makeThese are glued to the bottom of their writing prompt paper.

These too, come in black & white, plus color.

I've featured 3 different creative font options as well.

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Christmas activities, December bulletin board ideas, writing prompts for December, Christmas cards for kids to makeBesides the “humped” toppers, I’ve also included a chimney cat.

He’s peeking out from the rooftop.

The writing prompt papers for this craft are blank, allowing students to write whatever they want.

Students could also pick one of the writing prompts that are part of the other craftivity. 

In my sample, I kept things simple and made it a sweet Christmas card.

For that finishing touch, students can add a single set of bricks (left photo) or a double stack (right photo) to the base of their writing paper.

Because they are so different, you could stretch the lesson and have students do a semi-circle writing prompt craftivity, then for another day, have them make the chimney cat Christmas card.

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Christmas activities, December bulletin board ideas, writing prompts for December, Christmas cards for kids to makeCompleted projects make a sweet December bulletin board or hallway display.

I’ve included a poster to add some extra pizzazz.

This activity pairs really well with my quick, easy & fun, cat-themed Christmas ornament packet. Click the LINK to take a look.

Christmas Around the World ActivitiesToday's featured FREEBIE is also a Christmas card activity.

Since Christmas Around the World is a super-fun way to get some geography into your December lessons, I thought making a "Christmas Around the World" greeting card would be fun. Click the LINK to grab your copy.

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Christmas activities, December bulletin board ideas, writing prompts for December, Christmas cards for kids to makeWell that's it for today.  Thanks for stopping by.

December is flying & I still don't have all my decorating or shopping done! Do you?

My feet have certainly hit the floor running this morning. Wishing you a fun-filled & stress free week.

"Heal the past; live the present; dream the future." -Unknown

1-2-3 Come Make a Christmas Ornament With Me

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Pete the cat ornament, Christmas ornaments, Christmas crafts, keepsake ornaments, December arts & crafts, Center activities for DecemberIf you’re looking for a quick, easy & super-fun little craft for your students to make, I think you’ll enjoy these cool cat ornaments to help wish someone a “Purr-fect” Christmas.

My Young Fives love anything with animals, especially a cool blue cat, so I thought making a Christmas ornament would be entertaining.

You’ll love the versatility of this activity as there are 5 options, which fit a variety of ages, grade levels & abilities.

Pete the cat ornaments, Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Christmas ornaments, Christmas crafts, keepsake ornaments, December arts & crafts, Center activities for DecemberWith 20 cat-themed balls to choose from, there is plenty of variety too.

As always, patterns come in black & white for students, as well as full color, so that teachers can quickly & easily make an example to share.

Making a sample, not only helps you explain what you want your students to do, it acts as a catalyst for excitement.

 If your students are like mine, be prepared for many of them to ask, "Can we please make another one." Woo Hoo!

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Christmas ornaments, Christmas crafts, keepsake ornaments, December arts & crafts, Center activities for DecemberBesides the pictures, I’ve also included two “greeting” ball options, plus a blank version, so that students can draw their own picture, glue on a school photo, or write their own greeting.

The options?

Pete the cat activities, pete the cat christmas ornament, pete the cat crafts, christmas ornaments, christmas centers, christmas crafts1. Keep things super-simple & have students color & cut out a single cat ball, then flip it over and add a greeting to make 1 flat ornament.

I always like to tuck a little something in my students’ back packs as a surprise.

Pete the cat ornament, pete the cat activities, pete the cat crafts, christmas ornaments, christmas crafts, christmas centers“Paper love” is an inexpensive but truly thoughtful gift, and this simple flat ornament is really easy to make a class set of. 

I made 20 in just half an hour. You could also add their school photo & then laminate. 

I always like to tuck a little something in my students’ back packs as a surprise. “Paper love” is a nice gift, and this simple flat ornament is really easy to make a class set of.  I made 20 in half an hour. You could also add their school photo & then laminate.  Pick one of the designs for their ornament from you, then run off the other cat pictures for them to make one of their own. 

Punch a hole in the top, and tie with a yarn loop. Voila! You're done.

2. Another option is to make the ornament a “flip up”.

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Christmas ornaments, Christmas crafts, keepsake ornaments, December arts & crafts, Center activities for DecemberHere you choose a cat ball to color & cut out, then add a dab of glue to the top of a "greeting" ball, then press the cat ball on top. 

You could also include a blank ball as well, or instead of the greeting.

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Christmas ornaments, Christmas crafts, keepsake ornaments, December arts & crafts, Center activities for December3. The third option is an “Ornament Dangler” involves 3 ornaments glued together vertically, with a greeting centered on the back.

Grab that teachable moment for vocabulary building, as some children will not be familiar with the terms vertical & horizontal.

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Christmas ornaments, Christmas crafts, keepsake ornaments, December arts & crafts, Center activities for DecemberCompleted projects look amazing swirling & twirling from the ceiling.

Plus the dangler, still neatly folds up for safe travels home in a back pack.

4.  My personal favorite option is the  three-part, 3D ornament.

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Pete the cat ornament, Christmas ornaments, Christmas crafts, keepsake ornaments, December arts & crafts, Center activities for DecemberAlthough a 3 dimensional ornament looks a bit tricky, I think you'll find that after you make a sample of your own, you'll see that they are really quite simple to put together.

I twirled the ornament around, so that you can see all 3 cat pictures, which make one-3D ornament.

Whenever I want to do something a bit more complicated with my Y5s, I enlist the help of our 3rd grade reading buddies.

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Pete the cat ornament, Christmas ornaments, Christmas crafts, keepsake ornaments, December arts & crafts, Center activities for DecemberMy littles get the one-on-one help that they need, plus it's a great experience & self-esteem builder for the older students.

If you do this, make sure you have ornaments for the older kiddos to make one right along with their younger partner, for they will be just as excited to make a cool cat ornament of their own.  

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Pete the cat ornament, Christmas ornaments, Christmas crafts, keepsake ornaments, December arts & crafts, Center activities for December5. Finally, a four-part 3D ornament, is assembled just like a three-part one, so it's pretty easy too. 

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Pete the cat ornament, Christmas ornaments, Christmas crafts, keepsake ornaments, December arts & crafts, Center activities for DecemberA 4-part ornament involves just one more step; gluing the 4th ball to the ornament. Here I added a "greeting" ball to 3 cat pictures. 

I had an absolute blast designing this craftivity & making my samples.  I hope you enjoy making some ornaments too.

Today's featured FREEBIE is a sweet "Rip & Tear" snowman craft.

snowman crafts, snowman activities, winter bulletin board ideasRipping and tearing strips of paper is not only fun for your kiddos, it's a terrific way to help strengthen their finger muscles. 

Completed projects turn or amazing and make a "snow" special bulletin board or hallway display.

Pete the cat activities, Pete the cat crafts, Christmas Pete the cat, Pete the cat ornament, Christmas ornaments, Christmas crafts, keepsake ornaments, December arts & crafts, Center activities for DecemberWell that's it for today. Thanks for popping in.

Gotta run and get ready to watch this evening's Christmas parade. Several of our grandchildren will be in it!

Wishing you and yours a “purr-fect” holiday season, brimming with a ton of fun. 

"Try to learn something about everything and everything about something." -Thomas H. Huxley

1-2-3 Come Do Some Simple Behavior Management Activities With Me

No matter what grade I taught I always saw a change in behavior the last week of November, particularly if we had a dusting of snow on the ground.  

Children were even more energized and chatty.  You could feel an excitement in the air.  Attention spans became shorter, while the need to wiggle increased.

Not one to squelch excitement, I wanted to transfer that energy into enthusiasm for wanting to behave appropriately.  

classroom management, behavior modification, teaching tricks & tips, sanity savers, December games, classroom rules, With that in mind, I designed this packet of behavior modification activities, which are quick, easy and fun.

Students are engaged, on task & focused, which creates a calmer and quieter classroom.  Woo Hoo!

This packet includes TEN of my tried & true “sanity savers”, which really help promote great behavior!

Choose just one, or do a variety throughout December & January.

classroom management, behavior modification, teaching tricks & tips, sanity savers, December games, classroom rules, Beautiful Behavior “Color Me” Booklet:
Coloring is a calming activity, easy-peasy for teachers to “print & go” and helps improve hand coordination at the same time strengthening finger muscles.

In this 6-page booklet, children earn the privilege of coloring in a section of the picture because they finished an activity, transitioned quietly, helped clean up etc.

As with all of the activities you decide the behavioral goals.

I've also included CRAFTIVITIES:
classroom management, behavior modification, teaching tricks & tips, sanity savers, December games, classroom rules, “Dash-und” Through the Day…
I enjoy play-on-words and my students love dogs,  so “Dashund” for “Dashing through the snow” seemed a fun combination.

The Weiner or Dachshund dog craftivity is a simple “behavior chart” with all of the “pieces & parts” on a one-page pattern.

classroom management, behavior modification, teaching tricks & tips, sanity savers, December games, classroom rules, Tree-mendous Behavior:
“You’ve Been Decorated!” is a construction paper pine tree, trimmed with hole-punched (good behavior) garland strips.

Children earn a hole punch for whatever goals & behavior you decide upon; such as completing an assignement, gettins 100% on a spelling test, helping clean up etc.

classroom management, behavior modification, teaching tricks & tips, sanity savers, December games, classroom rules, Glittering & Sparkling Behavior”
Students earn the privilege to color a lightbulb on the snowman’s string of lights.

The strand spells out BEHAVIOR.

After the picture is completed, some sparkling glitter is added to celebrate.

If your kiddos are like mine, glitter is a real "hot button", making it a great motivating incentive.

classroom management, behavior modification, teaching tricks & tips, sanity savers, December games, classroom rules, Brrr-illiant Behavior:
A snowman peeks in to check on a flurry of snowflakes; each one symbolizing great behavior.

All 18 snowflakes on the individual  “tiles” are six-sided but different, so take that teachable moment to reinforce that bit of science.


All of these craftivities when completed make sweet bulletin boards, so I’ve included a variety of posters to enhance your displays.

Whole Group Activities:
classroom management, behavior modification, teaching tricks & tips, TEAM together everyone achieves more, sanity savers, December games, classroom rules, A Sweet Treat Is Coming Our Way!
T.E.A.M is an acronym for “Together Everyone Achieves More!”

This behavior management activity has a poster featuring a large mug of hot chocolate.

teamwork cocoaThere's one featuring a 10-frame or, if you want to extend the activity & make it last longer, there's also  a 20-frame bracket.

Students work together as a whole group to earn a “marshmallow” tile, decorated with a snowflake.

You can also add real mini marshmallows with a glue dot.

classroom management, behavior modification, teaching tricks & tips, sanity savers, December games, classroom rules, TREATS:
Is similar to the hot chocolate team effort. 

Here everyone also works together, but the class is earning letters. 

Once they spell TREAT or TREATS everyone earns whatever treat you decided on. 

This could be a sticker, trinket, candy, extra recess, extra free play, a game etc.

classroom management, behavior modification, teaching tricks & tips, sanity savers, December games, classroom rules, 4-Corners Gingerbread Shape Game:
This is one of my students’ all-time favorite games, so it’s often asked for to be the “TREAT” for the above letter game.  It’s also known as the “Quiet Game” so it’s certainly a win-win for me.

classroom management, behavior modification, teaching tricks & tips, sanity savers, December games, classroom rules, Freeze & Melt Game:
A super-fun way to “get the wiggles out!”

Easy-peasy for teachers to implement; takes just a few minutes, and your students will really enjoy this activity so much, that if they are like mine, they'll beg to play the "Snowflake Sun" game.

I Treasure Good Behavior:
Even if you don't have a "treasure box" in your classroom, it is truly worth bringing in a tub or box filled with goodies for the last week of November; then keeping it visible through at least the first week of January.

classroom management, behavior modification, teaching tricks & tips, sanity savers, December games, classroom rules, My students absolutely LOVE getting to pick something out of the treasure box. 

It's truly one of my most successful motivational tools in promoting exceptional behavior.

I fill mine with trinkets from The Dollar store, cool pencils & gel pens, plus stuff I pick up at garage sales.

I also send a note home to parents informing them of this activity and ask for donations from a list of "treasure" suggestions.

Students need to earn 10 tickets which they “cash in” for a trip to the treasure box. (This way I could keep recycling my tickets!)

Children are responsible for taking care of their tickets as well as counting them, which practices math skills as well as valuable life skills.

Wishful Thinking writing prompt, writing prompts for December, December activities, December bulletin board ideasToday's featured FREEBIE is a "Wishful Thinking" writing prompt craftivity.

"If money were no problem and I could have 5 super-fabulous gifts for Christmas, I'd like..."

This craftivity also makes a lovely December bulletin board too.

classroom management, December activities, December gamesWell that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by. 

It's my sincere hope that something in my "teacher's bag of tricks" will be equally successful & enjoyed by your students as well.

"Children must be taught HOW to think, not WHAT to think."  -Margaret Mead

1-2-3 Come Practice the Alphabet With Me

scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, alphabet crafts, alphabet wheels, alphabet games, alphabet centers, alphabet activities, letter assessments, letter crafts, alphabet worksheets, trace & write the alphabetIn a world where even young children have to be assessed, it is no wonder that little ones become apprehensive & a bit worried about doing well.

With that in mind I designed this cute scarecrow that’s holding a big sunflower.

scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, alphabet crafts, alphabet wheels, alphabet games, alphabet centers, alphabet activities, letter assessments, letter crafts, alphabet worksheets, trace & write the alphabetIt’s an alphabet wheel and will help make learning to match lowercase letters with their capital counterparts fun.

I’ve included two wheels.

One has the lowercase letters in alphabetical order, while the other one shows them jumbled up, making it a super-fun way to whole group assess.

After students have colored, cut & assembled their scarecrow, call out the letter A.

Students turn the smaller wheel ’til the lowercase letter a matches up. Afterwards, they hold up their scarecrow.

Teachers can see at a glance who is having difficulty. Play continues with another child calling out the next letter. 

scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, alphabet crafts, alphabet wheels, alphabet games, alphabet centers, alphabet activities, letter assessments, letter crafts, alphabet worksheets, trace & write the alphabetAdd to the fun, by having your kiddos name their scarecrow. Mine is Sebastian.

Since snipping a sunflower can be a bit challenging, I’ve also included an easy-peasy pattern, where students simply cut on the dashed lines.

I use a protractor to poke holes in the center of the circles, then attach with a brass brad.

Besides the scarecrow manipulative, I’ve also included a variety of “color me” worksheets to help practice upper & lowercase letters in quick, easy & fun ways.

scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, alphabet crafts, alphabet wheels, alphabet games, alphabet centers, alphabet activities, letter assessments, letter crafts, alphabet worksheets, trace & write the alphabetThese “print & go” activities are great for early finishers, homework, extra help for strugglers or a sub tub.

I've also included an upper & lowercase assessment mat, plus my recording sheets, which you can use for 4 different evaluations.  They are super-simple to use & save time filing.

Another fun way that I practice and easily whole group assess upper & owercase letters, is with “I Spy” game sheets.

The same worksheet can be used multiple times and my Young Fives absolutely LOVE playing this game. I’ve included four game sheets in the packet.

scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, alphabet crafts, alphabet wheels, alphabet games, alphabet centers, alphabet activities, letter assessments, letter crafts, alphabet worksheets, trace & write the alphabetThere's also a colorful collection of alphabet cards.There's a set for upper, as well as lowercase letters. The shape and size of each set is different, making them perfect for "Memory Match" games.

scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, alphabet crafts, alphabet wheels, alphabet games, alphabet centers, alphabet activities, letter assessments, letter crafts, alphabet worksheets, trace & write the alphabetUse in a variety of games, such as “What’s Missing?” “Flipped” and “Kaboom”. I’ve included a tip list of all sorts of simple ways to use the cards, with directions for the games, which will help make learning especially fun.

scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, alphabet crafts, alphabet wheels, alphabet games, alphabet centers, alphabet activities, letter assessments, letter crafts, alphabet worksheets, trace & write the alphabetThere’s also a mini-certificate of praise, which is an easy way to reward your students’ efforts. Patterns come in color as well as black & white, with 8 certificates on a one-page pattern.

Thanksgiving Place mat, turkey crafts, thanksgiving crafts, thanksgiving actiitiesToday's featured FREEBIE is a Thanksgiving placemat your students or own children can color.

scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, alphabet crafts, alphabet wheels, alphabet games, alphabet centers, alphabet activities, letter assessments, letter crafts, alphabet worksheets, trace & write the alphabetWell that's it for today.  Thanks for popping in.

It's another snow-covered, cold and dreary day. 

A fire in our fireplace adds a warm & cozy atmosphere though, making it a  great day for designing some turkey crafts.  Wishing you a turkey-rific November.

Reflect upon your present blessings---of which every man has many--not on your past misfortunes, of which every man has some. -Charles Dickens

1-2-3 Come Do Another Scarecrow Writing Prompt Craft With Me

I love doing some scarecrow activities in the fall. Displays of my students’ work can go up in September & stay up through November, which is a huge time saver.

scarecrow crafts, craft ideas for fall, fall bulletin boards, scarecrow activities, writing prompts for fallWith that in mind I designed this quick, easy & super-fun “Scarecrows Have / Are…” writing prompt craftivity.

This is what I call a “bite size” bit of writing. The topic is specific enough so that students aren’t overwhelmed, while providing nice practice using descriptive adjectives.

Whenever I toss a bit of craftiness in with our writing, my students get extremely excited and WANT to get down to the business of writing and making their own scarecrow.

scarecrow crafts, craft ideas for fall, fall bulletin boards, scarecrow activities, writing prompts for fallThere are 4 scarecrows to choose from, as well as two writing prompts.

Students can choose the “Scarecrows ARE” writing prompt worksheet, or the "Scarecrows HAVE” one.

For more writing practice, have students do both.

One can be done in class, and the other as homework, or take two days to complete the project.

scarecrow crafts, craft ideas for fall, fall bulletin boards, scarecrow activities, writing prompts for fallIf you do both writing prompts, have students glue one to the back of their scarecrow. 

scarecrow crafts, craft ideas for fall, fall bulletin boards, scarecrow activities, writing prompts for fallPunch a hole in the top, tie on a yarn loop and suspend from the ceiling. 

The assembly is easy-peasy.

Students choose a scarecrow, then color and cut out the top & bottom halves. 

scarecrow crafts, craft ideas for fall, fall bulletin boards, scarecrow activities, writing prompts for fallAfter editing their final draft, they write it on the worksheet, which is the rectangular mid-section of their scarecrow's body.

Cutting around the "hair" and "fingers" of the scarecrows can be a bit tricky, so I've also included patterns with an "easy trim" edging. 

scarecrow crafts, craft ideas for fall, fall bulletin boards, scarecrow activities, writing prompts for fallStudents simply cut on the dashed line. 

For more creativity, the scarecrow head patterns also come with and without a face.

To help get your students creative juices flowing, I’ve also included 28 photographs of “real” scarecrows.

photographs of real scarecrowsThere are 7 photo-posters, with 4 pictures on each page.

You can laminate them, then pass them around to give your students some ideas of what to write. 

You could also cut each photograph out, and have students choose one to describe. 

If you decide to make an autumn bulletin board with your students completed scarecrows, add these photographs for some extra pizzazz & interest.

Venn diagram activitiesFor more writing practice, extend the lesson by doing the Venn diagram activity that’s also included in the packet.

Venn diagrams are an interesting & simple way to practice comparison and contrast writing.

This activity can be done as a whole group, or children can choose a partner with a different scarecrow than theirs, then create a Venn diagram together.

These make a nice addition to your display.

scarecrow activities, scarecrow crafts, Venn diagram activities, fall crafts, fall bulletin boards, fall writing prompt ideasI've also included two, Scarecrow "Are-Have" posters as well.

how to make a pumpkin pie writing prompt craftToday's featured FREEBIE is another fun, fall writing prompt.

This one is "How to Make a Pumpkin Pie"

How to do something, is a writing standard for many schools.

These completed projects also make a "sweet" display.

That's it.  Thanks for stopping by. 

scarecrow activities, scarecrow crafts, fall bulletin board ideas, writing prompts for fallThe wicked wind has snatched the rest of our autumn leaves from the oak and maple tree branches, so there's  quite a thick "blanket" of autumn colors festooning our lawn. 

Guess what's on our "To Do" list for this afternoon? 

Wishing you a wonderful week.

"Children must be taught how to think, not what to think." -Margaret Mead

 

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