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Getting to the Core

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

 

1-2-3 Come Do Some Scarecrow Crafts With Me

scarecrow acticities, scarecrow crafts, October writing prompts, November writing prompts, fall bulletin board ideas, October bulletin board ideas, November bulletin board ideasI love doing a variety of scarecrow-themed activities in the fall, so I created this cute “Peekin’ Scarecrow” writing prompt craft.

Whenever I toss a bit of creative craftiness in with our writing, my students get all excited to get down to business.

scarecrow acticities, scarecrow crafts, October writing prompts, November writing prompts, fall bulletin board ideas, October bulletin board ideas, November bulletin board ideasSince completed projects turn out pretty amazing, I also have an easy-peasy bulletin board or hallway display as well; which not only builds self-esteem, but gets us a lot of compliments too.

I find that if one provides students with a variety of interesting, fun and thought-provoking writing prompts, you will have hit a motivating “hot button”.

With that in mind, I spent quite a bit of time thinking up 42 engaging prompts, all with a scarecrow in mind.

For simple & quick printing, the writing prompt pattern provides 6 prompts on a one-page template.

TIP: Whenever I need to pre-cut things for my kiddos as a time saver, I stack at least 3 pages then staple around the edges. 

scarecrow acticities, scarecrow crafts, October writing prompts, November writing prompts, fall bulletin board ideas, October bulletin board ideas, November bulletin board ideasThe staples keep the papers in place and with just a few snips across, I've cut out all 7 pages at one time.

After cutting, toss the "prompt cards" into a basket.

scarecrow acticities, scarecrow crafts, October writing prompts, November writing prompts, fall bulletin board ideas, October bulletin board ideas, November bulletin board ideasStudents pick 3, choose their favorite, then toss the other 2 back in the basket.

This prompt is then glued to their completed project.

scarecrow acticities, scarecrow crafts, October writing prompts, November writing prompts, fall bulletin board ideas, October bulletin board ideas, November bulletin board ideasFor extra pizzazz, have students add some color to the "quilt patch" border at the top.

There are 5 different, writing prompt worksheets for students to compose their final draft on.

scarecrow acticities, scarecrow crafts, October writing prompts, November writing prompts, fall bulletin board ideas, October bulletin board ideas, November bulletin board ideasThese can be glued horizontally or vertically to their “Peekiin’ Scarecrow”. 

scarecrow acticities, scarecrow crafts, October writing prompts, November writing prompts, fall bulletin board ideas, October bulletin board ideas, November bulletin board ideasTake this teachable moment to build vocabulary by defining, then showing children a horizontal as well as a vertical sample. 

So that I have a pretty even amount, and a nice variety for my display. I assign half my students to glue their writing horizontally and the other half vertically.

For any of our writing assigments, I have students make a first & final draft.

To help them, I've included a writing rubric, which students can use as a checklist, before they complete their final draft. 

scarecrow acticities, scarecrow crafts, October writing prompts, November writing prompts, fall bulletin board ideas, October bulletin board ideas, November bulletin board ideasFor some extra 3D pop, you can add a pair of wiggle eyes attached with glue dots.

Look closely & you will see that I've added some deeper shading with crayons, as well as some "stitch marks" to the nose, heart cheek & along the edges of the face & hat. 

Another way to add some extra pizzazz, is by putting a few sheets of yellow construction paper into a shredder.

scarecrow acticities, scarecrow crafts, October writing prompts, November writing prompts, fall bulletin board ideas, October bulletin board ideas, November bulletin board ideasFeed in one at a time (2 sheets did enough for my class of 20).

My kiddos absolutely LOVED adding "hay hair", which is a great fine motor skill that will  help strengthen finger muscles, and increase dexterity.

scarecrow acticities, scarecrow crafts, October writing prompts, November writing prompts, fall bulletin board ideas, October bulletin board ideas, November bulletin board ideasI've also included a hatband and a sunflower as "add on" patterns for the scarecrow's hat.

Fold the petals up for some added dimension.

As you can see by my samples, completed projects turn out so cute!

scarecrow acticities, scarecrow crafts, October writing prompts, November writing prompts, fall bulletin board ideas, October bulletin board ideas, November bulletin board ideasYour bulletin board or hallway display is sure to get a ton of compliments, while building self-esteem.

I've also included 2 posters to enhance your display.

 So that teachers can quickly & easily make an example to share, I've also made templates for 3, of my completed writing prompts.

Sharing an example, not only helps easily explain what you want your students to do, but also gets them excited to make one of their own.

As with all of my packets, there are clear directions, with helpful tips & photographs.

free scarecrow alphabet cardsToday's featured FREEBIE is a set of upper and lowercase, scarecrow-themed alphabet cards.

Use them for a variety of games.

scarecrow activities, scarecrow craftsWell that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by. 

It's started snowing quite heavily this moring here in Michigan.

Since it's only the frist week of November, I am so not ready for the craziness that winter weather creates. 

That said, it is quite lovely, and the quiet of the woods, frosted in sparkling white is quite peaceful.

"In teaching others, we teach ourselves." -Proverb

1-2-3 Do Some Skelton Crafts With Me

 halloween activities, Halloween games, Halloween crafts, skeleton crafts, X-ray handprint craft, halloween cardsIf you’re looking for a quick, easy & fun little craft for the week of Halloween or party day, I think your students will really enjoy making this “Some-bony Loves You!” keepsake card.

Using straws to make a skeleton & Q-tips to make an X-ray of a handprint are not my original ideas, there are a zillion versions on the Internet.

However, no one’s made a pattern, or given step-by-step directions of how to make one.

I don’t know about your students, but if I gave my Y5s a pile of straws, and a bottle of glue, then told them to make a skeleton, they wouldn’t know where to start.

So I diddled around and came up with this simple keepsake card.

halloween activities, Halloween games, Halloween crafts, skeleton crafts, X-ray handprint craft, halloween cardsI love thinking up play-on-words, and thought “some-bony” substituted for “somebody” fit the bill. The rest of the greeting wishes the receiver a “High Five Happy Halloween”, which nicely ties in the “X-ray” handprint craft.

halloween activities, Halloween games, Halloween crafts, skeleton crafts, X-ray handprint craft, halloween cardsThe beauty of these crafts is that you don’t have to make both of the activities.

I’ve designed the patterns so that you can do either the skeleton made out of straws OR the X-ray handprint made with Q-tips, OR you can combine both crafts to make a keepsake, Halloween card like we did.

If you decide to make just the X-ray craftivity, you'll use the "Wishing you a High Five, Happy Halloween" label.

The "straw" skeleton can still be glued to a file folder as a card that opens up to say "I do!"

I used a file folder because it provided a great “work mat”, as well as an “instant” card (no folding required) and the card stock sturdiness kept it from warping.

halloween activities, Halloween games, Halloween crafts, skeleton crafts, X-ray handprint craft, halloween cardsPlus when completed, they are freestanding, which is nice for displaying.

halloween activities, Halloween games, Halloween crafts, skeleton crafts, X-ray handprint craft, halloween cardshalloween activities, Halloween games, Halloween crafts, skeleton crafts, X-ray handprint craft, halloween cardsWhenever I can, I “test” out a craftivity with my grandchildren.

It gives me a heads up of possible “oops” as well as a time frame.

We made our cards in about 20 minutes.

They really enjoyed the activity and my daughter absolutely loved her keepsake cards.

q-tip xoray hand craft, skeleton made out of straws craft, halloween crafts, halloween party day activitiesI’ve also included a few “bonus” skeleton-themed activities/games your students can transition to, plus some fun links. 

trick or treat safetyToday's featured FREEBIE is a "Trick or Treat" safety tip list that students can color, then send home to review with their family.

I hope you find it useful.

halloween crafts, halloween party ideas, halloween cards, skeleton craftsWell that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by. I can't believe that Thursday is Halloween!

I still have way too many things left on my "To Do" list!

Wishing you a stress-free day, and may you have an abundance of energy on Halloween!

"There is something haunting in the light of the moon." -Joseph Conrad

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