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Getting to the Core

1-2-3 Come Do A Mitten Activity With Me

Do you read the Ukrainian folktale The Mitten, by Jan Brett? It’s one of my favorite winter stories and perfect for practicing the sequencing and retelling a story standards.

mitten activities, mitten crafts, jan bretts The MittenWith that in mind, I designed this quick, easy and fun, mitten-themed craft

The Mitten story “slider” craftivity helps your students retell the story in the proper order.

I just updated this packet and have included a second slider option as well as some additional worksheets.

Simply choose which graphics you like best, then run the mitten and slider patterns off on white paper.

Using construction paper or card stock adds to the sturdiness.

activities for The Mitten, Jan Brett's The MittenChildren trim their mitten, then color, cut and glue their slider together. 

I pre-cut the mitten slits using an Exacto knife, so that children can easily insert their “storytelling strip”.

Takes me just a few minutes to slit a class set. (Try to say that tongue twister 3 times!)

As children pull on the end of their “slider” the various pictures go through the mitten “window”, so that students can take turns retelling the story to a partner, then take their mitten home to share with their family, once again practicing the lesson.

I introduce the lesson by reading the story, then share my sample with the children. 

We retell the tale together, using the picture prompts on the slider.   Pausing before I show the graphic, I ask children "what comes next?"

We've had a quick & fun review; my students now know what’s expected of them, and are excited to transition to making a “mitten story slider” of their own. 

So that you can quickly and easily make an example to share, I’ve included full-color patterns for teachers, as well as a black & white templates for students.

The coloring, cutting and assembling a storytelling slider provides great fine motor practice, which will help strengthen children's finger muscles. 

The Mitten ActivitiesSliders are an easy & interesting way to assess comprehension.  I’ve also included a “Let’s sequence the story” activity for this, where students color and trim the "picture tiles" then glue them in the correct order on their worksheet.

There’s a larger, full-color option, so you can do this as a fun whole-group activity with little ones.  This can be done during, or after you read the story.

There’s also a “Here’s What Happened…writing prompt worksheet, as another way to check comprehension, plus practice sequential writing; hopefully using a variety of ordinal numbers and other transitions. 

Use the colorful template to do this as a whole group activity with younger kiddos. 

snowman name craftKeeping with a winter theme, today's featured FREEBIE is a sweet snowman "Name Stacker" craft.

I pre-cut the white circles for my kiddos.

snowman name stackers for lockers, snowman name craftLooking at their name tag, which is on their desk, they write a letter on each of the circles to spell their name.

Encourage students to make big letters, which fill up the center of the circle.

Afterwards, they glue on a hat and add some facial features to the "head"; then glue the rest of their "body" circles on, creating a vertical name "stacker" snowman. 

 snowman name stackers, snowman name craftCompleted projects look adorable on lockers.

winter crafts, snowman crafts, mitten craftsWell that's it for today.  Thanks for stopping by. 

My "To Do for January" list is quite daunting. 

I'm afraid there is simply not enough time in the month to get everything designed that I'd like. Oh well...

Wishing you a wonderful & stress-free week.

"Kindness is like snow. It beautifies everything it covers." -Kahlil Gibran

1 2 3 Come Do Some Santa-Themed Activities With Me

Each month I like to have a little review of all of the 2D shapes, so this information stays stuck in my students’ heads.

With that in mind, I designed two “Shapin’ Up With Santa” packets.

2D shape activities, Christmas crafts, Santa crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape games, hexagon activities, 2D shape assessment, Santa activities,  Christmas games, Christmas party activities                       The first packet is a "print & go" Santa craft, where Santa's "body" is made up of a 2D shape; topped off by his head, complete with a beard, which is cut from a paper plate. 

The 2nd packet includes  a variety of games and activities that provide a fun way to review these 2D shapes: circle, oval, triangle, square, rectangle, hexagon, pentagon, octagon, rhombus, trapezoid, heart and star.

2D shape activities, Christmas crafts, Santa crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape games, hexagon activities, 2D shape assessment, Santa activities,  Christmas games, Christmas party activities                       Both packets are perfect for that last week of school before vacation; particularly the quick, easy & super-fun games, which also work well for your Christmas party day too.

First up, The Santa craft: The 2D shapes included are: circle, oval, square, rectangle, triangle, hexagon, pentagon, octagon, trapezoid, & heart.

The packet includes patterns for the above shapes, so that children can make a “Shapely Santa” of their own.

2D shape activities, Christmas crafts, Santa crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape games, hexagon activities, 2D shape assessment, Santa activities,  Christmas games, Christmas party activities                       Santa's paper plate beard is snipped along the ridges; then every other "tab" is  bent up, which is wonderful fine motor practice, that will help strengthen those finger muscles, at the same time providing a cool 3D effect.

2D shape activities, Christmas crafts, Santa crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape games, hexagon activities, 2D shape assessment, Santa activities,  Christmas games, Christmas party activities                       There are 3 hat "brim" options.  Students can write the shape on Santa's hat, glue on the label, or use the pattern where children trace then write the word. 

Use a red and green marker to show an AB-AB color pattern and add some extra pizzazz too.  

square shapely Santa craftAnother quick, easy and fun way to jazz up Santa, is to pull apart a few cotton balls, then glue on a bit of "hair" for Santa.

Eyes and a mustache are a separate piece and simply glued on. Have a room helper pre-cut them to expedite assembly.

Another "finishing touch" that will add some 3D pop to your display, is to attach a white pom pom to the tip of Santa's hat.  I use a glue dot. 

As you can see by the photo, once students complete Santa's "head" they glue it to a red, 2D shape.

2D shape activities, Christmas crafts, Santa crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape games, hexagon activities, 2D shape assessment, Santa activities,  Christmas games, Christmas party activities                       To help practice the “positional words” portion of the 2D shape standard, I’ve also included a “Christmas present” whole group, assessment game, as well.

The “Shapely Pokey” activity, is also super-fun and helps get the wiggles out.

The packet also includes shape posters and pocket chart cards to introduce your lesson.

For added reinforcement, try some of the activities from the "tip list" for how else to use the posters; such as playing the game "Catch the Claus".

My students actually beg to play this game at the end of the day.

I’ve also included a “Shapely Santa” bookmark for your students.

Completed projects make an adorable bulletin board or hallway display.

2D shape activities, Christmas crafts, Santa crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape games, hexagon activities, 2D shape assessment, Santa activities,  Christmas games, Christmas party activities                       I’ve included several posters to add extra pizzazz, plus informational “tags” should you want your students to explain the attributes of their Shapely Santa.

You can hang these next to a child's "Shapely Santa" on you bulletin board.

The other Santa-themed packet which reinforces 2D shapes, is "Shapin' Up With Santa!" and includes a variety of games and other "print & go" activities.

2D shape activities, Christmas crafts, Santa crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape games, hexagon activities, 2D shape assessment, Santa activities,  Christmas games, Christmas party activities                       There is an assortment of (12-on-a page) cards which can be used for “Memory Match” and “I Have; Who Has?” games.

I’ve included a 3-page “tip list” of ideas and other games you can use the cards for; such as: “Flip It”, “What’s Missing?” “Speed” “Who’s Got the Coal?” and “Kaboom!”

Games can be played independently or as a whole group, then put in your math center.

2D shape activities, Christmas crafts, Santa crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape games, hexagon activities, 2D shape assessment, Santa activities,  Christmas games, Christmas party activities                       There are also 2 sets of black & white game cards, so that students can make a game of their own to take home for further reinforcement.

Game sheets like “I Spy a Shape” are a super-fun way to whole group assess. The same worksheet can be used 5 times!! Woo Hoo.

There are puzzles, dice and spinner games, as well as 2 graphing activities.

2D shape activities, Christmas crafts, Santa crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape games, hexagon activities, 2D shape assessment, Santa activities,  Christmas games, Christmas party activities                       An emergent reader booklet, packed with Dolch words, also practices end punctuation, which can be done as a whole group or independent activity.

Children color the Santa, trace and write the shape words, trace and draw the shape, then cut and glue the matching shape to the empty box.

There are also a variety of worksheets which help practice a variety of standards, including two graphing extensions you can do as a whole group.

I hope your students enjoy these activities, as much as my kiddos do.

December writing prompt craftivity Wishful ThinkingToday's featured FREEBIE is a writing prompt craftivity, which also makes a sweet, December bulletin board.

I call this craft "Wishful Thinking". Students finish the writing prompt: "If money were no problem and I could have 5 super-fabulous gifts for Christmas, I'd like..."

They glue their final draft to the inside of a construction paper square, folding the corners over to "close" their "gift". 

Add extra pizzazz, by having students glue a square of Christmas wrapping paper to the back of their square of construction paper. For that finishing touch, top with a bow.

jingle all the way Well that's it for today.  Thanks for stopping by. 

Gotta get going.  I'm helping with my granddaughter's Christmas party today. 

2D shape activities, Christmas crafts, Santa crafts, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape games, hexagon activities, 2D shape assessment, Santa activities,  Christmas games, Christmas party activities                       As you can see I'm all decked out.  (Jingle all the way...) Not too good at taking selfies...

Wishing you a blessed day filled with lots of love, hugs and giggles galore.

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” -Dr. Seuss (From the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.)

1-2-3 Come Do A Reindeer Christmas Craft With Me

reindeer crafts, Christmas crafts, hand print crafts, December writing prompts, December bulletin board ideas, Christmas writing promptsI wanted to do a keepsake craft with my grandchildren, that I knew my daughter would love, so I traced one hand on a folded sheet of dark brown construction paper. 

This way, I cut once, and had two hand prints for each child.  They glued these "antlers" to a reindeer head that they enjoyed coloring. 

reindeer crafts, Christmas crafts, hand print crafts, December writing prompts, December bulletin board ideas, Christmas writing promptsThe “hand print” reindeer turned out so cute, that I thought I’d turn them into something teachers could do as well. Thus a new Christmas Craftivity packet emerged.

The craft is simple, quick and a whole lot of fun.

As you can see by the samples, completed projects make an adorable bulletin board too.

reindeer crafts, Christmas crafts, hand print crafts, December writing prompts, December bulletin board ideas, Christmas writing promptsI’ve included several posters to add a bit of pizzazz to your display. 

There are a few to use with the writing prompts, as well as two others that you can hang up with just the reindeer craft, if you opt to only do that.

There are a variety of “print & go” reindeer patterns to choose from.

Pick which is most appropriate for your students.

Younger children can simply do the reindeer craft. 

reindeer crafts, Christmas crafts, hand print crafts, December writing prompts, December bulletin board ideas, Christmas writing promptsMy Y5s absolutely love glitter, so I often use it as a positive, behavior-modification tool.

(If you're focused and on task, when you complete your project, you get to visit the "glitter station"), which I manage. Keeping everything inside a copy paper, box lid, provides easy clean up with no mess.

That splash of red glitter really adds the "Wow!" effect.

reindeer crafts, Christmas crafts, hand print crafts, December writing prompts, December bulletin board ideas, Christmas writing promptsWiggle eyes are another way to add to the "cuteness factor".  My granddaughter chose two different sizes, which added extra whimsy, so when I created the packet, I included several sizes of "eyeball" patterns. 

You can see by the photographs, that the same reindeer takes on a whole different look, depending on the placement of the eyes.

reindeer crafts, Christmas crafts, hand print crafts, December writing prompts, December bulletin board ideas, Christmas writing promptsAdding a sprig of holly, then bending the leaves up, provides a bit of 3D pizzazz; as does pressing on some flat-backed jewels. 

reindeer crafts, Christmas crafts, hand print crafts, December writing prompts, December bulletin board ideas, Christmas writing promptsTo extend the craftivity, older students can practice their “point of view” writing skills.

Students pretend to be a reindeer, and think of something the animal might say if they could actually talk.

reindeer crafts, Christmas crafts, hand print crafts, December writing prompts, December bulletin board ideas, Christmas writing promptsThis is a lot of fun, which results in some really silly & hilarious chatter.

I've included three,"speech bubble" templates for you to choose from, as well as patterns with my completed samples, so that teachers can quickly and easily make an example to share.

Samples not only help explain things, but really are a catalyst for excitement.

Since older students don't get to do many "crafty" things, they are especially excited to get down to the business of writing, when you toss in a little art into the activity.

They also do a particularly fine job, when they know their work will be hanging in the hall.

For that "finishing touch", have students practice an AB-AB (red-green) color pattern, by writing with two different color markers, which really adds extra pizzazz.

For added fun, play some Christmas music while children work. My students often sing along.

reindeer crafts, counting booklet, skip counting activities, counting backwards activities, Today's featured FREEBIE is another reindeer craft. This one is called, "You Can Count on Rudolph".

Students trace & write the numbered, circle-shaped pages, to make a "Rudolph's Nose" counting booklet.

There are patterns for counting by 1's to 20, counting backwards from 10 to 0 or 20 to 0, plus skip counting by 2's, 3's, 5's, and 10's. 

I've also included a "red-hot" cinnamon treat, counting activity too.

reindeer crafts, Christmas crafts, hand print crafts, December writing prompts, December bulletin board ideas, Christmas writing promptsWell that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by.

The snow is gently falling, which really puts me in the mood to decorate. 

Wishing you a warm and cozy day.

"...He puzzled and puzzled 'til his puzzle was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadnt before.  Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Christmas, perhaps means a little bit more. "

From: "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" by Dr. Seuss

1-2-3 Come Do a Place Value Christmas Tree With Me

christmas crafts, christmas tree crafts, place value activities, math centers, math bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, math craftsI am so excited to share my latest place value craft that I just finished. 

As you know, studying place value can be a bit tedious for some students, so I designed this "decorate a Christmas tree" craft, to put some “Woo Hoo!” into practicing place value.

christmas crafts, christmas tree crafts, place value activities, math centers, math bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, math craftsCreating a super-cute PVT (Place Value Tree) is an especially fun activity for your students, and a nice alternative to worksheets; making it that “extra special something” you can do for the month of December.

christmas crafts, christmas tree crafts, place value activities, math centers, math bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, math craftsCompleted projects turn out absolutely adorable, and make an outstanding bulletin board or hallway display.

I’ve included 2 posters to help decorate.

You’re sure to get lots of compliments, as the results definitely have that “Wow!” factor, as mixing math concepts with an artistic twist is truly interesting.

The packet is very versatile, with lots of creative options for your students to choose from, which not only results in a nice variety of Christmas trees, but allows you to diversify your lessons.

christmas crafts, christmas tree crafts, place value activities, math centers, math bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, math craftsA place value tree appeals to a variety of ages and abilities.

The versatility allows younger kiddos, as well as older students, to create a Christmas tree that will have a two, three or even 4-digit number value!

Keep things simple for little ones and limit the number of decorative pieces and options, while challenging older students to create a bigger value for their trees.

The sample on your right uses "ones" blocks for ornaments, with a tree trunk made out of two, "10s" rods; giving it a total value of just 32. Perfect for students working on two-digit numbers.

christmas crafts, christmas tree crafts, place value activities, math centers, math bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, math craftsThe sample on the left, has a value of 769. This tree has no trunk (However, there are 4 trunk options to choose from), while the 1st tree, at the beginning of my post, not only has a 100-block trunk, but a decorative tree stand pot as well. Notice the "holly berry" is a ones block.

A 10s rod can also be a fun decoration. Make them look like a peppermint stick, by coloring an AB-AB (red-white) color pattern with a red marker or crayon.

christmas crafts, christmas tree crafts, place value activities, math centers, math bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, math craftsCheck out the last sample tree at the end of this article, to see how I made a 10s rod look like a candlestick, with a ones block glued on diagonally, for a "flame".

I had an absolute blast designing my samples, so I can safely say, that I think your students will also have a great time making their own place value Christmas tree. 

Thirteen tree patterns, 4 stars and 2 angel tree toppers to choose from; plus  endless ways you can mix and match the ones, tens and hundreds block ornaments, provides a lot of variety to your classroom's creations, making for an awesome display.

christmas crafts, christmas tree crafts, place value activities, math centers, math bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, math craftschristmas crafts, christmas tree crafts, place value activities, math centers, math bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, math craftsOnce children have finished their place value tree, they figure out how much it is “worth”.

Solving this “mystery math” problem is also a ton of fun.

I’ve provided several worksheet options that will help students figure this out, as they practice and reinforce the various concepts of place value.

I've put a worksheet next to the matching tree in the photographs below.

christmas crafts, christmas tree crafts, place value activities, math centers, math bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, math craftschristmas crafts, christmas tree crafts, place value activities, math centers, math bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, math craftsChoose which worksheets are most appropriate for your kiddos. 

Each of the 3 is different enough, so that you can do all of them. 

"Showing" their math of how they came up with their total, and explaining any conversions that they had to make, is a simple way to assess comprehension too.

christmas crafts, christmas tree crafts, place value activities, math centers, math bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, math craftsThe half-page worksheet on the left, is great for practicing a variety of  math skills associated with place value.

Picking a partner and comparing their tree with a classmate's, provides practice with "greater, less than and equal to", math standards as well.

christmas crafts, christmas tree crafts, place value activities, math centers, math bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, math craftsA worksheet can also be part of your display. 

Students can write their total on the star or angel tree topper, or so that the place value really shows up, you can run off the 6 different elf tags, for children to write their name and the value of their tree on; placing the tag next to their Christmas tree on your bulletin board. 

christmas crafts, christmas tree crafts, place value activities, math centers, math bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, math craftsI've also included several present patterns, if you'd like to add some gifts under the tree.

christmas crafts, christmas tree crafts, place value activities, math centers, math bulletin boards, Christmas bulletin boards, math craftsThese are decorated with a ones block in the bow, a 10s rod on the ribbon, or a 100s block as a gift tag. 

The trees look pretty with a black, blue or purple, construction-paper background, with the gifts glued underneath.

 There are also several whole-group activities for graphing, data collection and analysis as well.

Limited time? This makes a super-fun homework assignment.

Another idea is to have students work with a partner or create one PVT in a small group of three, which will divide up the work and expedite completion.

Here’s a fun challenge: Give the small group a total tree value, and see how close they can get to hitting that number.

Christmas writing prompt craftToday's featured FREEBIE is a "Sweet Tweet"; which is an interesting and fun way for students to practice writing. 

Students color, cut and glue the bird to the top of their writing prompt paper, then each day (for 10 days) they jot down (tweet) something sweet that they've done. (After all, Santa and the elves are watching & very interested in this information!)

Well that's it for today.  Thanks for stopping by.

'Tis the season for attending all sorts of activities, so time to go see the school Christmas play. Three of our 10 grandchildren are old enough to be in it this year. 

Wishing you a delightful December, filled with many memorable and love-filled moments.

"Christmas, gives us time to pause and reflect on the most important things around us." -David Cameron

 

1-2-3 Come Do Some More 2D Shape Activities With Me

Each month I like to have a little review of all of the 2D shapes, so this information stays stuck in my students’ heads.

shape activities, shape games, shape centers, 2D shape assessments, turkey activities, turkey games, turkey centersshape activities, shape games, shape centers, 2D shape assessments, turkey activities, turkey games, turkey centersWith that in mind, I designed the "Shape Up!" turkey-themed packet, with a variety of games and activities that provide a fun way to review these shapes: circle, oval, triangle, square, rectangle, hexagon, pentagon, octagon, rhombus, trapezoid, heart & star.

There is an assortment of (12-on-a page) cards which can be used for “Memory Match” and “I Have; Who Has?” games.

I’ve included a 3-page “tip list” of ideas and other games you can use the cards for, such as: “Flip It”, “What’s Missing?” “Speed” & “Kaboom!”

Games can be played independently or as a whole group, then put in your math center.

There are also 2 sets of black & white game cards, so that students can make a game of their own to take home for further reinforcement.

shape activities, shape games, shape centers, 2D shape assessments, turkey activities, turkey games, turkey centersGame sheets like “I Spy a Shape” are a super-fun way to whole group assess. The same worksheet can be used 5 times!

There are puzzles, dice & spinner games, as well as 2 graphing activities.

shape activities, shape games, shape centers, 2D shape assessments, turkey activities, turkey games, turkey centersAn emergent reader booklet, packed with Dolch words, practices a variety of standards.

The booklet can remain a whole page, or students can cut in half on the dashed line, creating a "just the right size" smaller booklet for little hands. 

There are cover options for both. Students read the sentence, underline the capital letter and add end punctuation.  

You can do this as a whole group activity, with "monkey see-monkey do" directions.

Children also trace the shape word then write it, then trace the shape and draw it.  Afterwards students cut and glue the appropriate shape to the empty box, then color the "shapely turkey" at the top of the page. 

shapely turkey craftThis is a fun activity for the week of Thanksgiving, where you can do one or two pages each day; or send home over the holiday, as an interesting homework assignment.

This packet pairs perfectly with last week's “Shapely Turkeys craft. Click the LINK to take a look.

turkey activiteis, turkey centers, turkey games, 2D shape activities, 2D shape Games, 2D shape centersToday's featured FREEBIE is "Oh Feathers!" a turkey-themed spinner game, which is also a fun way to practice 2D shapes.    

turkey activities, 2D shape actvities, 2D shape games, 2D shape centers, 2D shape assessmentsThank you for stopping by. 

A dusting of snow has put me in the Christmas mood, so time for a little early shopping. 

Wishing you a peaceful day filled with wonder.

 "When snow falls, nature listens." - Unknown

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