1-2-3 Come Do Some Groundhog Activities With Me
I do a variety of groundhog-themed activities during the week of Groundhog Day.
One day (February 2nd) is simply not enough time to take a look at these interesting animals, which provide a way for me to get in a bit of science, non-fiction reading, as well as use them as a fun theme for word work (GR blend, compound words) plus math centers, where we count groundhogs, do puzzles, and practice graphing (Will he or won't he see his shadow?) predictions.
With that in mind, I designed two groundhog “flip the flap for facts” booklets. One includes fun facts about groundhogs, the other has interesting information about Groundhog Day. First up, is the background information about Groundhogs.
Don’t know anything about groundhogs? No worries. I’ve done tons of research so you don’t have to.
Simply make the teacher’s edition booklet, familiarize yourself with whatever facts you want to share, then read them to your students.
I categorized simple and interesting information into: characteristics, habitat, home, diet, hibernation, young, predators & behavior.
There are 2 "flip up" pages to a one-page template for easy printing.
Besides the teacher’s edition, there are blank page patterns so you can program them however you want, as well as pages with the category headers, so that students have a guide for their research and written answers.
I purposely did not number any pages, so that you can choose which topics you want your students to explore.
The booklet provides a simple and fun way to introduce research and writing a report, which can be done individually, with a partner, or in a small group of four.
The cover (head of the groundhog) is run off on tan construction paper. Students add highlights and shading with crayons. The base or back cover of the booklet is printed on card stock.
The pages are trimmed and just the top "glue tab" is glued to the base of the booklet. When all of the pages have been collated, the cover is glued down on top of the base, so that the "mouth" portion of the groundhog "flips up" to reveal the informational pages underneath. Again you have the option to choose which pages you want your students to include.
There are just 8 pages to do independently, (if you choose all of the categories) which can also be divided into a 4-page partner assignment, or a 2-page small group activity; allowing you to do the project in a short amount of time.
The groundhog booklet can be done in class during your writing/reading block, or be finished as homework then returned. Be sure and check out the non-fiction groundhog books your school library may have or do a bit of research with your students, during your computer lab time.
The packet is also appropriate for younger students, as I’ve included a “fun fact” worksheet for little ones to color, then write down a favorite fact that they learned from you reading the informational teacher’s edition. As always, I've included completed samples for you to share with your kiddos to help explain things.
Completed projects make a cute February bulletin board. The booklets can also be displayed.
I’ve included 12 real photographs of groundhogs too. (Two-on-a-page for easy printing). Use them to introduce your lesson, then scatter them around your students’ work.
There’s a “Learning About Groundhogs” poster for the center of your display as well.
The other "flip for facts" booklet features information specifically about Groundhog DAY, so if you’re looking for a little something to share with your students, I think you’ll enjoy this craftivity.
It can be a simple card for little ones to make. There are 3 “Happy Groundhog Day!” greeting options, which are revealed when you flip the legs of the groundhog cover up.
You can also make a “Flip the Flap For Facts” booklet, with interesting information about Groundhog DAY.
Make your teacher booklet and read it to little ones so they learn a bit about Groundhog Day, then have them transition to making the card.
There are also 2 black and white versions so students can make their own booklet. So that you can differentiate your lessons, I’ve included an emergent reader option, packed with lots of Dolch sight words, as well as a preschool “trace the word & color the pictures” version.
Besides the 3 booklets and card, I’ve also included a “Fun Fact” worksheet.
Use this after you read your booklet to check comprehension. Children color the groundhog then jot down an interesting fact that they learned, or their favorite one.
Completed projects make a cute February bulletin board. I’ve included a “Groundhog Day Fun!” poster for the center of your display.
There are also 2 graphing extensions to go along with the optional "question" pages.
Because Canada also celebrates Groundhog Day on February 2nd, I included 2 pages with the alternate “colour” spelling, as well as a Venn diagram activity comparing our Phil with their Will, plus a photograph poster featuring both groundhogs. (Willie is an albino groundhog, so grab that teachable moment to teach a new vocabulary word.)
There are several map worksheets of both countries as well. If you studied Canada during your “Christmas Around the World” travels, this is a fun way to revisit those lessons.
So....you've covered non-fiction reading, a bit of science, some writing a dash of math, plus a smidge of geography all with one craftivity, which you can feature on an easy-peasy bulletin board!
Woo hoo for you!
Today's featured FREEBIE also has a groundhog theme and is titled: Groundhog Slappin' Games. (I was inspired by the "Whack-a-Mole" arcade game, because the critter that pops up reminded me of a groundhog poking his head out of his burrow.) The packet is a whopping 60 pages long!
Your students will really enjoy playing these games, as they slap a variety of groundhog cards, with a flyswatter, to show that they know specific standards. This is a super-fun, quick and easy way to whole-group assess as well.
Students practice recognizing skip counted numbers, shapes, colors, groundhog-related words, (there are 54!) + upper and lowercase letters.
Well that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by. If you can believe it, it has started to snow here in Michigan.
Although it's quite lovely, and covers up the ugly dirt and dead things, I am quite tired of winter and ready for the warmth of sunshine-filled days.
If a groundhog can truly predict an early spring, here's hoping he does NOT see his shadow. Wishing you a lovely day.
"No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn." -Unknown
1-2-3 Come Do Some Valentine Craftivities With Me
I loved decorating the hallway outside my classroom. I never had enough bulletin boards, so it was inevitable that I'd spill out into the hallway. Nobody minded as they said it made things look educational and festive.
I think showcasing student work is a huge self-esteem builder. It also let the parents, vistors and the rest of the school in on what my Y5's were doing.
With that in mind, I wanted to design some writing activities that were a bit on the crafty side, for your students to have fun with.
No matter what grade I taught, (PK, K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 12th and even college) my students really enjoyed incorporating a bit of art into other subject areas.
An easy way to do this is with writing prompts. Instead of just writing on paper, have students write on their creations. In the 3D heart dangler, students choose 3 different writing prompts: people, places, things, sports, subjects, books, movies, music etc. that they LOVE.
You can use my templates, or the plain blank heart. This can be 3 days worth of writing, or a take home assignment.
Three different color paper hearts are cut, folded and glued together to make a 3D hanging heart.
The writing prompt heart in the photo is yellow, blue and orange. For that finishing touch, have students glue on their school picture to one of the hearts, and then "autograph" the bottom.
The other photo shows a 3D heart that is hot pink, light pink and purple.
So that students can practice their keyboarding skills, have them write a rough draft for each of the 3 prompts that they chose, edit and then type them up and glue one on each of their hearts.
Punch a hole at the top and tie a yarn loop. They will look awesome swirling and twirling from the ceiling.
If you'd like a caption, you could have a large 2-sided heart that says: "Mrs./Mr. _____________'s Class LOVES Writing!" Click on the link to view/download the 3D Writing Prompt Heart packet.
Yesterday I posted some holiday Venn diagrams. While I was putzing with those, I thought it would be interesting to design a heart-shaped Venn diagram, and have students choose a partner to make a "Venn Friend" with.
Each student writes their own "different" half of the diagram, and then works together on the "same" section with their partner.
Make sure you create one of your own to share as an example. You can also have students choose primary colors that when combined make a seconday color. I thought of this after I had made my sample, and should have used red and yellow hearts with an orange center. Just a thought. Students could also choose their favorite colors as well.
Have children share their Venn Friend with the class and then scatter them on a bulletin board, or hang back-to-back from the ceiling. A caption could be: We Are Different. We Are The Same. We Are Friends!
These would also be a nice craftivity for Martin Luther King Day. I've included two heart-shaped Venn diagrams for Valentine's Day, plus another, without the valentine caption, so you can use it for MLK Day or a back-to-school "meet my new friend" activity. Click on the link to view/download the heart-shaped Valentine Venn Friend packet.
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"Education is hanging around until you've caught on." -Robert Frost
1-2-3 Come Make A Keepsake With Me!
I’m Surviving In School is a quick, easy and fun way to get students to practice their writing skills.
Graphic organizers are extremely beneficial for visual learners and help students organize their thoughts and think succinctly. These mini-writing prompts are more do-able and less intimidating. Doing a page at the end of each month, is a terrific Daily 5 activity, or independent writing center. Alphabetize the booklets and number them, so students can quickly and easily find theirs to work on. These are a great addition to a portfolio or file, to share with parents, during conferences, as they should show marked improvements along the way. Completed books make an outstanding keepsake.
Encourage students to use proper capitalization, punctuation, spaces, adjectives etc. and you have covered a lot of Common Core State Standards as well. There’s a generic cover as well as covers for preschool through 6th grade. Define what an adjective is and why using describing words are important. Pass out markers and have students write adjectives that describe themselves, in each bubble box on their cover. Explain that they can add more words as the year progresses. To make this extra special, have students glue their school picture inside the bus. You may want to make a booklet yourself, to use as an example to help explain things each month. Students really enjoy learning about their teacher.
The pages are geared from easy to more difficult as students advance. Later, explain to them that instead of just a list, you want them to write sentences. You can also have them start with the header, so that they are working on a complete sentence with proper capitalization, instead of just answering the topic. i.e. Favorite food: My favorite food is pizza. Later, have them expand their thoughts even more, by explaining why and adding adjectives: i.e. My favorite junk food is pizza, because I like spicy pepperoni.
To get in more fine motor practice and add some pizzazz to the pages, have students use colored markers, pencils and crayons. In the Me... section, students practice writing their name and drawing a self-portrait. This is especially important for preschool and kindergarten students. In the beginning, younger kiddo’s can draw a picture of how they feel, with a happy or sad (etc.) face. They will be limited to 1-word answers in the boxes. You can also opt to have students do these 1-on-1 with a helper, who writes down their answers, or send a page home as homework to be returned in a week.
Click on the link to view/download the I'm Surviving School, monthly-writing prompt booklet. If you're looking for another fun keepsake book, that students can write in monthly, check out The Very Hungry Student. Children write what they learned each month. Of course they are still hungry for more, so they move on to the next month... The rhyming text makes it a fun read-aloud. There's a page in the back for students' autographs. It's also a nice way to review the names of the months and a super way to show progress/improvement to parents. Click on the link to view/download The Very Hungry Student.
I also have an entire year's worth of writing prompts. Each month's writing prompts are based on popular stuff that's going on during that time frame. Click on the link to view/download the Monthly Writing Prompts packet.
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"Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why!" -Bernard Baruch
Pennies For Your Thoughts
If someone caught you daydreaming and a million miles away, you might have heard them asking you, “A penny for your thoughts.”
This is a nice writing prompt for students, especially on President’s Day, and makes a cute class book.
Brainstorm with your students of what they could think about. I think… the cafeteria should serve… I think that someday I would like to be a... I think tomorrow I will… etc.
Run off my template and have students fill in the conversation cloud and then glue their school photo next to it as if they are “thinking”.
Collate the pages and make a class book. Share it with the class by having students read their page when you come to it.
You can reward them with a shiny penny after they have shared their thoughts.
A similar activity is “Thoughts On A Penny.” So that students become familiar with what is on a penny, explain to them the data on the coin.
Run off the penny template on brown construction paper and tell students they will cut it out and fill in some informational thoughts.
Instead of In God We Trust as the motto on their coin, have them come up with their own personal motto, or simply write down one of their favorite quotes.
To help them with this, read a dozen or so very short ones from a list of favorite quotations and have them choose one.
Discuss where and when coins are minted and show them where that information appears on the coin.
In lieu of that, have them write down the city where they were born, and the year.
Around the bottom, students complete the sentence: I’m cent-sational because…
Students glue their penny to the kid character, add some facial features and hair; color and cut it out.
These make a nice bulletin board or hallway display.
Click on the link to view/download A Penny For Your Thoughts ideas
Whatever your plans for President’s Day I hope they are simply cent-sational!
Scroll down for some ABC-123 President's Day cards, perfect for a center activity or game for President's Day!
How Sweet It Is! A Card and Writing Prompts All Rolled Into One!
Recycle those old newspapers and you’ve got yourself a really cute Valentine or writing activity for February.
Run off copies of the "Here's the scoop!" cones on brown construction paper and have students cut them out.
Make templates from file folders for your students to use to trace onto a page of the newspaper.
They cut out their scoop of ice cream, glue it to their cone and then top it off with a cherry heart.
I’ve also provided a template for the “cherries” or you can give students large sparkly-heart stickers to add that finishing touch.
Run off the “flipped-up” messages and give students a choice of what they want to do/write about, OR you could have them make this a valentine AND writing prompt and do both, then staple the pages together.
I “hinged” the completed cone with a small square of Scotch tape stuck to the cherry and attached it to a sheet of scrapbook paper.
Stores have all sorts of packs on sale at this time of year. If not, print off a 40-50% off coupon from one of the major craft chains.
These make a cute bulletin board on a black background with paper lace for the framed border. OR…
Hang them in a row in the hallway, just high enough so that people can flip and read. Send them home on Valentine’s Day.
Click on the link to download the Here's The Scoop Valentine Card February Writing Prompt activity.
Be sure and pop back Tuesday for more Valentine ideas.