## Pumpkin and Apple Number Puzzles

1-2-3 Come Make Some Number Puzzles With Me

Learning to count can be tedious and a bit overwhelming for little ones.  If that isn't a big enough job, learning to count backwards, as well as skip count are also standards.

With this in mind, I designed number "strip" puzzles.  I call them that because I cut the puzzles into strips.

Number puzzles provide a quick, easy and fun way to help students practice counting & sequencing numbers from 1-10, and counting backwards from 10 to 1, as well as skip counting by 2s & 10s, plus my Y5s absolutely LOVE them.

I usually make the puzzles on a full sheet of paper.  Some are vertical, while other designs are horizontal. I decided to make an apple and pumpkin "shape" strip puzzle for those units.

Simply run the templates off on red and orange paper.
Choose the number puzzle that best fits your needs, or give students a choice.

For a cool mosaic effect, children trim and glue to another sheet of paper after they have traced the numbers.

I chose black to make the puzzle pop. Remind students to leave a small gap in-between each puzzle strip. To make it more of a keepsake, have students make a green hand print leaf.

Completed projects make an interesting fall bulletin board.
Laminate an extra set of all 8 puzzles, to use for an independent math center or for "early finishers".

Click on the link to zip on over to my TpT shop to have a look: Apple & Pumpkin Number Puzzles.

The featured FREEBIE today is a Halloween crayon resist watercolor activity.  There are 5 patterns to choose from, with directions how to set things up.

Children pick a picture and color it.  Remind them to press hard, and really fill it in. Afterwards, they paint over the entire picture with watercolors.  The waxy build up creates an awesome effect.

Well that's it for today.  Thanks for popping in.  I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and creatively crazy at the moment, as October is filled with so many super-fun themes: fire safety, spiders, bats, scarecrows and Halloween

I have a zillion ideas buzzing in my head, and as many projects started or in the rough draft stage.  Hmmmm ... What shall I work on today?  Wishing you a happy and productive day doing things that you truly enjoy.

"In crafting there are no mistakes, just unique creations." -Unknown

## Cool Cat Sliders

1-2-3 Come Make Some Sliders With Me

I enjoy designing "sliders."  They are a quick, easy and fun way to whole group assess all sorts of standards.  I gave them the name "sliders" because students trace the numbers or letters on the strip of paper.

The teacher chooses students to call out a letter/number and then everyone slides their strip of paper 'til that letter/number shows in the "window" of their slider.   Since this is like an "I Spy" game, students really enjoy sliders, and teachers can see at a glance who is having difficulty.

Because I've been making some activities to go with Pete the Cat, I decided to create a cat slider.  One turned into 4 and there went my day...

You can choose the cat for your students, or give them a choice.  Run the cat patterns off on blue construction paper (for a Pete the Cat one) and have students trim, or run them off on white construction paper and have students color their cat

To add a bit more pizzazz to the blue construction paper cats, I've included patterns for little tennis shoes. Run them off on white paper. Students trim and glue to the appropriate cat.

Cutting out the cats, can be a bit tricky, so I would not do this option for really little ones. Instead, use the smaller cat patterns, with the dashed lines, and run off on white paper.

Younger kiddos can easily follow the lines and get some cutting practice in, but are not overwhelmed with twisting and turning their scissors.

Since the blue ones turned out especially cute, you may want to make a set of your own and laminate them.  After students have found the letter/shape/number that is called out for the "I Spy" game, and everyone's hand is raised, you can hold up your cat and ask: "Is this letter/shape/number showing on your cat?"

Students make adjustments, so you are reinforcing the correct answer, without having to take the time to individually correct a struggling student, or embarrass them.

There are "sliders" for upper and lowercase letters, numbers, counting backwards from 10-0, shapes and skip counting by 2's, 3's, 5's, and 10's.

Pick the slider for the standard that you want to practice, run them off and trim on a paper cutter. You could also reuse the sliders and review another standard, with a different slider on another day.

For more teachable moments, review patterns or odd and even numbers, by having students choose 2 or 3 colors of crayons or markers and trace the letters/numbers in an ABAB or ABC pattern. (I did this in my samples, so be sure and look at the photographs closely. )

To review shapes, I'd suggest using the cat head pattern.  Children color the shapes on their slider, which will then become the "nose" of the cat when they slide the strip into that position.  I think they turned out pretty cute if I do say so for myself.

Click on the link to view/download the Cat Slider packet.  I hope it's simply "purr-fect" for Pete the Cat or any other cat-themed activities you have going on.

Thanks for visiting.  The chill is in the air today and really feels like fall.  Time for a brisk walk with my pup Chloe, to help get energized.

"Your current safe boundaries, were once unknown frontiers." -Anonymous

## More Elf On A Classroom Shelf Activities III

1-2-3 Come Go On An Elf Ed-venture With Me!

Woo hoo!  It seems that The Elf On A "Classroom" Shelf activities, have been the kinds of things visitors have been looking for.   (Scroll down to the last two blog articles to check things out.)   I hope you enjoy these latest FREEBIES just as much.

Since teachers have commented on how the "sliders" are a nice way to "sneak" in a little art, with all of those standards, I decided to design "Jingle" the elf slider.

There are sliders (strips of paper that students slide up and down) for upper and lowercase letters, numbers to 30, counting backwards from 10 to 0 as well as 20 to 0 + skip counting by 2's, 3's, 5's, and 10's. They are a quick, easy and fun way to whole group assess.

If you don't want to make a slider, have students make a "Belly Booklet."  They can practice writing letters, numbers, words, their name, or whatever else you're working on, and record things on just-the-right-size pages.  Click on the link to view/download Jingle, the Elf Slider Packet.

Venn diagrams are a wonderful way to help your little elves compare and contrast.  Click on the link to view/download the 13 Venn diagrams with an interesting elf theme.  Pick one for your kiddos, or give them a choice.

Since Diary of a Wimpy Kid is really popular with children, I decided to make a Diary of a Wimpy Elf. I had a fun time designing this packet, and think your students will enjoy decorating their "top secret" file-folder diary and making entries as an elf, who is recording his/her activities and adventures.

I've included "spy stickers" to decorate their diaries with, or use them as incentives for great writing, excellent effort, wonderful improvement etc.  There are also 2 diary-page templates that you can also use.  Click on the link to view/download Diary of a Wimpy Elf.

Here's the scenario to help jumpstart your students' writing: Imagine being the smallest and weakest elf at the North Pole.  You so want to help Santa, but everyone thinks you are too little, too dumb and too weak to do anything but be a candy cane tester, licking a sample from each batch to make sure they taste just right.

To make matters worse, the only thing "big" about you are your feet and ears.  They are ginormous!  This little elf constantly daydreams about all of the adventures he’d go on as a super-spy for Santa

After all, being little has its advantages.  He could hide almost anywhere; and his huge ears help him hear just about anything. His humongous feet allow him to ski down slippery slopes, without having to put real skis on!

Give your students this background information (included in the packet) and have them become that tiny elf, with the giant feet, huge ears and big heart.  Have them write about what they do and how they feel. I've also included 30 crazy writing prompts to jump-start their creative minds, hopefully causing a few giggles.

Encourage them to name their elf and draw cartoon-like pictures in their diary, like Jeff Kinney does in his book.  When your elf activities are winding down, have students write a few pages where they "save the day" and become a highly respected, and depended-upon elf,  who is a very special spy for Santa.  Click on the link to view/download The Diary of a Wimpy Elf.

That's it for today.  Thanks for visiting.  I hope your kiddos get excited about doing a bit of creative writing.  I still remember Mr. Voseteig reading a Harriet the Spy book to us in 5th grade.

We all got to have our special "spy notebook" to write in.  My creative writing juices went wild, and it was my first A+ ... I was hooked.  The excitement of that spy book, gave way to Nancy Drew books, which became my favorite. I've been a life-long lover of reading and writing ever since.

“I'll be famous one day, but for now I'm stuck in middle school with a bunch of morons." - Greg Heffley,”  (-Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid.)

## Pumpkin Sliders

1-2-3 Come Make a Pumpkin Slider With Me!

Making a hands-on craftivity, is a fun way for students to learn about, and review the basic 2D shapes and the shape words associated with them.  I tried to do at least one shape activity a week with my Y5's. The more exposure they had to shapes, the better the chances of their light bulb going on, in an interesting and non-stressful way.

My "sliders" have always been extremely popular, so I wanted to make a pumpkin one with shapes.  They are called sliders, because students pull(slide) their strip through slits, to reveal whatever I want to teach.  Sliders are a quick and easy way to whole-group assess.  Simply call out a shape and have students find it on their slider and then hold it up.  You can also individually assess with a slider; the game-like activity, lessens a child's apprehension when being tested.

Here's how to make the Pumpkin Shape Slider:

• Run off the sliders on white construction paper and the pumpkin on orange.
• For younger kiddo's, you may want to pre-slit the lines on the pumpkins, where the sliders will be pulled through. I use an exacto knife.
• Students trace and color the eyes. Encourage them to use different colors, so you can also review that standard. For a bit more pizzazz, have students add some color to the stem, nose and mouth sections.
• Teacher asks students to make their pumpkin’s eyes triangles. Children pull their “slider” ‘til they have located the triangle eyes, and then pull the mouth strip ‘til it says the word triangles.
• Everyone “reads” their pumpkin together as a whole group.
• There’s a teachable moment for fractions (cut and glue 1/2 the strip) as well as plurals: The pumpkin has 2 eyes so the shape word needs to have the letter s on the end.

Click on the link to view/download the Pumpkin Shape Slider. I also made a Pumpkin ABC-123 Slider that has different strips, so you can review: upper and lowercase letters, numbers from 0-30, skip counting by 2's, 3's, 5's and 10's, as well as counting backwards from 10 to 0 and 20 to 0. Run off whatever strips you want your students to work on.  Make a laminated one yourself to use as a demonstration, review, or assessment sample.

So that the strip is easily managed, students can fold the ends up. Have children TRACE the letters/numbers with two different colored highlighters in an ABAB pattern. Click on the link to view/download the ABC-123 Pumpkin Slider. There are 3 pumpkin templates to choose from: students can draw on their own face, add wiggle eyes, or use the pumpkin that has a face on it. TIP: Decorate the pumpkin on both sides and glue 2 slider strips back-to-back for double duty.

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"The only place success comes before work, is in the dictionary!" -Vidal Sassoon