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Getting to the Core

1-2-3 Come Do A Thanksgiving Craftivity With Me

I’m always looking for a few things that are quick, easy & fun for my students to do, during that last day before our Thanksgiving break.

With that in mind, I designed these 2 simple and versatile crafts, which are nice “wind things down” activities, for that sometimes hectic time.

Thanksgiving cards, thanksgiving crafts, november writing prompts, owl crafts, november bulletin boards, thanksgiving bulletin boardsFirst up is a cute owl card. There are 2 pattern options.
One says, “Guess whooo’s wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving?, while the other one is generic, for students who may not celebrate this holiday:Guess whooo is wishing you an awesome autumn?”

Thanksgiving cards, thanksgiving crafts, november writing prompts, owl crafts, november bulletin boards, thanksgiving bulletin boardsChildren color & cut out their owl, along with the extra hat.
When that top tab on the hat is folded and glued in place, the hat will flip up to reveal a child’s school photo and the answer to the above question: “Me! That’s whooo.”

You don’t have to, but for some pizzazz & 3D pop, add wiggle eyes attached with glue dots. For that “finishing touch”, an extra beak and pair of wings (which also flip up), adds even more dimension.

Thanksgiving cards, thanksgiving crafts, november writing prompts, owl crafts, november bulletin boards, thanksgiving bulletin boardsIf you do add the wings, students can write their greeting underneath.
If you decide to skip this step, I’ve provided a hexagon-shaped writing prompt, which is glued on the back.

Thanksgiving cards, thanksgiving crafts, november writing prompts, owl crafts, november bulletin boards, thanksgiving bulletin boardsThere’s a blank hexagon, so you can have children complete a writing prompt, as well as a “Happy Thanksgiving” or “Happy fall”, where little ones trace the greeting, then sign their name.

I chose a hexagon shape because that’s one of our “toughies” to remember, so this provides a teachable moment to review it.


Thanksgiving cards, thanksgiving crafts, november writing prompts, owl crafts, november bulletin boards, thanksgiving bulletin boardsNext up is a "Welcome To My Home" activity. This project can also be used generically for fall, as well as Thanksgiving.

Use it as a card for younger children to make, or as a writing prompt craftivity for older students.

Ive discovered that anytime I toss a bit of craftiness into a writing lesson, my students are excited to get right down to business and more happily engaged.

Completed projects make a sweet bulletin board too.

Thanksgiving cards, thanksgiving crafts, november writing prompts, owl crafts, november bulletin boards, thanksgiving bulletin boardsThanksgiving cards, thanksgiving crafts, november writing prompts, owl crafts, november bulletin boards, thanksgiving bulletin boardsI’ve included a list of 21 writing prompt options for them to choose from.

Besides the writing prompt choices, there are also several patterns for different “keepsake” cards you can make.

Personally, I designed this activity for Thanksgiving; ( “Welcome to my home for Thanksgiving” ) however, I realize some children don’t celebrate this holiday, so I’ve also included a generic “Welcome To My Home” pattern as well.

Thanksgiving cards, thanksgiving crafts, november writing prompts, owl crafts, november bulletin boards, thanksgiving bulletin boardsThanksgiving cards, thanksgiving crafts, november writing prompts, owl crafts, november bulletin boards, thanksgiving bulletin boardsChoose which template is appropriate for your kiddos or give them a choice.
Templates come in black & white for students, as well as full color, so that you can quickly and easily make an example to share.

I purposely used the word “home” rather than “house” because home has a connotation of a place where you live, which could be an apartment or igloo, while a house is specific.

I’ve also included extra patterns with a bit of blank space on the door and doorstep, so that children can practice writing their address.

As you can see, both activities are an educational and quick,” little something”, you can plug into that often hectic last day before Thanksgiving break.
Easy-peasy for you; super-fun for your students.

leaf activities, leaf crafts, fall leaves, leaf emergent readerToday's featured FREEBIE is a "Fall Leaves" packet, which will help your students practice their reading skills. The emergent reader booklet covers lots of Common Core and reinforces color words

Children read the simple sentences (packed with lots of Dolch and word wall words). 

They correct beginning capitalization, add end punctuation and then trace, write and color the color words with a matching color crayon or marker.

A graphing extension, color word matching worksheet and spinner game are also included. 

Thanksgiving cards, thanksgiving crafts, november writing prompts, owl crafts, november bulletin boards, thanksgiving bulletin boardsWe'll that's it for today.  Thanks for stopping by.

Our church passed out shoe boxes to fill for needy children, so time to brave the chilly weather and go shopping.  

Wishing you a happy-go-jolly kind of day. 

"To get the true value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with." - Mark Twain

I-2-3-Come Make A Thankful Turkey Craft With Me

turkey crafts, thanksgiving crafts, turkey activities, thanksgiving activities, november writing prompts, i'm thankful for writing prompts, november bulletin boardsAll I ever have to do to get my kiddos highly motivated and excited to write, is put a little bit of craftiness into the project.

With that in mind, I designed this "Thankful Turkey Wheel”, which does the trick in getting them happily engaged, and right down to business.

As a pre-writing activity, students make a list of 4-6 things that they are thankful for.

turkey crafts, thanksgiving crafts, turkey activities, thanksgiving activities, november writing prompts, i'm thankful for writing prompts, november bulletin boardsWhen they are content with their final draft, they choose one of 3 turkey-topped worksheets to write their list on.  So that you can quickly and easily make a sample to share,

I've included options in color as well as black and white. 

Once students have finished their final list, they assemble their wheel and illustrate those “things” on it.

Students can also use stickers, pictures cut out from magazines, digital clip art, or perhaps real photographs. For example if they are thankful for their family they could glue down a family photograph.

turkey crafts, thanksgiving crafts, turkey activities, thanksgiving activities, november writing prompts, i'm thankful for writing prompts, november bulletin boardsThere are 3 wheels to choose from:
A simpler 3-piece wheel for younger children who’d skip the writing portion, as well as a 4 and 6-sectioned wheel for older students.

You can keep things simple with just the head and body of the turkey, or you can add some 3D pop by adding a wattle, beak and wings.

For more writing practice, have students label their pictures.

turkey crafts, thanksgiving crafts, turkey activities, thanksgiving activities, november writing prompts, i'm thankful for writing prompts, november bulletin boardsCompleted wheels and prompts make a sweet bulletin board.

I’ve included a “Let our lives be full of Thanks and Giving” poster for the center of your display.

Be sure and make your own, to help explain what you want your students to do, as well as share with them, what you’re thankful for.

turkey crafts, thanksgiving crafts, turkey activities, thanksgiving activities, november writing prompts, i'm thankful for writing prompts, november bulletin boardsPressed for time? For your convenience, I've included my completed, full-color samples of both the wheel and writing prompt. 

Little ones can simply make a list using a few words. 

Encourage older students to include some descriptive words and a bit more than one or two-word answers. 

You can also do this as a whole group activity with preschoolers, asking what they're thankful for, then listing their answers on the colorful worksheet making a class composite of gratefulness.

Pete the cat activities, thanksgiving activities, thanksgiving gamesToday's featured FREEBIE also has a Thanksgiving theme.

If you're students are as bananas over Pete the Cat as mine are, then I think they'll enjoy this "Color Me" dice game puzzle.

turkey crafts, thanksgiving crafts, turkey activities, thanksgiving activities, november writing prompts, i'm thankful for writing prompts, november bulletin boardsWell that's it for today.  Thanks for stopping by.

Mother Henderson's cupboard is bare, so time for some marathon grocery shopping.  Wishing you a peaceful and productive day.

"Forget the mistakes. Remember the lesson." - Unknown

1-2-3 Come Sequence & Retell a Story With Me

Activities to go with the scarecrows hat by ken brown, scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story acctivities, fall literacy centers,I guess a lot of teachers and homeschoolers read the book “The Scarecrow’s Hat” by Ken Brown because the flip booklet craftivity I blogged about last week, was a big hit. 

It’s one of my personal, all-time favorite scarecrow stories too. 

Because of all the “swapping” going on with the various characters in the story, “Scarecrow’s Hat” is perfect for practicing the “sequencing and retelling a story” standards.

Those of you who follow me, know that I enjoy designing storytelling "sliders" and wheels, which have also been very popular, as a super-fun way to practice these standards.

However, because the story has a lot of retelling parts to it, a slider would get too long, and the graphics on a wheel too small, so I wanted to think of a different kind of sequencing activity and came up with this “flip it over” 3D hat craft, that’s made out of a yellow bowl.

Run the hat brim off on yellow construction paper. Students assemble and glue the bowl face down, on top of the brim.

There are two options for sequencing and retelling the story.

Activities to go with the scarecrows hat by ken brown, scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story acctivities, fall literacy centers,Students can color, cut and sequence the “beginning of the story” graphics gluing them to the front of the hat; then color, cut and sequence the “end of the story” graphics and glue them to the “back” of the hat, which is now the chicken’s nest. OR …

Children can glue all of the graphics around the front, then simply flip the hat over to reveal the chicken on her nest to tell the end of the story.

Activities to go with the scarecrows hat by ken brown, scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story acctivities, fall literacy centers,I personally like gluing all of the graphics to the front, then for a “big finish” and “wow” of an ending, flip the hat over to reveal why the chicken wanted the scarecrow’s hat.

Activities to go with the scarecrows hat by ken brown, scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story acctivities, fall literacy centers,The chicken is 3-dimensional and “rocks” before you put her inside the base of the bowl.

For my sample, I ran 2 sheets of various shades of brown construction paper through a shredder, to make the lining for hen’s “nest”.

Activities to go with the scarecrows hat by ken brown, scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story acctivities, fall literacy centers,For some more 3D pop, you can also add a jute bow or small, silk sunflower to the base of the bowl, which is the “top” of the scarecrow’s hat.

Activities to go with the scarecrows hat by ken brown, scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story acctivities, fall literacy centers,I’ve included black & white patterns, as well as colorful ones, so that you can quickly & easily make an example to share.

When everyone is done, have children pick a partner and take turns retelling the story of “The Scarecrow’s Hat” to each other.
We sometimes do this sort of thing with our older reading buddies.

To further check comprehension as well as practice sequential writing, I’ve included a “Here’s What Happened…” writing prompt worksheet.

Thanksgiving Shape Up Packet Thanksgiving games, thanksgiving crafts, turkey activiteis, turkey crafts, 2D shape crafts, 2D shape activitiesThere’s a black & white template for students to fill in, plus a colorful pattern page so you can do this as a whole-group activity with little ones.

Today's featured FREEBIE switches from scarecrows to turkeys. Its titled, "Thanksgiving Shape Up!"  and is filled with a nice variety of games, activities & crafts, which all help reinforce 2D-shapes. 

Activities to go with the scarecrows hat by ken brown, scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, retelling a story activities, sequencing a story acctivities, fall literacy centers,Thanks for visiting. The scarecrow on my porch is watching the leaves swirl and twirl.

Even though it's a bit dreary, a brisk walk is in order.  Wishing you a warm and cozy afternoon.

"Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.  Today I am wise, so I'm going to change myself." -Unknown

1-2-3 Come Make a Scarecrow With Me

Scartecrow's Hat book, scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, activities for the book scarecrows hat, retelling a story activiteis, sequencing a story activities, fall bulletin boardsDo you read the story Scarecrow’s Hat” by Ken Brown? Click the picture to check out a nice reading of the book on YouTube..

My Young Fives really enjoy this story. Personally, it’s my favorite scarecrow-themed book.

Here’s the gist:
A very clever chicken admires Scarecrow’s hat, who will gladly swap it for a walking stick for his tired arms. Chicken REALLY wants that hat, but doesn’t have a walking stick; however, she knows who does! Thus begins her quest…But why does the chicken want an old straw hat?

Because of all the “swapping” going on with the various animal characters in the story, “Scarecrow’s Hat” is perfect for practicing the “sequencing and retelling a story” standards.

Scartecrow's Hat book, scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, activities for the book scarecrows hat, retelling a story activiteis, sequencing a story activities, fall bulletin boardsWith that in mind, I designed this flip-the-flap scarecrow craftivity, which will help practice those two standards. My students absolutely love creating their booklet.

Completed projects make an adorable fall bulletin board too.

Scartecrow's Hat book, scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, activities for the book scarecrows hat, retelling a story activiteis, sequencing a story activities, fall bulletin boardsI’ve included a “We can sequence & retell a story, and that’s something to crow about!” poster, for the center of your display.

Fittingly, the top of scarecrow’s hat flips up and tells the tale.

Students color, cut & collate the “hump of the hat” - shaped pages into a little booklet, which is sequenced and glued to the top of scarecrow’s hat.

Scartecrow's Hat book, scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, activities for the book scarecrows hat, retelling a story activiteis, sequencing a story activities, fall bulletin boardsI purposely did not number the pages, so you can check comprehension.

This also allows you to choose less pages for preschool students, who can easily sort beginning-middle-end, then retell the story with a limited number of “picture prompts”.

Scartecrow's Hat book, scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, activities for the book scarecrows hat, retelling a story activiteis, sequencing a story activities, fall bulletin boardsFor some 3D pop, add a jute bow to the knot on his neck, as well as some “straw hair”.

For my sample, I ran 2 sheets of yellow paper through my shredder, then glued just the end of a few strands under the brim of the hat, creating that finishing touch.

There are two booklet options.

TScartecrow's Hat book, scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, activities for the book scarecrows hat, retelling a story activiteis, sequencing a story activities, fall bulletin boardshe pages of the first version have only graphics, while the second option includes an unfinished “fill in the blank” sentence, which allows you to practice reading, writing, end punctuation, as well as check comprehension.

I’ve included black & white patterns, as well as colorful ones, so that you can quickly & easily make an example to share.

When everyone is done, have children pick a partner and take turns retelling the story of “Scarecrow’s Hat” to each other.
We sometimes do this sort of thing with our older reading buddies.

Scartecrow's Hat book, scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, activities for the book scarecrows hat, retelling a story activiteis, sequencing a story activities, fall bulletin boardsTo further check comprehension as well as practice sequential writing, I’ve included a “Here’s What Happened…” writing prompt worksheet.

There’s a black & white template for students to fill in, plus a colorful pattern page so you can do this as a whole-group activity with little ones.

Scartecrow's Hat book, scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, activities for the book scarecrows hat, retelling a story activiteis, sequencing a story activities, fall bulletin boardsToday’s featured FREEBIE also has a scarecrow theme.
“My Scarecrow’s 5 Senses” is a rhyming, emergent reader packed, with plenty of Dolch words, and helps reinforce lots of Common Core State Standards.

Students read, trace, write, add end punctuation, underline the adjectives and color the pictures.

Scartecrow's Hat book, scarecrow crafts, scarecrow activities, activities for the book scarecrows hat, retelling a story activiteis, sequencing a story activities, fall bulletin boardsWell that’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Time to put a costume together for party day.  Hmmmm I think I’ll be a nice witch.  Now where did I leave my wand…

Wishing you a magical day.

“If the broom fits, ride it!" - Unknown

1-2-3 Come Practice Place Value With Me

pumpkin crafts, pumpkin activities, place value activities, place value crafts, october bulletin boards, math bulletin boards, halloween party day craftsPut some “Woo Hoo!” into studying place value, by creating a super-cute PVP (Place Value Pumpkin).
This is an especially fun activity for your students and a nice alternative to worksheets; making it that “extra special something” you can do on party day or for October math practice.

pumpkin crafts, pumpkin activities, place value activities, place value crafts, october bulletin boards, math bulletin boards, halloween party day craftsCompleted projects turn out absolutely adorable and make an outstanding bulletin board or hallway display.

pumpkin crafts, pumpkin activities, place value activities, place value crafts, october bulletin boards, math bulletin boards, halloween party day craftsI’ve included 2 posters to help decorate, as well as header cards that show the total value of the pumpkin.

You’re sure to get lots of compliments, as the results definitely have that “Wow!” factor.

The packet is very versatile with lots of creative options for your students to choose from, which allows you to diversify your lesson.

Appeals to a variety of ages and abilities.
The versatility allows younger kiddos, as well as older students, to create a pumpkin that will have a two, three or even 4-digit number value!

pumpkin crafts, pumpkin activities, place value activities, place value crafts, october bulletin boards, math bulletin boards, halloween party day craftsKeep things simple for little ones and limit the number of pieces and options, as they create a Place Value Pumpkin "head".

pumpkin crafts, pumpkin activities, place value activities, place value crafts, october bulletin boards, math bulletin boards, halloween party day craftsChallenge older students to add arms and legs which will add to the total value of their pumpkin, as well as increase the cuteness factor. I’ve included hats, gloves and shoe patterns too.

pumpkin crafts, pumpkin activities, place value activities, place value crafts, october bulletin boards, math bulletin boards, halloween party day craftsOnce children have finished their PVP they figure out the value of their pumpkin.

I’ve provided several worksheet options for students to complete, as well as a whole-group activity.

Pick which of the 3 worksheets is the most appropriate for your students. 

Each practices a variety of place value math standards.

pumpkin crafts, pumpkin activities, place value activities, place value crafts, october bulletin boards, math bulletin boards, halloween party day craftsOn the one pictured here, students write the various forms of their number. Students also pick a partner and compare and contrast their Place Value Pumpkin Pal with another classmate's to practice even more math standards.

pumpkin crafts, pumpkin activities, place value activities, place value crafts, october bulletin boards, math bulletin boards, halloween party day craftsPumpkin head patterns take up a full page, so there's plenty of room for creating a nice sized Place Value Pumpkin head.

To show you how tall these creations can get I took a picture of my husband's personal favorite next to a ruler.

Limited time? This makes a super-fun homework assignment, or another idea is to have students work with a partner or create one PVP in a small group of three, which will divide up the work.

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

Create extra pizzazz and 3D pop, by giving students the option to add wiggle eyes, glitter, a pipe cleaner vine, bow, rhinestones, or a pom pom topped cap.

I had an absolute blast using all of these "extras" in my samples.  They really added that "finishing touch".

pumpkin crafts, pumpkin activities, place value activities, place value crafts, october bulletin boards, math bulletin boards, halloween party day craftsToday's featured FREEBIE is also perfect for Halloween party day. 

It's an "oldie but goodie" that I created a few years ago before I honed my computer graphic skills, but my kiddos absolutely love cutting out a "Spooky Spiral", which look pretty awesome swirling and twirling from the ceiling.

pumpkin crafts, pumpkin activities, place value activities, place value crafts, october bulletin boards, math bulletin boards, halloween party day craftsWell that's it for today.  So happy to be done with this whopper of a packet chock full of so many fun options.

Time to take a much-needed break. Despite crashing temps from 70s to 50s it's a pretty day. 

The sun is shining and fall has definitely arrived.  Wishing you a joy-filled day.

"Piles of leaves; Crisp autumn breeze; Pumpkin pie; Oh My!" - Unknown

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