The Countdown to Winter Break (and a freebie)

The countdown to winter break is on so I wanted to share this quick ornament to make with your students.  I get packages of glass ornaments from Hobby Lobby.  Every time I have gone they are 50% off, which ends up being being about $4.50 for a box of 12 (a steal).  

First, I write their name and the year with a sharpie around the top of the ornament.  Next, I have the kids pick two colors to put inside.  Then we cover the opening with a paper towel and SHAKE!  They end up looking almost tie-dyed.  

I have done this project for 7 or 8 years and this is the first year that I have had ornaments break on me (ugh), so instead of letting the kids shake them I had to do it.  I know that limits the fun a little but it prevented any more finger cuts and they still loved the way they turned out.

You use quite a bit of paint for this so you need to let them dry out for a couple of days.  We turned them upside down to drip dry in plastic cups.  After they are totally dry I put the top back on and added a ribbon.  
Here are the finished ornaments :-)
To wrap the ornaments we make these adorable reindeer heads out of paper bags.  I have a parent trace the antlers on the bags and then I have the kids cut them out and draw a face on the front.  They write who it's to/from on the back.  Finally, they add holly leaves as the ears.  I wrap them in a sheet of tissue paper and they fit perfectly!  Too cute!!
Also, if you're in need of a quick little word search, look no further.  I have some freebies for you.  There is one for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and a Reindeer option.

Click here to grab your free copy!

Grinch Day!

Today was Grinch Day in 1st grade.  Our school has four first grade classes so we set up a rotation where each teacher does a different project or activity in their room and we switch the different classes of students every 30 minutes.  It really makes the morning go fast and the kids think it's cool to go to a different classroom with a different teacher.
The kids could dress up for the day and wow did they get creative!  We had a couple of Who's, a lot of green and even a dog/reindeer with one horn.
The project that I did in my room was a Pintrest favorite from A Cupcake for the Teacher.
For the next activity the teacher had them make a present and on the inside wrote the phrase from the book: Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.  The students have to write about something special at Christmas that isn't related to the gifts.  They turned out really cute!

Another classroom collected a bunch of different Grinch themed worksheets and made a little fun packet for the kids to work on.  The final teacher did a grouchy Grinch activity.  We took pictures of our students ahead of time hold the Grinch and making a grouchy face.  The kids had to write about a time when they were grouchy. 

Of course we read the book and watched the movie, too :-)  
The teachers even got in on the fun!
What a good lookin' group of gals!

Merry Christmas, Splat

Our classroom door got a makeover today, and yes, it involved glitter.  The kids LOVED it!  The activity was pretty simple. . . we took two stocking pieces, punched them and then sewed them together.  It was a little bit of a challenge, but they picked it up quickly and were able to help each other!

When they were finished they got to choose their own color of glitter for the name.  I wrote it in glue and then they watched in amazement and we shook the extra glitter away.
Click here to get a free pattern of the stocking.
Also, our favorite cat, Splat, made another appearance this week.  The kids were so excited that we were going to be making a Christmas Splat that matched their Halloween version.
For the writing in this project we focused on time order; First, Next, Than, Last.  This was the first time we had done writing this way, but the kids did a nice job because we have been working on retelling the story with Beginning/Middle/End so much.  It was great to see them do this so easily.  We are also trying to focus more on the bigger parts of the story and not so much on the little details.
Their ideas are so creative - of course Splat got a big cat bed!
I know the example has a red present (as does the cover of the book) but sometimes I get a little bored when all the projects looks exactly the same. So I let them pick their own colors for the gifts and I think they turned out great!  I also got one of those huge bag of bows and let the kids pick their own.  It really adds a fun, finishing touch!

Click here to get your copy of Merry Christmas, Splat.

Thanksgiving Recap....

Well Thanksgiving has come and gone!  Whew, that went so quickly.  I wanted to share a little about what we did at the end of November before we skip forward to the holidays!!
First off my class did a Reader's Theater presentation.  We invite the families in to watch and it really is a fun afternoon.

We read two scripts: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type and The ABC's of the First Thanksgiving.  I got both scripts here.  For Click, Clack, Moo I like to split them up into small groups rather than individual parts.  That way everyone has a part and they also have the support of others to help them when they get nervous.  For the ABC's the narrator parts are done in groups but they each have a different letter of the alphabet to share.  
They did a fantastic job, I was super impressed with them!  They were very excited/anxious/nervous but still put on a great performance :-)

We also made some interactive books about the First Thanksgiving which turned out so great.
Our district has school Monday-Wednesday (half-day) so this was the perfect activity to do over those 2.5 days.  The kids really enjoyed learning all about the first Thanksgiving.

They learned what Pilgrim children wore and the chores they did (which was a lot more than us). . .

They saw what the Pilgrims houses looked like and made a comparison to the First Thanksgiving Feast and their Thanksgiving dinner.

They learned about the Pilgrims long trip on the Mayflower. . . 

 This picture really cracks me up :-)  I love the thought process!

We discussed crops that they planted . . .
One of the facts that really interested them  was that there were two dogs aboard the Mayflower.  

Apparently, it was so cramped that the dogs had to stand on top of each other. (Honestly, all three of these children sit at different tables so I thought it was too funny that they all drew it the same way).

As soon as they were done they wanted to flip through all the completed pages.  I love that when they were finished they wanted to read them with each other!

To get your own copy of this book click on the picture below!

And on a final note. . . 
I love it :-)