Saturday, November 17, 2012

Twas the Week Before Christmas & A Freebie

What is your very favorite week of the school year?  I think the first week and last week of school are probably the hardest, and the days leading up to any vacation or holiday are challenging too.  But no matter how crazy, the week before Christmas vacation is one of my favorite weeks of the school year.  I feel like I have more flexibility to let loose a little and have some fun with my students.  I have a little Christmas tree and string some Christmas lights around the room.  My students enter and leave each day to fun Christmas carols that they beg me not to sing.  However, I've definitely learned that I have to maintain my structure and routine or else things quickly spiral out of control.  Fortunately I've found a few ways to continue my instruction while allowing my students to have fun and express their excitement over Christmas. 

Even though it's definitely NOT my favorite Christmas song, I couldn't resist making math task cards for The 12 Days of Christmas.  The cards are mostly multiplication word problems, but I threw in a little addition, subtraction, and division word problems as well.  You can download these Christmas task cards for FREE by clicking <here> or on the pictures below!!!

I also love incorporating seasonal activities into my literacy instruction.  I absolutely LOVE reading Christmas books to my students, because there is just something special about that time together, so I've created a week long literacy unit based around five popular Christmas picture books.

This unit started as just a simple read aloud for my own students, but over the years it has grown into a week's worth of reading and writing activities that students love (and I do too)!

The books included in this unit are:
  • Snowmen at Christmas
  • Olive, the Other Reindeer
  • Mooseltoe
  • Night Tree
  • How Santa Got His Job

For each book there is a reading activity, a writing activity, and I've tried to incorporate art as much as possible.  For example, students can make a snowman Venn-Diagram when reading Snowmen at Christmas, and if you're limited on time or resources I've included premade activity sheets  (color and black & white).

The writing activities include creative graphic organizers and cute Christmas themed paper.  I particulary like the persuasive writing piece where students write why they should become the next Santa Claus.  
There are also six basic comprehension questions for each of the picture books.

If you'd like to check it out, just click <here> or on any of the large pictures.  I really think this is one of my new favorite products, and I hope you can find something to enjoy too!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Prefix and Suffix of the Week

As I'm sure you can imagine, things are pretty crazy around here.  I have to say I had forgotten how much work a newborn was....whew!  I think I've also forgotten what is is like to sleep for a significant stretch of time.  I'm definitely enjoying my time at home with my two little ones, but to be honest I miss my school kiddos too. 

I have tried to carve out a little time to work on a much requested product-Prefix and Suffix of the Week.  I've had SEVERAL requests for this product, so I have to assume that this is a challenging concept to most students.  I know my students have always had trouble with prefixes and suffixes, and I could never find a way to teach it that really interested them.  Hopefully, this new product will be just what we need!

I'm really excited about it, because I think I'll see a significant improvement in my students' vocabulary.  Some of the words in this packet are a bit challenging, but I think my students will really benefit from seeing how words can be broken down.

I don't have a great picture of this product in action, since I don't have access to my bulletin boards, but I'll get some better pictures as soon as I return to work (I can't believe I'm already halfway through with my leave).

I plan to allow students to add their own word cards below the given examples.  I think they will enjoy contributing to the display.  I like to make everything as interactive as possible, because that makes everything much for relevant to students.  You can see a better example of the sentences in the picture below.  If you're interested in checking this out, you can click <here> or on any of the pictures.