It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at our house. We put up our tree. It's a new, artificial tree. Our old tree developed a musty smell and wouldn't light properly! My daughter is very pleased that there are some purple lights on the new tree! Sunshine, our cat, decided that the garland made a nice nest. He's probably disappointed that the garland is now all hung. Do you have a real or fake tree? I'd love to know!
The kids and I came home from a birthday party to find this! My husband has issued a boys against girls gingerbread-house-making THROWDOWN! Apparently, Yoda will be the announcer. Gabrielle and I have decided to call our team the Marshmallow Masters. We'll be creating the Hello, Kitty house. My husband and Seth will be the Gingerbread Jedis! I'll have to let you know the outcome next week. With photos!
I spent many hours last year creating Christmas products, and I'm so glad I did! I've started to put Christmas-y items in my centers. The kids really like the graphing activities. I printed 5 colored copies of the pictures and slipped them into page protectors. The colored pictures and the recording/graphing worksheets get put in a basket. At center time, the kids just grab the basket and find a place to work. I love that this kiddo decided to use red and green! My Winter and Christmas Graphing Bundle is available in my store. You can also get the Christmas Reindeer activity for just a dollar by clicking here.
Amy (my friend/colleague/co-teacher) and I have started a brief mini-unit on writing "how-to" pieces. We started by asking the children to write directions for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Since we have students with allergies, we told them that directions for making a sunbutter and jelly sandwich was also acceptable! We didn't give any direction other than to do their best. After about ten minutes, we gathered the children and had some of them read their pieces. Amy acted out the students' directions with props. In one of the photos above, you can see her grabbing jelly with her hands instead of using a butter knife! The kids were laughing so hard. We then talked about the importance of being very specific when writing directions.
The following day, we modeled making paper snowflakes. Amy created a paper snowflake. After each step, I described what she had just done using very specific language. Fold diagonally to form a triangle... On the folded edge, snip 3 small triangles... Etc... Then, Amy created another snowflake. The students helped me describe what she was doing, and I jotted notes on an organizer for each step. Finally, we paired students up. One students was to be the "creator". The other student was the "watcher/describer". As the creator completed each step, the describer had to explain what that step was using precise language. Then, the students switched roles. Next week, we'll be diving into the full writing activity. This is not my original idea. Last December, I purchased a fabulous product by Stephanie at 3rd Grade Thoughts. Her products and her blog are amazing, and I strongly suggest you visit her store and her blog if you aren't already familiar with her. You can read about how she implements this lesson in her own classroom by clicking here.
I'm going to work on those report cards now! Have a wonderful week!