Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I made it through the last week of school before Christmas break! To be perfectly honest, it was a complete blurr. I can't believe how quickly it went by! Anyways, let's jump right in to our crazy week:

First our school had a door decorating contest and I got this adorable idea from Pinterest (of course)...

One of our Literacy Centre activities was a festive version of Write the Room. Rather them just looking for words already around our room, I "hid" pictures of the words all around my room to make it more challenging:

Despite the insanity of the week, I tried my best to keep curriculum in our activities. My kids love graphing and, if you're anything like me, you love an activity that is easily cross-curricular. These Sight Word Graphing worksheets from The Moffatt Girls are fantastic!! The pack includes all 41 Dolch sight words and can be used for either literacy or math centres:
(Click on the pic to grab a copy!)

The kiddies completed a Christmas Graphing worksheet that I made to help them practice displaying information, problem solving, and interpreting graphs:
(click the pic above to download your FREE copy!)

The last graphing centre I'll share/remembered to take pictures of is Reindeer Nose Graphing using black, brown, and red pompoms:
(Sorry, I can't remember where I got TpT product?)

In the spirit of having the kiddies decorate our room, I had them complete this super simple wreath activity by ripping paper and gluing it on a paper plate with the centre cut out:

I had a zillion ideas for what we were going to make our families for Christmas and then my lovely fellow Grade One teacher next door shared this craft idea with me:
Her awesome husband cut and nailed wood together to make the snowman bases and then it was up to the kiddies to paint and decorate their wooden snowman. The hats are gloves; the eyes, nose, and buttons are foam; the arms are twigs; and the scarf is just strips of fabric from Walmart. They turned out super cute! Thank you Mrs. Montgomery!
Next we made cards to go with our gifts. I saw this adorable thumbprint idea on Pinterest...
I LOVE each and every one of them. It was surprisingly simple to make as well. Just brown paint thumbprints and then markers for antlers, eyes, noses, and ears. 

The last craftivity we did was one I stole from Abby Mullins:
It was cute to see all of their different responses:

Last but not least, here are some photos from our second Christmas Concert performance for the ladies and gentlemen at Princess Court (old age home):
("There was a little baby, Oh my Lord!")
("I want a hippopotamus for Christmas!")
("Mom says a hippo would eat me up but then teacher says a hippo is a vegetarian")

Have a safe and Merry Christmas everyone!!! See you in 2013! Enjoy all the snow if you have it!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Run, Run, Run, As Fast As You Can!

'Tis the end of our deliciously fabulous Gingerbread Week! Oh, what fun we had. Here's a closer look at some of our themed activities...

First up: literacy centres! On Sunday, I made the most simple and yummy-smelling gingerbread play dough EVER!!! 
Yes, it looks like poop but it smells like heaven, and the kiddies were totally engaged in this oral language centre activity..."baking" gingerbread cookies:
At the writing centre, the kiddies got to work on gingerbread storybooks.
(I think I got them from Deanna Jump?? I can't remember...let me know if they're yours!!)
I added some simple word recognition by making this little "cheat sheet" and having them colour every word in their book according to the legend:

At word work, they had two gingerbread-y activities to work on. The first was sorting gingerbread cookie words on to word family plates. We have covered lots of word families by this point in the year so I added 5 new ones to give them a little challenge (-oy, -ight, -ake, -ow, and one more that I can't remember right now...oops!)
(To make the gingerbread cookie words, I simply printed off and laminated clipart I got from google-searching "gingerbread man clipart." After my lovely fiance cut out every single gingerbread man for me, I just wrote my selected words with permanent marker. Easy peasy!)

The second activity goes hand in hand with word work and our current graphing unit in math. The kiddies got to spin the word spinner and first tally up to 20 spins, then graph the results. I think this activity was part of one of Deanna Jump's freebie packages? Anywho, I love the cross-curricular application and the kiddies loved the activity, too!

And I'll just throw in my listening centre for the week since it matched our theme; They got to listen to Gingerbread Baby, which I bought specifically for this mini-unit. Gotta love Jan Brett!

Next up, we made some gingerbread ornaments just for fun! During math centres, I called the kiddies one-on-one to help roll out and cut their own gingerbread people. The recipe is super easy; it's just 1/2 cup glue, about 1 1/2 cups cinnamon (more or less to establish a doughy consistency), 1/3 cups applesauce, and LOTS of sparkles! The only downside is they take about 3-4 days to fully dry and you have to keep flipping them so they don't curl. But overall, it was a super fun activity and my classroom STILL smells delicious as a result of it :)
(I put a hole in each gingerbread head using a straw and, once they fully dry, I will string them with some festive ribbon for the kiddies to take home.)

At the beginning of the week, I promised my firsties that we could make gingerbread houses. I thought they would be disappointed to learn that we were using construction paper instead of real gingerbread, but they loved it just the same! 
They turned out AWESOME!!! 
(look at that one on the top left! It's hard to tell but she made a 3D door and added a very complex lock system to keep the house safe!)
Like just about everything else, I took the super fun craft and used it for a boring writing activity :P The kiddies actually LOVED using our descriptive writing period to describe their very own gingerbread houses. They did a great job:

Moving on! During our once-a-week computer period, I kept the gingerbread theme going. They got to decorate and print out another gingerbread house through one of the activities on (If you have not visited that site, do it! It is a fantastic resource and, best of all, it's FREE! I love how it allows the kids to easily select the appropriate activities based on their grade. Check it out: ABCya). 

Next, (yes, there's still more!) some of the kiddies got to decorate a construction gingerbread person. I had this as a backup activity and it definitely came in handy! If a student finished their work early, this was the fun activity that they could work on. I love how differently they all turned out:

 Okay, I promise this is the last gingerbread themed activity I am going to share! On Friday, at the end of a fun-filled gingerbread week, I couldn't go without giving the kiddies a real gingerbread to eat. So, as per usual, I turned the treat into a math activity!!! How fun. 
haha but, seriously, it actually was lots of fun. I told the kids that once we each had our gingerbread men, we were going to take ONE bite all together on the count of three. 
Then we graphed the results: who bit off the head first, arm first, leg first, or who didn't even take a bite:
After graphing our results and discussing the data (and eating the rest of our gingerbread!), I had them repeat the activity so that they could graph the results and interpret the data independently. Of course, that meant we had to repeat the survey aka eat another gingerbread man :)

And then, after all of our gingerbread graphing fun was done, I sent my sugar-filled sweeties home to their parents. haha Sorry moms and dads!! Have a great weekend everyone! 
*one more week*

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Grinch Week!

Yes, I am about a hundred years behind in my posting! Grinch Week was last week but I have not had the chance to post until now. Boy is life getting crazy!!! I was forced to call in sick for the first time on Monday (however, not without an unhealthy amount of guilt and stress from wondering how my kiddies were doing that day...) and then there were parent teacher interviews and an endless list of "to-dos" ...I thought Christmas time was supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year? *Deep breaths* haha

ANYWAYS, despite the insanity of each day in the month of December, Grinch Week was a ton of fun! Here are a few of the activities we completed:
Of course we read Dr. Seuss's How The Grinch Stole Christmas and during our literacy block, we worked on describing the Grinch's character. Because we have just begun descriptive writing with adjectives, this was a great way to reinforce that new concept:
(click the pic to download your free copy!)

Next up, we did a fun little craftivity (inspired by the amazing Cara over at The First Grade Parade) where the kiddies had to come up with a clever way to make the Grinch grin:
Some of the answers I got were *too funny*

"To make the Grinch grin I would tickle him in his furry armpit and feet" (HA!) & "To make the Grinch grin I would give him a pet dog."
"To make the Grinch grin I would kiss him. He would smile all day" & "To make the Grinch grin I would draw him an in-line picture" (I asked what an "in-line picture" was and I got this response: "I would colour him a picture and stay all inside the lines so it was nice and neat. He would think it was beautiful." so precious!!!)
And as if those ones weren't cute enough, I got this one:
"To make the grinch grin I would cut his fur. That would be so he won't have to shave" hahaha

To celebrate the end of our Grinchy mini-unit on Friday, we got to watch the movie, How the Grinch Stole Christmas:
...and because there is never any "pointless fun" in my classroom (hehe) I took it as a great opportunity to cross off some media studies by completing a book/movie comparison! We first discussed what was similar and what was different between the book and the movie, and then the kiddies completed this worksheet:
(click the pic to download your free copy, along with another descriptive writing freebie!)

This was actually a great book/movie for this media activity because the two were so similar with obvious differences which made it better-geared toward my firsties. 
Finally, I sent my kiddies away at the end of the week with a little treat:
"When the Grinch discovered there was no way to keep Christmas from coming on Christmas day, he devised a new plan...though not quite as mean, he licked all the candy canes 'til he turned them all GREEN!" ...Thanks again, Cara!!!

They just thought that was the greatest thing in the world.
Well, I may as well say "enjoy your weekend" since tomorrow is FRIDAY! I will be back soon to post about this week's Gingerbread fun! :)
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