This morning, I woke up to my two-year-old belting out, “Oh when the saints…go marching in…” I wasn’t sure whether to go get him or to keep listening. I kept listening and also heard his rendition of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” and “Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee,” so I’m pretty sure I made the right choice. Hopefully you woke up to something just as great!
OK, now that I got the toddler story out of my system, here is the real reason for my blog post. Rachel Lynette, task card queen and blogger extraordinaire, gave TPT sellers the opportunity to create a page for her holiday e-book for grades 3-6. And guess what? My page made it! Woohoo! Click on the image to pick up the e-book from her TPT store. It is chock full of holiday classroom tips and links to freebies from 50 TPT sellers.
P.S. My page is page 7!
P.P.S If you are looking for activities for other grades, there is a PreK-K, 1-2, and 7-12 version, too, compiled by several other amazing TPT-ers. Click on the image, and you will find the links in the product description.
And here is my freebie from the book. I’m pretty proud of this because it is something I always wanted to make for my class but never got around to it with all of the hectic-ness/hyper-ness surrounding the holidays. Use this to motivate your students to read over break. It is educational yet non-homeworky. Students earn marshmallows for their mug by completing reading challenges such as “Read under the table” or “Read with your grandparents.”
Are you familiar with this hilarious poem from Jack Prelutsky. “The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven.” Seriously, it’s super funny. I don’t want to get into any copyright trouble, so I can’t post the poem itself, but you can find it easily in his collection of poems called Something Big Has Been Here.
The gist of a poem is they’re cooking a Thanksgiving turkey when it shoots out of the oven creating a huge mess. Turns out, the cook had stuffed the turkey with un-popped popcorn. It’s funny, and the rhymes are great, and that’s not even the best part.
The best part is…are you sure you can handle this…drumroll please…the best part is the fun vocabulary that Prelutsky uses…rocketed, demolished, ricocheted, obscuring, chagrin (I had to look that one up the first time I read it) just to name a few. It is such a fun, engaging poem to read in that week before Thanksgiving when students are just ready to be on break.
And if you haven’t discovered Jack Prelutsky, ok you probably have, but just in case. All of his poems are fun and relatable to students. His website is interactive with lots of poetry on the site itself. And I love, love, love reading the letters that kids have written to him. He chooses to funniest, cutest, and strangest ones to post. Definitely worth checking out: Jack Prelutsky’s Website
Ok, back to the task at hand. I created these vocabulary cards to go with the poem. Click on the images to grab them FREE!
Here are some simple ideas for how you might use the poem in your classroom:
1. Display the poem on the smart board and/or give students individual copies of the poem. Echo read and choral read to practice fluency. Talk about the meaning.
2. Have students illustrate the poem. Firstly, drawing is fun for lots of kids. Secondly, and even more important than fun perhaps, students really have to understand the vocabulary to be able to illustrate a turkey demolishing a chair and other great lines. You could have students make a comic strip or break students up into groups and have each group illustrate a line.
3. Have students act out the poem or create a turkey puppet to use for the actions in the poem.
4. Copy the poem on chart paper and leave blanks for key vocabulary words. Have students practice using context clues to match the words to the blank. Or you could have students think of other words that could fit. An impromptu synonym lesson?
5. Have students use some of the key vocabulary to write their own Thanksgiving poem about cranberry sauce, stuffing, or some other unsuspecting food.
6. Have students sort the vocabulary words into their own categories with the caveat that each category must contain at least two words.
7. You could just read it for fun and call it a day!
And in case you want something else to look at on the internet besides yahoo news, here are some of my past Thanksgiving posts:
And a freebie from my TPT store:
Enjoy! And Happy early Thanksgiving!
Hats off to our Veterans!
Here are some creative thinking and even (gasp) fun activities you can do with your students on Veteran’s Day. They make great sponge activities or brain breaks.
1. Famous Veterans–use this as a simple research activity, or it can be a fun guessing game. Students will sort celebrities into the branch of the military in which they served.
2. Patriotic Song Lyrics–challenge students to fill in the blank with the missing word from the songs. Extend the activity by discussing the meaning of the words and songs.
3. Proud to Be an American–students will think of reasons they are proud to be an American. Challenge them to come up with a reason for every letter of the alphabet.
Click the link to pick them up FREE from Google Docs. Or click the images to download them FREE from my TPT store.
I also wanted to share an old freebie. Old as in last year. Here are some November Creative Thinking Prompts. Use for task cards, early finishers, time fillers, discussions, or writing prompts. There is a fun fact and task for each day in November. They include random holidays and special days from one of my favorite websites: Holiday Insights
Click here to grab them FREE from Google Docs. Or click the images to pick them up FREE from my TPT store.
And these are freebies and it happens to be Friday, so of course, I am linking up with Teaching Blog Addict for their weekly freebie link up. Head on over there for more great free items!
Happy November everyone!
Arrays are a superfood of math. For real. Have you ever really considered all of the mathematical concepts you can teach with arrays? No? Well, read on. Arrays can help practice: skip counting, repeated addition, multiplication facts, commutative property, fact families, factors, square numbers, prime & composite, area, and perimeter.
Not only are they concept-dense, but students grasp the idea of an array pretty easily. Here is an activity to help students grasp the basic knowledge of arrays, to set the groundwork.
Pumpkin Arrays Math Exploration
pumpkin candy or other small manipulatives for each student
What to do:
Use guiding questions, and let students explore. Encourage and discuss observations. Leave things informal and open-ended.
1. How many arrays can you make using 2 pumpkins? (1×2, 2×1) Record examples on the board.
2. Repeat with 3, 4, 5, to make sure students grasp the concept of arrays. Have students share any patterns they notice. If your students are ready for prime/composite, you can talk about it here. Notice prime numbers will only have 2 arrays. Composite will have more. You can even make a T-chart with prime and composite and record as you go.
3. Encourage students to notice patterns. For example, students may notice that 4 makes a square. Have students predict the next number that will make a square. Students may also notice that some numbers only make 2 arrays (this could lead into a prime/composite discussion if your students are ready.) If students already understand multiplication, help them make connections. Help them make the connection with fact families and division. Pretty much let student observations guide your discussions.
4. How many arrays can you make using 6 pumpkins? (1×6, 6×1, 2×3, 3×2)
5. Continue up until 12 continuing to discuss observations. Then you may want to skip to 16, 18, 20, 24, 36, depending on how many pumpkins each student has. (24 and 36 are fun ones, though, since they both have so many factors.)
6. When you are ready to close, have students answer this question: What is the most important observation you noticed about arrays today?
Simple, engaging, great for the day after Halloween.
I’m going to write about something that I almost never write about here: kindergarteners. Why do I never write about kindergarteners, you ask? Well, first of all, I can never remember if it is a “t” or a “d.” It sounds like garden. Why isn’t it spelled that way? Secondly, kindergarteners scare me a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, I think kindergarteners are really really cute. I especially love the way they look on the first day of school with the big ol’ backpacks that hang down to their little ankles. Kindergarteners like to give hugs, and they say really cute things, I hear. It’s not those things that scare me.
It’s tying shoes. And potty breaks. And attention spans. And wiggles. And well, I can admit, I am not a lovey, huggy, bubbly, happy kindergarten teacher. It’s just not me.
Thankfully, there are lots of amazing kindergarten teachers out there. And they are a special kind of sweet, and I have the utmost respect for anyone who can teach kindergarten! (And some of them are equally afraid of our older elementary students!) I just so happen to have a new bloggy friend who is one of them.
GiGi has just entered the TpT bloggy world, and she has an AMAZING freebie that is too good not to share. Even if it is for kindergarteners. Click the image to visit her blog, Lipstick and Learning.
And you can grab her freebie from her TpT store by clicking the image.
Notice how she includes the “I Can” statements so students and parents can see exactly what the Common Core connection is! It’s so good, it almost makes me want to teach kindergarten*.
Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!
*Ok I don’t really want to teach kindergarten. But it is an awesome freebie, definitely worth checking out!
It’s Friday. Oh yeah.
I always liked doing fun, hands-on science and critical thinking activities in my classroom, and I was always on the lookout for more resources. This summer I decided I would just create my own.
Here is a free one just for you!
This is Jack and the Parachute. Basically, students will build a parachute to help Jack escape the giant. Check it out:
If you’re looking for more freebies, head over to Teaching Blog Addict by clicking below:
An Educator’s Life is also hosting a Freebie Linky. Check out Share the Wealth Saturday by clicking the image below:
Have a great weekend!
So this blogging journey has been fun, and I have also enjoyed creating products for TpT. I started out casually posting things just to see if anyone would actually buy something I created. Now it has become sort of an addiction because TpT has an iPad app, and every time you make a sale, you hear a cha-ching. Talk about Pavlovian. I hear the cha-ching and I swear I start salivating. Well, not really, but it makes me want to create, create, create! I have learned a lot about technology, curriculum, and business in the process, and I have learned a lot about TpT, too.
I thought I would share with you some tips from the seller end of things. Here is what tpt sellers* want you to know:
1. Leave Feedback! Leave feedback for the products you purchase. Please! You don’t have to leave it immediately. In fact, we would prefer for you to use the product with your students and then leave fair, honest feedback. When we sell a product and you don’t leave feedback, we start to wonder what’s wrong. So please, leave feedback. Plus, you get credits to use when you shop later. If you are not sure if you left feedback or not, just go to “My Purchases” on your TpT account, and you will have a little blinking icon that tells you to leave feedback. Oh, and don’t forget to leave feedback on freebies, too!
2. Be Specific! Of course, we really like 4 stars on our products, but we know we can’t please everyone all of the time. That’s ok, too. But if you leave a less-than-perfect feedback, please please please be specific and tell us why. Speaking for myself, I want to improve my products and make them all 4 star worthy. Plus, it is frustrating when we get feedback that says, “Great!” but gives us 3 out of 4 stars! (Perfectionistly speaking.)
3. Send a Message re: typos or questions. Oh my goodness, there is nothing more embarrassing than discovering that 100 people have downloaded a product or a freebie, and then you realize you spelled ‘and’ as ‘adn’, or something along those lines. OK, maybe there are a few things more embarrassing like walking out of the bathroom with toilet paper on your shoe or tripping in public. I’ve done both. So I know. But a typo ranks up there. Remember, we are just regular people, working from our computer usually with distractions like toddlers or black labs. We don’t have editors to catch little mistakes. So please, let us know if you find one, just send a message in the Q & A section. Most of us will be more than happy to fix it right away. When someone finds a typo and lets me know, I usually offer them a product from my store as a thank you and an apology.
4. Check Back for Updates. Re-download your purchases every now and then. You can find them by going to “My Purchases.” We often add updates, fix mistakes, add different versions, make them better, etc… Whenever we add an update, you can always re-download it for free. Unfortunately, we can’t actually e-mail you or notify you in anyway, so just check back occasionally.
5. Read Carefully. We try to be really specific so that you don’t accidentally purchase the product individually and the same product in a bundle. Be sure to read the descriptions and check out the previews in regards to technology, too. Also, read the Q&A’s and Feedbacks about products. This way, you know if you have the correct software to open it, and you know exactly what you are getting. If you are not sure, ask a question in our Q&A section.
6. Follow Us. We like having followers. It makes us feel cool. So click the “Follow Me” button if you like a seller. By clicking this, you will get updates from the seller’s store, like when they post new products or when they are having a sale. Also, sellers can send followers a message in your TPT inbox once a month.
7. Pin Products. If you find a product or a freebie or a seller that you really like, and you happen to have a Pinterest account. Pin away, please! We appreciate the free advertising
8. Wishlist Away! Yes, I am using “wishlist” as a verb here. When you like something, add it to your wishlist so you can remember it. Freebies, too! I can’t tell you how many times I found a freebie that I liked and then went back to find it and couldn’t. When you download a freebie, it doesn’t automatically go to your purchase page like the paid products do. But if you wishlist it, you can always come back to it to find it again, especially when you are ready to leave feedback for it. See tip #1.
*Disclaimer: By TpT sellers, I mean me. I think there are others who share my thoughts, but I am speaking strictly for myself in this post.
Now, if you haven’t heard, TpT is having a huge back to school sale. I try not to be too annoying with advertising myself on this blog, but you’ll forgive me this once, won’t you? All of my products are 28% off for Sunday and Monday. Be sure to check it out! Click on the cool graphic to visit my store.
Thank you to Loreen Leedy for this cute graphic!