Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thanksgiving Crafts and More!

Thanksgiving break is upon us! These last couple of weeks have been so busy for me. I've been in and out of the classroom because of trainings, IEPs, and Common Core lead teacher meetings. I love being busy and I'm beginning to feel that I've finally found my groove with my new job. It's a great feeling when you absolutely love what you do and (finally) feel like your teaching is reaching your students!

We had our last day of school (before the Thanksgiving break holiday) yesterday and my students have been busy learning about the first Thanksgiving and Pilgrims. We completed a circle map for pilgrims (available at my TPT store) after reading a comprehension passage from (If you haven't used ReadWorks, it's a great website with leveled reading passages that each come with comprehension questions.)

I have a lot of non-readers, but I am always surprised at how much they get out of these reading passages and graphic organizer activities. They are always able to recall what we read in the story and enjoy sharing their thoughts aloud when we complete the circle map.

We also completed a cute turkey craft the other day. I got this idea from an Oriental Trading catalog. My students - who were deprived of these kinds of activities last year - are always appreciative of craft time in the classroom. They especially love anything with paint! 

We also had my classroom parents in yesterday for our school's Thanks to Parents event. We completed a couple of different activities with those parents who came in. The parents really enjoyed seeing the classroom and working with their children. Our first activity was a paper plate pilgrim - a Pinterest idea!

Next, we completed a cute geometric pilgrim card. The kids later wrote a Thanksgiving message to their parents inside the card.

We finally completed a Thanksgiving wreath - another Pinterest idea! We used bubble wrap and paint to get the corn texture on the manilla paper. The kids really liked this and the parents thought it was the cutest thing they've seen!

Before my parents left, we also gave them the opportunity to take pictures at our classroom photo booth. I couldn't resist taking some shots of my own before leaving for the day.

Today marks the first day of my week-long vacation and I've spent the day lounging and catching up on homework. Here's to a long week of rest and recuperation! 

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fall Freebie: Pilgrim Graphic Organizer

It's fall - one of my favorite times of the year! I've been working like crazy this weekend to get some TPT worksheets made for November - including several new graphic organizers!

As I've talked about before, I use a wide variety of graphic organizers in my classroom. It's a great tool for recording thinking and brainstorming - and my students really benefit from the use of graphic organizers in the classroom as a precursor or conclusion to any thematic unit. I like to use graphic organizers throughout the unit - a KWL chart as an opening activity, a circle map once we've done some close readings, a flow map for sequencing of events, and a venn diagram to compare and contrast events or people.

I created several new products for November (with more to come soon!) I created some graphic organizers as well as a writing prompts bundle. Here is a look at a few of the items...

To kick off November, I've created a freebie for everyone to grab on my TPT store! It's a great circle map for any teacher teaching about the first Thanksgiving or pilgrims. And it doesn't hurt that it has some cute DJ Inkers clipart too!
Take a look and download the freebie at my store! If you have the time, please rate my product - I love getting feedback from users as to how I can make my products even better.

Happy November!
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Friday, November 1, 2013

Bring in the Fall!

I absolutely love November - if for nothing more than the beautiful fall weather! Living in Southern California, our weather fluctuates between really hot and fairly mild. We don't get real seasons like the east coast and other parts of the country (which is probably why I absolutely ADORE going back to New York whenever I get the chance!) 

November gets me excited for a few different reasons. First, it's a fairly short month for teachers as we have Thanksgiving break. And - as many teachers would agree - a week off from the kiddos is always a welcome break. Secondly, November signifies the coming of Christmastime - my most favorite time of year! I start breaking out my Christmas decorations the day after Halloween so that I get at least two full months of Christmas lights and decor. Finally, I get a week off to spend with my family and friends - oh, and I get to eat some amazing food that my mom cooks. 

 So, Happy November/Fall!
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