November has been such a busy month for us. At this time of the year I am assessing students to get ready for report cards but it is also the wonderful season of fall and I love teaching about the Wampanoag culture and reading fun stories about turkeys and Thanksgiving. This year I did a billion and one activities but I will only hit the ones I loved or better yet- have pictures of. We grew seeds in the backyard of my classroom and this time a mom had the kids help her put soil in about 5. How smart was she? One of them is bound to grow and several did! This is an early picture and I cannot wait to see what the pumpkins look like this week. We talked about decomposing and the kids never get tired of watching these. If you have never done this promise yourself you will try it next year.
Whatever concepts I needed to teach during these weeks had a picture of a Wampanoag or pilgrim. This was a simple math game where they just counting the dots on each card and recorded it and I ran it on old scrap booking paper and distressed the edges with brown ink to make it look old. The kids really liked this activity and it was a great formative assessment. Does anyone know how to make a 5 without reversing it. Nope.
We played lots of sight word games with cards and spinners and showed different ways to make numbers using an image of the Mayflower to spice things up! All of these were a big hit with the littles.
Here is a fall fluency chart we worked on to build their confidence before going to a little reader that matches this text. We built the sentences in a pocket chart with a matching picture and talked about adding "s" to show more than one. This is a great strategy to use when teaching new vocabulary.
We made a variety of maps and labeled them as we completed our Social Studies unit on working together. I also teach the children top, bottom, left and right while we complete this activity.
At this time of year we are working on story elements and we sorted character, setting, and event in a pocket chart. Some students found this challenging but we worked on it together and students had to support their ideas when they placed the picture in the chart. It was a great activity to do and I will keep working on this...
I love teaching guided drawing which then leads to their writing. This was so much fun and provided an opportunity for me to teach about the pilgrim children, what they wore and the jobs they did to help their families. We also talked about their clothing and compared many things to then and now. The kids did these on clipboards sitting on the learning carpet and loved their results!
I love providing these mini anchor charts when I asked students to write independently. It makes them so much more successful since it triggers their creativity and anchors their thinking. How cute are these 2 drawings? I love this age.
This year I was not interested in sending home the same old turkey for families to decorate so I decided to do a thankful plate. What are you thankful for as we approach this important American holiday? My students and I talked about gratitude and I sent this plate home with a note to the parents offering suggestions for making this. They knocked it out of the park! They were SPECTACULAR AND I CRIED OVER EACH ONE... NOT EVEN KIDDING. Parents really worked hard with their children and were so creative. I just took a few pictures but all of them were amazing. Their words were so beautiful and the family photos were so special. This was not my idea but I have had many friends on have done this and now I am trying to decide what I can do for the winter holidays that will be more meaningful. My students were so proud of their work that we ended up showing them to the principal. You have to try this project!
As Friday rolled around I was starting to fall apart from all the projects, activities and the mess. The kids love all headbands so I came up with this super simple one and when I modeled how to make a turkey feather you cannot imagine how much they loved this activity. It was silent in the room as everyone got to work trying this new "feathering" skill. Kids helped each other and now I realize why we have to release kids to do things on their own... yup it is painful.
This simple little turkey is so kid friendly. I walked them through the process and curly the feather on a pencil was the best part of their day! It felt magical to them and I loved their enthusiasm. I think they are so adorable and full of personality. These went home for the holidays.
I hope you got a few ideas for next year and now we are on to The Gingerbread Man which I love. I think I own every book possible for teaching this story and the kids never get tired of it. Check back soon and I hope your turkey day was filled with family, good times and memories that will keep you warm in the winter!