Sunday, January 13, 2019

Snowmen At Work Activities

Snowmen at Work by Carol Beuhner is a great book to read in those snowy winter months.  Just what do snowmen do all night, anyway? Well we know they like to play, but they have jobs to do too!

This week we decided to take a trip to the Snowman Village and spend a day in the life of a snowman!

We started out by reading the book Snowmen at Work and then we made a list of jobs that snowmen might be doing while we are sleeping.

Next, I told the students the they would be visiting the Snowman Village! I set up 8 different math and literacy stations around the room and the students got to visit each one, trying out some of the different jobs that snowmen at work might do. 

Along the way they went to the Snowman Cafe, the snowman dentist, and even tried out some fishing at the local ice fishing pond! My students love spending a day in the life of different characters in our classroom!

Station 1 - Snowman Detective

Oh no! Someone has stolen a snowman and hid all the parts all over town! At this station, the students put on their detective hat and set to work finding all the missing snowman parts.  As each part was found, they wrote it on their worksheet in this cute "write the room" activity. 

Station 2 - Snowman Cafe

Students made a stop at the Snowman Cafe where they made some snowman soup - hot chocolate with marshmallows! After they enjoyed this tasty treat they did a little sequencing page where they put the steps in the correct order. 

Station 3 - Do You Want To Build A Snowman?

A trip to the Snowman Village wouldn't be complete without building a snowman! At this station, the students practiced addition while playing this fun game.  Each player had a set of snowman pieces and the object of the game was to be the first person to build their snowman.  

Station 4 - Snowman Fishing

A trip to the local ice pone was next! Here the students used a magnetic fishing pole (a dowel rod with a magnet attached) to fish for words with "s" blends.  Every time they hooked a word, they could put it in their fishing bucket.  But watch out! If the ice cracked, they had to throw them all back in.  The first one to fill their pail, won.  They loved this activity so much!

Station 5 - Snowman Dentist

The kids found out that even snowmen have to visit the dentist! The students practiced subtraction story problems at this center.  They used their word mat and little white pom poms as teeth to help them solve their problems. Then they wrote the subtraction sentence on the worksheet. 

Station 6 - Snowman Builder

At this station, the students built their own snowman house out of a Styrofoam cups and mini marshmallows.  They attached their cups to a piece of tag board and then added little houses, snowmen, trees, etc to make their own mini snowman village!

Station 7 - Snowman School

No town is complete without school! At this station the students visited the Snowman School where they worked to see how many words they could make out of the letters in SNOWMAN. 

Station 8 - Snowman Village Bump

Finally, the students finished off their trip to Snowman Village with a little game of bump! They used their addition skills to try and bump their opponent off the board in this cute game. 

When all of the students had visited the stations, it was time to reflect and do some writing.  Each student chose the job that they liked best and wrote why they thought it would be the best snowman job. 

This was the perfect way to spend a cold and snowy day in January! When the weather is too cold to get outside, bring the snowman village inside! If you're planning a winter parent night, these activities would be perfect for that, too! Take a closer look at each of these activities here. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Winter Weather Lesson Plans

Winter weather activities are a great way to fit your science standards into your day and learning about how water changes in winter is one of my favorite units!

I don't know about you, but I sure have a hard time fitting science into my day.  There are so many other things to teach and sometimes science and social studies are the first to go.  But I don't like that because, it's the most fun! I've found that by combining these standards with my writing activities helps me fit everything into my day.

Activity 1

We started off with a pre-assessment to see how much students knew about water changes.

To begin our unit, we watched a non fiction powerpoint that teaches the students all about how water changes in winter. 

Next, we work together to create a large graphic organizer web about how water changes in winter.   We worked together to brainstorm different ideas to add to the web. 

Activity 2

After this I showed the students the steps for informational writing.  We used the graphic organizer to get our ideas and the students helped me develop my report. We talked about the different parts of informational writing as the students helped me write my report. 

Next it was time for the students to write their own reports.  First they made their own graphic organizer and then they used an informational writing template to help them write their report about how water changes in winter. 

I love these templates because they are differentiated to meet the needs of all my students.  Plus, they have a built in rubric for easy grading. 

Activity 3

Next we learned all about snowflakes.  Did you know that no two snowflakes are alike? We read the book about a man named Snowflake Bentley who studied snowflakes all his life.  He took photographs of real snowflakes and the students were fascinated by these icy crystals.

We also watch a little time lapse video of a real snowflake which the kids loved.  

Finally it was time for the kids to make their own snowflakes.  We learned that snowflakes have six sides, so we started with a hexagon in the middle of our paper followed by 6 q tips as the sides.  

After that, the students added lots of sparkle and shine with little bits of aluminum foil, beads and other scraps. 

They learned that snowflakes are symmetrical, so the students tried to make sure each side of their snowflake was the same. 

As a little bonus, we decided to do a little science project to see what makes water melt the fastest - salt, flour, hot water or cold water......which do you think did the job???

We had a great couple of days learning about how water changes.  If you want to try these activities in your room, you can grab it here

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Elf Activities For Kids

Classroom elf activities are always fun during December. Your students will love completing an elf application and spending a day in the life of an elf as they travel from station to station trying out the different jobs of an elf!

Imagine the excitement in the air when your students find out they will be applying for the job of a North Pole elf! That's what happened in our classroom when my students filled out an official Elf Application and then got the chance to try out some of the jobs of Santa's elves.

We started out with one of my favorite December stories  Jolly Old Santa Claus. I love this book because it shows the children the North Pole and all of the different jobs of Santa's elves.

Next, we made a list of some of the different jobs that elves do at the North Pole. We used the interactive writing technique, where students share the pen with the teacher and write the words as the rest of the class helped them sound out tricky words. 

After creating our list, students filled out this free Official Elf Application to apply to be one of Santa's North Pole elves! They had to answer questions like "Do you like cookies?" and "Will you feed the reindeer?".  The application even included a section where students used persuasive writing to tell Santa why he should pick them for the job.


The next day, students spent a day in the life of an elf.  They visited 8 different stations and tried out some of the jobs of Santa's elves.  

The Elves Make Cookies

At this station, students decorated real Christmas cookies with frosting and sprinkles. They also made a simple cookie craft where they cut out a cookie and decorated it with paper frosting and marker sprinkles.  

The Elves Feed The Reindeer

At this station, students made magic reindeer food.  They colored a Magic Reindeer Food topper and then mixed together the ingredients of oatmeal, birdseed and "magic reindeer dust" (glitter!).  They each got to take home a bag of reindeer food to sprinkle on their lawn on Christmas eve, 

The Elves Trim The Trees

At this station, our little elves got to decorate some Christmas trees with this cute Christmas tree craft.  

The Elves Make Clothing

We all know that Santa's elves have to sew and make their own clothing, so at this station the students made a cute elf hat that even included some special elf ears! We attached them to sentence strip headbands and the kids looked adorable as they traveled from station to station in their official elf hats!

The Elves Help Santa Check His List

One of the most important jobs at the North Pole is helping Santa make his naughty and nice list! At this station the kids played a game called Who's Naughty or Nice? where they had to read cards and decide if the action on the card was naughty or nice.  

The Elves Have Snowball Fights

All work and no play is no fun for the elves, right? They have to have some fun too and of course at the North Pole one of the best things to do is have a snowball fight! At this station, kids had fun throwing snowballs (giant marshmallows) into the styrofoam cup snow fort of their opponent.  

Each time they landed in a cup, they had to find the matching doubles fact to their answer and put a mini marshmallow on their opponents snow fort.  They first person to fill the fort with marshmallows knocked their opponents fort down and won the game! They LOVED this!

The Elves Make Christmas Cards

Finally, our little elves made the cutest thumbprint Christmas cards to give to their family.  They could choose from a string of lights or some mini reindeer on their thumbprint cards.  So cute!

This truly was a memorable and magical day for the students in my class.  They loved all the hands on activities and thought it was so fun to try out different elf jobs!  If you'd like to make some Christmas memories with your class too, you can grab A Day In The Life Of An Elf here. 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Gingerbread Baby

The Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett is one of my favorite stories to read to my class in December.  If you like to do a gingerbread unit in December, this lesson always adds a little holiday magic to the month!

What if Matti (from the story Gingerbread Baby) dropped off a tray of gingerbread babies for your students to care for?  Well that's exactly what happened in our class! 

After reading the story, my students were so excited when a cookie sheet arrived in our classroom with gingerbread babies all lined up in pink and blue baby strollers! Also included was a letter from Mattie asking us to care for some extra gingerbread babies that he had made. 

The students got to adopt a gingerbread baby

The first thing we did was talk about what to name our babies.  We worked together in interactive writing to make this chart of gingerbread baby names.  They came up with really cute ideas like Cookie, Sprinkles and Peppermint.

 Each student named their own baby, gave it a birth certificate and they even made it a baby book!

I found some tiny little rattles and included them with the package as well.  The students LOVED this activity.  They cared for their babies for two days.  They even took them home overnight with a special letter to parents.  The letter explained that the students should care for their baby, read it a bedtime story and return it the next day to school. 

After a few days of caring for their babies and writing about it's adventures, the students will got a final letter from Matti thanking them for taking such good care of the little Gingys.....and a box of gingerbread cookies as a treat! 

Want to do this with your kids too?  You can grab your copy of  Adopt A Gingy hereOr if you'd can have your kids Adopt An Elf! Both activities will add some fun and magic to your classroom this holiday season! 

Need some more fun gingerbread ideas? Hop over here to see how we compare and contrast stories, write letters to the gingerbread man and make the cutest gingerbread crafts!