Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Gingerbread Man

December is a great month for the story The Gingerbread Man.  I mean, what Firstie doesn't love candy, cookies and sweets??? Now that's how you grab their attention!! So as soon as I got back from our Thanksgiving vacation, I broke out the Gingerbread books and we had a blast.

There are so many versions of The Gingerbread Man, it's hard to pick! Unfortunately there just isn't enough time to read all of them so I chose my favorites.  I like to read one each day to the kids and then we compare them on our chart.

I always begin with the traditional tale of The Gingerbread Man and then follow with The Gingerbread Girl and The Gingerbread Baby. I usually like to do some activities with gingerbread houses too but had a hard time finding a Christmas tale about these yummy treats.....until this year!! I took to google and did a search and found the cutest book called Gingerbread Mouse about a little mouse in search of shelter who finds a perfect little gingerbread house to call home. SCORE! Gotta love Amazon Prime for their  two day shipping....! 

We've been learning all about story elements and how they help us in our comprehension so we compared each book:

We wrote letters to the Gingerbread Man / Gingerbread Girl and tried to talk them out of running away! We also made our own gingerbread kids.  Aren't the adorable?? The only pattern that my firsties had was the actual gingerbread.  Then they went to town creating their own gingerbread people.....I love them.  I try to let them "do their own thing" as often as possible.  No patterns needed when they come up with such awesome creations on their own!


After reading Gingerbread Mouse, I made a large gingerbread house and we listed adjectives that would describe our house......yes, we are still working on those adjectives!! How else am I going to get all that fabulous creative writing out of my firsties???

A few years ago when I was teaching kindergarten we made this was one of our shared writing activities.  The kids made the entire thing with no patterns and we labeled it together.  

We also made this gingerbread boy:

Next it was time to make their own gingerbread house with some tasty descriptions! Again, no patterns for these houses and I think they look delish!


And of course, we couldn't do a mini unit on gingerbread without making some REAL  candy houses!! We used milk cartons as our base and frosting as our "glue".  We covered them with graham crackers and candies.  What a fun way to end the week!!

The firsties LOVED playing these Gingerbread Math Games.  I like to add real objects to my games as often as possible.....I picked up these cute erasers at the dollar tree, the candy canes and cookie cutters at our local craft store....and I had the buttons in my teacher stash!  

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Gingerbread Baby

Have you read the book Gingerbread Baby with your class?  I love Jan Brett and all of her wonderful books, but this one is my favorite.

What if Matti (from the Gingerbread Baby) dropped off a tray of gingerbread babies for your students to care for?  Well that's exactly what will be happening in our class next week! My Fab Firsties will be so excited when a special letter from Matti is delivered to us with a tray of gingerbread babies! 

Our Gingerbread Babies will be delivered in adorable little baby strollers all lined up on a cookie sheet! Oh my cute is that??

The firsties will get to name their baby, fill out it's Birth Certificate and make it a baby book.  

I even found tiny little rattles and baby bottles at the Dollar Tree! What????? I know! Sooo cute!!

After a few days of caring for their babies, the students will get 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!  I am SUPER EXCITED to start this with my kids! Be sure to tune in next week to see all the fun and surprises with this fun unit! 

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

Click here to take a look at all my December activities! 



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Chattering About Chipmunks

Here's a peek at what we've been working on this week....I love this time of the year to delve into my sciences standards. I think fall really lends itself to woodland creatures, habitats, how they prepare for winter and hibernation.
This week we did a little mini unit on these animals and focused on those pesky little critters, chipmunks! ­čÉ┐

I always like to begin with a read aloud and this time I read "Chipmunk at Hollow Tree Lane".  Have you seen this book?  It's part of a great series called "Smithsonian Backyard" which focuses on lots of different woodland animals.  It's fiction, but written in a way that really gives a lot of great information on the animal, it's habitat, it's habits, etc.  The illustrations are beautiful,  very well written and keeps the firsties engaged in the story.  You can pick it up here

I'm also lucky enough to have a subscription to Scholastic News magazine....which if you don't have this great resource, you should really hit up your principal for a subscription!! It's great for Science and Social Studies standards, has a super online component with games and videos that go along with each magazine and all of the past issues are available to you as well!  We used this resource to view several magazines about woodland animals and how they prepare for winter.  

Next we were ready to begin our web about chipmunks.  We always do a shared writing before we begin any independent writing.  It's really important at this age to give lots of guidance and modeling if you really want to pull that great writing out of your firsties. We made a class web with some of the things we learned about chipmunks and then the students helped me compose my report about chipmunks.  We made sure to use our "opening" and "closing" to make it a good report.  

After this, the firsties were ready to begin their own reports.  They used our classroom web as a guide to create their own web.  They chose four things to include in their web and then they wrote their reports using their web.  I never leave my report on the board for the children to copy from.  They must always create their own.  They are encouraged to use our word wall or mini word wall dictionaries to help spell words correctly and they are also encouraged to used "kid writing" and spell things as they sound.  


I think my fab firsties did a GREAT job on their reports, don't you?? We finished the week by making a picture of the chipmunks habitat and a couple of cute crafts to go along with our reports.  


So that's the chatter this week in our do you teach this science standard in your room?  Please feel free to post your ideas so we can learn from you as well!! Thanks for stopping by and come on back next week, cause there's always something fun happening in ......



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Learning about The First Thanksgiving

The story of the first Thanksgiving is always popular during the month of November and this lesson is always a big in my classroom with the interactive activities and crafts.  This non-fiction lesson is sure to fit in with your history and social studies standards this month!

We make an interactive book about the first Thanksgiving and spend 5 days teaching my Fab Firsties about the holiday.  I begin each lesson with a read aloud. These are some of my favorites. They are simple, kid friendly and really teach your students about the holiday of Thanksgiving.

Start your week on Monday with the book  "The Pilgrims First Thanksgiving" by Ann McGovern. This book describes the voyage of the Mayflower and the difficulties encountered by the Pilgrims during their first year in the New World and recounts how they celebrated their first harvest. After your read aloud, begin a T Chart comparing Thanksgiving Long Ago / Today.

If you are lucky enough to have a subscription to Scholastic News Magazine, be sure to check out the back issues.  They have some great short videos about the first Thanksgiving and the Wampanoag people. (Insert Shout out to Scholastic here!!!) Seriously, the Scholastic News Magazine is the best. Run to your principals office right now and beg them to get you a subscription to this little gem.

Here's the first page of our interactive book: 

On day two, it's time to watch a video about the Mayflower on the Scholastic website called The First Thanksgiving.  Have you visited this site??? It's a treasure trove of information on Thanksgiving and perfect for your K-2 students!! It has virtual tours of Plymouth Plantation, the Mayflower replica and a Wampanoag Village.   It's a great little site....just right for young students and they will learn so much about the Pilgrims voyage on the Mayflower.  On day two, make the second page of the interactive book:

On day 3, a great book to read is "Sarah Morton's Day".  It describes the life of a Pilgrim child.   You can also go back on the Scholastic website and learn all about the Pilgrim's housing and way of life. The third page of the interactive book is perfect for this lesson!

Day 4 is all about the Wampanoag Native American people.  Another cute book to read is  "The Pilgrims are Marching".  This is a rhyming book with the mischievous little Pilgrim boy, Johnny B, who causes all sorts of problems as they set sail to America and prepare for their first Thanksgiving.  There's a great comparison of daily life on the Scholastic site about the Wampanoag tribe and the Pilgrims. . Day four of our interactive book is a great way to end the lesson on the Native Americans. 


As you finish up your week on Day 5, read the story "Friendship's First Thanksgiving".  This adorable book tells about the first Thanksgiving....from a dog's point of view.  My students always love this book.  The last page of the interactive book is all about the feast!

These interactive books always turn out adorable and make a nice little Thanksgiving gift for someone at home! Click here if you want to take a closer look at The First Thanksgiving Interactive Book.