Friday, December 28, 2012

Snowflake Snowmen and Winter Poems

We've had a lot of snow in Utah lately. It is fun to write winter acrostic poetry and make Snowflake Snowmen,  on a particularly snowy day.
Our cute Snowflake Snowmen turned out great! 
Have you ever heard of Snowflake Bentley? He did a book in the early 1900s of snowflake pictures from an old fashioned camera. He found that no two were ever alike. I showed the kids the book about his life and the book of pictures he published of hundreds of snowflakes. I own both of these books. They are awesome!

I have a monthly WORD BANK I put up with words the kids might use in their winter writing.....Each month the shape changes as well as the words. 
Word Work Activities and Poetry/Songs
At ABC Teach  there are some cute snow similes to start everybody thinking about great words to describe the winter season.  It is a great warm up. Here's a poem we read as a chant or rap using drums and bongos and snapping our fingers.

Snowflake Poem we rap to.....

Then after that we make a giant list of W words, then I words, then N words on the board as the kids help by brainstorming. Then we start writing the acrostic phrases or sentences (depending on how you want to differentiate) or lower grades could just copy the word.
These 2 songs are really fun to sing. I have percussion instruments and 3 xylophones that the kids can play to the songs. It's a good way to do some shared reading with an element of fun in rereading the text. 

This song is fun to start out standing in a squat and then growing as you sing "tall, tall, tall", and then when you are melting go back down to the squat slowly while singing "small, small, small....". 
I had to include this cute picture of my grandbabies with their daddy constructed snowman. Cute right? 

Then after recess I bring out shaving cream and press about a golfball or bigger sized lump on top of everybody's desk. Then I read them Katy and the Big Snow. They are the snowplowers (using their fingers) as we travel to Geopolis and do North, South, East and West using a N or S or E or W written in the
"snow" which is the shaving cream. They smooth it all over their desks and then draw a map of the city using fingertips. I wish I would have snapped a few pictures. By the time the story is over the room smells great and the desks are really clean. We wipe them off with a paper towel (not much cream is left after mooshing it all over for 5 minutes!). It is always a fun winter activity we do. I just ordered the Fancy Nancy winter book. It looks like fun too.
Here are some of my January classroom decorations I put out in place of all the cute Christmas ones. 
Cute Snowflake Snowmen....made from handmade paper two are ever alike! 

January Snowmen decorate the classroom today.....
After everybody has the WIN of winter, we move to T words, then E words then R words. I write them horizontally and then write the words the kids come up with vertically under each letter. My class make their own sentences after choosing one of the words to start the phrase or sentence.
Cute bulletin board set I love.....

Here is my Winter bulletin board with just a few of the songs I put up to sing throughout the month of January.

Then we do a fun art project using a 7, and 6 inch cut out circles of white, and a 5 inch circle head for "SNOWFLAKE SNOWMEN". After showing the kids how to fold the snowflake circle into a pie shaped piece and cut the edges into SNOWFLAKES we make our snowmen on LIGHT BLUE  paper.

The hat for the SNOWFLAKE SNOWMAN is 31/2 square in black with a 1 x 5 inch brim for the cute little  craft. 
We had lots of fun making snowman art and stamping snowflakes with white paint.....
Cutest winter bulletin board of the year I we just have to write our Snowman Stories!  

Here is a sample!! Then we add snowflakes using white paint and some stamps we got at Lakeshore Learning    Oriental Trading  also has some cute ones Here.

Lastly the kids did a pattern on the scarf using small squares of construction paper about a centimeter size. And they added buttons from the same squares and colored in the cheeks on the face. They also added the twig arms and a strip of color on the black hats. This year I got some metallic colored squares and I think that might make a more glittery look

.Here are the CARDSTOCK MOSAIC SQUARES or just cut your own out of strips of centimeter sized construction paper. Then have the kids snip their own squares....they can do it.

Then lastly we do snowman stories just for some creative writing fun. Each snowman must have a personality. So they have to be really good at some kind of snowman talent. Then they have to also have a problem, a solution, a setting (city somewhere in the U.S.) and lots of describing words.

I'll post our stories  soon. They are always very fun to read.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Folk Tales

In our Reading Streets selection for the week we read One Good Turn Deserves Another and another Selection The Lion and the Mouse. Both are folktales. So we decided it was Folktale week. We read a reader's theater of The Little Red Hen. I told the students that in each folktale there is somebody who does something bad and another character who chooses to do something good. And there is always a problem and a solution, and sometimes a moral of the story. Folktales are similar to Fables.

 They had to come up with a fun problem that some animal characters might have and one is going to be kind of selfish and mean, and he will get punished somehow in the end. Their job was to come up with a problem, a solution, and a fun setting. Then they had to have one character be selfish and choose to be mean. Another had to be kind and choose the right anyway. So some of their problems had some pretty good consequences.
 We have been comparing and contrasting the different types of reading genre's we have been reading in Reading Streets. Then we always try to do a writing project to go along with that genre.
 Last year I did a whole unit on The Little Red Hen and we rewrote the story our own way. It was really easy for the kids. The art project was really fun too. But this year I thought we'd try doing our own individual folk tales. It was more challenging but they turned out equally creative.
Our Little Red Hens made from a paper plate.
Puppets we made to go with our Little Red Hen readers theater. I just passed out
tongue depressor sticks and the kids colored and glued them on.

This year we decided to use the Reader's Theater of Little Red Hen, (check out lots of readers theaters HERE at Grandview Library) and then we read another called The Gingerbread Girl, and The Gingerbread Baby all together reading parts.  Then the following week we rewrote the Gingerbread Man. I'll post those next. They were wonderful!
These Folktales turned out really creative and funny. I was really amazed at how good this year's class are at creative writing. They all are superior readers and I think it makes all the difference. They have read lots of very good literature, and so they can write pretty good as well. 

Then we had some pretty good illustrations too.  This was a space folktale. 

Most of the students chose characters from the animal or insect kingdom...but there were some aliens in the bunch. 

I think this was such a great creative writing lesson we did. Each student did a fine job.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gingerbread Man Fun

We made Gingerbread Man Cookies in class the other day.  It was super fun!  And thanks to all the parents who sent icing, candies, plates, napkins and zip lock baggies. We appreciate it!

 Thanks to Mrs. Murrill for coming to help and bringing the cookies for us to decorate.
I know the kids all loved doing the gingerbread men and playing with all that CANDY! 
They frosted their own men with white, green or pink icing......then we dug into a pile of little candies....

Here are a few of the finished ones....some are really LOADED! 

Brody just lost his 2 front teeth, but he is still getting ready to  bite off an arm or a leg! EEK!
It was a very fun time. 
Twin brothers....but not twin gingerbread men! 
Here's a loaded up gingerbread man!
The girls loved it as much as the boys did.
The gingerbread men turned out cute and yummy. 
I bought these veggie and dip plates from the dollar store, and they work great for sorting the candies....

I put one on each table of 4 kids and they decorated their gingerbread men from that easy! 
It is a whole unit I'm doing with the many stories that have been written about The Gingerbread Man, Girl, Baby, etc. We even read a Gingerbread Man play.
Hi guys!  Good job everybody!

 I think Liam had a great time, what do you think?
 Some years I do "green trees" with upside down sugar cones.
It's the same idea....lots of candy on an upside down sugar cone and green frosting and they look like little trees decorated with little ornaments! Here are some Christmas Tree Cookie fact family activities HERE at Differentiation Station.
But I found that nobody really wanted to eat the sugar cone, just the candies. 

 Now we are writing our own stories using the basic plot but changing it a little and coming up with our own innovations! They are quite hysterical.

Here is our Gingerbread Man Story house to top our stories. I'll post the stories really soon. They should be done in another day or so. 

Here is the gingerbread house I designed and we print it out on brown construction paper and some little gingerbread men in brown. A fun puppet set can be found HERE at DLTK-Teach. It is a favorite site of mine with lots of free downloadable stuff to enhance your lessons. Many more  Gingerbread activities here.
Candy for gingerbread men....

For MATH we did some Gingerbread Man magic squares. They are very challenging but the kids got them correct. I was very impressed! Here is a sample at Kidzone.  On the back we did a subtraction sheet like the one HERE. I just added a few triple digit computation problems to the mix.

At my house recently my grown kids made some gingerbread people for the grandkids to decorate. Notice my 27 year old had to make his a gingerbread "girl" but alas, she melted in the pan....hehe....
I just bought the Costco cookie mix and used only 1 packet. It comes with 4 packets. Each one makes about 15 to 18 cookies depending on how large or small you make them.
And we made a few gingerbread houses too with the 3 little granddaughters, aged 5, 4 and 2 1/2.  They loved making the cookies too. Who wouldn't love it? 

My little granddaughter Meg, age 4, made this one....isn't it sweet?

Here she is telling Santa all the good things she wants for Christmas. 

This one was done by Josie, 2 1/2 with a little help from her mommy, my daughter-in-law Wendy.
Here they both are with Mrs. sweet! I love those girls....
I've started decorating my house for Christmas too. (My gingerbread man is in the background) been a busy week! 
Christmas sugar cookies we made today. I'll can't decide which I love better, the sugar or the gingerbread. Either way, it is a fun activity for the kiddos. I always enjoy seeing them having fun with it.

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