Friday, November 28, 2014

Veteran's Day & Thanksgiving Activities

What a month!!
I always say that the busiest times for a teacher are the first month of school, the last month of school, and the time in between Halloween and Christmas.
Throw in the fact that I've been sick, twice, and took a weekend trip to Disney for a race, and I'd have to say this November has been quite exhausting.  Thank goodness for Thanksgiving Break!
I plan on doing a pretty lengthy post later this week on my Disney trip.  But for now, I want to share what my class has been doing in November.
First let's start with our November stained glass window art.
Fall leaves!
In case you don't remember me saying before, I got the idea from Maria Manore's blog, Kindercraze.  What a great idea and so easy!  I have an entire wall of windows, so I thought it would be fun to have the kids make different ones for each month of the school year and display them on our windows. 
Click here to see previous month's window art.
Veteran's Day
I love these cute Veteran's day craftivities I found from Miss Kindergarten.  Hers are always my favorite.  I love that I can work some thematic art and writing into my day. 
I love, love, love invented spelling and think it is the sweetest thing ever!
 Thank you for saving the day.

Thank you for keeping the world safe.
Sweet words from innocent hearts.  Love them!
We also started working on identifying and writing complete sentences.
 First we learned about the tools to construct a great sentence.
*Begin with a capital letter
*Leave finger spaces between each word
*Use correct punctuation at the end
I found the cutest construction worker clipart from Creative Clips.  And when I saw it, I knew that it would go perfectly with this set.
I also made some punctuation anchor charts to match.
Then we practiced.
A Lot!

My kids have done so well with this set.  Click here or on the picture to check it out.
Now let's get into some Thanksgiving activities.
We started off with a little I Spy - Thanksgiving Words.
I've LOVED making these I Spy sets.  It's a great opportunity for my kids to work independently on identifying letters, good handwriting, and seasonal vocabulary.
I did buy 6 jumbo magnifying glasses from Lakeshore at the beginning of the year.  So that may or may not have had anything to do with why I made these sets.  My kids had been eyeing them, so I figured I'd make them a fun paper to use them with.  One set quickly turned into 6, with more in the works.
What can I say, my kids love 'em.

I have no idea where this turkey pattern came from.  Probably left in a file from a teacher long ago.  But I love it, so I use it every year.

Love this next activity. 
I think I may have seen it on Pinterest but I'm not completely sure. 
I made a template to match whatever I originally saw.
We made these right after we read "A Plump and Perky Turkey."  I love that story!  If you haven't read it, you need to like now.  And this activity goes perfectly with it.

I made these Save a Turkey posters to go on our bulletin board.  I like to change my big bulletin board out each month.
So cute!
Next up is another Miss Kindergarten craftivitiy.  I told you I love these.
I let my kids pick which pie they wanted to make, apple or pumpkin.  Then they wrote 3 ingredients for their perfect pie. 
I love their answers...
 sugar, cream, powder
seeds, cream, crust
 apples, seeds, cream
 caramel, chocolate, ice cream
So precious!
They were so cute that I knew I had to display them as well.
So this happened...
This bulletin board looks like a hot mess! 
But I don't care.
Next up was the story of the First Thanksgiving.
I found this bracelet activity my very first year of teaching, nine years ago.  It came from a website that was my go-to website for fun seasonal, thematic, literacy, or math related activities.  Basically I stalked this website.  I haven't been to it in awhile, because I've printed out everything I want, but you should totally check it out.
Turns out the teacher who originally created it decided she was going to take it down.  A to Z Teacher Stuff stepped in and is now maintaining it.  Thank you! 
I guess they knew what an awesome resource this website was as well.
Click here to go to the main website.
Click here to check out the Thanksgiving story bracelets.  (You'll have to scroll down a bit but the content is still there.)

I just copied and pasted the content onto a word document and then printed it off so that I could keep it with my Thanksgiving activities.
I forgot to take pictures of how I prepared these bracelets.  Whoops!
I had a parent count out enough of each colored bead for an entire table, I have 5 kids at each table, and put the beads into a ziplock baggie.
Then when it was time to do our activity, I emptied each bag onto a paper plate and put a plate in the middle of each table.
We used black pipe-cleaners for the bracelets. 
I've done this activity for nine years and I've used plastic cord, yarn, and pipe-cleaners.  Pipe-cleaners are by far the easiest for little ones. 
They lay straight, hold the beads in place so they don't slide off onto the floor, can easily be snipped and twisted to make the shape of a bracelet, and are easy to take off.
The idea behind this is that each bead represents a part of the story of the first Thanksgiving.  We tell the story together as a class, while we build our bracelets.  Then I let the kids practice telling each other the story and challenge them to go home and use their bracelet to tell their parents the story of the first Thanksgiving.

We made these on Monday and most of my students wore theirs again on Tuesday.
My first year of teaching I had a little boy who still wore his in the spring.  I used yarn that year, so he was able to slip it on and off his wrist.
The story of the First Thanksgiving would not be complete without an actual feast.
This is an annual kindergarten event at my school.
The kindergarten teachers make the turkey and we send home requests for other Thanksgiving food items.  I may not be domestic in the kitchen, but after nine years of making a turkey in a crock-pot, I've got this down.  And it's really, really good, if I do say so myself.

A few days before our feast, I write Native American and Pilgrim on slips of paper and have the students choose a paper out of a cup.  Then I send home a note telling the parents which one their child picked.  I try to make the numbers even.
This year I have 20 kids, 10 are girls and 10 are boys.  So it worked out perfectly for the feast that I had 5 girl pilgrims, 5 boy pilgrims, 5 girl Native Americans, and 5 boy Native Americans.

 My Native Americans wore feather headbands.  Gotta love sentence strips, they are so multi-purpose.
One of my kids asked why Indians wore leaves. 
Cracked me up!
 These pilgrim girl hats are so easy to make from a long sheet of white construction paper.
And then pilgrim boys of course. 
We had a fabulous classroom feast.  I had awesome parent volunteers who made food and showed up to help. 
Thank you to all the parent volunteers.  This feast could not happen without them.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Now let the Christmas chaos begin!

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