Friday, November 14, 2014

Five for Friday November 14th and FREEBIES!

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey! This week I'm sharing lots of things I love to do with my class this time of year- and lots of freebies included in there, too!

Our Physical Therapist shared an overview with us about age appropriate activities for kindergarten students.  She also shared some ideas children can do at home to strengthen these skills.  I made some parent notes with the different ideas and posted about them here.  I also posted some good warm up activities for fine motor muscles.  

You can click the pictures below if you would like a copy of the notes to send home.  I like to have some different ideas to send home with parents at conferences.  


We learned all about the National Anthem last week, and  I posted about it here.  Here are some National Anthem freebies for you if you would like them! 

I made a paper I made with a quick history of the song (that I condense for my kids) and the vocabulary and phrases we discuss- dawn, twilight, hailed, broad, ramparts, gallantly, perilous, proud...  It is really amazing what they learn from this song.   If you would like a copy, just click on the picture. It's also amazing the number of "ramparts" that will be built out of blocks after they learn this word! I sent a copy home with the children, so they could amaze their parents.

The children learned the vocabulary so quickly. We review it every time we sing the song, so they really know what the song means.  I think that is important for them- and they love knowing it.

I found this AWESOME Star Spangled Banner Freebie at the Crafty Classroom blog.  It is wonderful. I laminated the pages and made a couple classroom books. The illustrations are great and really help with the vocabulary.

There is also a mini book for the children to take home. This was a HUGE hit! I folded them for the kids ahead of time, because that was tricky. We also practiced turning the pages because there was a little skill to that, too. They were so proud when they got it.  I sent it home on Monday, and I heard there was lots of singing at home on Veteran's Day...

My sister shared this Thanksgiving Story Bracelet with me a few years ago, and it has been my favorite Thanksgiving activity each year since.  If you would like a copy of the paper, just click on the picture.
The children really learn the Thanksgiving story, are able to retell it, AND have a new piece of jewelry!  

First, we read a lot of books about the first Thanksgiving.  The children have a good background and are familiar with:  the Pilgrims leaving England on the Mayflower, because they wanted freedom to worship God they way they wanted to; the Mayflower landing at Plymouth Rock after a long, hard trip;  the Native Americans helping the Pilgrims learn to hunt, plant, and survive when they arrived in this country; and the feast the Pilgrims and Native Americans had to celebrate and give thanks for all they had survived and all they now had in their new land.

I introduce my bracelet to the children, and we all retell the story together with my bracelet. We do this a few times each day whenever we have a few minutes.  I want them to really KNOW the story before they make their bracelet, and take it home to retell.
I move each bead as I tell what it is for. 
The Pilgrims left England because they wanted freedom to worship God as they wanted. (1st green)
They left England on a ship called the Mayflower. ( white bead)
It was a very long trip across the ocean. (I say a word for each of the 3 blue beads: very. long. trip.)
Finally, they saw land! (green bead)
They landed at Plymouth Rock. ( gray bead)
When they landed it was Winter. (I say a word for each of the 3 white beads: very. long. Winter.)
Finally Spring came! (light green bead)
They met Squanto, a Native American who helped them learn to hunt and plant. (Light brown bead)
To thank the Native Americans, the Pilgrims had a feast for everyone including:
cranberries (red bead), corn (yellow bead), turkey (brown bead), and pumpkin pie (orange bead).

After the children retell the story really well with my bracelet, they each make one during our small group center time.  I have the bags with the correct beads already sorted.  They just choose a pipe cleaner.  We string each bead on as we tell the story. Then they retell the story to a friend with their own bracelet. 

I send a copy of this paper home with each child, just in case they forget what a bead means, so the parents can coach them on if they need a hint.   I don't want anybody to be frustrated! 

This book is good for so many things. The children noticed the leaves were blowing because they were placed randomly on the page. They noticed the movement, the excitement, and the emotions just from the illustrations. 
Next, since we have been learning about punctuation marks, we point them out in the text.  This is a great story for noticing quotation marks.

 We also talk about what it means to be thankful. That is harder for the children to explain than it sounds.  The story also uses "grateful," which is another good word to introduce.  We came up with words like happy, pleased, appreciating something (although that is a big word, too!)  I finally came up with being happy with something that means a lot to us.  Then, telling someone that you are happy about it, or thanking them for it if it is something someone has done for you or given you.  How does that sound? 
Click on the picture below if you would like a copy. It is SIMPLE- because the kids get to make it fancy.

We started this activity as a whole group, making the hand turkey cover. 

 I modeled first page illustrations, and we did that together.  
I finished the rest of the book during our small group center time. Both worked well. I liked having the children draw their families during small group time, because I could talk to each child about his/her family, what everyone looked like, who was biggest or smallest, if there were pets...   
I also love sharing, "I'm thankful for all the good things that I see," with the kids. I love hearing and seeing what is special to them. I do have them label what they draw on this page, so we get a little writing in there.

 This was one of my favorite self-portraits from last year!

If you are looking for another fun book to have your children write for Thanksgiving, Michaela Peterson has a sweet  I'm Thankful For Minibook freebie at her TPT store.  I love her illustrations. 

Thank you so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Thank you for all the ideas & freebies :)
    We did the bracelet last year and loved it. I'll use the tips you shared, especially the Thankful mini-book for this year's students. Thanks for making it so easy (& fun)! Jen

  2. I absolutely LOVE the bracelet idea!! I have seen something similar, but thanks for breaking it down for me. I can't wait to do this with my kids :) Pinned it!

    First Grade Fairytales

  3. You always share so many wonderful resources. We make those same bracelets and a coordinating book that goes with it. I usually just use string, but I love the pipe cleaner idea. It is like a V8 moment right now...Why didn't I think of that. We will be switching this year. It was always such a hassle trying to try all those little bracelets before they dropped the Bear says Thanks looks like a great book, added to my wish list at Amazon. Thanks for the Thankful book freebie. Enjoy what's left of your weekend!

    Luv My Kinders

  4. Love the National Anthem goodies! We just read a book called "The Biggest and Best Flag that Ever Flew" about the making of the flag. The class really enjoyed it! The author is Rebecca Jones. I can't wait to share the book I just printed and the vocabulary will really help understand the song. Thanks so much!


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