Friday, November 20, 2015

Five for Friday November 20

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey! It was a LONG week. Don't you think so?  We started parent conferences this week.  I'm always so excited to share with the parents how  wonderful their children are and how far they have all come compared to that first day.  I also love sharing those precious moments about each child that you can't "teach," but that make each child so special.

My class won a pizza party from the Department of Health for turning in the most slips we needed to turn in, so I saved it for Pp Day!  We had  Pajama/Pizza Party Day!

The kids decided it was the best pizza in the world. We took this picture to make into a thank you card.

After the pizza, everyone got a pillow/blanket/stuffed animal friend, and we watched  A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on our big TV.  I feel like it's my duty to have the kids see that. It makes me happy.  It's amazing to me how after all these years, Snoopy still gets so much genuine, hysterical laughter.  Talk about standing the test of time!

For some reason, I also love teaching syllables with P food words.  I don't know why- there are just so many foods that start with P!  We talk about syllables being parts of words, and learn why they are important. We make a list of the words by breaking them into syllables as we spell them.  The kids are amazed how many words they can spell this way!

Some of those P foods off the top of my head are pumpkins, popsicles, peas, prunes, pickles, pineapple, pepperoni, pasta, potatoes, pomegranates, pears, peaches, popcorn, pretzels, pita, pistachios, peppermint- you can probably think of more!

On to my favorite five!

My kids know how to spell "and" now!  The first day, we each wrote our name on the poster.  The next morning, everyone wrote, "and" beside his/her name.  As they wrote, the rest of the class spelled a-n-d.  Sometimes we touched our head as we said each letter. Sometimes we touched our shoulders. Sometimes we touched our lap.  Sometimes we did a-touch head, n-touch shoulder, d- touch lap. When there wasn't much room to write and the child had to write "and" small, we spelled it with a small voice.  We had so much fun.  It's a fun/simple way to get a lot out of one little word!

Here is a wonderfully simple activity that I look forward to doing with my class every year.  First, we read Bear Says Thanks, by Karma Wilson. 
This book is good for so many things.  First of all, whenever we read ANY book, I always have the children tell me IN A SENTENCE what the author does and what the illustrator does.  They say, "The author writes the words."  "The illustrator draws the pictures."  We check for that all-important dedication page and see which initials match up.  This book is fabulous for a picture walk.  The illustrations are  so rich.  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.  (Thanks, J.C.!) 

 I have to say that I am so thankful to teach Kindergarten, because it makes me "notice" things, too.  On my way home from school today, I really noticed the leaves dancing and twirling in the wind, because I had talked about it with the class. It really made me smile.  I hope they noticed them, too.
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? 

Then, we start our I Am Thankful book.  It is a simple poem to illustrate. It was an old Sunday School poem that I changed to fit for school.  We make a hand turkey on the cover under the title. 

Click on the picture below if you would like a copy. It is SIMPLE- because the kids get to make it fancy. I updated this one to say, "I am" instead of "I'm" since it is yet another way to see those sight words!

I used to do this activity on a sort of scroll. I would glue long white paper together lengthwise, so the children could hang it up when they were done. I actually HAND WROTE each one on construction paper since it was the olden-days. Yes I did...   You could glue this together  if  you wanted. I have started doing it as a book, since we are all about "writing books" in Kindergarten now.  This is a great activity for Writer's Workshop.  We have been working on trying to add letters, words, and sentences to our books.  This little activity lets us S L O W  DOWN and go back to details in our illustrations (under the guise of Thanksgiving).  My kids still need so much work and so many  reminders with illustrations- like remembering that people have arms, different color hair and eyes, clothes...if you draw daddy's head the actual size on the paper, mommy and the rest of the family won't fit  - things like that. 

We started this activity as a whole group, making the hand turkey cover.  I modeled first page illustrations, and we did that together.  ( I didn't model the Jack-O-Lantern.  That is holiday left-overs...)
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 is always one of my favorite self-portraits!

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. 

Thanksgiving "I'm Thankful For..." Mini-Book Thanksgiving "I'm Thankful For..." Mini-BookThanksgiving "I'm Thankful For..." Mini-Book

Just in case you're in the mood for some fun turkey food, here are some cute ideas I found!

  If you click on the picture, it will take you to the original site! Oh cute! 

I love these little favors!
I absolutely LOVE this memory basket from Danielle's Place!  This site has lots of Thanksgiving ideas.  Go check it out!  The basket items each represent something from the first Thanksgiving:  the stick pretzels are the trees cut down for log homes, the mini marshmallows remind us of the first snowy winter, candy corn and fish crackers remind us how Squanto helped the Pilgrims learn to plant corn and add a dead fish in the hole with the seeds...and so much more.  SO adorable!

Thanksgiving Memory Baskets Craft from
A Class of Kinders shared this cute Thankful Thoughts Thanksgiving Placemat Freebie.
Thankful Thoughts {Thanksgiving Placemat} Freebie!Thankful Thoughts {Thanksgiving Placemat} Freebie!Thankful Thoughts {Thanksgiving Placemat} Freebie!

Some days you just have to tape down some big paper on the tables, get out the "smelly markers," and have fun!

I was looking at my  Holiday Homework ideas this week, getting ready-because December just sneaks up on us-  and I wanted to share it with you if you would like to use any of the ideas. 

I love sending home some fun, simple family activities for the children (nothing too time-consuming) this time of year. 

I used to make Christmas Countdown Chains for each child, and have an activity for them to complete on each link.  Then, I would send a bag with all of the "extras" needed to complete the tasks.  For example, one night the chain said to "Drink your cocoa while you draw a picture to show how you like to stay warm in the winter. Write a sentence to go with your picture,"  I would put a cocoa packet in the bag.  

This is what I sent home when I had the children eat a special meal on their Christmas plate and then write and label the meal they ate on the paper.

Everything was just something little, like a special holiday paper plate, a holiday pencil, a highlighter, special worksheets...   (all from the Dollar Store.)
Last year, I decided to change it up a little.  I made this Holiday Homework packet with activities in it.  I cut the activities apart, so each is about 1/3 of a piece of paper that I stick into their folder, with anything extra attached or with it (the cocoa packet, the candy cane, a special holiday pencil...) 
I only send home one at a time, maybe twice a week.  I tape the candy cane onto the paper for the first activity, etc.  

I've found that more of the activities get done this way rather than when they were given all at once on the chain. (Even thought the chain idea was fun, too!) I actually also think the children and the families appreciate everything more when it is sent one at a time.

Here are pictures of the pages and the different activities:

I wanted to think of something fun to put on the children's papers when they brought them back, so  I taped  a Starburst on these cut-out stars to put on the papers.  Sometimes I tape a silly band onto their paper.  I like to put on a little something special, because I appreciate the extra help at home- plus... it's that time of year for special things.  

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


  1. Oh my gosh! These ideas are wonderful!! I'm going to try the homework ideas for sure! Happy Thanksgiving, sweet Carolyn. I'm so thankful for YOU!

  2. The friends chart is too cute! Love the pajama/pizza party!

  3. I always loved pajama day at school. Have a great Thanksgiving.

  4. I like the Santa number stories, so much fun!


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