Thanksgiving Pilgrims and Indians

This week we read a few reader’s theaters on the Pilgrims and Squanto and the Indians. Here are a few puppets HERE I found to make to go along with the readings. We also usually do a few Scholastic News’ on the subject of the Pilgrims and Mayflower too.
These Social Studies books will show kids of today how much more we should appreciate what we have in our lives and how much easier they have it than the Sarah Morton’s of the time of the Pilgrims.

Great Social Studies BOOKS on Pilgrims
Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl by Kate Waters
Samuel Eaton’s Day:  A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy by Kate Waters
Story of the First Thanksgiving, The by Elaine Raphael
Story of Thanksgiving, The by Nancy Skarmeas
First Thanksgiving, The by Linda Hayward
Thanksgiving Is… by Louise Borden (This is a good one for a writing project)
First Thanksgiving, The by Garnet Jackson
If You Sailed on the Mayflower by Ann McGovern
Story of the Pilgrims, The
 by Katharine Ross
Thanksgiving Day by  Gail Gibbons

Thanksgiving Pilgrims.jpg
Make up these finger puppets (BELOW) for the kids to color, cut out, and then sing this tune while they move them around and dance to the music. 

By the way, LOOK what I found at the Dollar Store!  Dancing SOLAR Pilgrims and a Turkey! Super Cute! They are solar powered so they dance to the light of a lamp. The kids loved them. 

Solar Turkeys I found at Dollar Tree….SO I put them on my kiddie table. 
The nearby lamp had them dancing the whole dinner through. We laughed and laughed at them! 
My grandkids loved them too. I’ll have to show them to my 2nd graders too! 

Oh Dear Pilgrims (Oh Susannah Tune)
Oh they left their homes in England and prepared to take a trip.
And they climbed aboard the Mayflower and sailed upon that ship.
The year was 1620 on a cold November Day
By the shores of Massachusetts they arrived in Plymouth Bay.
Oh Dear Pilgrims
Did seek to worship free
So you came here to America for Opportunity!
The first year was the hardest, but your neighbors all helped out
They met Native Americans with Squanto as their scout.
They helped the Pilgrims plant their crops, of pumpkins beans and corn.

They all shared in a harvest feast and Thanksgiving Day was born. 

You could also do the Turkey Trot. (Hokey Pokey with different words) 

Turkey Trot(Tune:  Hokey Pokey)
You put your right wing in.
You put your right wing out.
You put your right wing in,
and you shake it all about.
You do the turkey trot
and you turn yourself around.
That’s what it’s all about!
Additional verses:
Left wing,
Stuffing (Stomach)
Wattle (Head)
Tail Feathers (Bottom)
Turkey Body

A fun choral reading about what kinds of foods they ate on Thanksgiving is HERE at Scripts for Schools. Another activity I did last year was making Indian girls and boys and writing about what their day was like. Check them out. Another puppet idea I found with BOTH pilgrims AND Indian boys and girls was Here at Making Learning Fun. 

Native American children and how they worked and played….we did these last year. This year we ran out of time since we only have a day and a half this week before our Thanksgiving 3 day break. Woo Hoo! 
We decorated them with fringe on the paper and symbols and chevrons and lots of dots and triangles to make them look like Indian pictograms. 


Scholastic has a few good lesson plans for K-2 and a printable compare and contrast HERE. Just scroll down to the bottom for Thanksgiving Then and Thanksgiving Now sheet. We did this just as a whole class brainstorm. Another one to use for individual students is this flip book HERE from Lakeshore Learning. 

Thanksgiving Activities and Multiplication Turkey Feather Arrays

Well this week is Thanksgiving. I like to have the kids do a cute turkey art project and write about what they are thankful for….usually.

Multiplication Array activities using art turkeys. 

 So as we are just learning the beginnings of multiplication, I decided to use the rainbow turkey feathers (rectangles of colored butcher paper off the rolls) to do multiplication “ARRAYS”.

Artistic turkeys and ways to use the feathers for more than just some colorful art! 
Stuffed Turkeys with multiplication “array” feathers.

So I cut out 16 inch strips of 6 colors of the rainbow in butcher paper. We had red, orange, yellow, green blue, purple, pink.  The kids had to draw columns and rows and make a rectangle, like I did on the doc camera. Then they had to count the resulting squares and come up with the 2 factors for their arrays.

The Thanksgiving Cupcakes for a party we hosted at school. I made Scarecrow Cupcakes and Turkey Cupcakes and topped them with some candies and paper toothpick toppers. They were so cute! 

 Turkey and Scarecrow Cupcakes. More TURKEYS! Yay!

These turkey cupcakes were easy to make. They were pretty tasty too for our Teacher Holiday party last Friday. If you want to see more check out my cooking blog called Weekday Chef.

Here were some more turkeys another 2nd grade teacher made for our party. These are cute too with white chocolate chip eyes.
Here are some of my class Making their Multiplication arrays on our turkey’s rainbow colored feathers! 
We started with pretty easy arrays, 3 x 3 and 4 x 1.

Then the kids just did their own multiplication arrays  after we did 3 together……some they did were simple, some were more advanced. (Differentiation at work!)

The kiddos got pretty good about coming up with the factors and products on their arrays using our turkey feathers.

 Then after we were done making 6 arrays on rainbow colors, we rolled them into a raindrop shapes with the arrays inside, then glued them to the back of our brown stuffedturkeys and added the things we were thankful for on the top of the feathers.

 Cute Thanksgiving turkeys with “reasons why we are thankful” written on tops and multiplication arrays inside the colorful loops!

Then we glued the feathers onto a stuffed (with newspaper strips)8 inch brown circle of butcher paper which was the turkey body.Then we colored turkeys and glued them onto the brown bodies. They turned out darling! They made such a colorful bulletin board too. And the kids had an easy time gluing on the feathers.

You can barely see the arrays on the insides of the colorful feather “loops”. Then on the outside we wrote 1 thing we were thankful for on each feather. 

Then we glued the “stuffed” brown butcher paper circle bodies to these colorful turkeys we did for art and saved them. Here is a particularly artistic one. I loved it! 
Then we wrote some Turkey Acrostic Poems to go with our artistic multiplication turkeys…..

 Then we did an acrostic poem with the topic of Turkey. They had to come up with anything that reminded them of Thanksgiving Day. We had a big brainstorm on the board of all of the ideas the kids had for first words to make up T-U-R-K-E-Y poems.

After we brainstormed beginning words for our Thanksgiving Time Poems….

I was pretty impressed with words like TRADITION, RELATIVES AND EXTENDED FAMILY. Yup! These kiddos are very creative writers!

Turkey Day Acrostic Poems……
Kids are all doing multiplication arrays on the “turkey feather” papers for our Art Turkeys. 
I think they love this little Thanksgiving Turkey Art project. What do you think? 

We turned the arrays to the inside of the loops  and on the outside wrote one thing we were thankful for on each feather. (so original…I know!)

We made little pinecone turkey placecards last year when I had a small class. If you want the tutorial it is HERE. They sure are a cute craft too! This year I didn’t get very many pinecones dropping off my tree. Maybe I’ll just have to make them with the 3 granddaughters age 3 to 7.

  This is a fun song to sing on TURKEY MAKING DAY!  

Albuquerque, He’s My Turkey!    
(Sung to the tune of ‘Clementine’)

Albuquerque he’s my turkey
Oh he’s feathered and he’s fine
He wobbles and he gobbles
And I’m awfully glad he’s mine.

He’s the best pet You could ever get.
Better than a dog or cat.
Albuquerque he’s my turkey
And I’m awfully glad of that.

Albuquerque he’s my turkey
He’s so cozy in his bed
Because for Thanksgiving dinner
We had scrambled eggs instead.

I thought later how fun it would have been to “become” the turkey and write a persuasive essay on why you should NOT be eaten for Thanksgiving.  For Read Alouds We read funny books like
And….A Turkey for Thanksgiving. Then we will do the Hokey Pokey (Turkey Pokey) for P.E. How do you think they will like THAT? hehe….

TURKEY TROT (Tune:  Hokey Pokey) Great for P.E. Thanksgiving Week! 
You put your right wing in.
You put your right wing out.
You put your right wing in,
and you shake it all about.
You do the turkey trot
and you turn yourself around.
That’s what it’s all about!
Additional verses:
Left wing,
Stuffing (Stomach)
Waddle (Head)
Tail Feathers (Bottom)
Turkey Body

MATH…..HERE is a Turkey Roll and Cover Multiplication Game from Fourth and Ten at TPT that’s a freebie. Another one that was addition using 2 or 3 dice was Gobble Bump HERE at TPT.   We also played a Turkey Trivia SCOOT game which was HERE. I learned a lot and so did the kiddos! 
Another funny Turkey book that all the kids kind of sing along to is 10 FAT TURKEYS by Tony Johnston. 

“Ten Fat Turkeys are we….we spent all night in a tree….when cook came along, we couldn’t be found, and that’s all there is you see! I love that silly song.

At PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES 2 weeks ago I had the parents write up a little letter on a turkey feather saying why they are THANKFUL for their little 2nd graders. The kids LOVED reading them and I found them in the hallways looking at them on the way to recess and lunch every day.  Everybody loves a love letter! 

I found some cute Stationery HERE we might use for an activity if we don’t run out of time! 

Finished Thanksgiving Bulletin Board….Turkey Acrostic Poems and Thanksgiving Turkey Art.  

MATH A Great game I put out for math stations was this one. It’s a Roll and Cover with turkeys and it goes up to 18 so my kids can use 3 dice. You have to Like Faith Wheeler’s FB page to get it but she has so many cute things it’s a great place HERE. 

We chose our favorite Turkey Day food for our Weekly Graph today. What is YOUR favorite Thanksgiving Food?
The top winner in our class was…..Pumpkin Pie! I bet you are just floored by that!  Well….My favorites on Turkey Day are….wait for it…..


Weather, Clouds and Water Cycle Activities for Kids

We are about done with our Weather Unit this week. Here are some of our fun activities we did….

A song we sang about Clouds to the tune of “Itsy Bitsy Spider”. 
We made Cloud Flip Books. We wrote facts underneath each type of cloud picture. Then we added the cotton balls underneath the flaps and then wrote about each cloud type.

 Here are the cotton ball clouds and the definitions of each type.

 Cloud flip books…they turn out really neat.


This poem I typed up and we put one on the back of our Cloud Flap Books. I always do poems on the back of art for shared reading and we try to sing them to a familiar tune like ABC song, Jimmy Crack Corn or Row Row Row you Boat. 

. Check out the Scholastic News website for great info and pictures on Clouds. I order the Scholastic News every year. A lot of times I save the science ones to use with my units.
Poster I leave up on the board during our Cloud activities. 
We read this Cloud Choral Reading and these 2 books on Clouds and the Cloud Poem too! 
The Weekly Reader/Scholastic News have a product called Science Spin. I order that every year for an extra dollar or so  per student. I use them because I have no science textbooks. I also order a lot of science reading literature and always keep it at the SCIENCE CENTER. It is the most populated center every day. 

The Cloud Book By dePaola, Tomie

Cloudette By Lichtenheld, Tom 

I’ve accumulated quite an array of weather books over my 20  years of teaching. Here are a few.

Some of the Weather Books and Scholatic News on weather we read this week…..
Another thing I usually do is have the kids make a wind pinwheel as part of learning about tornadoes and hurricanes. It is just made with a square, and we curl up each triangle and pin it to the top of a pencil eraser. Then we go outside on a windy day and watch our creations twirl. This one had some cute stars and swirls on it.

The next day we did some Water Cycle Activities. We Read a Weekly Reader on the Water Cycle that had a cool diagram.

We made these Water Cycle Wheels too…I like the vocabulary listed …we test on two of these words; evaporation and precipitation on our weekly vocab quiz. A Cloud and Weather Vocabulary word sort can be found HERE  free at TPT.

I loved this water cycle activity pack that I found FREE from TPT. Check it out HERE. It was easy for my kiddos. The water cycle wheel I got from another teacher I believe she got it from a book.

Pinwheels are a fun way to start the day learning about wind and all the types of windy weather and the damage it can do.

Some free weather stationery is HERE. And HERE is a printable of all types of weather in a cute blackline from Scholastic that you could use to make your own magnet matching game like mine below. You do have to subscribe to Scholastic and pay a small fee to get these though. I bought my game below from a teacher supply store.

This was a  WEATHER center game. I had added velcro to the back and they used the carpeted wall to match the word to the weather picture. I left all the weather books at the Science Center along with this game. 

I have an auto harp I play and the kids love singing songs to the music. HERE was a water cycle song we sang to the tune of “IT’S RAINING IT’S POURING”.  I also have  about 2 dozen types of instruments and some drums and xylophones so we never lose interest in singing to science texts. Check out my store above to see some great deals on musical instruments. I especially love the blue boxed xylophone. It was only $20.00 and I bought 3 for my classroom. The kids love to get them out when we sing and 2 kids will pay them to keep the rhythm with bells. Here is a pack of freebies from TPT Check it out!

The Water Cycle poster I keep up while we are doing our water cycle wheels and singing our songs.

Here is another Water Cycle Song:
Tune: Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
Here we go round the water cycle, water cycle, water cycle.
Here we go round the water cycle, each and every day.
The ocean water evaporates, evaporates, evaporates,
The ocean water evaporates and makes tiny drops.
The clouds condense to make a raincloud, make a raincloud, make a raincloud,
The clouds condense to make a raincloud, and some feel really heavy!
The heavy drops precipitate, precipitate, precipitate,
The heavy drops precipitate, to make water accumulate. (puddles, lakes, rivers, and underground wells)
Then it’s time to start again, start again, start again,
Then it’s time to start again, the never ending Water Cycle!

We make a rotating water cycle wheel on a brad, coloring it and cutting it out. On the back we have a Water cycle poem or one of these songs I’ve typed up.

 We read lots of books on the results of Wicked Weather. And the Phillipines Typhoon came right along when we were discussing weather damage.

 This is a Tornado Tube. I put 2 empty 2 liter bottles together with one of them filled with water. The kids loved coming up and twirling it around till it made a tornado. You can get the Tornado Tube from Steve Spangler Science. I think it is about $3.00 plus shipping.

 We made a puzzle with the 3 types of violent weather types (lightening, tornadoes and hurricanes) and glued them down after discussing safety during each one.

I had the kids put together a page of  3 cool puzzles; tornadoes, hurricanes and lightening. This is what it looks like before .

The last thing we did was making a thermometer with paper.Check it out HERE. We talked about hot and cold, cool and freezing weather and what temperature each would be. Then I showed them lots of coats, sweaters, bathing suits etc. and asked what temperature each would be.

We made thermometers and learned what temperature spring, summer, winter and fall weather would be….

A few more worksheets are at Superteacher Worksheets.. Then we did some temperature worksheets like these Here at We had a great time learning about WEATHER!

A weather crossword I use in my weather unit is HERE at Some years I have them also do a WEATHER ACROSTIC POEM or we write a story after reading Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

A cool reader’s theater script I found on the story of the water cycle can be printed free HERE at Grandview Library. It is from Enchanted Learning. It’s cute and would make the kids use their imagination. These are some cool Youtubes I found that the kids like. I have a hard time choosing between them but I usually show one or two during the 2 week unit.

Weather videos from Youtube great for learning Water Cycle. 
Water Cycle Youtube with some fun singing.

Another cute song….on CLOUDS! In the book CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS there were lots of bad weather where food rained all over the city. If we have time we will use our short week next week to write funny stories about our favorite foods raining on our city in Sandy or Draper, Utah. That will be pretty interesting to read about!

Some Weekly Readers and Language Arts writing we did….

We used THIS STORY WEB to begin with problem, solution, setting and characters. A fun website that has lots of fun online graphics and activities is at Webweather’s site.  

water vapor 
cirrus cloud
 stratus cloud
nimbus rain cloud
 cumulus cloud
 violent weather

Here were some of the WEATHER vocabulary words we studied for the week and added to our science pocket chart too. Weather is one of my favorite units to teach. The kids all love learning about it.

Pigs Will Be Pigs and Money Piggy Banks (Project Based Learning)

We are finishing our money unit this week and I gave some tests. Now I want to do a math extension using PROJECT BASED LEARNING. Our kid-lovin’ theme is PIGS!

Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini

FIRST off I ordered the book PIGGIE PIE and downloaded the reader’s theater format (since we are on a reader’s theater kick). So while reading the parts in this 4 paged, VERY cute choral reading reader’s theater, I was showing the pictures on the doc camera. Here it is Piggie Pie at Grandview Library.

I think this little CAMO PIG is hilarious! Oink! 

Piggy Bank Art and Math Writing…

I just bought The Princess and the Pig at the Book Fair, but haven’t read it yet. And I love Pigs A Plenty, Pigs Galore! It’s another really cute book we will read this week! 
Money Activities – we made our own piggy banks and wrote what we would buy with our money! hmmm….I wouldn’t mind a robot maid….HEY a girl can dream….haha… 

2nd Grader Piggy Banks full of fake money.

Money Rap and Money Poems we snapped to….

We sang this cool MONEY RAP while snapping our fingers. The coin poem goes along with the Big Books I made up and we read those too. I keep forgetting to take a pic of them!

If You Give a Pig a Pancake is such a cute book! It’s one of my favs. 

 If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff.

How Much Money is in your Piggy Bank?
Money Math Activities 

Then I passed out a piece of paper with a pig coloring page and asked the kids to color it and then cut out 5 to 10 coins out of a piece of coin paper. We read Pigs Will Be Pigs by Amy Axelrod. It’s all about Pigs and how they spend their money. It is hilarious and the kids always love it. It’s perfect for the next part of our Project Based Learning.

This book, Pigs Will Be Pigs, is a kid favorite to do with a money math unit. 

 On top of the coin page was the phrase “HOW MUCH MONEY IS IN MY PIGGY BANK?“. They cut that out and glued it to the top of their papers. Then they went to work cutting out the coins they wanted. The minimum was 5 and the maximum was 10 (differentiation). Then they had to glue the coins onto the pig’s belly, add up the amount and put it in the bottom, right hand corner. We covered these answers by taping a 2 inch piece of construction paper to the answer and drawing a question mark on top.

This one was pretty creative…..if there are circle shaped noses, why not put coins on them? hmm…? 

HERE is a TPT activity  from Hooty’s Homeroom that is free to copy and download. It will make an easy flap book with the picture of the coins on top. I make these a lot because they only take one piece of paper. And it is a fun writing center idea.

Another fun song to sing or poem to read. 

HERE on Pinterest I found Some printables for money.
HERE  is a cute money boardgame that is free and printable from Peterson’s blog. It would be GREAT as a center game for the week. Kids love this game!

It’s funny to see what they think some coins will buy….I’d buy a castle too! Who wouldn’t! 
Piggy Bank Writing Project……Who wouldn’t love a pony?  I would! 

Then we did our regular Envision math page and then recess. After recess,when everyone was done with their pigs, we went around to everybody’s table and tried to figure out their money question with our white boards. They had to choose at least 5 to do. When we got the answers we pulled up the question mark tab to see if we were correct. The kids love this activity and I do it every year. A cute pig puppet is HERE at Making Learning Fun. The pig is on the first page out of four.

But you just HAVE to have a pig with stars on it….stars make every living thing look better! Woot! 

The last thing we did was write about our coin totals, and what we’d buy with our money! Those coins can buy lots of good loot!  Also, we have been reading Charlotte’s Web, and with all of the other pig stories we read, we might have to do some pig stories later in the week. OINK!

Pumpkin Book Reports

I have a pumpkin on my front porch leftover from Halloween that I never did anything with. They were all so cheap the day after Halloween too. Well, one of my Teacher friends, Mrs. Lapadat,  had a fantastic idea and gave out an assignment to do PUMPKIN BOOK REPORTS! They were so Awesome!

I think this Scooby Doo Pumpkin Book Report was my favorite. It was just so funny and cute. 

Check them out! Everybody bought a pumpkin and decorated it like the main character in a favorite picture book! Here are my favorite ones. There were many!

I had not seen this picture book Very Brave Witch. It looked like a cute one though. 
Grumpy Cat was super cute. 

Substitute “Creacher” was a fun play on words. Loved the one eyed pumpkin. 

I think this one is Parts? The pumpkin’s eyeballs were too funny. 
Parts is a kid favorite! The tiny pumpkin cracked me up too. I guess 2 kids did the same book.

She invited me down to see them. That reminds me, I forgot to send a thank you note! EEK! I better have my kids do those tomorrow!

This was my funniest student from last year. And he did a funny pumpkin book report too! Hi Liam! 

The Big Hungry Bear Book Report had 2 pumpkins! Glitter added a lot too! 
They put the extra ones from the other classes into the library so we all could enjoy the Pumpkin Book Reports.
The Nutcracker was beautiful. I bet this one was a mom and me project! So pretty! 

I had never seen the book Hoogie in the Middle, but the pumpkin matched perfectly! Amazing! 

This Diary of a Worm is a fat little sucker isn’t he? haha….
Gotta love me some Cat in the Hat! This one was another one of my funniest students from last year. Hi Brody!  I loved his so much too! Everybody loves The Cat in the Hat! 

Another favorite Pumpkin Book Report of the students is Skippy John Jones…(don’t ask me why, I don’t get those books at ALL!) 

Didn’t they make a movie out of this one? I haven’t seen it yet, but those twinky cupcakes are everywhere! 

I loved how they used the stem for a witch nose in this pumpkin book report! 

This one looks so much like the book I wanted to take it home! It was one of my favs! There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly! 

 They read their stories to 2 kids at a time in a kind of round robin buddy reading activity for our class. The kids got to hear 3 to 4 stories in the half hour we were invited to come visit.

Ho Ho Ho! How Santa Got His Job! 

I bet this Rainbow Fish took lots of time to make! 
This one was a triple pumpkin teepee! Woopee! I loved it. What a fun time we had looking all these cute pumpkins over! 

They were the gosh darn cutest things I’d ever seen. I wish I would have thought of it! We all LOVED IT! Thanks 3rd Graders for some fun buddy reading!

Reading Streets LION and the MOUSE and Fables

The Reading Streets genre this week is FABLES. We will read The Tortoise and The Hare and then watch a short youtube.   HERE at TPT I found a copy of a Tortoise and the Hare Reader’s Theater.
The Tortoise and the Hare 5 minute Video was fun and the kids read along with the words that are all posted. 

A fast finisher game I put out was this Tortoise and Hare Game HERE.
Then we read The Little Red Hen from a reader’s theater, and  The Lion and the Mouse from our Reading Streets Literature Book. Another good one is The Boy that Cried Wolf, an Aesop’s Fable. Did you know he was a deformed, dwarf slave who lived in Greece? Here is what it says in Wikipedia.

This famous Book of Fables, which are always referred to as
Aesop’s Fables, date back to the 5th Century BC

 Yeah, he wrote all these fables  and they got passed around and handed down like most folktales are, from generation to generation,  and he became very famous. But I did not know he was a deformed dwarf. Nor that he had been a slave. It goes to show how man can overcome his circumstances and create amazing things from nothing.

I choose to use The Little Red Hen  because I think it is perfect for this age and we can read a the reader’s theater of it and also the book, since I have both. I think  it also teaches a moral lesson about hard work and that there’s no freebies in life. And last, but not least, One Good Turn Deserves Another. It isn’t my favorite though.

  We read The Little Red Hen in a Reader’s Theater. 

 I want the kids to get a good background in what a FABLE/FOLKTALE is. They need to have a great, creative character who is good in some way and another character who is  bad. One has to be greedy and the other generous, one has to be fast and the other slow, one has to be giving and the other selfish so they are opposites in a sense. The story also has to have a setting that goes with the characters,  a problem and solution and most importantly,  a moral to the story or something that is learned at the end.


* Fables are passed down from generation to generation.
* Fables have a moral to teach a lesson on human virtues.
* Main characters are often animals that talk and behave like people.
* The most famous fables in the world were written by a slave man named Aesop in the sixth century B.C. Aesop wrote more than 600 fables. Timeless Teacher has lots of reader’s theaters with fables to choose from (including Lion and the Mouse, Ant and the Grasshopper etc.)

After we read and discussed each Fable over 2 days, we did a venn diagram in partners comparing 2 characters in each story. We put how they were alike in the middle and ways they differed on the sides.  HERE is a Venn link that I found. It has a few good questions on it besides just the graphic organizer. Some of the kids compared the nice animals in One Good Turn, and Lion and Mouse. That would be the Fox and the Mouse. Some compared two of the 3 meaner animals; the Snake and the Crow and the Armadillo. Some compared the Lion and the Hare from Tortoise and the Hare because both were boastful. I was delighted that they could compare and contrast so well all on their own and give examples why. The Jr. Great Books training we are doing is paying off. They look for EVIDENCE from the story to back up their opinions. 
Junior Great Books are a monthly activity we do in our classroom….writing out questions to ask the whole class is not easy, but it teaches us to voice our own opinions, and back it up with proof or evidence from the stories. 

Then we got ready to write our own using the 4 blocks method. HERE is a TPT link to a free printable of a graphic organizer to use the 4 Blocks writing method to tell your fable. I just put it up on the document camera and each of the kids folded a newsprint writing paper in fourths and used the middle to write FABLES. One thing I changed was the bottom left we switched to SETTING. So if they wrote about fish they had to make the ocean the setting. For African animals they had to have a grassland or plain, etc. It was a great graphic organizer. I highly recommend it.
Free Elements of a Fable Graphic Organizers
For a fast finisher I also had a copy of puppets to go with The Little Red Hen. Check them out HERE at Haynes Marionettes.  As they were writing their titles, I told students they needed to make their characters with 2 describing words just like LITTLE, RED HEN. (examples; The Big, Brown Bear and the Teeny, Tiny Mouse etc.)

HERE is the link to the puppets. 
Here are the Little Red Hen Puppets to go with the reader’s theater we did HERE and another one is HERE at Grandview Library. They have lots of other reader’s theaters I use throughout the year too. 

Then we wrote a list on the board of possible animals. We had everything from warthog to jellyfish and even insects.  Next we wrote a list of problems. We had stealing, boasting, being chased, getting stuck in a hole, etc. Lastly we wrote possible lessons learned; don’t be lazy, don’t steal, be generous, don’t be boastful. By then everyone had filled in their graphic organizer 4 Blocks model. Then they began their sloppy copy fables/folktales.

handprint lion and mouse
The Lion and the Mouse cute Handprinting art project from Puttis World. I loved it! 

Puttis World HERE, had done this cute puppet handprint of the Lion and the Mouse story. I loved it! I was tired from having done a Veteran’s Day Eagle handprint painting last week though, so instead we will trace our own handprints, then draw heads for the animals after having looked at these online. All they have to do is create their own heads and tails. Then we cut them out.  I gave them dot painters to paint with. Then we filled in with crayons. Much easier. I also considered these cute finger puppets Here at but we want to perform our fables for another class and finger puppets might be too small.

Kindergarten Infusion lesson?  Pete the Cat handprint. Could use as a segue into printing/stamping lessons?
Some other cute HANDPRINT ANIMALS  I found on Pinterest and online Google images. I showed these to the students and told them to trace their hands and then design their animals from their hands adding beaks, a head, tails etc. Most of them are going to town! I’ll post the finished products tomorrow. 😀

Oriental Trading had these foam Animal Handprint puppets too. Another cute idea. 

 I think these kinds of multiple readings of a type of literature (fables/folktales) help schema knowledge for what it should sound like and be like for a writing piece. It is another form of modeling. They kind of “get it” after seeing so many examples of short, simple fables. We will see how good their own fables turn out tomorrow. I am just editing them after school today.  Check back for our finished Fables SOON!

Veterans Day Art and Activities for Kids

Next Monday is Veteran’s Day. I’m the daughter of a Veteran. I’m very proud of my dad. He was a Merchant Marine and in the Army for many years.  My father-in-law is also a Veteran. He was in the Air Force and flew many important missions.  So on Veteran’s Day we honor the men and women of the military.

Veterans Day Art – American Eagle Handprints 

Our awesome school also honors Veterans with a big assembly, where lots of Veterans come dressed in their cool uniforms. We sing, have patriotic marching music, a powerpoint of lots of pictures of the parents and grandparents in the military, lots of flags, and so we teach the kids what the day is for.

We did a mural of the 5 branches of the military and their seals. Some cute coloring pages we found HERE.

I believe it is important.  I like to have the kids learn about what the 5 branches of the military do for us. And that they work and sacrifice much to keep us safe from harm.

Veterans Day Writing Activities 
Some of the writing we did for Veterans Day. 

We start by reading this book by Jill Biden called Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops at the rug and have a short discussion about people in our family tree who have served in the military and what a sacrifice it sometimes is.

Jill Biden’s book on Veterans 

Then we watch the youtube (below) for some background knowledge. We brainstorm a big list of jobs Veterans  perform and some great adjectives to describe Veterans. Then we make a list of words that could start some cool sentences for an acrostic poem. Or else we just do an expository writing on Veteran’s Day.

The 5 Branches of the Military Art by Kids 

We found some cool stationary at TPT that was free and had an Eagle on the bottom. One was for an acrostic and the other was stationery that had just the right number of letters for VETERANS. We decided not to do a poem this year but wrote about Veterans instead. Check them out HERE and HERE for some great Veterans Day activities too. I used the KWL chart and the Describe a Veteran worksheet HERE. And HERE is a link to a cool wordsearch on Veterans.

Veterans Day Art and Writing Activities 

Then we did some fun hand print art to make American Eagles in small groups while the rest of us started our short essay on Veterans.  The goal was to give REASONS why Veterans are great! We used information that we learned from the books, Youtubes or the kids sharing in our discussions.
Check out last year’s activities we did for Veterans Day!

Veterans Day Writing and Art last year……

              Veterans Day Youtube we watched. There are 2 others on my last year’s post HERE.

Veterans Day Poem 
We made a Patriotic Mural and Bulletin Board for Veterans Day this week! 

My nephew Tyler posted this on Facebook when he was in the Army Boot Camp…..I loved it! 

I am the daughter of a U.S. Marine who served in 2 wars for 8 years and is buried in a military cemetary in Southern California. I think of him often and am proud of him for his military service. We honor all Veterans on this special U.S. annual holiday.

H Is for Honor: A Millitary Family Alphabet (Alphabet Books)
I got this book for $6.00 and free shipping on Amazon and it’s a HARDBACK!  Woo Hoo!  I read is called H is for HONOR. It gives kids an education on lots of different things in the military. 
We used Handprints to make an American Eagle (and added glitter of course!) 
Veterans Day Handprint Art and Writing by 2nd Graders 

We discuss how the military are stationed all around the world to protect us from terrorists and people who would harm our country. Boy are we thankful for our brave Veterans and all that they do!

BAT Acrostics and Stellaluna and Scarcity Activities from Reading Streets

Our Reading Streets selection this week was Scarcity. It wasn’t one of my favs. But I found a few reader’s theaters to help explain scarcity A reader’s theater for Old Mother Hubbard is fun and explains scarcity really well. It can be found HERE at Very Short Mother Goose Tales.

Stellaluna Bat Handprint Art and Bat Acrostic Poetry 

We decided to do some other fairy tales too since these kids read so well. We did Hallowiener in a reader’s theater that I found by Dave Pilkey  (whose friends were scarce) and then I read them Stellaluna (whose mom was scarce). We had this in a reader’s theater too. (I collect them…kids love them).
There is only a week till Halloween so these books were fun to add to our Scarcity line-up. And we read all as a reader’s theater. Every day was a new one. Kids love and get into reading with expression and since I have one table of kids read a part they try to outdo each other’s tables groups. It’s funny.

Bat Acrostics and Handprint Bat Art. 

Here at Learning to Give has a good diagram to show what we have to do when things get scarce in anybody’s life. We will discuss when kids can donate things they have outgrown to thrift stores so people in need can go buy them for not a lot of money. They can also give away if they have extra things or money.

Many of the kids told how they pass down clothes to friends or cousins. We talked about times we had to do without when mom or dad were out of money or times we had to choose when we only had a certain amount of money and wanted more than we could buy. Or times when we felt lonely when friends were scarce (like Stellaluna).

Stellaluna Activities with Bat Art and Bat Acrostics 

Bat Acrostic Poetry 
I decided to keep with our writing non-fiction reports and chose to do them on Bats as a springboard from Stellaluna (since Halloween is around the corner). We started with a FACTUAL ACROSTIC POEM ON BATS.  I made a list of facts on the board as we read 2 Scholastic News Magazines on Bats and 2 non-fiction books.

Halloween Bats bulletin board 

Then we brainstormed facts we heard and wrote them down on sloppy copy paper. Then we came up with beginning words for sentences starting with B, A, T, and S.  They were quicker than I thought! HERE at First Grade Parade are some really cute ABC Order bat activities as a free download. Thanks 

The next day we added reports on the back of our acrostic BATS paper after reading 2 more non-fiction books and Stellaluna. By this time the kids heard repeats of many of the facts so had internalized a lot of them. Did you know the smallest bat is the Bumblebee bat and it is smaller than your pinkie finger? So cute! (well, not if it landed in my hair!). EEK! 

Bat Acrostic Poems 
Handprint bats 


Cute little Black Bat made from handprints! 

Here  is a comprehension test that goes well with the Scarcity story describing what Scarcity means HERE at Social Studies for Kids.  A review of the Scarcity story that was great I found Here at Mrs. Volak’s Class. HERE are more of her activities.

We wrote BAT REPORTS on the back of the poetry paper. 

Brown Bat Acrostic 
Here I am in my Halloween costume with the bat bulletin board behind me. One of my mom helpers was also Jessie for Halloween! It was fun to compare notes on how we made them. 
Bat Acrostics and Handprint Bats 

We finished our BAT acrostics and BAT reports. And lookie at our cute little hand tracing BATS we made during ART!  I guess these are vampire bats noting all the red blood the boys colored on these poor little bat teeth, lol.

Happy Halloween!