Reindeer Art and Dear Santa Letter Writing

Well it is the season for Santa letter writing! And it is one writing project I never have to motivate anybody to do a good job on. The kids all want to tell Santa they have been good and nobody seems to worry about that old “naughty list” he keeps.

All these kiddos in my class did such great handwriting to Santa. And they have done all those pesky chores at home too! They deserve some Santa loot don’t they? 

Santa Letter Writing was so funny. This student “did his homework and cleaned his room!” So Santa, PLEASE send those toys! 
Reindeer Art. We added red glitter to the Rudolf noses. 

And He “sets the table…sometimes…” haha. So sweet. 

Being “quiet in class” should get her lots of Santa points I’d say! lol. 

I love that he’s been taking care of his baby brother for mom. What a good boy! 

Reindeer Art projects. Gotta love those eylashes. 

Santa Letter Writing and cute little Reindeer with curly eyelashes. 

I found darling letter writing paper for this project HERE at TPT. It is FREE. There is a cute bunch of Elf writing paper too that had nice big first grade lined paper HERE from Moffett Girls. I really like their stuff.

Anyhoo, I hope every one of these darling kiddos gets what they want for Christmas! They are sure a cute bunch!

Star Wars Word Family Stars on a Stick

Every year I try to come up with a few new ways to teach a word family in a way the students will remember. I did this activity a few years ago and I think it helped solidify the Star Word Family. We made Stars on a Stick!

STAR word family “STARS on a STICK” activity. 

I designed a cute STAR shape that had lots of points on it. It really looks more like a SUN but isn’t the sun actually a star? Yes it is. The reason being that each of the points on the star will become a place to write a “STAR WORD” or word with the “AR” chunk. Then we decorated them with stickers and markers and added wooden skewers taped to the backs.

I started by teaching the students this little story. Mr. A in the Alphabet made a deal with Mr. R. He said “If you let me be in front, I’ll let you say your name.”
So in every word where Mr. A is in front of Mr. R, you only hear Mr. R’s name.
So we call these words STAR words in my classroom. The words with the “AR” chunk or word family.

Yes I must admit that we had the word “Fart” mentioned and without batting an eyelid I turned and wrote it down. What was I thinking, really? Of course it ended up on every freaking star! 

Then we brainstormed a list of AR or STAR words on the board. I showed the students the pretty poster I made to keep up in the room all year long to remind us of STAR WORDS.

Then we went to work writing our own choice of STAR WORDS and then decorating our stars. Short of breaking out the glitter which I have done some years, we added stickers and lots of cute marker designs. Here are a few cute ones. You KNOW I love my cutsie stuff.

Kids had fun reading their “STARS ON A STICK”. 

Then came the fun activity. We got into partners and played the “STAR GAME”. Which is simply “I read a word to you, then you read a word to me”. Do this 3 or 4 times and then I ring a bell. You have to run to a new partner in the room before the bell dings again. Then replay the game with a new partner. They would have played the game for another 10 minutes. They were reading the entire time.

Think of ways to do these kinds of reading activities with harder types of word families like the IGHT words, or DIGRAPH Words. In our class we are using STAR WARS for lots of engagement in reading and writing. Our latest is using CHEWBACCA for the CH digraph practice. I found a fun package of Star War’s masks at Target’s Dollar section. I also found some free coloring pages with STAR WARS Characters HERE.  Here are some masks you can purchase if you want to do what we did. Or you could try the Target dollar spot area. I got mine for $3.00 for 3 masks.

I forgot to take a picture of our Chewbacca brainstorm of words for the digraph “CH”. I attached the mask to the brown butcher paper and it has a prominent place on our front board to refer to these words and the word “digraph” which is coming up on our language arts benchmark. I will snap a pic today and add it tonight. It is really cute.

I’m going to find a little miniature CHEWBACCA and we’ll have to do him on a stick. haha. Chewbacca on a stick. Priceless!

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

 This past week we’ve been learning about the 5 food groups, the food pyramid, healthy choices for exercise, food, and washing our hands so we don’t get germs or sicknesses spreading around the classroom. Here are a few fun activities we did! 

First we read the story There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly….after which we made our own!

I put the story at the listening post this week with the felt lady and animals activity and it has been super popular! Go figure. I used this store purchased felt lady to design our paper reproductions.

I drew this Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly freehand! Woot! The animals are below along with the rhyming text.

The kids had fun reading the story text along with dropping the corresponding animal down the lady’s mouth.

I had a parent helper cut out the “tummy” and put a piece of  old overhead projector acetate behind it and tape it up. Then the kids colored them and we backed them with colored paper, leaving a little place from her hand down to her hemline open to retrieve the “animals”. They colored animals that went along with the story. 

I also typed up the words to go along with all the animals in The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly….

These have been very engaging for the students. They really loved doing this activity to go along with our Healthy Lifestyles unit. 

 I am going to have the kids write their own “I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a ______” innovations. I have typed up a story frame. We will work on it for a few days and I can’t wait to see what creative things the kids come up with!

Everybody’s Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly looked a little different. 
 Then we did a fun activity putting different foods in the “Old Lady Who Swallowed Stuff’s” belly. I had each table of kids discuss what should go in the trash and what she should eat to make her healthier. We talked about things that we should eat sparingly like cookies, french fries and candy. 
We have read all of these innovations on the original “There Was an Old Lady” books. Some of them were really funny. iThere was an old lady who swallowed a fly

This Activity was really cute for a CENTER GAME. Use a MRS. BUTTERWORTH’S empty syrup bottle to “feed” the old lady words using beads and pipe cleaners.  I saw a cute picture of it on Pinterest. It’s from

Some of my collection of “There Was an _______ Lady who Swallowed _______” books. 
Check out another book title THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED SOME CLOVER and activities to go with it HERE. She makes the old lady to “feed” by placing this picture in front of an empty tissue box.
 We could have been saving tissue boxes all year. This would be cute to do in March to go along with St. Patrick’s Day! Another one I found is HERE at kidzclub. It is free and printable. Click here then go to black and white. Don’t click on the picture. Another activity I had for a fast finisher is this wordsearch HERE from Buildingstrongchildren. The book text you can use to sing along is HERE at Just click on the old lady page links. Cute pictures too! A MATH roll and cover “Old Lady” is HERE at TPT.

Then we watched this Youtube on Healthy foods and we listened to a 5 a Day song tape from DOLE while we worked on coloring and cutting out our Little Old Ladies. HERE  are a bunch of printables for kids on Healthy Eating topics.

We read this reader’s theater on Mr. Energy and how he keeps his body in good shape by eating right. We didn’t have time to do the puppets. 

Here is a list of book to read kids to help them understand the good things we can eat to make us healthy and fit. Check them out HERE at

I Know and Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly 
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.  Here our our own ladies ready to eat those animals!

 We read this scholastic news, watched the Magic School Bus video to go along with it. Then we used my two classroom stethoscopes and listened to our own hearts beating after we came back from P.E. on Thursday. Some of the kids listened to their neighbor’s hearts. They were amazed!

Stethoscopes for listening to our healthy hearts and pedometers to count our steps at recess. We talked about how important exercise is and how eating lots of fatty, fried foods can line your arteries with yucky goop called cholesterol that can block your blood’s flow from your heart and cause heart attacks.  Everybody had a relative who had heart issues.  They were very interested in heart health! Amazing!

 Just some of the 8 books I have depicting The Old Lady Who Swallowed a …….

Well our Government is going from the food pyramid to the “food plate” thinking it will be easier for kids to understand. Maybe it is. Check it out above. A fun online interactive game we will play in computer lab is HERE.

We colored this “food Groups” worksheet and stapled it and the foolish old lady on the back of their Little Old Lady health projects so they could read them to brothers and sisters at home and replay and act out the story. 
This was a very funny poem about a lady who overeats on junk food that the kids LOVED! And we also read the riddles and they figured out what food groups were the answers. 

A fun center that the kids loved was my felt food pyramid with felt pieces to place in the right places. Then they each made their own pyramid for their desk as a fast finisher this week.

The Food Pyramid Flannel Board activity center……
Good nutrition Worksheet we did this week. 
HERE are a few more free printables I found at TPT. 

We also used the vocabulary words Nutrition and Healthy this week as part of our 10 vocabulary words. Everybody got 100% on the test too! Woo Hoo!

These were really cute made up on the kids’ desks….I think I got this from 5 a Day at Dole. Check out Dole’s Website HERE. I’ve gotten lots of free activities from them because I asked.

We will keep writing our innovations on the book The Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly and post them next week when we are all done! I can’t wait to see the finished stories!

Fry Phrases

I use Fry Phrases every day in my reading groups. I have little sets of 24 small 4 x 4 cardstock pages on rings that I keep in a little bucket on my reading table. Every day during reading time we pull them out and I do one minute timings with them. The kids try to get down to the 25th Fry Phrase on each card within the 1 minute timing. Sometimes they do!

It is very motivating. It also is great sight word practice. It is also great speed and fluency practice. I highly recommend doing anything with Fry Phrases. I wish I had done this all throughout my 22 years of teaching reading. HERE is an EASY LISTING.

And here is what I’ll be working on soon as my parent gift. Check it out HERE.

I have found some really fun resources on the web for practicing Fry Phrases. HERE is One of them. It is a fun game to roll dice and then read one of the Fry Phrases. It is from She suggests using 10 sided dice. I didn’t have any of those so I just give the kids multiple regular dice and they add them up before getting a number to read that phrase. That way we are doing math addition as well as reading practice.

Fry Phrases I use in my classroom every day. 

This would be a GREAT quick start activity to your day. I do a quick start every single morning. When the kids first get in and put their stuff away they spend 15 minutes doing a quick start. It can be reading or math. And when they are done with it they use the book boxes and read. I have time to go over something a few missed the day before in math. That is the time I do 1 on 1 reteaching at my reading table. I also can take roll, send back emails to parents, and return notes to parents while I’m watching my students redo work they missed and help them relearn.

For beginner readers that are in A to D books I use these CVC words Every Day. They get a stack. They read the stack, then they pass the stack to their neighbor. It takes about 3 to 5 minutes to go through 3 stacks per child. 

I highly recommend the Fry Phrases. Get to know them. HERE ARE A FEW more resources  from TPT that you can use. But the best is just to copy and laminate them in small sizes and put them on rings. Use them daily during your reading hour. Your kids’ sight words will explode through the roof. I have 23 students. And all but 1 of them have gone from not knowing but a few sight words to knowing 75 or more since just September. That is in only two months time. And one of my kids didn’t know hardly any sounds when he walked through my first grade door. Now he is reading in a D book. Sight words are the name of the game. They make a GREAT intervention that is research based too. Try making up flash cards with FRY PHRASES. This will be one of the best things you can do in teaching reading to young children.

Thanksgiving Songs and Art and Writing for Kids .

Thankgiving Song, Art and Writing for Kids.

This Thanksgiving Song looks like a fun way to introduce the Pilgrims and the Indians information this week as we begin studying the first Thanksgiving. We will also do Thanksgiving Writing and Art.

I’ve done these mosaic indian corn art projects for many years. It always turns out pretty. 

I have a few books I like to read the kids too. A new one this year that is kind of crazy but fun is called Pete the Cat Thanksgiving Story. I know kids love this character so I’ll add him to my list of books to retell the story of the Pilgrims and Indians. I also have Thanksgiving Stickers (below) on hand to add to the completed writing papers we do retelling the Thanksgiving story.

Then I want to do a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting Pilgrim Children and American Children of today before we start our writing. I found a cute one on TPT HERE. . I want the kids to realize how much harder pilgrim children worked and how much less fun and free time they had.

We write about Native Americans and Pilgrims on Thanksgiving.

Then we will do similar informational text reading about the native Americans and what they wore, what jobs they did and how they came across from England on the Mayflower.

Here are the papooses we do out of a paper plate hole punched and the tie is made from a pipe cleaner and some beads. 

I have many art projects I like to choose from. We can make Indians and write about the tribes. We can make Pilgrim Puppets. We can make Indian papooses or canoes. Or we can make Pilgrims faces out of paper plates.

I will probably do these this year. I like teaching the kids about Squanto and how the native Americans helped the Pilgrims plant corn and hunt duck and quail and wild turkeys and gather berries. 

You can also make a paper canoe and add items to go inside. I usually make a few hole punches and have kids lace yarn through them too. HERE at Wacky Kids is a free printable.

In the past we write about fall activities we do at home and our favorites. 

To make the outfit just fold a paper into 4ths diagonally and then in half horizontally. Then cut off 1 squares off each lower end and glue them as arms on the back of the upper top ends after you fold the rest of the page in. Then cut a slit for the legs and fold down a triangle for the “collar area”.
I have the kids cut the fringe on the Native Americans and decorate their heads with a pattern of small 1 centimeter squares of colored paper. Then they draw indian designs on the outfits. We do a few ideas on the board like a zig zag pattern, a moon and stars pattern and some arrows and triangles. 
Hope you are getting excited for Thanksgiving Holiday break too! 

Thanksgiving Writie the Room Center Activities

I’m working on revamping my Write the Room Center Activities this week. I have had a few cute Fall activities up, but I want to do more sentence writing.

Thanksgiving Write the Room Center Activities 

A good one I found that has no punctuation that the kids can write on any white boards, chalk boards, or on paper I found HERE at Teacher’s Notebook from Learning from Superstars! Thanks so much!

Thanksgiving Write the Room Center Activities 

I will put the sheets up on the wall with some sheet protectors. Then the kiddos can write the sentences of their choice out on paper, or on the whiteboards provided in the center. They will have to choose the correct punctuation.

Here is another cute one HERE.

A few generic Write the Room pages that would go cute with your centers I found HERE. and HERE at TPT.

I like to WRITE EVERY DAY.  I’ll do a blog post of each of my days of the week and how I incorporate writing into our daily themes.  The first day is MONDAY. We do Weekend News on Monday. I use dotted lined 2nd grade paper and I have a bigger rectangle for an illustration. I also have lines all down the backside for my really good writers.

Writing about our Weekend News in 2nd Grad

We call it Weekend News  because we write about what our family did on the weekend; whether it was a birthday party, a soccer game, shopping at Walmart or a trip to the movies, we write all about it. I always start with a REAL MINI lesson on one of the 6 traits of good writing. I ALWAYS start with  IDEAS, then move to CONVENTIONS. I probably work on these 2 for at least 2 months. 

I’ve always used the 6 Traits Writing Model. Our district is moving to the 4 Blocks method which is easier to teach, but it doesn’t have enough breadth for gifted kids, so I’ll be using both.  It is an unedited weekly writing project, but I help with spelling harder words as I peruse the room. 

Thanksgiving Write the Room Center Activities – Here are some of my table decorations I’ve been putting up this weekend too. CUTE! 

 I do a brainstorm on my white board of activities the kids dictate to me. The other thing I have always done is write out a sentence frame;

      On Friday I played….         On Saturday I went……..   On Sunday my family and I……

That way the kids get some sight words memorized and have a way to cut up the weekend into 3 simple paragraphs. Each week I write a new brainstorm.  A great website for graphic organizers to write  on just about any topic can be found  HERE at vrml k12. They have lots of powerpoints on lots of subjects good for kids brainstorming in 1st and 2nd grades. I teach ORGANIZATION mid year

Did YOUR family go out to eat like we did? Did you go to Jimmy Johns too?  It’s super  yum! 

An easy way to design the paper you want your students to use is to go on this website and peruse her various grades and styles of writing paper.  Check out Donna It is all free and I loved the different sizes of dotted, lined paper you could print out for a booklet of “Weekend News” or for a Journal. You could just add a small rectangle for an illustration and the words WEEKEND NEWS across the top.

Thanksgiving Write the Room Center Activities. Here are my cute little handmade pilgrims. 

A good CHECKLIST for students to use when they are done with their Weekend News can be found HERE at Read Write Think. This is a silent, at your desk, unedited writing activity. Kids can use their personal journals or the word wall to help with sight words. Otherwise they are sounding out words they write.

This was an idea for “WORD CHOICE”  from Cheryl Sigmon’s website on 4 Blocks Method for writing…. link is HERE.
I teach  Word Choice the 3rd month of school. It reduces how many “good” and “nice” words you get in student writing…..and you get spectacular “$100 words” as we call them!! 

Some fun books I use to teach kids the story of Thanksgiving. It is a good one to get them thinking about if mom has put up the decorations for Thanksgiving yet around the house. As you can see I decorated mine all up already. Woot!

Weekend News is a very valuable and simple way to start your week writing on Monday.  Check out what I do on Fridays HERE. Check back to see what I do the rest of the week!! 

First Grade Turkey Activities

First Grade Turkey Art and Activities 

I found some cute First Grade Turkey Art and Activities to do when we get back on track Monday. I have my favorite Turkey books to read first of all. Then we’ll talk about what Thanksgiving is all about.

Here are two of my favorites that are SO GREAT for first graders. The first one is a funny story about animals that come to dinner at Mr. Turkey’s house. The second one is a darling ABC book about Thanksgiving. Great for building background knowledge about the pilgrims.

Today we’ll just focus on the American Holiday started by the Pilgrims who came from England to escape a bossy king. We’ll add to the history lesson later in the week.

I usually do a Venn diagram like this one from The Controlled Chaos Classroom’s blog.

Kids are always amazed at how hard Pilgrim kids worked. Then we’ll have a discussion of what things the pilgrim kids had to do for chores compared with what easy lives kids today have and what kinds of chores they all have. Then we’ll do a brainstorm of what we should all be thankful for this year.

First Grade Turkey Art and Activities 

We’ll do a cute crossword puzzle about Thanksgiving. The downloadable freebie is HERE. I also have a Thanksgiving Read the Room center we will put out this week. A simple printable story about the pilgrims coming here from England is HERE at TPT. This will also be a great reading passage to do together.

Before having the kids glue the strips, have them write 1 word on each of things they are thanksful for. This is a prewrite activity. I wrote a brainstorm from our discussion on the board so this is always easy for them to do after that. 

I like doing an artsy turkey a few weeks before Turkey Day and then write about the things we are grateful for. I found some cute and free writing paper that has some pilgrims and Native Americans on the top HERE. We will go through the writing process and do a sloppy copy, edit and then rewrite our “I’m Thanksful for…. narrative writing project.

The body was a 6 inch brown circle and the head was around 4 1/2. I just cut them out and had them in stacks for the kids to come get with their “rectangle feathers”. Use the correct terminology and they will learn those geometry shapes.  The legs are also rectangles and the toes are made from 3 small rectangles. The nose is a triangle.

The accordian legs are always a little bit hard for the kids to do so I go around and help fold for those who are struggling. You can do the toes like I did or if your kids can do it give them 1 orange strip and they can snip it into 3 pieces and glue together to make toes. They are always funny looking. D

Then we’ll put together our wiggly eyed turkeys. I use 2 1/2 inch by 8 1/2 inch strips of the 6 colors of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) paper strips. We will glue them into a raindrop look shape. Then all of those 6 raindrops glue in rainbow order to a 6 inch circle of brown. Add 2 yellow  1 x 11 legs folded accordian style. Glue on orange feet made from 3 inch long x 1/2 inch long strips made into a bird footprint. (glue all 3 ends together and opposite end spread out.

 Glue a 4 inch circle of brown for head. Add 2 white wiggly eyes, a yellow triangle beak doubled and folded.

Lastly add a red “gobble” under the beak and a bow with some checked fabric or ribbon on the front of the turkey. Some years I’ve done it in gingham red or orange. I’ll have to see what I find at Hobby Lobby.

Cute little First Grade Turkey with his wiggly eyes and funny legs. 

 The eyeballs I found are HERE at Flamingo Toes. Another one I found HERE at Kiki Creates blog. Another blogger had such a cute post using wiggly eyeballs for a class behavior motivator. Her darling post is Here at Teacher to the Core. Check her printable eyeballs out HERE. Zombie eyeballs Here on TPT.

There were lots of activities for free download at this site; a crossword, a maze, a word search and a word scramble. We did the crossword puzzle on the back of this writing paper. Thanks to Free The other 4 worksheets are just below this one on their site. 

Lastly we played some Pilgrim and Pumpkin Roll and Cover games HERE at TPT.  I loved this one with the Old Lady Who Swallowed “Too Much Turkey and Pumpkin Pie” for Thanksgiving. It has a really cute visual for adding up 2 dice. It is HERE at Mrs. Lirettes Learning Blog.

I found these solar turkey and pilgrim puppets at the Dollar Store. Aren’t they just the cutest? My little grandkids love playing with them. They dance when you put them in the sun. Funny! 

For centers I have Turkey Read the Room this week. It is just a bunch of turkeys with sight words on them. I’ll hide them all over the room. Kids use clipboards with lined paper to find as many as they can.

My kids LOVED playing both of these during center time. Turkeys are always a hoot. Or a Gobble Gobble.

Veterans Day Handprint Art

Veterans Day Handprint Art Bulletin Board on 11-11-11. I just HAD to honor this day! 

Coming up next week is Veterans Day. We will celebrate the day by honoring soldiers who have died in the line of duty, protecting Americans in the U.S.A.  And we will do some Veterans Day Handprint Art projects.

 I will teach the kids all 5 branches of the military; Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, Marines. We will also share that they all have their own song (with lyrics) and their own cool uniforms. We listened to them and watched them march out with the flag on Youtube.

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Then we wrote  about what Veterans Day is For. We wrote about soldiers who are always protecting America around the world. I want the students to really remember how each branch of the military protects us in different ways; the Air Force with planes and helicopters, the Navy with ships and aircraft carriers and submarines, the Coast Guard with boats and divers,  and the Army and Marines on the front lines of battle. We will talk about the elite Navy Seals and Special Forces and how tough and brave they are.

A cute ABC Book with a Military Theme I bought and read with the class is H is for Honor

After writing, as a fast finisher, kids will do a Veterans Day crossword puzzle.  We will discuss some of the vocabulary in the puzzle too.  The link is at homeschooling for Veterans Day Crossword.

Veterans Day Crossword 

Then I found a few neat handprint art projects I wanted  to try. Both look very patriotic! Also I found a fun wordsearch for fast finishers I will put on the back of the crossword puzzle. It is HERE at Family Fun Shop.   

Veterans Day Art Project – we decided to do a variation of the American Eagle below…saving the flag for Memorial Day!!!   I also found a neat way to make free WRITING stationery.  I put an eagle and stars on the borders to make a cute page for our writing project.  Make your own stationery is found here at DLTK Kids. Just look on the left side for Veterans Day.

We did a mural of all of the 5 branches of the military for Veterans Day after the kids were done with their writing. I read and edit every “sloppy copy” and then they rewrite on the cute paper. It is time consuming but I can help them correct their individual mistakes that way. 
Our Veterans Day Writing and American Eagle Handprint Art Projects….and our mural. 

And to honor the memory of all our departed soldiers in the military we will be doing an art project using  the American Eagle …..symbol of the U.S.A.  I like the colorful tail feathers on the bottom of the American Eagle, so I would change those white ones to red, white and blue  just for a more colorful bird. Then of course some red, gold and blue glitter on those tail feathers will add a lot. The tutorial for Painting an American Eagle is HERE. handprint-patriotic-eagle-craft-kit This kit for a Handprint Eagle is HERE at Oriental Trading. We didn’t do this one, but it’s really cute too.

Lastly I will show the kids a video song from Tim McGraw honoring fallen soldiers in the line of duty called “If You’re Reading This”.  It shows my students the sad part of the job of protecting people, and how some give the ultimate sacrifice, their lives in defense of America. That’s why we honor them at Veteran’s Day.

We brainstormed all we knew about what Veterans in the Military do….

 After watching the Utube videos we talked about what a Veteran is. We talked about how they protect the president, bridges, dams, airports and tall buildings as well as doing Toys for Tots at Christmas, marching in parades, flying on helicopters, jets, and manning boats, aircraft carriers and submarines. Most of the kids had gone to air shows and seen the military tanks, weapons and men there. We talked about places where there is war in the world and how our military helps protect us overseas.

Here is our finished bulletin board on Veterans Day 11-11-11
We made American Eagle Handprints…

While the kids started their writing I helped 2 at a time handprint paint. First we painted our left hand brown with a blue thumb. Then we painted our right hand brown with a red thumb, washing hands in between these steps. The prints overlap in the middle a bit. Then we painted our pointer finger white and did the middle tail feather. While they washed hands, I glittered with red, then blue glitter, then the white feather with gold glitter. Then the kids painted a head and beak after I lightly traced the shape with pencil on each bird. Lastly we added a wiggly eye with glue and 2 stars. They turned out great.

Veterans Day Handprint Art. I told the kids about my dad, Mr. Russell, who was a marine in 2 wars. He is burried in a military cemetery in Southern California. He was a great soldier and marine for the U.S.A. I’m very proud of him.

We wrote about Veterans we know….

 I told the kids about my kids’ other grandpa, Mr. Moss’s dad, and how he was a flying navigator in the U.S. Air Force. He flew bombing missions in several wars.  He is still alive and retired. I will also share a picture of my nephew Garrett, who was in the army and shares my birthday with me.

We wrote about the Air Force, the Marines, and all the other branches of the Military for Veterans Day 11-11-11….
We wrote about being Americans….

I always send home a note asking for military memorabilia or a grandpa or dad or mom who wants to come and share with us. I was surprised how many of them had grandparents and dads in the military. They sent all kinds of things for us to share; dog tags, helmets, army blankets, aircraft jumpsuits, cloth maps for directions on the ground, photographs of men in uniform, lots of military memorabilia. It was very patriotic to me.

We are proud of our Veterans on this 11-11-11 Veterans Day
Lots of kids brought in military gear and photos for us to share! 
Some kids wrote about their grandparents…..
My kids’ grandpa was a navigator in the Air Force…Thanks Grandpa! 

 HERE at Military Coloring Pages  I found the neatest pictures of the 5 military branches’ seals in blackline master and some other cool coloring pages. I copied them, and then put 2 on a page and copied each of the 5 seals (Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines) for the kids to choose one and color as a fast finisher during our writing time.

The Bulletin Board looks great…so patriotic! 
Cool Eagle Handprint Art Project
This was a fast finisher Coast Guard Seal coloring page…we had all 5 to choose from when they were done with their writing and centers…
We wrote about Veterans Day and did Veterans Day Handprint Art. 
I did not know the Marines are part of the Navy….did you? 

 I’m very proud to be the daughter of an American Veteran. He’s gone now and I miss him. But I honor him and all who served and still sacrifice for me and my family. Thanks for sharing all your military memorabilia and precious photographs of men and women in uniform. Happy Veterans Day from our class.

Halloween Party Games for Kids

Halloween parties for young kids are easy if you do them in centers or rotations. Here are the ones I’ve done for the last 10 years or so in my classroom. 
1. Bingo using candy corn counters
2. A craft of some sort (Tootsie Roll Pop ghosts is a good one or making a pony bead orange, black and white bracelet on pipe cleaners is good too). 
3. Decorate a pumpkin cookie using orange icing and lots of sprinkles, chocolate chips and candy corn for eyes and smiles. 
4. Tic Tac Toe
5. Pin the Spider on the Web OR Ring Toss Spider just use black construction paper spiders and draw a giant web on orange poster board or butcher paper). Or buy a ring toss game or Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin game Here. 

6. Bean Bag Toss into a large wood pumpkin. 
7. Some years I have done Hot Potato Pumpkin with a soft stuffed pumpkin and Halloween Monster Mash music. When out go pick a treat. 
These all work well with K-3 kids and older. 

CENTER 1 – BOO BINGO with Candy Corn as Markers. You’ll need prizes for each center. 

Every year I do a bingo game as the first center. In these little black cups are candy corn erasers we used for counters to mark our bingo places. Some years I use real candy corns but with all the kids handling them I don’t want them eating them so erasers in candy corn shapes work better. I think I had lack cats and pumpkins too. 

 CENTER 2 – CRAFTS  (Tootsie Roll Pop Ghosts is a good one) 

This was a cute “Decorate the Monster Face” center I got from the Dollar Store. I think it had 6 different monsters and lots of eyeballs, smiles and noses and stuff. Each child got to pick one and decorate the face. They loved them. 

 CENTER 3 – PUMPKIN COOKIE DECORATING. I add sprinkles, choc chips etc. 

Each year I do cookie decorating. I have quite a selection of sprinkles and candies to do it with too.

 The kids love to add M and Ms and candy corn and chocolate chips for faces.

This year they put their cookies on this cute napkin. Inside were 4 pieces of paper to write a scary story when they got done. We also made “ghost suckers” out of these tootsie roll pops. You just pass out white tissues, and a piece of orange yarn. They tie the tissue around the yarn and add a ghost face with the oval open mouth and dot eyes. Easy peasy. 


We started the day decorating our bags. I have 5 different designs I have hand drawn. There is a skeleton, a witch, a frankinstein, a vampire, and a candy corn. They color, cut out and glue them on a brown paper bag. This is their goodie bag they’ll take around to each center. 
I looked at a few coloring page and then freehand drew these cute little Halloween guys. 

Here are the Frankie, candy corn and skeletons

Here is the witch and more frankies.


I made a tic tac toe center game out of cardstock. I found these matching skeleton tablecloth and erasers at Target for really cheap like $3.00 for the erasers and $5.00 for the wipe off tablecloth. The kids loved playing tic tac toe. I made 3 game boards for 6 kids to partner up. There were plenty of colors of erasers. We had orange, blue, purple pink and green. 

Here is a close up of one of the games being played. 

Here is another team playing on the pink board using green and orange erasers.

The last center was a pin the spider on the web center as well as Pumpkin Bean Bag Toss. I have found over the years that it doesn’t take long for you to finish a group of 5 kids on the pin the spider game and they get bored of the bean bag after about 8 minutes of it. So I combined them. The kids get to do each one and the beanbag is fun to watch as well as the pin the spider.

Here is the bean bag toss game. The bean bags are black felt bats and orange felt pumpkins filled
with beans. A mom helper made them for me many years ago. My hubs made the wooden pumpkin. .

I had a few moms who brought darling treats for our Halloween Party. Thanks to Hunter’s mom
for the CUTE PUMPKIN COOKIES! The kids ate them after lunch and were in heaven.

Monster face glazed donuts were a real hit with the first graders in my class. 
And to top it off it was a birthday over the weekend so one mom brought in donuts! We were really sugared up when we went home. Happy Halloween Everybody! I hope you get lots of good treats!

Spider Math and Art Activities

Spider Math and Art Activities are fun for the primary grades K-3. 

Spiders are a very fun and interesting theme in first grade. There are many math activities you can do too with the 8 legs too. I like to focus on memorizing the doubles math facts.

We made cute Spiders on a Stick and used sticker dots and funny eyes to decorate them. The crazy eyes I found        The writing paper I found at Activity Village. I just wrote in the Actostic S-P-I-D-E-R myself with a black sharpie marker and then copied them for the class. 

A REALLY cute eyeball sight word bingo game I found to do on spider day is at at Make Take Teach’s blog.  You will need some eyeballs from Walmart. Now  is the time to get them!

I got the cute Spider Paper from  activity village. An ABC order using spider words that I’m making up for a center game is HERE at TPT. It is free.   A pack of spider facts and writing paper I found for free is HERE at TPT.  A printable mini book with cute pictures I found for free is HERE on TPT.
Compound Word Spider Activity we do at centers. I’m almost done cutting it out!  A doubles math game I found as a free printable is HERE from TPT.

Cute spider web cupcakes I made on the left. I just added a little spider ring to each that I got in a package of 24 at Walmart for a few bucks. They all turned out so cute! 
I think I got these spider rings from Walmart. The kids love wearing them when they were done with their work. 
This spider on a stick is really easy. Here is a simple tutorial….

 Here is how you make it. Cut 8 inch by 1/2 inch legs and 5 inch circles for spider. You will need 8 legs. I have the kids bend them back and forth accordian style. Then cut out 3 black circles 5 inches in diameter for each child. Make one slightly smaller like 4 1/2 inches. That will be the head. One for the head and two for the body front and back. Then glue on all 8 legs and stick down on one of the body circles. Then cover legs and stick with the last black circle on the body section. Thenglue on the head circle slightly higher over the body. Then add colorful sticker dots and crazy eyes. 

We did acrostic spider poems a few years ago. They turned out great. This was a gifted group of first graders. 

Here are our finished spiders on a stick art project. The kids loved waving them around at each other.