Monday, November 26, 2012

Link up with a Christmas Traditions Linky!!!

Christmas Traditions Linky

Today, my family and I ventured out to Johnson's Farm to cut down our Christmas tree with our friends. As I watched my son chop down the tree for what might be the last time for a long time (he joined the Marines and will be leaving in June), I saw a father and tiny son a few trees over. They were both holding onto the saw together. The father was sawing and the small boy was kind of along for the ride. It really made me ponder about how time flies so fast and I found myself thinking back to times of Christmas past. That made me think of a few special Christmas traditions we have done and I would love to find out what others have done. I have created my first linky, a Christmas Traditions Linky! I'd love to hear about other traditions and perhaps in sharing here, we can start some of you with younger children on some fun and new activities!

1) The oldest tradition that happened in my home went back to my great grandmother. Each evening, as the children in the home went to sleep, she would rub a circle of red lipstick on their cheek (in an area they might not rub off in the middle of the night). Each morning, the children would rise (early!!!) and run to check the mirror to see if Rudolph came to "kiss" them when Santa dropped off presents. This tradition continued with my grandmother, my mother, me, and then my own children.

2) I grew up where it snowed, but out here in the west, we don't get snow. One year, I put baby powder in a shoe box and tamped my shoes into the powder. I then placed the shoe onto the floor to make "snow" foot prints for my students. The footprints led to an area where wrapped presents (from me) were dropped off early by Santa for them. They LOVED that! I also left a pipe cleaner with three bells on it for each of them from Rudolph. They thought that was super cool!

What was a fun Christmas tradition in your home or classroom? If you choose to link up with us, please place a clickable link back to this blog from your post. Thanks.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas Tree Graphics

I have been having some fun using the graphics manipulator program called Gimp. In fact, I recently purchased an older book called, Grokking the Gimp by Carey Bunks that goes into some of the advanced techniques for working with digital images. 

The book has been useful for learning how to make an image change from a 2D look to a 3D look. 

This week, I created 6 tiered Christmas tree black-lined images and 6 tiered Christmas trees that are colored green. They are beveled and have a light shining on them from the side to make them pop out. I created them in tiers of 1-6 triangles so that I can use them to add word families and math facts to.

You can now purchase them on sale for $1.25!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cyber Monday + Bonus Tuesday Sale

Next week, on Monday, the website is having a huge sale. They will be offering a coupon code for 10% off which will be in addition to the up to the 20% I am taking off of my products. The promo code will be CMT12. 

Click on the link to be taken to my store to use your coupon promo code.

I am including a freebie Christmas graphic here for you!

To see what other TpT sellers are offering for their sale, click on the button here to visit their stores!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Free Turkey Craftivity

Next week, we only work for two days before everyone disperses for the Thanksgiving holiday. I know the break is coming and the students know the break is coming. It seems that when students know a break is coming, they tend to be a bit more spunky than normal. I have a great project for you to do in one day that they can take home to use to decorate for Thanksgiving that will surely keep their attention.

Click on the picture below to receive your free Turkey without Feathers Graphic Freebie. Download and size it to whatever size you would like your turkeys to be and print off enough for each student to have one. It may be useful to print one for yourself so you can make it along with them in a direct instruction fashion.

  • Give each student one copy of the turkey
  • Have students color the turkey browns and yellows.
  • Give each student a small pile of cut brown and yellow tissue squares
  • Rub a glue stick all over the turkey body (not the head)
  • Scrunch tissue squares and place onto turkey body
  • Have students dab watercolor paints onto a coffee filter and let dry
  • Once the coffee filter is dry, students rub glue stick onto back of turkey head and back
  • Place turkey against the coffee filter which becomes the turkey feathers
  • Give each student two 1 inch x 5 inch pieces of yellow paper
  • Have students accordion fold each of the yellow papers for turkey legs
  • Glue to the back of the turkey so they hang down for legs
  • Hang and display in class or send home for students to decorate at home

If you like this freebie, come on over to Manic Monday by clicking on the button below to receive many more!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Free Native American Craftivity for Thanksgiving

My class has had a lot of fun creating Thanksgiving craftivities this week. In the last two days, I posted about the boy and girl pilgrim craftivities. Today, I will teach you how to create a Native American to add to the Thanksgiving class display.

For this project, each student will need:

  • (1) tall brown rectangle ( a 9 x 12 piece of paper can be cut into 4 faces)
  • (1) 6 x 3 inch black rectangle (for hair)
  • (2) 6 x 1.5 black rectangles (for hair)
  • (1) 6 x 1 green rectangle for head band
  • (1) 3 x 4 red rectangle for a feather
  • (1) 3 x 4 yellow rectangle for a feather 
Turn the brown rectangle sideways and glue a black rectangle to each side for hair. 

Add the large black rectangle for the top of the hair. Glue the green head band on with cut feathers tucked under the edge of it. Either have students cut feathers out of the two colored rectangles or cut them for each student. Draw a design on the green head band. 

Have the students draw a face, making sure to color the eyes of the native brown. Draw an oval for each eye. Put a circle with a black dot in the middle of each eye. Color the round part brown. Color the outer edges of the eyes white. Use a brown crayon to draw an L for a nose. Draw a smile. 
The feathers and bottom of the hair can be cut for fringe.

Finally, here is what I do with the ones we create. I hang up a large Mayflower cut-out that I inherited with my classroom and a few poster board trees. I then place all the creations on the board. With 24 students, perhaps next year, I might want to have 12 make pilgrims and 12 make the natives so you can see the ship and trees. In the large blue space on the end, I am hanging a vertical banner that says, "We are thankful for our friends."

I hope you have enjoyed three days of craftivities for Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Free Pilgrim Girl Craftivity

Yesterday, I showed you how to create a pilgrim boy. If you missed that, click HERE to see that craftivity. Today, I will show you how to create a pilgrim girl.

For this project, these are the pieces you will need.

For each student:

  • (1) pink rectangle face (you can make 4 with a 9 x 12 piece of paper)
  • (1) large white triangle (cut a 6 inch square on the diagonal)
  • (2) 6 x 2 rectangles for hair (cut some blonde, brown, and black so children can choose the hair color for their pilgrim)
  • (2) 3 1/8 x 2 inch white rectangles 
First, turn the pink rectangle the tall way and slide a line of glue along both sides to glue the hair on. Make sure the hair hangs down below the face on both sides.

Next, glue the two white rectangles to the top of the edges of the hair. 

Glue the large triangle to the top of the pilgrim head. If part of the pink forehead ends up poking above the white triangle, simply trim it off.

You can use scissors to snip the edges of the hair on both sides to make it look like hair strands. Finally, add a face. I taught the students to draw an oval for both eyes with a black crayon. They draw a circle in the middle of each oval and then place a black dot in the center of the circle. They choose what color to color the circle of the eye (green, brown, or blue). They then color the outer edges of the eye white. Teach them to draw a nose by drawing an L or a small U. Have them draw a U for the mouth. They can create lips by adding a small heart to the center of the mouth.

I really enjoy the fact that while we create these pilgrims using the exact same steps as each other, no two pilgrims ever seem to look the same. 

Stay tuned for the last installment of these Thanksgiving craftivities tomorrow. I will teach you how we create our Native Americans and show you how we use these three craftivities to make a really neat class display. Here is what tomorrow's craft will look like.

What do you create with your class to decorate for Thanksgiving?


Monday, November 12, 2012

Free Pilgrim Craftivity

As I introduce my students to Thanksgiving, we begin to create things that we can use to decorate the classroom. I love this craftivity because it highlights the fact that the early pilgrims from England dressed a lot differently than people do today. Today, I will share with you how we create a pilgrim boy.

Tomorrow, I will teach you how we create a pilgrim girl.

In two days, I will wrap this craftivity up by teaching you how to make a native person that can be altered to make a boy or a girl. 

For the pilgrim boy:

Each child will need:
  • (1) pink rectange (a 9x12 inch piece of paper cut into 4th's makes 4 faces)
  • (1) 4x5 inches black rectange for top of hat
  • (1) 1.5 x 6.75 inches black rectangle for hat brim
  • (2) pieces of hair, each 1 x 4.5 inches (I try to give options so boys can choose hair color that matches closely to their own)
  • (1) 2 x 2 inch yellow square for buckle on hat
  • (1) .5 x .5 inch black square for center of yellow buckle
Step 1:

Turn face tall way and glue hair to bottom edge on both sides.

Step 2: Glue top hat rectangle to top of head. Lower it until you like where it sits. (Warning: have students only put glue on the forehead of the pilgrim and then place the hat, otherwise you will have glue all over your work surface.)

Step 3: Slide a line of glue right across his forehead from side-to-side where you want the brim to sit.

Step 4: Glue the yellow buckle to the center of his hat.

Step 5: Glue the small black rectangle to the center of the buckle.

Step 6: Add a face. I teach my students to draw two ovals in black. They then draw a circle in the middle of the oval and draw a tiny black dot in the center. Color the circle whatever eye color they want. Color the outside of the colored part white. I teach them to draw a nose with an "L" and a nice smile with an opened "u".

Come back tomorrow and the next day to find out how to make the pilgrim girl and the natives. I will also share a picture with you that shows how I use these to make a really cool display in my classroom.

If you like this, please take a moment to let me know!

If you'd like some other really fun freebies, click on the button below to go to Classroom Freebies Manic Monday! 

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Awesome Free Story Starters

This year, I have been privileged to host an after-school writing club (Budding Authors and Artists) with Mrs. Laura Huff of We love to brainstorm ideas that we think our students will enjoy writing about and creating art for. This is something we did with first, second, and third graders and they LOVED it! For this blog post, I created ten new scribbles to work with. Click on the picture above to receive your copy of these ten scribbles, a mind map, and two types of writing paper.

  • Share the story of Harold and the Purple Crayon to show students that they can create a picture out of a simple scribble.
  • Allow the students to choose one of the ten scribbles.
  • Have students use crayons, colored pencils, or markers to complete a creative picture from the scribble.
  • After students create a picture, have them use the mind map to brainstorm four things about their picture.
  • Choose which of the two writing papers is appropriate to your students and let them write a creative story about their picture using brainstormed thoughts from the mind map.
In our sessions, we had the students write a "sloppy copy" first, allowing for phonetic spelling. We then worked with the students to edit their paper and they then created a final copy. The final copy can be displayed below their completed picture.

The students really enjoyed this activity and it was fun to see how many students created different pictures out of the same exact scribble.

I would love to hear what you think of this activity! If you would love to see how Laura stretches students of all ages with writing, please click on her blog link above.

If you'd like a link to more FREEBIES, click on this button to see what the Teaching Blog Addict has to offer!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Thanksgiving with Educreations Technology

In November, I introduce my students to the story of the Pilgrims and the Thanksgiving Story. There are so many concepts about this story that are hard to teach to this age, so I do keep it relatively simple. This year, I chose to introduce it using a great free website called Educreations. Educreations is an online interactive whiteboard that supports four colors and works similar to a screencast. The teacher presses the record button on the screen at the top right of the screen and draws or writes on the whiteboard.  As the teacher speaks into the microphone while writing on the whiteboard, the lesson is captured for viewing later. The initial writing can be done with the class and used later for review or it can be created prior to class and be used as a means to introduce a concept. 

Also, another nice option this site has is that you can create "courses". For the Thanksgiving lesson, I created a Thanksgiving course and drew several different pictures for different parts of the story. In kindergarten, the attention span is small, so that is why I broke this story up into segments within the course.

I am attaching it free here for you. It was the first one I created and I did it while I was teaching my class, so I had to do some classroom management (you know, the "teacher eye" and some pointing...) while drawing and speaking (and trying to stay on topic with a subject that is at times, difficult for a five year old to understand), so please just enjoy the concept and try it out for your own class. If you like the lesson, you can share it with your class. Each part of the lesson has to be opened separately. There is no "erase" option to "wipe off" the whiteboard, so each scene had to be done separately.

Another really neat option for this site is that you can add a question and answer interaction at the end of the lesson!

I would love to hear how you could use this in your class! 


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