Monday, November 30, 2015

Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar Activity & Freebie

When I was in college, I completed one of my observations in a first grade classroom.  This was over 12 years ago now - eeeek!  I never particularly wanted to teach younger kids, I always thought 3rd or 4th grade was my place.  But, my first job was in first grade and it remains my favorite.  They make so much growth and it is sooooo important because of the development of reading skills. 
Anyways, one of the activities the teacher I observed used that the kids just loved and I continued to use in a variety of ways in my own classroom was  a "Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?" song/activity. 
Here's how it works.  Students sit in a circle and everyone receives a card with a number, shape, word, letter, etc.  The cards can really have any skill on them that you want the kids to practice, but should be something simple and quick, as well as something large enough for everyone to see around the circle (so not a whole word problem but a math fact would be fine).  Each card is the cookie.  Students should hold their cards facing out so that the other students can see what's on them.
Let's pretend the cards have sight words on them like above.  I choose a student to start and read the word on their card (THE) by saying, "THE stole the cookies from the cookie jar!"

The students have to look at their cards and figure out who I am talking about.  The student holding THE says, "Who me?  It couldn't be!"  

The whole class then says, "Then WHO?"  (They LOVE this part.)

The child who was accused then has to choose another child by reading their card.  Pretend he chooses someone holding the word HERE.  He would say, "HERE stole the cookies from the cookie jar!"  That child says, "Who me?  It couldn't be!" The class shouts, "Then WHO?" and the game continues.  I have students put their cards down, sit on them, or collect them once they have been chosen so we know who hasn't had a turn. The child to go last is the child who must have stolen the cookies haha.  (Most kids find this funny...if you have a really young, sensitive child they might not though so make light of it!)

This activity is perfect for kinder and first graders since it allows them to practice simple skills in fun ways, learn to take turns, and also helps with their oral development. You could easily use the activity in a small group too, it would just go much faster (which might be a good thing)!  It would also be perfect for learning names at the beginning of the year.  
I created a product just for this activity using cookies of course!  This product contains cookie sets for upper and lower case letters (use to identify letter names OR sounds), CVC words (a set of 24 for each vowel sound) as well as a set with the first 108 Fry sight words (with an editable page to add more as needed).  You can choose which or how many cards to use at a time based on the number of students you are working with. 

And as a freebie I made a Christmas set with numbers!  I don't usually create math activities, but this was quick and easy to do.  Plus, this is actually what I remember those first graders doing this activity with years ago.  They were simply practicing reading their numbers.  Numbers up to 150 are included for you.  If your kids love the activity, check out the product above for ELA too.  Keep in mind that it will take some practice for the kids to get the hang of the activity, but once they do it will move faster and you can use it for a whole bunch of things.  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Top Wishlisted Items Linky

I am linking up with Teaching in the Tongass to share my top most wishlisted products!
In case you haven't heard, the sitewide TpT sale will be on Monday and Tuesday.  All my items will be 20% off and you can use the code SMILE at checkout for an additional 10% off (equaling 28% off total).
A couple of years ago we had a candy bouquet contest at my school before testing began and so these motivational candy phrase cards were born!  Yes, we did win!  You can see more and find a freebie in this post.  They are a great way to add a little bit of fun into your testing days.
These Possessive Noun Hunts were one of my first products and also the item I redid for Makeover Madness this summer.  Such a simple and fun way to practice possessive nouns.  All you do is label items in your classroom with the cards (Example:  This desk belongs to the teacher.) and students have to write the possessive phrase (the teacher's desk).
Now this Commas in a Series product I remember making on plane trips to and from Hawaii!  I had my old laptop and was using these glitter graphics and it was soooooo slow.  But hey it kept me busy and the work paid off right?  I have actually been meaning to update the fonts on this one.  There are 5 different activities included to get your kids up and moving while practicing this skill.

Happy shopping!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Reading in a Winter Wonderland

Welcome to the Reading in a Winter Wonderland blog hop brought to you by the Reading Crew!  We have two hops for you this weekend, a K-2 hop (which starts here on my blog) and a 3 & up hop (which starts here at Comprehension Connection).  You can find the maps for both hops at the bottom of this post.

Each blogger is sharing with you a favorite, less common winter book with the hope that you find some new books to use this year.  Every post will have a freebie to go along with the book and a mystery word in blue.  Collect the mystery words  and enter them in the Rafflecopters in order to win physical copies of EVERY BOOK IN THE HOP!
The book I chose is Blizzard by John Rocco, which just came out last year.  The author also does the beautiful illustrations for the book  He's actually the illustrator for Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
The book tells the story of a young boy during a blizzard in New England.  The author is actually recounting his own memories of the Blizzard of 1978.  At first he is excited as he is sent home from school when the snow begins and the children are able to play outside.  But as the snow continues for days and the snowplows never come, worry and survival instincts set in.  Since he is light enough to walk on top of the snow, he ends up being the hero by making it to a store and getting supplies for his family and people he comes across on his way. Finally after a week, the snowplows arrive as the blizzard comes to an end. The book has a light and funny tone perfect for young kids, even though the subject matter can be serious.    

Watch the trailer below to hear a summary from the author and get a sneak peak at how gorgeous the pictures in the text are!
Before reading the text, have students share what they know about blizzards.   What happens during a blizzard?  What would it be like to experience one? Have they ever?  Would it be fun?  Scary?  Dangerous?  How would they survive?  What should they do to stay safe?  See below for some nonfiction resources to use either before or after reading this book.  Chances are, most students have not actually experienced a real blizzard, depending on where you live.  I know in Texas many kids have never even seen real snow! 
As you read the book, draw students' attention to the sequencing of the text. The author makes it very easy to follow the sequence of events by marking the days of the week in the illustrations, as shown above.
See Wednesday hiding up there as the ice in the tree?  The book also has some cute conversation bubbles, like the one above which happens to provide some information.
Problem and solution is very apparent with the book too!  The boy and his family were running out of food and supplies so he figured out a way to go out and get some since the snowplows still hadn't come by Friday.
Draw your kids' attention to the vocabulary in the text as well...just on the sample pages above there are some great words:  civilization, survival, igloo, subzero
Since the text has a simple sequence and the events are so clearly labeled with the days of the week in the images, I thought it would be a great one to use for sequencing and retelling.  Click on the image above (or any below) to download the freebie and keep reading below for details.
There are flip up circles labeled with the days of the week for students to glue on a large piece of paper.  If you have younger students, sequencing the days of the week would be good practice!  Then, underneath each day, have students write the major events that occurred.

OR have them cut out the above snowballs with the events already listed and have them put them in sequence and glue them under the proper day.
Students can then use their completed work to retell the story, whether they wrote the events themselves or sequenced those that were already typed for them!
I also included a large version of the snowballs with the events on them.  I thought these would be fun to use in a group retell.  Crumple up the snowballs and throw them.  Have students uncrumple them and then sequence the events in small groups.  There are seven events because that's how many days the storm lasted in the text.
If you're like me, you basically use every book you can to teach theme because it is such a difficult skill to master!  Fortunately, this book has a couple of pretty obvious messages...being brave and helping out others.  So I made this quick sheet that can be used to practice identifying theme and providing evidence. Best part?  You can use this for ANY winter text. You can also find this with the freebie above.   

This site has lots of old photos of the Blizzard of 1978.  I know students would be fascinated to see them (they are in black & white and from a complete different time period!) and compare them to not only what they have experienced in their own lives, but to what they read about the author's experience in the book.

Below are a few other books about snowstorms/blizzards that could be used in combination with this text.  Click on the images to locate the books on Amazon.
Last winter, I made some fun winter themed nonfiction graphic organizers. They cover the skills of topic, main idea, and details as well as a couple of KWL's.  I changed them to free for this weekend so you are welcome to click the image above and download them!
John Rocco is also the author of Blackout, which is another amazing text.  As you can imagine from the title, the book tells the story of his childhood memory of a power outage.  It is a great text to use for teaching inferences and I have a post about it on my blog here.  The two texts could even be used together in order to compare and contrast the author's two experiences.
In case you missed it (or forgot by now!), my mystery word is snowplows.  You can download the recording sheet above if you'd like to use it to keep track of all the mystery words.  Use them to enter the Rafflecopters below and WIN THE BOOKS shared in the hops!  Make sure to check out the two link ups at the end of this post (K-2 and 3 & up) to find the rest of the other participating bloggers!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Christmas Book Countdown Toddler Style & Freebie Number Tags

Now that Gracie has turned one and has been walking for months (and thus spewing goldfish while simultaneously throwing temper tantrums in Target when I make her sit in the cart so I can return everything she has grabbed to the shelves), I consider her to be in full on toddler mode.  One of the more enjoyable parts is that she loves reading books!  She picks up her books and flips the pages and it's soooo cute, especially when they are upside down and she looks so serious.  She also loves us to read the same books to her over and over (and over and over and over)...too hard to say no regardless of the monotony.

So this year we are going to countdown to Christmas with books!  You've seen the pictures all over Facebook and Pinterest the past couple of years right?  I really wanted to do it last year but deep down knew Gracie would have no clue at two months old...I tried to convince my husband anyway but he didn't go for it.
So, I've got all 25 of our books wrapped and labeled!  I chose to number them because there are certain books I wanted opened on certain nights (like The Night Before Christmas on the 24th) and also because I didn't do all Christmas only books. So I marked the winter theme books with early numbers and then did the Christmas specific books towards the end of the countdown.  I was thinking that in the future it would be fun to just let her choose what book to open without any numbers too.  You can get the tags for free by clicking one of the images below.
Now, what makes this toddler style is that these are ALLLLL board books.  So if your child can't be trusted with regular books yet, don't worry there are still TONS of options for you!  Below are all of the books we have wrapped up.  If you click on the images, they will take you to the Amazon page.  There were a few that we had from last year, I bought some with a B&N gift card, and then the rest I got from Amazon.  Some of them are literally less then $4 so it's really up to you how much you want to spend.  You could even get them from the library, tag sales, the dollar stores, etc.  I plan to replace a few each year with more "grown up" books as she is ready.

This is a personalized book and the only one that isn't a board book.  We do have a Night Before Christmas board book too, but I couldn't find it on Amazon. Here is another one though if you're looking.  Gracie got one last year as a gift from her aunt. It's really cute because her name as well as ours (and our cats!) are all throughout the book.  I'm sure she'll really enjoy it when she gets older. The book is sold through I See Me! Personalized Story Books and right now there is a Groupon for it.

This would be so much fun to do in the classroom too!  You'd need less books because of the weekends and I bet we all have enough winter and holiday themed texts to make it work.  If not, use your library!  Has anyone done this before?