Sunday, December 4, 2016

Reindeer Resources

* This post contains affiliate links. : )

It's reindeer time in my classroom! I love using reindeer to teach my students about non-fiction text features and tie in some other fun activities too! They are also really into reindeer this time of year especially since our Elf on the Shelf, Ellie brought us a pet reindeer!  

  I always start my reindeer unit by discussing that there are two different types of reindeer: magic reindeer a.k.a. the type the pull Santa's sleigh and real reindeer a.k.a the kind that live in the wild. If you don't have this discussion, students will constantly be writing things like, "Reindeer fly and help Santa" which is only true of magic reindeer. : ) 

This is my favorite reindeer book for teaching non-fiction text features. It has all of the features a first grader needs to know and includes great pictures! 

We make an anchor chart about non-fiction text features using the book. 

This year I wanted to take it a step deeper and have my students create a book about reindeer using those non-fiction text features too! 

I created this resource to help students...
Write and answer questions. 
Organize their thinking and information.
Recall and record facts. 
Identify and explain key vocabulary.
Label a picture. 
Understand the purpose of non-fiction text features. 

I am so excited to use it with my students! Each little page even has a cute little tabs. It could easily be paired with any reindeer craft too! Check it out HERE.

After learning about real reindeer, it is a lot of fun to watch a fun movie  and compare the two types of reindeer. : ) 

I love to see what my students come up with! 

Download this FREEBIE by clicking HERE. Be sure to follow me on TPT for other fun freebies! : )

And of course no reindeer unit is complete with out some reindeer food. Now this is for those magic reindeer mentioned above! ; ) However, we do remember that reindeer are herbivores and like oats. We read a few fiction reindeer books before making our food.

(Side note: Did you know that there is a movie too?)

To make reindeer food, we just mix some plain oats with glitter. Make it extra cute by putting it in a clear bag and twist it shut with a brown pipe cleaner for antlers. Then glue on googly eyes and a red pom pom

Students can also write about how to make reindeer food! This freebie can be downloaded HERE. 

A reindeer hand print craft or sandwich is also fun too!

Have a wonderful week! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Getting Ahead of the Game: December Edition

Believe it or not, it's time for Getting Ahead of the Game: December Edition! 

To me, the next few weeks are the busiest and craziest of the whole school year! They go so fast and just become one, big blur. Take some time this week to get ahead of the game and not let December sneak up on you! Here are five tips to get you started! : )

So Santa knew what he was doing when he decided to make a list and check it twice. December is such a hard month because there are so many things that need to be done outside of school to get ready for the holidays too. Spend some time making a GIANT to-do list for the entire season. These are the printables I use...

 Download them FREE HERE. Don't forget to make a wish list for yourself too! 

 I absolutely love the Elf on the Shelf tradition! Ellie visits my classroom every year and it just brings so much joy and excitement to our classroom. 

Be sure to order one early if you need it! Like NOW!

Ellie loves doing fun things to make my class laugh. She will be using this calendar to plan out her fun!

Please download it from my TPT store HERE. Don't forget to follow me while you're there! : )

I also have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to my Elf on the Classroom Shelf too. Be sure to check it out below! I'm always finding new and fun ideas! 

This one may sound silly, but I waste so much time sometimes recreating the wheel! Spend some time looking through your files and seeing what you already have! Look through your holiday bucket, Teachers Pay Teachers purchases, and files! You may be surprised at how much you already have ready to go!

I can't stress this one enough! There is nothing worse than trying to put together gifts for 22 little friends at the last minute. This year I will be giving my class a copy of Santa Duck! Here is a picture of the book, but I actually purchased it from Scholastic. It was $1 in the November First Grade Boor Order catalog! : ) 

My Ama also sews by hand a precious little heart ornament for each of my students. 

I like to wrap each book up and add the ornament on top. It's the perfect gift. 

I can't tell you how much this helped me last month. Spend some time before Thanksgiving Break prepping! Here are a few ideas to get you started!

Last year I added holiday cards to our writing center. I just asked parents to donate any holiday cards they had on hand or pick up a pack at the dollar store. The kids LOVED it and it was perfect for practicing how to write a letter. I also made a stocking for each child that they could collect their letters and other holiday goodies in. 

Make reindeer food! Download this FREE writing template HERE. I love reading these books to learn about reindeer too:


The cute reindeer craft is  from A Cupcake for the Teacher.

Math will also have a holiday twist too!

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I hope you will join us on December 15 for Getting Ahead of the Game: January Edition. Of course I will be stopping in in between with more great teaching ideas and resources! Have a great week!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Buddy League by H-E-B

October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month and National Diversity Month! I have blogged about my love for H-E-B before, but I just had to share this amazing resource they have put together for teachers to promote diversity and kindness in the classroom. 

The H-E-B Buddy League is a new program for school-aged children that promotes kindness, respect and inclusion for all. This FREE kit includes great resources for teaching your students the importance of being a buddy, not a bully. 

The kit includes a program overview, posters, stickers and coloring pages. 

I absolutely love the precious posters about kindness, respect and courage. They are perfect perfect to hang in the classroom, hallway or cafeteria. 

It even includes a dry erase poster! It's fun to remind students of a specific skill or even to recognize a student who is a great example of a buddy! 

The stickers and coloring sheets were also a hit with my class.

As teachers, we do such a great job of building a classroom community at the beginning of the year; but it is so important to continue promoting those skills throughout the school year. I love how easy this kit makes it! Click HERE to learn more about the Buddy League Program and request your FREE kit! Thanks H-E-B! : )

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Getting Ahead of the Game: November Edition

*This post contains affiliate links. : )

This summer I started summer weekly blog series called Getting Ahead of the Game. The series was designed to help you get ahead and not be so stressed when the new school year started in August. I received lots of great feedback and decided to start the series up again! On the 15th of every month,  I will post a Getting Ahead of the Game post to help you get ready for the following month. So, today is October 15 so we will be getting ahead of the game by preparing for November! 

I truly believe, the secret to not working every night and weekend is planning ahead! I don't care how much you love your job, it't not fun working 24/7. Here are 5 tips to help you get ready for November before it's even November! ; )

Spend a little bit of time getting an idea of what you will be teaching this month! Addition? Subtraction? Non-fiction text features? Story Elements? My state uses TEKS, so I always spend some time looking at what TEKS we are focusing on. If your district has a scope and sequence to use for instruction spend a few minutes looking over that! 

I am so guilty of buying new books without really looking at what I already have! I love to buy new things at the end of every season when they are usually on sale, but then I forget what I bought and end up buying more! Check your books files and wherever you store your center materials before you buy anything. If you are looking to purchase a few new books, here are my favorites with affiliate links to purchase on Amazon!

Most of these books are super popular, so ordering them early will ensure you have them when you need them! Don't forget about your school and local library too! Beat the crowd and check out early. Or reserve books for the week they are needed. Scholastic Reading Club has tons of great Thanksgiving Books too at great prices!

There are SO many great ideas on Pinterest, but many of them require some time and planning to make it happen in your classroom. Now is the time to pin away and look for all of those fun, hands-on ideas! Check out my November Pinterest Board for some  inspiration! Be sure to follow it, I will be adding new pins often!

 Let's face it: You are more likely to do that fun science experiment if you have planned it in advance and put together the materials. Speaking of fun science, have you seen this? You can grow indian corn! I just bought some dried, decorative indian corn at the grocery store and put it in a pie tin with water. 

Of course Thanksgiving is the first thing that comes to mind when I think about the month of November, but there are other things worth celebrating this month too! First up is Election Day! Have you seen this book yet?

It is SO perfect for younger students and a great way to discuss the election without getting into the candidates. There is a great website set up to go with the book too! Check it out HERE. Students will vote for their favorite cause and the winning cause will receive $10,000! How great is that? My students will feel like real votes by making registration cards and wearing an, "I Voted!" sticker.

Check out this resource HERE.

Veteran's Day is also a really important holiday that you should teach your students about. 

We celebrate by writing a letter to a veteran! My class sends letters to my Papa every year and I love seeing the sweet things they write. 

Download this letter template for FREE by clicking HERE. These books are also great and age appropriate:

Just click each book to check it out! 
Hear me out on this one! When you plan ahead, other people can help you prep. You can ask parents to help cut materials, gather supplies, laminate or run copies!  I keep a bucket on top of my filing cabinet where I put things that are coming up. It feels so good to see how many copies I have already run or how many centers are all ready to go! Doing one or two extra things a week can really help you get ahead! Plus, it saves you the panic if the copier isn't cooperating or you run out of paper!

Here are a few November activities that you could already have prepped and ready to go! You will L-O-V-E yourself in a few weeks. 

Can't beat a turkey craft that's also academic! This craft can be used with any book! It includes different feathers that can be mixed and matched depending on the skill you want to teach. The feathers included areCharacters, Setting, Problem, Solution, Beginning, Middle, End, Main Idea, Detail, Fact #1, Fact #2, Fact #3, Fact #4, Fact #5, Fact #6.

I also love a thankful turkey too!
You could already have all these materials prepped and ready to go!

Speaking of thankful, this alphabet writing activity was a hit at the writing center!

My students loved the challenge of trying to come up with something for every letter of the alphabet! Download it FREE by clicking HERE.


This is a perfect math center for Kindergarten students! And it's FREE! Click HERE. 

You won't be sorry! : ) Receive lots of freebies, tips and ideas straight to your inbox!

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I hope you will join us on November 15 for Getting Ahead of the Game: December Edition. Of course I will be stopping in in between with more great teaching ideas and resources!