Big Ideas for Little Hands: November 2014

Peek at Week: Gingerbread

These last few days off of work have been so nice and relaxing! Me and Haylee made the long drive down to Alabama to spend Thanksgiving with the hubs. We had a very nontraditional Thanksgiving dinner at Golden Corral but at least we were together and we enjoyed every moment. We then drove the 45 minutes to the closest city to conquer Black Friday shopping! It was a success! 9 stores completed by midnight and tons of goodies. I call that a success. Didn't buy many things for Haylee since she was with us but hey, that's what Cyber Monday is for. Speaking of Cyber Monday, my entire store will be 20% so come on by and load up your carts. Click the picture below to take you to my little shop.

Now onto a look back at last week. Last week we only had two days of school so we spent those days doing all things Thanksgiving! I had two amazing moms come in and help run the activities. It was a complete success!

We made Native American headbands and necklaces

We then made retelling bracelets for the First Thanksgiving. You can get the book and directions here for free!

We also practice our side word "this" with a Thanksgiving book from Maria Manore!

The highlight of the week was making homemade butter and tasting it. They loved it! We got the directions from Kristen Smith.

We ended our short week by making these adorable Turkey Cookies from Deanna Jump!

I forgot to by red and orange icing to make the beak and waddle, Teacher fail! But one of my amazing kiddos suggested using our candy corn instead. WIN!!!!!!

Now here is a look at what we will be up to next week. We will be introducing our new Elf friend. Cannot wait for them to meet him and share with you all of the mischievous things he gets into. We will also be diving into everything Gingerbread! One of my favorite units!!!! So excited!!! Come take a look at what we will be up to.

Now head over to DeeDee Wills blog and check out what everyone else is up to this week. And only 14 teaching days until Christmas break! But hey, who's counting :)


Peek at Week: Thanksgiving Part 2

This week we only have 2 days of school then it is Thanksgiving Break! I cannot wait. We are having a very nontraditional Thanksgiving this year. First thing Wednesday morning, me and my daughter will be driving down to South Alabama to Fort Rucker to spend Thanksgiving with the hubs. Since we will not be getting in until late Wednesday, there is no time to prep a Thanksgiving meal so we will be having Thanksgiving out at whatever restaurant is open. Not what we are used to but at least we are together and hey, no dishes to clean so I call that a win! Then it will be on to Black Friday shopping!!! One of my favorite things! I start planning the second ads are posted and love the excitement! Since there is nothing, like literally nothing, in Fort Rucker, we will be driving 45 minutes to do our shopping. That's one tradition that we cannot skip!

Well now to get through these next two days so we can be a whole family again for a short time. This week we are having a continuation of last week. We had a delay on Monday due to snow. What?!?! Snow in Novemeber?!?! I know! I was thinking the same thing but we actually got a little bit. 

So this delay just kind of messed up our entire week somehow so on Monday and Tuesday we are diving straight into Thanksgiving and nothing else. I have some awesome moms that are coming to help. I cannot wait. I will post pictures of our 2 day Mega Thanksgiving Unit later this week. But until then, here is our plans for the next two days.
Hope you have a great week and a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Black Friday Wishlist

Ok, it's no secret. If you know me then you know that I absolutely love Black Friday! It is my favorite shopping day of the year. And yes, I am one of those crazy psychos that will stand in line forever for the doors to open just to save a few dollars. Saving money is a huge perk but the fun and excitement of waiting in line and running through the stores like a crazy person is the real thrill. I always plan out my shopping trips for every store, map out where everything is, plan what goes on sale and what times, and get a very organized detailed game plan. Yes, this is one of my only OCD moments, ha ha! This year I will be spending Black Friday in.......South Alabama! We are going down to see the hubs for Thanksgiving so we will be there on Black Friday and there is nothing there!!!! I am in a huge panic. The only thing they have in his town is Wal-Mart and the next closest town with any stores is 45 minutes away! This is putting me into a complete panic but I will make it work.

Along with all of the Black Friday shopping I have planned for in stores, I have also been working on my TPT Black Friday wish list. There are so many things that I want need but it's so hard to narrow it down without buying everything. Here is a look at what is on my list so far. I am sure it will triple in size by Black Friday but here it is for this moment.

1. Print & Practice Problem Solving - December from Cara Carroll. We loved her November pack and cannot wait to use her December pack too! These are great for quick and fun math activities.

2. Winter Math Stations Galore-Five Differentiated and Aligned Sets from Marsha McGuire. I love her differentiated center activities. There is activities in each pack for every one of my students and they love every activity! I think I have all of here holiday sets but this one bundle so I have to have it!

3. The Kindness Helpers: bringing kindness to your classroom from Kristen Smith. I love everything from Kristen Smith. Her products have been a lifesaver in my classroom. I love doing the Elf on a Shelf every year and this is the perfect twist that we need in our classroom. So excited to get this one!

4. Christmas Rhyming Puzzles Color and Blacklines Mats from Jennifer Drake. My kids absolutely loved her Thanksgiving Rhyming Puzzles so these Christmas Puzzles are a must. We used them for a center activity then my kids begged to keep these in the early finishers tub. Can't wait to show them the Christmas version!

5. Rate Your Writing (Year-Round Visual Rubric} from Primary Graffiti. This is going to be a perfect addition to our Writer's Workshop and a great way for students to evaluate their own writing and see what they need to work on.

6. Roll and Write- 11 Phonological Awareness Games from Reagan Tunstall. These are a great way to practice phonics still. I cannot wait to use these in small groups and centers!

7. Center in a Minute {Early Numeracy}: Counting BUNDLE from Babbling Abby. Absolutely love her stuff! I think I own her entire store. We have her literacy Centers in a Minute and love them and play them all the time. Can't wait to add these to our math centers and small groups.

8. All About Reindeer- using and learning science vocabulary from Kristen Smith. Another pack that looks amazing from Kristen Smith! We love her unit packs and have used about five so far this year. Cannot wait to add this one to my collection!

9. Christmas Graphics Bundle {Creative Clips Digital Clipart} from Krista Walden. I love Krista's clipart!!! I have a ton from her and am slightly obsessed with her stuff. Love this bundle and cannot wait to create more things once I get it!

I have a few things in my store that you may want to add to your wishlist too. Come take a look!

1. Unit 3 Reading Street SmartBoard Companion Kindergarten. These have been a lifesaver in my classroom and many others. Everything you need to teach each Reading Street unit is included in these SmartBoard Companions. They are available for the 2008 edition and the Common Core edition.

2. The Big Circle SmartBoard Companion Reading Street 1st First Grade. After many requests, I have finally started creating 1st Grade Smart Board Companions for Reading Streets. Come check them out. I have Units 1-3 completed so far.

3. Primer Dolch Sight Word Interactive Notebooks Bundle. Interactive Notebooks have been a huge hit this year in my classroom. These are a great way for students to practice Sight Words. I have the Pre-Primer and Primer sets available. Hopefully the 1st - 3rd grade sets will be added soon.

4. Unit 3 Bundle Reading Street Interactive Notebook Journal. I have these for each story/unit for the 2008 version of Reading Street and the Common Core version. My kids love practicing these skills in a fun and interactive way!

5. Reading Street Unit 3 Sight Words Interactive Notebook. I have a set for Unit 1, 2, & 3 ready to go. Units 4-6 will hopefully be coming very soon. This is a great interactive way to practice sight words from the Reading Streets Units.

Start filling up your carts for Black Friday shopping and start mapping out your sales at each store! Good luck! Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Now head on over to The Primary Pack to see what is on everyone else's Black Friday Wish List and enter an amazing giveaway!


Peek at Week: Thanksgiving!

Before I get into our past week and plans for the upcoming week I have to share about what we did yesterday. Me and my daughter went to our mall and stood in line to meet the one and the only Peyton List! We stood in line for 2 1/2 hours but the look on my daughter's face when she got to hug Peyton was totally worth it! In case you don't have a tween daughter and don't know who Peyton is. She is a Disney Channel star on the TV show Jessie. She is one of my daughter's favorite actresses. She was so sweet and down to earth. It was a very special day. I think I definitely got some mom of the year points!

Now back to school things. Last week we teamed up with 1st grade twice to share stories. First, we read our very first published books to the first graders! The kids were so excited to be real authors! They are getting so good with writing. I am one happy teacher! Then the 1st graders heard that we were starting to read the pigeon and duck books from Mo Willems so the came down and read Elephant and Piggie books to my kids. They loved it!

If you have not read Mo Willems before, he is a must! The books are hilarious and teach so many great writing concepts! We love reading them with expression being over dramatic :) You can check out his website here.

Last week we started talking just a bit about Thanksgiving but this week we are really diving in! Here are a few activities that we did from Kristen Smith.

Now here is a look of what we will be up to this week! Click the pictures to download the plans.

Now head on over to DeeDee's blog to link up and see what everyone else is up to this week!


Peek at Week Veteran's Day and a Look Back and FREEBIES!

Ok, I think I should get the worst beginning blogger award. Trying to keep up with everything for school and my daughter's crazy after school activities makes for a very busy life. I am determined to find a balance and get better at blogging. Fingers crossed!

So, to make up for my long absences, I am going to give you a picture overload of our month of October today. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and take a look at what we have been up to this past month.

We spent a whole week learning about bats and had so much fun! 
We started off writing our schema that we already knew about bats.

We then talked about the parts of a bat and labeled a bat. This is from Deanna Jump.

We are love our poetry notebooks from Deedee Wills! We practiced "buttering up" our popcorn words then drew a picture to show echolocation.

We also made a book to show all of our new vocabulary words that we learned! This is also from Deanna Jump.

We then made a hanging bat mobile to show different things that we learned about bats. Blogger fail, I did not take a picture of the finished bats :( Ultimate fail! This amazing project is from Babbling Abby.

During Daily 5, one of our Word Work Centers was practicing CVC words. They are becoming CVC experts! These are from Kindergarten Smiles. I love her word work packs. We use every activity every month!

The next week we dove into pumpkins! We were getting ready for our visit to the pumpkin patch so we had to learn all about pumpkins! We passed a pumpkin around and talked about how it looked and it felt. 

We then cut the pumpkin open and explored inside the pumpkin. They thought it was gross and disgusting but had so much fun feeling everything inside.

We also talked about the life cycle of a pumpkin and made these adorable life cycle crowns from Jennifer Drake. They were a huge hit.

Then it was time for our trip to the pumpkin patch! We had so much fun. We learned all about pumpkins and they each got to pick a pumpkin to take home.

We even learned how to milk a cow!

We all voted on how we were going to carve a pumpkin. We used the SmartBoard to place our votes and then the students drew a picture of what our pumpkin would look like based on the number of votes. This was a great, quick, fun assessment to see how well students understood and could interpret a graph. For the SmartBoard activity you can click here to get it for free. And for the data sheet, click here. I do not have pictures of us doing the activity because this was during my formal observation. It went very well!

We then planted our own pumpkins!

Last week we dove into spiders! I am terrified of spiders and the kids know this so they thought it was funny that we were going to learn about spiders. My new phone is acting up and deleted almost all of my spider pictures. Ugh! Sometimes me and technology just do not get along. Anyways, these are the photos that my phone was nice enough to keep. We made spider headbands so that we could pretend to be spiders and do some fun spider experiments! The headbands can be found in Deanna Jump's spider pack.

We then talked about how spiders do not stick to their own webs. The kids loved "walking" across the masking tape and then we dipped our fingers in vegetable oil and they didn't stick to the "web!" It was like magic!

Then we talked about how spiders eat their prey. They inject a venom into them and then drink their prey. How cool and how gross! The kids practiced this by trying to drink a sugar cube through a straw. They decided that it was impossible. Then we inject the sugar cube with venom, aka water, and then they tried to drink the sugar cube again. SUCCESS! Both of these experiments were from Deanna Jump's science pack.

We then made a spider book to show all of the new information that we learned about spiders from the week! These also came from Deanna Jump.

I think the wraps up most of the month of October. Now onto November. Can you believe that it is already November?!?! Where has the time gone? Next week we are learning all about Veteran's Day. I teach on an Army post and all of my students have at least one parent in the Army. My husband is also in the Army so this topic is very close to our hearts. We are so excited to learn about our heroes! This will be a very special week for us. Come check out my plans and then check back later to see everything that we did. Hopefully my phone will cooperate better this week and I'll be better about posting.

Now head on over to DeeDee's blog to link up and check out what everyone else is up to this week!