Classroom Elf Freebies & Ideas

It's almost time for our family elf, Elfabet, to visit us from the North Pole.  He is one of my favorite family traditions because his silly hijinx always make my boys laugh.  There is just no sweeter sound to wake up to in the morning, I swear.  Not only are the elves flying back to homes everywhere across the country, but according to my calendar, they're flying back to classrooms everywhere, too.


Here's a peek back at our visit from our classroom elf a few years ago.  A special delivery straight from the North Pole with a letter, a gift tag, and everything!

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I read the letter to the kids and they flipped.  I mean, they seriously had a conniption.  They could barely stifle their screams.  We somehow managed to get through the letter without anyone going too crazy, but when it came time for me to open Santa’s special delivery, we just couldn’t contain ourselves anymore.  It got a little wild.  But it was precious because their little hearts are SO innocent and they just couldn’t hold in their excitement at all.  I just LOVE the magic of Christmas!!!! 
As we were opening up the package, the kids were BEGGING me to be careful so that I wouldn’t touch her.  Luckily, Santa’s little burlap sack and all that North Pole snow made it super easy for her to stay put as I opened her up.  I put her under the document camera for everyone to see.

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Almost immediately after opening our special package, one of my babies said, “I’m going to write about our elf today in Writer’s Workshop!”  Score.  But first, it was time to name her.  I was really hoping for someone to come up with a fun name like “Elfis” or something equally as cool.  Here’s what the kids chose and then voted on…

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I got this great bubble map idea from Cheryl at Primary Grafitti.  Love.  Take a look at those names.  Elfabet is the name of my boys’ elf and one of my kids DESPERATELY wanted that to be a serious contender, but no such luck. We ended up with “Frozen” and I’m sure that was inspired by Disney’s recent Blockbuster!

After we named her, we filled out one of the printables from my Classroom Elf Freebie so that the kids would have something to take home to share with their parents.

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We took a little break and played “Where’s the Elf?” from that same little freebie and the kids had a BLAST!  You should’ve heard the cheers when they found the hiding elves!!  It was even better watching the “elf finders” do their little elf dances at the end of the game.  HA!

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We went out to recess and when we came back inside, our elf had flown out of her resting place and landed above one of our tables.  I guess she didn’t think anyone would be able to see up her skirt. Bless.  #thankgoodnessforstockings

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They were seriously flabbergasted.  Could not BELIEVE she was flying around the classroom while they were outside!!  This was the *perfect* time to introduce their little elf writing journals.  They couldn’t wait to get started.

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We even made these little elves for a special writing project all about our North Pole visitor.  I don't have a template, but as you can see, it was pretty easy to make.

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If your elf is coming to visit, grab these freebies to welcome him or her to your classroom.
You can grab the freebie HERE.



And if you're in search of some elf ideas (for home OR for school...easy to modify for the classroom), you can find them on my domestic blog here...




And have you heard the news yet?!  


Teachers Pay Teachers will be hosting their annual cyber sale on Monday and Tuesday, so get ready to shop and stock up for this busy holiday season.  Always such a fun time of the year in the classroom and it's so much easier to make it through the next few weeks when you're prepared!
This is when I like to stock up!!  If you're in need of a few more seasonal resources, here's what I have available...


















I have lots of phonics and alphabet resources....math activities and content...and MORE!  You can visit my little store and click on the custom tabs on the left hand side of the screen to find exactly what you're looking for!  Until next time, happy cyber shopping!!!!

Thanksgiving Math Freebies!

Hello all!  I hope this week's supermoon hasn't throw your babies off at all.  Oh, who am I kidding?!  I know it has, LOL!!!  Here's to you and making it through to the Thanksgiving holidays up ahead!  Halleluia, right?!  

Okay, so let's talk math, shall we?!



I just wanted to share a couple of math activities from my Simply Social Studies Thanksgiving Mini Unit (K/1) that you might be able to use in your classroom this week or next.  I always try to include ELA & Math extension activities in my social studies lesson plans.  I love cross curricular teaching and our kids tend to build a more authentic and meaningful connection to key concepts and ideas when learning on a cross curricular level.

First up, a little Mayflower Math.

For this activity, you'll need the printable, a bingo dotter, and a die.  

Prompt students to roll the die and identify the amount.


Then prompt students to add a matching number of pips in the tens frame with a bingo dotter (or marker/crayon/sticker if you don't have the bingo dotters available).  


The objective of this activity is to make 10 altogether. SO, your kids will identify the number in the tens frame and then determine how many more are needed to make 10 altogether.  
Prompt them to use the pilgrim cut-outs to show how many more are needed to make 10.  
In this example, I rolled a 3, dotted three, and then identified that 7 more are needed to make 10 altogether, so I glued 7 pilgrims in the Mayflower to represent that addend.   Then have students write the matching equation in the space provided on the sail.


This would be great for a small group activity to provide extra support,but it would also be perfect for an independent task!


Next up, Pilgrim Place Value.


You'll need the printable included and a set of number cards.  I happen to have the yellow ones pictured, but they aren't included in the download.  You can use ANY number cards you have available or create your own quickly using index cards and a marker :)  

The objective of this activity is for students to draw two numbers from the number card pile and make the biggest number possible then use the base 10 blocks to represent the value.

First, draw two numbers from the stack and write the biggest number possible in the space provided (you could also have kids make the smallest number if you choose).


After identifying and writing the greatest/smallest number, prompt students to use the base 10 blocks to represent the total value and glue them in the matching columns.



If you want to add these activities into your plans this week, just click on the pic below :)


Have a great week!!!



Celebrating Veteran's Day (with Freebies!!!)

If you're anything like me, you are always looking for more ideas and resources to add to your ever growing collection.  I do this for EVERYTHING.  Constantly looking for new ideas...more resources...and more time.  If anybody can tell me where I can find more time, I'd really appreciate it ;)  


That to be said, I want to share with you a few ideas to help you with any last minute prep you might be doing for Veteran's Day (tomorrow!!!)


I absolutely LOVE teaching my kids about veterans and the sacrifices they make for our freedom.  At my old school, veterans related to the students were invited to an assembly and honored with speeches and songs and we finished it all off with a parade around the school.  It was so cool.   The assembly was streamed in all the classrooms so that everyone could watch. At my current school, we celebrate by inviting veterans to lunch...tables are decorated and the walls in the cafeteria and the hallways are, too.  It's such a sweet day.

We read several books leading up to and on Veterans Day to help teach the kids about this holiday.
These are some of my personal favorites...

I keep these books in our library center through the month of November.  My kids read them during their read to self/someone block of time and they also use these books to write some pretty great stories.  "Hero Dad" is such a sweet book and "The Wall" always makes me cry.  Make sure your tissues are nearby if you read that one aloud.

After reading a few of  our nonfiction books, we create anchor charts to display.  These are a few examples of anchor charts I created with my class the last few years.

I like to display the kids' Veterans Day writing around the anchor charts to tie everything together. 


Last year we read the book, "My Hero", and I had the kids write a text to self connection with this little writing activity...
I mean, seriously.
"My hero is my mom because she takes care of me."  
Can my boys please write something like this for me?! I MELT!!!!

In addition to our text to self writing, we also wrote what we LEARNED about Veterans and Veterans Day.  I loved displaying this in the hallways!  
I included the writing & craftivity templates in my Veterans Day mini pack.

This year I'm adding something new to the mix with this writing craftivity.  It's a great way to incorporate our theme based vocabulary, too!  



I love adding poetry and music to every theme/unit.  I made up this one and my boys are already humming the tune to themselves.  I can't get it out of my head, either!  HA!!! 
We always add a printable version of our songs and poems to our poetry folders.  I like to write the words on sentence strips, too...then I add them to my pocket chart center and encourage the kids to assemble them in sequential order, practice one-to-one matching, etc.  We use the printable version for highlighting sight words, spelling patterns, etc.  The printable version of this song is in my Veterans Day mini pack.

My boys always get excited when I create new things for my teacher friends.  I was printing a few things out the other day and they insisted on trying it all out.  It sparked a really great discussion about Veterans Day, too.  I promised them I'd pull out my Veterans Day books for bedtime stories this week.  Their favorite activity was this little Roll and Color Word Family printable.  They, of course, turn everything into a race so they were determined to see who could color the soldier first and fastest!  When I told them the prize was a kiss from mommy, they seemed less than excited to finish the race first...hahahaha!  They begged for candy kisses instead.  Oh, BOYS!!!


They also loved these little math booklets.  I included two different versions in my Veterans Day mini pack to target differing ability levels.  Landon zipped through the Armed Forces Addition...very sloppily {little toot!!!}, my poor lefty...and Grant loved his "jutht-right-for-me-book, right-mom?!?!" version.  They boys are enamored with soldiers so these were right up their alley.




You can check out my "Patriotic Holidays" board on Pinterest for some more GREAT ideas and links to some really neat resources {videos, online stories, freebies, craft ideas, etc.}.




Here are a few FREE printables for you to add to your ever growing collection of "stuff".    Hopefully they'll help you out when you're planning for your Veterans Day festivities, too!



Now it's your turn.  What do you do to help your kids learn about Veterans Day?  Does your school do anything special to celebrate?!  I'd love to hear more!


Columbus Day in the Primary Clasroom



Since we typically have the day off for Columbus Day, I do acknowledge it.  And it's in our standards to teach it, too.   However, instead of focusing on Columbus being the first to discover America...which, by the way is highly disputed...we focus on exploration, new discoveries, and Christopher Columbus' explorations.

I figured today would be a great day to share with y'all what I posted last year...in case you're planning, too!  




If you're all about the snacks....which you know I am!!!...then these are pretty fun...and cute, to boot!  Of course, this will take a little ambition which I don't always have when it comes to preparation the night before.  I'm usually too tired to make dinner :)  Ha!

                           


This version is fun, too!  



You could even have your kids assemble the snack and then write an expository piece about how they made it.

I like to start most of my themed units with a poem or song of some sort.  There are lots of Columbus Day type songs out there.  I made up this little one and my boys won't stop singing it.  Oy.  
                                             

I included a printable version for poetry folders/independent reading station/etc. as well as song strips for the pocket chart...


I absolutely LOVE incorporating vocabulary activities into anything I can.  After reading the book Word Nerds last year, I was on a mission to amp up the vocabulary instruction in my classroom.  I think our babies definitely have the capacity to not only learn, but use "big words" in their every day vocabulary...we just have to guide them in the right direction and provide lots of opportunities for them to work with these words.  

I wrote a little "Let's Learn About Columbus" booklet and highlighted some important vocabulary words from the story...


I also included printable story vocabulary cards and a couple of activities to go with those words.



I'm also loving this "ship-shape" sequencing book that follows along with the story, too!

It's this time of the year that I like to talk about symbols.  I create a symbols anchor chart that describes what they are and how they are used.  I included a printable where the kids have to sort symbols and match them to their corresponding holiday and I also included this little booklet.  For this activity, the kids have to look at the symbol on the sail and then write the word on on the lines.  This would be a great independent writing activity!


We're going to have the kids use these vocabulary picture/word cards as a resource when completing these activities.  They're also going to have them displayed in their writing center.


I thought it would be fun for the kids to take some of those same vocabulary words and sort them into alphabetical order, so I made this little cut and paste booklet for that...


I also included this little writing craftivity and two different writing prompts.  My oldest wanted to make one of his own as soon as he saw this one.  Bless. 
You can check out this resource & read the details HERE.  


I hope this helps with your planning!!!