Monday, November 21, 2016

Writing Collaboration on the Mayflower [Freebie Included]

I LOVE collaboration projects in the classroom.  I start them very early on in the year and by now, they are awesome at working together, sharing, talking, making sure everyone in their group 'agrees', presenting, and so much more!
During the month of November we spend a lot of time on the Mayflower and learning about Pilgrims and Native Americans.  One of my favorite books to read (I read it throughout the week because it is lengthy) is ...If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620
Throughout the week we add all of our 'learned' Mayflower facts onto our KWL.  On Friday during our writing block we do a collaboration writing project.  
Each table group has to work together to think of at least 3 Mayflower facts and record their facts, working together to sound out their words.  
They can use our vocabulary word cards from the unit to help them spell as well (vocab cards provided HERE).
Since there can be up to 5 students in the group, we always want to make sure that everyone has a 'job'. The kids are great at coming up with jobs for one another and sharing their responsibilities.  One of their favorite jobs is tracing with a sharpie.
As the groups finished their facts, they went to the carpet while they waited for their classmates to finish up.  When all groups were ready, we presented our Mayflower facts.
They read what they wrote and when they were finished we made sure to celebrate their success!
After each group read their facts they were allowed to go over to our Mayflower and tape their facts onto the ship!
This is always one of my favorite bulletin boards! You can also add little pilgrim faces into the Mayflower from my craft HERE. You can also see a picture from my Instagram page HERE.
'There was a poop deck.' is a fact that makes it onto my Mayflower EVERY single school year! Definitely a class favorite!
Now for a little freebie!  We only have school Monday and Tuesday this week so I wanted to have a little fun with the students before we leave for Thanksgiving break.  I thought this dice activity would be perfect for a little 'bonding' activity.
We are going to sit in a circle and take turns passing the dice.  Students will have to roll the dice and answer the questions that they rolled. 
This freebie includes a make your own dice template as well as inserts for the pocket dice seen HERE. Download the freebie by clicking on the image below.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Holidays Around the World (Kindergarten)

Holidays Around the World is probably my students favorite unit of the year! This is a unit that you can really customize.  If you want to teach it yourself and not go too wild decorating the room, you can. Or if you want to involve parent volunteers, decorate the room, and go all out, you can! Either way (and I have done both) the kids LOVE it and learn SO much!
At the beginning of December, the children complete their boarding pass.  I make one boarding pass for all of our journeys and just write in 'around the world' for our destination; however, if your children can handle a little bit more, then you can make a boarding pass for each country that you will travel to.  Before beginning we also get our suit cases ready, bag tags, and passports!
Even our elf has to get in on the action!
When it is a travel day, the children grab their boarding pass, passports, and suitcases and wait in line (in the hallway) to go through security.  I (or you can have a parent volunteer) check their boarding pass, I make sure their passport matches up to who they are (they love when I ask them to state their full name), and then I pretend to scan them with an old remote. Occasionally someone sets off the alarm and needs to be pulled aside and scanned again! 
If you have an old box that you can cut holes in, you can put it on a table and have students send their suitcases through the box and down the table- pretending to run it through the x-ray machine.
Then, they board the plane and take their seats!
Once all of the students are aboard, I close the door and give the official airline announcements- I tell students to place their carry on luggage under the chairs and buckle up for safety! We then watch a real airline safety video from YouTube found HERE.  It is great! We watch the same one everyday and its so funny to hear the kids start to memorize what they have to do, haha.
I then put on a flight simulator (found HERE). It is quick and basically just simulates a plane taking off. 
Once we are 'in the air' I read them the slides that are included in my Holidays Around the World pack.  The slides have tons of kid friendly info and will really explain the country you are traveling to- their holiday, traditions, etc. 
When we land, we are officially in another country! I have centers set up that are all based around the country that you traveled to.  Below, you can see us in Israel!
We made dreidels to eat!
We played a dreidel math addition game.
Spelled our CVC words on the menorahs for our 'Festival of Lights' activity.
And even played color dreidel with real dreidels! They loved this! Whichever color their dreidel landed on, they would 'check off' on their white board. The first player to land on all of the colors, won! But at the end, everyone was a winner and won a bag of gelt to take home in their suitcase!
The next day of school we would follow the same procedure all over again! This time, traveling to a new country! The students even started to read their books as their entertainment while the plane took off!
Reading their science textbooks on the plane ;)
When we landed in Mexico we made pinatas for La Posada!
I let students choose one item from our class treasure box and I had parents donate candy for the inside of our pinatas. 
Then we closed them up and they were ready to take home. Students LOVED sharing this Mexican tradition with their family.
Throughout the week we continued our travel.  Our next stop was China! Here we made Chinese lanterns for the Chinese New Year.
We even made dragon puppets!  When our lanterns and puppets were finished we walked around the classroom and through the office at school on our own Chinese New Year parade!
My Holidays Around the World pack contains everything you will need to take this journey in your own class! You can read a little bit more about what I've done in the past HERE.
This pack travels through Mexico for La Posada, China for the Chinese New Year, Germany for Christmas, Holland for Christmas, and Israel for Chanukah. 
There will be a second Holidays Around the World pack (with 5 new countries) coming soon!