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Some TpT friends and I have come together to bring you Daily Deals on TpT from December 5th-16th! Just be sure to enter the correct hashtag each day in the TpT search bar to find all of the deals for that day. 
Below are all of my deals for the week!
I hope you find some steals! 
Have great week! :)

For the fifth year in a row, my class will be visited by an elf from The North Pole. Having an elf has added to the magic of the holiday season in my classroom. This year we are documenting our elf's arrival, his daily antics, and other happenings in our classroom in a memory book format. My students need so much extra practice with writing, so the pages give them the opportunity to practice writing in a fun way. These pages make a great keepsake for the students and their families to reflect on. 
You can also find posters, bookmarks, passes, treat bag toppers, candy bar wrappers, Magic Reindeer Food printables, We've Been Elfed directions and posters, elf yourself art project, Santa's Nice List, and letters from Santa and your elf. 
Last year Santa included all of the masters for the printables inside the box our elf arrived in, so all I had to do was print what we needed. 
 
 
Does an elf visit your classroom? What activities do you do with it in your classroom?
Enjoy the rest of your week! :)
Today I'm linking up with Carla from Comprehension Connections to share with you one of my favorite mentor texts  to read with my class during the holidays, Memoirs of an Elf.
The book Memoirs of an Elf  is written by Devin Scillian. You may know him as the author of Memoirs of Goldfish and Memoirs of a Hamster. If you have a class elf that visits your classroom, it would be fun to have your elf bring this book as a gift from the North Pole for your students!
I adore this book! The story is told through the eyes of one of the elves, and it details Santa's delivery of presents around the world on Christmas Eve. Santa returns home to the North Pole on time, but one of the elves discovers that a family's beloved dog accidentally jumped into Santa's toy bag! The problem in the story is how to return the puppy to its worried owners without being spotted, since by now it's daytime. Momma Claus saves the day with her idea, and Tugboat is delivered to his grateful owners.  
Not only is this an adorable holiday story, it's full of teachable moments. It's the perfect mentor text! Through this book, I am able to teach or review compound words, sequence of events, story structure, problem/solution, fact and opinion, cause and effect, and figurative language such as simile, metaphor, idioms. This is also a perfect mentor to introduce personal narrative. This year I also plan to add some geography by giving students a map and having them track the different locations mentioned while Santa delivers the presents. I also love the "Little Known Facts" about Santa. It would be fun for students to keep a list of facts about Santa, and lead into a discussion of fact and opinion. 
I have trained my students to be on the lookout for what they notice while reading. We discuss the special techniques authors use that appeal to us, and my students are encouraged to "borrow' the techniques to improve their own writing. Simile and metaphor can be challenging to teach, because students must be able to understand them in context. Providing students with practice will help them to recognize their meanings as well as differentiate between the two forms of figurative language. Hopefully my students will add them to improve their writing after practicing them. 

I begin teaching simile and metaphor by going over each form of figurative language using the posters I've included in my freebie above. I post an anchor chart with an example of each, and we continue our discussion of them. I ask students to become "detectives" and search for similes and metaphors in Memoirs of an Elf. We post the sentences on the anchor chart, and refer to it during our study.  
Next, I have students use the simile and metaphor sheet the girl is holding in the graphic above. Students are assigned a simile or metaphor from the set of task cards, and draw a picture to represent it, and what they think the meaning is.  After students have completed all of their simile and metaphor sheets, I bring them together and they present their findings. We discuss each one, what the meaning of the simile or metaphor is, and the clues that led us to believe that. We sort each card under the correct category in a pocket chart. After this discussion, students are ready to write their own similes and metaphors to practice. I have them trade with a classmate to determine whether they are similes or metaphors, as well as their meanings. You could use the same printable they used in the activity above. 
The activities I've shared are part of this larger pack: Holiday Reading and Writing Graphic Organizers Pack. It includes many Memoirs of an Elf activities such as sequencing, story structure, and vocabulary graphic organizers, compound word activities, idioms, and a variety of other printables and graphic organizers that can be used with any book. The graphic organizers are easy to prep and great to just grab and go. They really help my students to dig in deeper during our read alouds. They are also perfect for extra practice and/or assessment!
You can grab my freebie HERE. I hope you and your kiddos find it helpful! :)

Hello Friends! It's been a crazy few weeks with Red Ribbon Week, Halloween, testing, conferences, and on top of it all, next week is Thanksgiving! I know you can relate all too well. I wanted to quickly pop in and share what I'm planning to give my parent volunteers next week for Thanksgiving.
I love spoiling my parent volunteers during the holidays. One of my favorite things to give them at Thanksgiving is a Thanks a Latte card with a coffee gift card attached and Bath and Bodyworks hand soap as a thank you for all they do for my students. This gift would also be perfect as a thank you for your colleagues. You can click on the picture above to download your own set if you want to make them. I will be making a Christmas set soon!
Enjoy the rest of your week! :)
Last year I struggled with when to begin my Daily 3 rotations. It was my first year in second grade, and I didn't realize how much LESS independent second graders were than third graders. When I finally began my Daily 3 routine, I knew I wanted to have engaging, relevant activities for my students to work on independently while I taught my small groups. After some trial and error, I learned a few things along the way that I wanted to share with you today. 
One important thing I learned early on was to have different choices available for different learners- but not so many that it overwhelmed them. If I set out too many activities or gave them too many choices, my students spent half the time choosing what they were going to work on instead of actually working on their word work. Another important thing I needed to remember was to rotate the activities often, so my students didn't get bored with the same activities. This also kept them excited about what new activity they could expect to work on during word work.

Appealing to different learning types was another important thing to remember. I added Spelling City, which is free to use, and I was excited to learn that Spelling City already had our spelling words on their site so I could easily import them and have my students practice them each week. Including tactile activities, writing, artistic, and computer based activities makes it fun and engaging for your students. 

My students oohed and aahed when I shared Play Doh Spelling with them! I had a station set up with baggies filled with stamps and little party-size packs of Play-Doh that I bought at target. They grabbed a baggie, a mat, and a recording sheet and they were good to go. After stamping each word, they wrote them on their recording sheets. They love this one!
Below is a new activity that I introduced this year. I searched high and low for the Macaroni and Cheese letters, and finally I spotted them at Target!  Students spell each word with the letters and copy them onto their bowl, which they can decorate as well. They can also trace each word a few times with a different color to practice their words. To incorporate more writing, sometimes I have them write about their favorite lunch using their spelling words or create fun lunchroom rules using their words on the back of their bowl paper. You can grab this freebie by clicking on either picture below. If you can't find the macaroni, you can print out the letters I included in the freebie.
Below is another favorite of my students! They think it's magic when I tell them to write their spelling words in white crayon, then color their picture with marker- they never believe they will be able to see their spelling word appear! I also have my students draw a ghost on the backside and write their words a second time. They can even trace over the words they've already written with a crayon. I have a freebie that you can grab by downloading the preview in my Engaging Learners: Spelling and Word Work Activities. You can also click on the picture below to grab the freebie in the product preview.
I hope you found some useful ideas that you can add to your word work stations!
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I wanted to pop in quickly and share another vocabulary idea with you. This one is a hit with my kiddos! I call it Swat That Vocab Word. I post our vocabulary words in a pocket chart on our front board. I pick sticks and choose two students at a time to come up front to participate. Each student holds a (clean) flyswatter. I either say a definition, a synonym, an antonym, or I give a sentence clue. I give the students a few seconds, then I say "swat!" and the student who swats first has to use the word correctly in a sentence that relates to the story we are reading. The students go crazy over this simple vocabulary practice! You can use this same method to practice almost anything! 
If you would like to try Swat That Vocab Word in your classroom, click on the image below!
You can check out Magic Hat Vocab by clicking on the image below in case you missed it. It's another favorite game we play to practice using our vocab words!
If you use it, I hope your kiddos have as much fun with these games as mine do!

Last year, a wonderful grandmother of one of my students offered to buy all of the supplies and come teach my class how to make this amazing fall decor project. I took her up on her offer, and my students and I were delighted with the outcome of our beautiful pumpkins! To make 24 of these pumpkins she purchased:

  • 50 feet of of vinyl hose 
  • orange acrylic paint (we used 4-8 oz. bottles)
  • small paper bags or brown construction paper for stems
  • leaves and berries from the Dollar Store (or any craft store)
  • paint brushes
  • styrofoam plates
To start, she cut the hose into 2 foot sections and stapled them with a box stapler, but a regular stapler will work as well. Then she cut the small paper bags in half and twisted them into stems (see photos below). 

Next, she cut the leaves and berries for each pumpkin and saved them to add after the pumpkins were painted and dry. She mentioned that she ironed some of the leaves on a low setting that were badly wrinkled. 
The students were given a pumpkin on a styrofoam plate and we called them to my back tables in groups to paint them. We stuck a piece of newspaper rolled up in the middle of each pumpkin so the students had something to hold on to while painting. The tables were also covered with newspaper. 
Some of them were in a hurry and left some white patches.  We had to encourage them to cover the entire surface with paint. 
After the students were finished, we pulled out the newspaper handles and stuck in the paper bag stems once they were dry. 
We also added the leaves and berries, which made a nice finishing touch. I sent the students home with their pumpkins on a clean styrofoam plate and bagged them up. Their families loved them and were able to enjoy them throughout November!
Overall, this was a fun, easy, fall project that the kids loved.
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