Snowy Make a Word freebie

I'm sending out snowy thoughts so maybe, just maybe, we'll see some snow this year. Those of you who live in parts of the country where you get tons of snow probably think I'm crazy. Here in Portland, Oregon, there is nothing more exciting than a snow day. It's pretty rare, therefore quite magical. Yes, I could drive an hour up to the mountain, but it's not the same. :) So... here's a freebie for you all as we start thinking about heading back to school in just a few short days. Hope you are all enjoying your break!
This is part of my Snowy Centers pack. It is also part of my January Center menu. You can learn more about those here and here.

Enjoy! I'll be back soon with some more freebies and information about my February center menu and some Groundhog Day prediction literacy activities. 

Snowy Centers: reading, writing and word work activities


My Snowy Centers is basically a combination of everything snowy related from my literacy menus (mostly January and February first grade). One of these days I'll add in the second grade stuff too. If you already own those menus, there's no need to get this. But if you just want some wintry centers for your room and don't own those menus, this is just the thing. It's packed! 

Here's what's in the 179 page Snowy Centers pack:

  • Read and Sequence (from January and February menu)
  • Read, Think, Match (January)
  • Read, Visualize, Draw (from January and February)

  • Reading comprehension: Snowy Day, Polar Bear, and Molly's Snow Day

  • 2 Make a Word (from January menu)
  • Snowy Sounds (January)
  • Slide a Word (February)
  • Short or Long (from January menu)
  • Contraction stack (December)

  • Build a Sentence (from January menu)
  • Fill a Verb (from February)
  • Sentence Scrambler (from January)
  • Match a Sentence (extra)
  • Sentence Enders (question or statement): from February

  • Snowy Inferences pages (extra)
  • Snowy Words: real or nonsense (extra)

  •  Describe a picture (from February menu)
  • Sentence writing (extra)
  • Describe a snow globe (from January)
  • Be an Author (from January menu)
  • Story Starter (January)
  • How to Build a Snowman (February)

  • Rebuild a Poem (January and February)

Click on the buttons to get this pack:


If you have already purchased the January and February literacy menus, then email me and I will send you the new extras for free (listed above), so you won't need to buy this whole package for only a few activities. Remember, only consider this package if you aren't planning on  getting the monthly literacy menus (because most of these activities are from those menus). 

Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays everyone! Enjoy your break:)

I'm working on a Jan Brett unit, so hopefully that will be posted after the new year! But right now, I'll be enjoying hot cocoa, Christmas tunes and my wonderful boys. :)

Polar Express, Gingerbread, Santa writing, and cute crafts!

What a fun month! I love December and so wish we had more school during this month because there is so much I want to do that I don't get to. 

 We had soooo much fun doing our Polar Express unit. We didn't have time to squeeze it all in because I waited too long to start. I always forget how much time the Christmas Pageant takes up!  I'll be prepared next year. I was so not good about taking pictures while the kids were working, but I took a few shots of some finished stuff. Here are our Polar Express sequencing trains. This is the front part when it's all folded up.

 When you open it up (sort of accordion style), this is what it look like. There is the cover and the first two events from the story. 

 When you flip it over, this is what you see: the last 3 events.  Students get the pages first with the events. They read each event, visualize what they are reading, and illustrate that event. Then they cut out each box and put them in order on the their trains. The black part of the train is just 11x17 construction paper cut in half. Each half makes two "cars" to the train once you fold them in half. The third "car" of the train  is half of the half. (that sounds way more complicated than it truly is.) I just glue it to the other two "cars" then fold it so it opens up like an accordion. Then they make their own wheels to glue on. I pre-make the black part for them because it's a little too tricky for them.

This is one of the writing prompts from my Polar Express Literacy unit. Some of them were pretty creative!

If I were Santa I would ride a plane because I could get first class refreshments and free food. The presents would go in the seats.

If I were Santa I would ride in a train because my elves would serve me hot chocolate.

If I were Santa I would ride in a bubble because he would not be cold.

If I were Santa I would ride in a motorcycle because it will be very fast to deliver the presents and I could attach a basket for cookies and milk and I could put the presents in the back.

We had a lot of fun last week with our Gingerbread mini-unit. First, we read several Gingerbread books. Then we compared the characters, setting, and endings. We did a story map from Deanna Jump's Gingerbread unit too. I saw this Gingerbread house on Babbling Abbey's blog last year and loved it, so I made one of my own. I laminated the white paper and wrote using white board marker so I could reuse this again next year.

We decided that we wanted to make our own Gingerbread story. We noticed that the characters in each book went along with the setting. One Gingerbread book was set in the forest so it had forest animals, another on a farm with farm animals, etc. So each student chose their setting first. Then they completed their story by choosing characters that went along with that setting. One of my favorites was this one below: the setting was the Arctic so she chose polar bears, caribou, seals and walruses as her characters. Cute! Another chose the North Pole and had Santa, elves, reindeer as characters. I just love how these turned out. I got this print out from someone else who's been teaching forever, but I can whip up my own version if anyone is interested. The last page says "but he wasn't clever enough for the ______" 

I remember seeing this Santa Stuck post from Cara Caroll last year and thinking I wanted to do that next year. Well, next year is this year so I had to do it! I did tweak it a bit though. First, we did this writing prompt independently (after discussing how a story needs a beginning, middle and end).  
Here's the rubric to go with it. You can download both here.

Then I used those stories to guide my instruction during this interactive writing assignment: 

Together we wrote this story, using the prompt from the same story started. We voted on each event as went along and each student got to "hold the pen". There were SO many teaching opportunities during this lesson and the kids LOVED it! I got to review capitals, periods, stretching out words, and clapping out multisyllable words. But mainly I was teaching them how to write a story with a beginning, middle and end (how did Santa get stuck, why did he get stuck, what did he do when he got stuck and how did he get out.) This was such a great activity and I'm definitely doing it this way next year too!

I loved doing Rachelle's Holidays Around the World unit. You should definitely check it out for next year if you don't already have it! It's the perfect Social Studies unit during this part of the year. Students made their suitcases at home and brought them to school to put all of our souvenirs in. 

This is the letter I sent home to parents about making the suitcases. You can download it here. 

I just have to show you this art project that our art teacher, Mrs. Cruickshank, did. She is SO talented! Aren't these angels just precious? I'm at a Catholic school in case you're wondering :) These were the gifts that the kiddos brought home to their parents.

We made these beautiful pictures using oil pastels for our 4th grade buddies. They turned out so nice! They glued a letter on the back to go along with it. It's a great buddy gift because it is quick and easy but super cute!


January Center Menu and a freebie

I finally finished my January literacy center menu!  You can get a preview of what is included in this package.

Here is the menu that each student gets. They keep track of their centers using this menu. 

Rebuild a Poem: Sentence strips with the words and picture clues for this poem are provided to use in your pocket chart. Also, three options for the student worksheet are provided (this is one of them).

Read and Sequence: Not one or two, but THREE read and sequence pages are included: a bear themed one, the sledding one (below) and a snow fort how-to (more challenging).

Read, Visualize Draw    and     Read, Think, Match

THREE Make a Word: penguins, bears, and snowflakes (long and short vowels). Match up to make real or nonsense words.

Short or Long: students take word cards and place them on the correct igloo (with or without the silent e) to make real words.

How many O's?: Students look at picture cards and decide if the word makes the oo sound or the short o sound. 

Snow Sounds: This is really a sound box (elkonin boxes) center. Students read the words and count the sounds.

Sentence Scramblers: 4 different sets!

Slide a Sentence: Adjust the three sliders to make a sentence about bears.

Build A sentence: put word cards together to make a sentence. Word cards are color coordinated by parts of sentence (describing words/adjectives, who or what/subject, action/verb, where). Students place word cards on top of the sentence building mat to guide them in making the sentences.

Word Endings: Sentence strips are provided with this center. Students choose the word with the correct inflectional ending.

Sticker Story

Be An Author: Students use pictures to write a story. 9 pages included, but you could use as many as you would like.

Describe a snow globe: students use descriptive clues to describe a snow globe. 5 different pictures of snow globes are included.

2 Story Starters:

You can download this whole packet at my Teacher's Notebook store here.

There is also a checklist, rubric, and directions for the teacher included.

I need your help deciding which one to post as a freebie. Let me know what you'd like to have! :)