Hot Cocoa Fun, Snowy Centers and A Snowy Freebie!

First, here's a quick freebie for you all this morning. This comes from my Snowy Centers pack. (You can check that out way below). Click on the top picture to download this freebie. 

I made three different options for words: short vowels, long vowels and short vowels with blends and digraphs. 

 Sorting Mats and student sheet:

There are so many cute hot cocoa related activities out there for those long winter months.  I think a "hot cocoa day" would be perfect for those class rewards. Here are a few great products from fabulous bloggers: (click on the pictures to get to these products)

An adorable craftivity by Teri (a.k.a. Mrs. Cupcake) 

Such a cute unit by Abby

And some sight word practice with these adorable wintery cards by Gladys.

Do you have any cute hot cocoa related ideas? Have you ever had a hot cocoa day or unit? I'd love to hear from you! 

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! I blogged about it last year but I've added to it since then.

I plan on making a Snowy Reader pack (similar to my Christmas Ready to Go pack). I hope to work on that over break. It will include a few things from here (the ready to go stuff like comprehension pages) and a bunch of other stuff. Here's hoping I find the time to make that!

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:


January Literacy Centers

I hope everyone is enjoying their time off. I'm looking forward to having another week off next week! A post Christmas week to just relax (well as much relaxing as I can do with two small boys). December is always so crazy busy, it's kind of nice to have a more mellow January. For those of you who are gearing up for January and trying to get organized now, I made a little preview of my January centers for first and second grade. After a lot of requests, I've also combined them into one pack. These centers have saved me so much time and grief! My students are on autopilot now with centers and it all runs so smoothly! 

Here's a preview of the 1st grade literacy centers:

Word Work:
  • Make a Word: connecting the penguin to make words (also a polar bear or snowflake centers)
  • Short or Long: Read each penguin word card and decide if it needs a silent e or not (place on the correct igloo)
  • Snow Sounds: Look at each word card and count the phonemes. Sort by sounds.
  • How many o's: Look at picture card and decide if it needs one o or two. 

  • Sticker Story
  • Story Starter (with two writing choices)
  • Be an Author
  • Describe a snow globe  

Sentence Building:
  • Word Ending: adding -ed, -s, or -ing
  • Slide a sentence
  • Build a Sentence (placing word cards on a mat to build a good sentence)
  • Sentence Scramblers  

Here's a preview of the 2nd grade literacy centers:

Making Inferences, Main Idea, Read and Comprehend, Read, Think, Match

Word Work: 
  • Make a Word: 2 Choices (match prefix to base word OR matching 2 syllable words)
  • Short or Long: Read the 2 syllable word and decide if it needs a silent e or not
  • Noun Sort: Sorting common and proper nouns 
  • Sounds of oo: Read the word and decide if it says /oo/ as in book or /oo/ as in moon

  • Sticker Story
  • Story Starter (2 choices)
  • Be an Author: (2 choices: with pictures or without); Winter Words sheet included
  • Describe a Snow Globe: 6 snow  globes to describe

Sentence Building:
  • Sentence Scramblers (5 sentences)
  • Then or Now (verb tense): read each word card and decide if it's past or present (option for early finishers)
  • Plowing Through Prefixes: Read each sentence and choose the correct prefix.
  • Super Sentence: Build a sentence with a subject, adjective, verb (or verb phrase), and adverb

You can buy these here:

1st Grade                                                          2nd Grade
         TPT                              TPT           

Reindeer, a freebie and a sale

My students had so much fun learning about reindeer last week! They love learning about animals, and the Santa connection was icing on the cake for them. First, we read about reindeer using a nonfiction reindeer reader from Christie's  (First Grade FeverRockin Reindeer Fun. Then we did this anchor chart together from the same pack.


Students filled out their own "can, have, are" charts from Gladys' Reindeer Magic unit. 
Next, students used these charts to write about reindeer. I got this page from Gladys' Reindeer pack. She also has vocabulary cards that we used. 

One of my students inspired me to do this next activity. She said, "It's a good thing reindeer are strong, because they need to pull Santa's sleigh with all those toys". So then I asked, "What are other reasons why reindeer are perfect for Santa?" They really impressed me! So we used our anchor chart to write this together during shared writing. The questions were: Why are reindeer the perfect match for Santa? Why did Santa choose reindeer to pull his sleigh? The kids came up with all of these ideas! I "held the pen" but they told me what to write and helped me spell some words. We had a lot of fun with this one. It was a great way for them to use their knowledge of reindeer and apply it to something else they are really interested in (Santa!).

Shared Writing

You could also have your students write their own:

click on the picture to download for free

Finally, we made these cute crafts from Lita Lita at Learning in Spain. They turned out so cute!


It's not too late to check out my sale this weekend. I'm linking up with Casey from Second Grade Math Maniac and many others!

Gingerbread Stories (with lots of FREEBIES!)

What a whirlwind December has been! My little firsties have been working so hard this month, but they barely notice because it's "so fun" (being Christmas related and all). Last week we read several different gingerbread stories. There are so many great ones out there! We made this story comparison chart (same as last year except I made gumdrops this time). I saw this idea on another blog- I did NOT think of it on my own! Does anyone know where I got this cute gingerbread house idea? Please tell me so I can give them credit! :)

As a class, we compared two of the gingerbread books. I used this as an interactive writing lesson. 
Then we used our Venn diagram to write about these two stories (comparing and contrasting them). Sorry for the pencil. You can't see that very well! This was also an interactive writing lesson. Each student got a turn to hold the pencil and write a word. 

After practicing comparing stories together, students had the opportunity to compare two other gingerbread stories. They completed a Venn diagram with some guidance. Then they used their Venn diagrams to write about these two stories. Made for First Grade has a great Gingerbread pack that has the perfect Venn diagrams and story comparison paper to guide your students while writing about two stories.

 We also made these books.Students chose a setting for their gingerbread story. Then they chose characters based on that setting. Below we have a story set in the jungle and in the ocean (her gingerbread had a special swim suit to protect him of course). Some others include fairy tale land, the forest, the city, the rainforest, and a farm. It was a great way to show how setting can affect a story. I got the book from a friend a while back. She used it to practice retelling the story.

I made a new one so that I could share it with you all. You can click on the pictures to download.

(There are 4 pages of this one)

(Ending page)

We also did some writing to practice retelling. We did sequencing for one version of the gingerbread man. We talked about using transition words (then, next, first) when retelling the story in order. I made a rubric to use while grading this assignment.  I also made a rubric for comparing gingerbread stories. I thought I'd upload them to share with you all. There are a couple of choices for the sequencing rubric.  

You can get this freebie at my TPT store.

Last, we wrote our favorite ending from all of the Gingerbread stories we read. You can download this freebie with the other writing prompts and rubrics. 

I'd love to hear from you! Do you do a gingerbread unit? What's your favorite activity?