Thankful Turkey Craft - Free!

 Ready for  a quick, fun, and free Thanksgiving themed craft?  Here it is! I don't like complicated crafts so I made this as easy as possible!

Print the masters and copy the body onto brown paper, and choose colored paper for feathers. The beak goes on yellow and  the "gobbler" is red or orange. Students can make their own feet if they want. If you don't have colored construction paper, you can print on white and students can color them in.

I organize the supplies in several spots around the room to prevent log jams. I list what they need on the board and send half the students to go to get scissors and glue, and half to get the papers.  It will take some students about 15 minutes but your students who need more time may take 45 minutes to an hour.

This can be easily differentiated! You can tell some students to make three or four feathers and some to create more. In the image below, this student wrote complete sentences, but you might also tell some students to just write their idea down, without using complete sentences. For example "my family", and "my dog" instead of "I am an thankful for my dog".

To grab it, click here or on any of the images in the post! Let me know if you use it!

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    How to Bring Thanksgiving into the Classroom

    I love connecting with a Thanksgiving theme when teaching during November. My second graders begin to realize how much that they are grateful for! There are so many ways to get students reflecting on thankfulness during the month of November, or all year! 

    First of all, you can incorporate this free Thankful Turkey Craft ! For this craft, students will brainstorm reasons they are thankful, cut out colorful turkey feathers, and glue them on to create a cute turkey craft! Fun and free! 
    I love this Joy in a Jar idea from Education World. Every day, students can write down one thing they are grateful for and put in the jar. Teachers or students can read aloud some if they want on the last day of school before Thanksgiving , or my idea would be to turn it into a class book of joy!   

    These books are great read alouds for the theme of Thanksgiving and gratefulness. 

    Gratitude Journals: Have students keep a journal in the classroom Encourage them to be specific. For example, instead of writing I'm grateful for my family, students might write: "I am thankful for my brother because we have fun playing LEGOs together"..

    Gratitude Collage: Have students cut out or illustrate something they are grateful for such as animals, shoes, etc. and put them into individual or class colleges.

    The gratitude collage idea came from Imagine Learning. They have several other great ideas on how to teach gratitude in the classroom and you can check them out here.

    There are  some arts and crafts ideas here - 
    Turkey Craft from Hello Wonderful
    Thanksgiving Table Setting Craft from View from the Fridge
    Pine Cone Turkeys from Fireflies and Mudflies
    Turkey Napkin Holders from View from the Fridge

    If you have a fun way to get students thinking about being thankful and grateful in the classroom, let us know!

    Classroom Resources for Thanksgiving

    It's almost that time! Like me, do you try to fit in some Thanksgiving-themed resources during November? I gathered up some resources and ideas for you in this post!

    >>>>>First, let's take a look at what you can find in my own collection as far as math resources>>>>

    Students will be practicing single and double digit addition and subtraction. The problems are fun and engaging and students will practice math without realizing it! It is a sample from the Thanksgiving Math and Literacy Pack.
    Thanksgiving Place Value Pack - This 37 page resource has lots of place value practice for your students! Students will practice reading and writing 2 and 3 digit numbers, expanded form, and place value / base ten block practice!
    Math and Literacy Pack - this pack includes practice for both math and language arts skills. For example, there is a compound word cut and glue match up activities, math task cards, place value practice, addition and subtraction story problems, to name just a few!

    >>>>>Now, let's check out purely language arts themed resources!<<<<
    For this craft, students will brainstorm reasons they are thankful, cut out colorful turkey feathers, and glue them on to create a cute turkey craft! Fun and free! 
    Students will cut out words, and finding matches to make new compound words by gluing on a record sheet. Compound words include cookbook, touchdown, campfire and applesauce!
    Holiday Writing Prompt Collection (Thanksgiving and Christmas)
    This writing resource includes Thanksgiving and Christmas themed writing, covering CCSS writing standards such as opinion writing, narrative, and informational writing, as well as letter writing. Checklists are included for student accountability and regular lined paper and Handwriting without Tears paper is included. 

    <<<<Here are a few more resources to help your class celebrate Thanksgiving while working hard and learning>>>>
    Thanksgiving Placemat Craft by My Happy Place
    Thanksgiving STEM Challenge Activities by Kerry Tracy

    What is your favorite Thanksgiving themed resource?! Let me know!

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      Classroom Management Tips and Tricks

      I don't know about you but classroom management is always an area I am adjusting and trying to improve. I always feel I can do better! In the last year, I came up with several ideas that helped my class so I wanted to share with you! Most of these ideas came from somewhere on Pinterest and blogs, but I am not sure where!  

      First, and I know I saw this idea on A Primary Kind of Life's Instagram account, I created a bitmoji themed poster titled "When is okay to interrupt the teacher?"  Here is it! You just need the bitmoji app and you can save them to your phone, transfer to the computer,  print, glue and label! Amusing and gets the point across! 
      I bought a light switch from 5 Below and attached it to the wall behind my reading table and would turn it on to remind other students that we are busy and can not be interrupted. It helped! if you click on the image below you can peek at them on Amazon, but also try local stores in case you can save a few $.

      I saw this idea somewhere on Instagram too, and bought some ping pong balls on Amazon, labeled them and and old container using labels from my Cricut. I mostly used them to pick random students to help out or to choose flexible seating options for the next day randomly and fairly!
      If you click on this ping pong ball image you can see them on Amazon, but you may be able to find them a tad cheaper at a store like Five Below or Walmart.

      This idea came from my former coworker Brenna. She put out a second bin /basket for work called the "work that needs to be fixed" bin. If you find work with errors or that could be improved, you place it in the work to be fixed bin. Students should be checking this bin regularly and work on the edits, then put it back in a third bin, labeled "work that has been fixed". This transformed my classroom and helped make students accountable for finishing work with good effort, and when improvements were needed, responsible for editing them. 

      Easy tip! You feel my pain about too short pencils, right? Keep a pencil cup handy, labeled "Broken Pencils" or something similar. Students should automatically place broken or dull pencils in here. Either you, an assistant, or student helper can take 5 minutes a day and sharpen them up. I just don't let students sharpen their own pencils (we use community supplies by the way, which is why this works)!

      Finally you may want to try Class Dojo! It is a  free and fun app which helps you reinforce positive behaviors! I also have a freebie for you, which includes 35 ways that you can give out Dojo points for positive behavior! Give it a try and let me know how it goes! Click here or on the image below to download it.

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        5 Tips for Success with a Sub

        1. Write on your Students' Desks
        Seriously, use an expo marker or vis a vis marker and write a positive note for each student, reassuring them you know they will have a great day, make terrific choices, and rock it for the substitute. This idea has been around a while but it is still effective!

        2. MYSTERY Reward
        Here is how it works (and to be honest, I have no idea where I heard this, but it is not my idea):  You need to leave written instructions for your sub.  Tell the sub to (at random or preplanned times, like every thirty min. but at least twice an hour) to do a quick check if the class is, as a whole, showing respect, on task, and following directions. If so, she /he or a student can write a letter of the word mystery on the board. If they get all the letters of the word before the day is over, you will see it when you return and the next day you will choose a reward for the class (like extra recess, game day, a Magic Tree House video, etc.)

        3. My Teacher Would be Proud of Me Poster
        This was the most effective strategy for my class last year! Simply, take a piece of chart paper or poster board (I laminated mine for durability) and write "____ would be proud of me" at the top (insert your name). Leave sticky notes for the substitute. During the day if students did something kind or helpful or followed the rules, etc.  they can write it on the note, with or without their name and stick it on the poster. They were so excited about it last year, I had to limit them to one note each. I then would read some or all out loud to everyone the next day and praise, praise, praise everyone (not just the ones who wrote it down).

        Here's the poster waiting for notes to be added: 
        And here is a peek at it after I got back from being out!

        4. Sub Binder
        If you don't have a sub binder, now is the time! Include a class list, schedule, emergency info and procedures for your school, information on modifications and accommodations for special education students and those on 504s,  , and lesson plans for math and language arts at least. I bought several sub resources from teachers pay teachers at different times and put them in the binder. This does NOT have to be fancy! Seriously. Check out my binder, with the handwritten cover/label! The contents are the important part.

        5. Just Let it Be
        As the Beatles sang, let it be. Even with the best-laid plans and the greatest students, it will not go exactly the way you might hope! And some years, you will have a group that has a very hard time no matter what plans you have in place when you leave. In those cases, I have let the guidance counselor, principal and school psychologist know if I am going to be out (if I know in advance) and ask them to do a check in with the sub during the day to see how things are going. You should not feel guilty about being out, and try not to take it personally if students misbehave. Take care of what you need to take care of on your day off, and come back and start fresh the next day!

        Do you have a tip I should have included? Comment below and let me know!

        Looking for support and camaraderie on Facebook? Come join our Facebook group! Click here!

        Also,  are you about to implement flexible seating or would you like to tweak what you are doing? Grab my FREE ebook! Click here or on the image below to get it!

        Fitting in Science

         Let's talk about how hard it is to squeeze in science! Poor science gets the short end of the stick doesn't it?

        I do not have the solution for how to fit in 40-60 minute science blocks (yet) but I can tell you how I grabbed 2-5 minutes here and there during the day when I could review science information or pre-check for knowledge with my second grade class. Here is when I found those 2-5 minute blocks:

        • Morning meeting
        • Transition times
        • The end of the day
        • Snack Time
        • Fun homework - my students liked reviewing liquids and solids with an at home scavenger hunt I sent home last year
        • I use science related texts or reading prompts during language arts

        Science Quick Questions might help! I have sets of 16 color and 16 black and white science "Quick Question" cards for the following topics (click on each to learn more) as well as in one bundle.
        Plants and Animals
        Solids and Liquids
        Solar System
        Light and Sound

        Here's a tip - keep these or similar science cards handy - I used to keep mine in the bin under my easel and grab them when I was going to a special in case the previous class was running late and I'd have to wait in the hall with them.

        Check out this freebie! It includes 6 quick questions on a major NGSS topic - Plants. I like to laminate the cards on bright paper, keep them on an O ring or in a plastic case (The Iris/Recollection ones from Michaels or Amazon are my #1 fave) and put them under the easel so I have them right at my fingertips.

        Let me know if you have a suggestion for fitting in science in the busy school work!  How do you do it?

        Finally, I know a lot of you have some flexible seating options! Would you like a free ebook about Flexible Seating too? Click here or on the image below to grab it!


        Halloween Ideas for the Classroom


        Eek! It's that time of year again! Halloween will be here before we know it and I have some ideas on how you can bring a little Halloween fun into your classroom! Whether you are having a party or not, these are things I have come across in the past, tried and enjoyed with my second graders, or look very promising and fun!

        1. Estimation Game
        Easy and fun! Fill a clear container with candy corn, plastic spider rings (like these at Amazon), fake eyeball erasers (seriously - check them out here - I laughed when I found them), or other small items. Put out blank paper, pencils and a small basket for kids to write their names and guess! The winner gets the glory and you can split the items in the jar among the whole class.


        2. Coloring Pages
        Halloween Coloring Pages are simple and kids always love having the chance to color! You can find them for free in tons of places.I like these from Learning with the Owl on Teachers Pay Teachers. These from Art with Jenny K cost $, but I have used them and they are pop art inspired and very engaging and beautiful!

        3. Halloween Lego Games 
        Pretty much like it sounds! You need LEGO bricks and the directions which you can find here at teachMama!

        4. Magic Pumpkin Science
         I love squeezing Science in whenever I can and Steve Spangler is a great resources. Check out his Magic Pumpkin Science at his blog here!

        5.  Party Science Station
        There are some cool and engaging experiment ideas which include ghostly goo, magic pumpkin potion and more. Check out some  ideas here at Preschool Powol  and here at Growing a Jeweled Rose! 

        I have three resources for you at my own TpT store with a Halloween theme!
        Halloween Place Value Pack

        What is your favorite way to incorporate Halloween fun into your classroom? Let me know!

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