Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Fun Part 2 & Polar Express!

That's a wrap!! It is winter break!! Can you believe it?! I am sure you are all as excited as I am! To end another wonderful quarter with my kiddos, we continued some more Christmas Fun and had a blast with our Polar Express Unit!! This week was a 4 day week for us and we had an in-service on Friday. Now it is time for family, friends, relaxing, and holiday fun!

But first... I wanted to give you a peek at our festive week!

We started the week getting to practice our addition! I let them choose any addition strategy that we have learned to find the sum.


We also practiced addition with some tasty marshmallows on hot cocoa mugs!



Today we read the story, 'The Polar Express'. At the end of the story I took out a large sleigh bell like the one from the story. I told the students to be very quiet to see if they could hear the bell. You could literally hear a pin drop while waiting for me to get the bell! As soon as I shook the bell, their faces just lit up with happiness! I wish I took a picture! It was precious! WE BELIEVE!! :)
Today we sequenced part of the story and placed it on our large Polar Express train. I had my students help me fill in some of the letters/words.

We talked about how Santa does so much for everyone and gives so many wonderful gifts to people. But we wondered if he ever gets any Christmas gifts. So we talked about what gift we would give to Santa and made a craft to go with our writing.




Last week we picked out what shape we wanted our ornament to be for our family gift. I baked salt dough ornaments of the shapes over the weekend and today we got to paint and decorate them!



We started the day solving addition equations on a tree and placed the sum on the star on top of the tree.

Then we read a mini reader where we counted the ornaments and candy canes on the tree. We also wrote an addition equation to show how many there were altogether.


I reread 'The Polar Express' today and we finished sequencing the story on our large train.

Then I had my students sequence the story on their own!


We drew marshmallows in hot cocoa mugs to solve addition equations.

Then we made our very own hot cocoa mugs, glued marshmallows in each mug, and wrote an addition equation. And of course ate the leftover marshmallows!



The time had finally arrived... GINGERBREAD HOUSES!!!! These houses are so much fun to make each year and I love how unique they always turn out!


We started the day by reading CVC words and placing the correct picture next to word on the train.


We read some fun Christmas addition stories! On each page we highlighted the key words, glued pictures on the pages to act out the stories, and wrote an addition equation to go with the story.


We also learned about vertical addition today and did this fun flip up stocking activity.

We had a big discussion on how gifts are not necessarily just toys. We talked about how we all have many other gifts such as family, friends, health, food, homes, school, etc. 
I had my students write about what they think the best gift of all is to them and had them place their writing inside of a gift craft!



I gave each student a peppermint candy cane and a cherry candy cane. They got to taste both of the candy canes and decide which one was their favorite. We graphed the results and recorded the data!
**When I told them that they could keep both candy canes they were so excited!!

We began working on our 'Polar Express' sequencing project today. We wrote about the first half of the story and drew pictures to go with each main detail. 


At the end of the day, we worked on our other family gift. We placed gloves, mittens, a head, and hat on the snowman ornament. They each had their picture on the snowman's stomach. I found this idea on Pinterest years ago and have been doing it ever since!
**My mom and dad still love getting ornaments from me! I look forward to adding this snowman ornament to their tree. This makes their 4th snowman ornament in a row! :)
You can grab the templates for this snowman ornament HERE

We started the day sorting addition equations by their sums on the train cars.

Then we searched for addition trains all around the room and found the sum using one of the strategies we have learned.


We worked on our 'Polar Express' project and wrote about the keys details in the 2nd half of the story.

Now it was time for the most fun part of the project... the train craft!!! I had my students place their writing on colored paper for the train cars.

Then they made the train engine.

Next they brought their sequencing writing and train engine to the carpet and laid it out on the floor in the correct order. We placed a piece of tape in between each train car to hold everything together. I always do this part myself and this year my students asked if they could help. I thought I was crazy for letting them, but in the end it was the best decision! They did such a great job placing the tape in the correct place and it literally took 1/4 of the time it usually takes for me to tape all of the trains myself! I love how independent they are becoming!

It was finally time to wrap our family gifts! First I had them decorate a white paper bag. I gave them 3 different sized hearts, a brown rectangle, and a yellow star. They put them together to make a tree! I also found this idea on Pinterest :) Then they wrapped both their salt dough ornament and snowman ornament with tissue paper and placed it in their bag.



We received a special package today! It was all the way from the North Pole!!! The box was even cold when it arrived!! Inside was a letter from Santa and a sleigh bell necklace for each student! 
***The box was actually kept in the freezer until it was delivered to my room.... Shhhhh!!

Shortly after our bells arrived it was time to receive our Polar Express tickets!!!

I had this big plan to protect the 'Polar Express' movie on to my large white screen to make it like a movie theatre for the kiddos. But unfortunately of all days, it decides not to work today!! So, I went with Plan B and we watched it on a different TV. My kiddos looked quite COMFORTABLE in our Plan B spots!!! We took all of the pillows and bean bags from my room and moved some tables to get cozy! I think they may have even enjoyed Plan B better than they would have for Plan A.

We took a break half way through the movie for a snack. We made a Polar Express train out of food and drank some hot cocoa! We also graphed whether or not we like our hot chocolate with marshmallows.

To end our wonderful week and 2nd quarter I bought gifts for all the students and we got to open them up!

I found these adorable Crayola chalkboards at Target. I also found skittles in a large candy cane for them. I was really nervous that they would not like the chalkboards, but they were a hit!! Phew!!!

They opened up the chalkboards right away and started writing! :)

I am one happy, lucky, proud, and maybe a little tired teacher!!! This marks the end to the 2nd quarter and first half of the school year! I wish you all a wonderful, relaxing, and safe holiday break!! You all deserve it!!!

You can find these activities we did from this week in my Christmas Fun Unit and my Polar Express Unit at my TPT store. You can click on the pictures below to check them out:

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