Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December Activities and a {FREEBIE}

Hello friends,
I hope you're starting to get into the holiday spirit! With today being the first day of December, I thought I would share with you a few of the activities that I plan on doing in the next 3 weeks before break. Today I'll focus on Writing, Math, and a little Reading.

Writing:
We have been using my Original Perfect Paragraphs One Step at a Time to really focus on writing a good quality paragraph before we move into bigger pieces of writing. Now that I'm teaching 3rd grade I needed a little something more for my on-level and above-level writers. This is why I created the ADVANCED Perfect Paragraphs One Step at a Time. The good thing is that I can use both the Original Perfect Paragraphs and the ADVANCED Perfect Paragraphs to differentiate in my 3rd grade classroom.

First, we will be writing a narrative paragraph about a shopping trip. The stories I hear students tell me about Black Friday shopping with their parents are simply hilarious which is what gave me the idea to create this writing prompt! However, it can be about any shopping trip, not just Black Friday shopping. We brainstorm together to think of other shopping times!

Like I mentioned above, I use the Original Perfect Paragraphs for my lower level kiddos or struggling writers. Since they look basically the same, the kids never know that they have a different version! This is from my December Edition. The students are writing a 5-sentence paragraph.

Then I used the ADVANCED Perfect Paragraphs for my on-level students and advanced writers. You can see the similarities and differences by comparing the pictures above and below. This is from my ADVANCED December Edition. As you can tell, these students are including an example with every detail creating 8-sentence paragraphs, rather than 5-sentence paragraphs as above.

We will also be doing another Perfect Paragraph (not holiday-themed) this month. This is always a fun one! The students come up with some great arguments for this one!! Should Students Wear School Uniforms? You can see the two different versions below.

Original Perfect Paragraphs (5 sentences: Intro, 3 Reasons, Concluding Statement) Found in my December Edition.

ADVANCED Perfect Paragraphs (8 sentences: Intro, 3 Reasons with 3 Examples to Support, and Concluding Statement). This is found in my December Edition.


Each year, we adopt one of our less fortunate families from our very own school to help out through the holidays. Our class brings in items that are on the family's list and then at our Holiday Party on the last day of school, we present the gifts to our Family Resource Coordinator, and she then presents the gifts to the anonymous family after school hours. It's a wonderful way to teach the students about how giving is more important than receiving and that the holidays aren't always a special time for everyone, especially the less fortunate. 

Since this is very near and dear to our hearts, I like to incorporate a little authentic writing into this idea. We brainstorm ways in which we could help and then the students write a letter to their parents persuading them to send in money and/or donations for our family in need. This letter takes the place of a letter written by me and the students know that, so they take this writing piece VERY seriously! I love it! Each year it makes my heart very warm when we do this. This can be found in my December Common Core Writing Activities pack.

Math:
In the next three weeks we will be finishing up our Intro to Multiplication/Division unit in math. Along with finishing out with the lessons, I will be using some quick, formative assessments to make sure my students have mastered each standard covered on the test. This will give me an idea of how to carry on with my instruction over the next three weeks and what I really need to focus on. These are from my Common Core-Aligned Quick Math Assessments: 3rd Grade. I also have these for 1st Grade and 2nd Grade.

I have also fallen in love with this little gem that I found from Lauren Bell at One Bright Classroom. I plan to use this during our Enrichment Math time and I'm so excited about it!!

Y'all this is a really, really awesome cross-curricular unit that includes math, writing, and reading with a REAL LIFE, authentic task - Holiday Shopping! It's perfect for 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th graders, because some of the pieces of this unit have been left open-ended to allow for differentiation of different ability levels even within the same classroom. Below are just a few of the pages included in this awesome unit!

Below you can see the task that the students are given, a brainstorming sheet to list gift ideas for up to 6 different people, a budget and requirements (budget can be modifed for differentiation purposes), and a sheet to record students' findings of their favorite items in store advertisements or online advertisements.

Also in the unit are planning sheets for each person where the students will list the items found in the advertisement, the prices, and the stores where the items were found. There's also a sheet for comparing prices found in two different advertisements for the same item. This is for the student to decide which is the best deal. They can also cut out the advertisement and glue it to a sheet to show which were the best deals.

Included is a sheet where the students will list their final decisions on the 6 gifts for the 6 people using their money in the smartest way possible. There's a sheet for analyzing the students' spending. I like this sheet because they can find which stores had the best deals overall. She even includes inferencing cards where the students can list 3 clues and have their classmates try to infer the product the student is going to buy. Finally, there's a reflection writing activity where the students can reflect on what they learned about spending money and why it's important to spend money wisely.
There are even more writing prompts included and a couple of other sheets! This unit is GREAT! It's written in kid-friendly language and will really help the kids to use math, reading, and writing in an authentic way. I LOVE this unit!! You can check out Lauren's unit by clicking any of the pictures above or by clicking {HERE}.

Reading:
I don't teach reading anymore (math only this year), but I do have two separate 10-minute time frames in my schedule that allow me some good read-aloud time. This is where I squeeze in my favorite picture books or my favorite novels - which means HOLIDAY-themed books!!!! So one of my favorites is The Polar Express. I will read it during these two little 10-minute times and then have the students complete the two graphic organizers you see below. These are from my Christmas ELA Printables pack where you can find many more!

FREEBIE:
If you're still with me, you're in luck because I DO have a FREEBIE for you! This is an oldie, but a goodie. This is perfect for morning work or to leave with a sub. You can download this cut-and-paste freebie by clicking the picture below or clicking {HERE}. Please be super duper kind and leave some sweet feedback for the freebie! :)

I hope you guys have a great start to the month of December!

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