I'm Mary, a Kindergarten teacher from Georgia. I am a learner. I have a Bachelors and Masters degree in early childhood education as well as a specialist degree in Instructional Technology. I adore my small family. I love blogging, creating games, and instructing little minds. Teaching is my life's passion.
The Leprechaun is Loose! Last year, we attempted to catch that leprechaun. We built traps. We baited him. And boy did he come a knocking! I think we got a little more than we bargained for when this leprechaun got loose.
First Things First
We use the book, Leprechaun on the Loose to be our literacy connection for the STEM project. You can read more about the book, design, and trap setting BY CLICKING HERE. Believe it or not, this activity is messy, but it is academically based.
After the Traps Are Set
Since we use pots of gold and fake coins to bait this clever leprechaun, he does visit. He visits when we are not around, usually once we leave for specials.
When we return to our classroom, this is what we see…
Check out the Traps
Check out the traps on the carpet that have all been tampered with. I know it is hard to see, through the destruction that is, but all the traps have been tampered with. We all run to our group’s trap to see if we got lucky and have little green man in our traps.
We notice that around our traps are green footprints! That leprechaun is loose. We didn’t catch him.
He Leaves Us Messages
Soon, we discover messages. Sometimes he tells us things on our white board.
He may attempt communication on the smart board.
And sometimes, he gets fancy. On the far right, he left us a message on the star chart.
Leprechaun is Loose and makes a MESS
I know what you are thinking… this is a mess! Yes, it is! But since I have 24 little loves that created traps to bait the sneaky leprechaun to our room, I now have 24 little workers to help clean this room up.
You can see these little hands taking off the star message.
Each year we take about 30 minutes to build our traps. It takes half that time to clean up the whole mean green mess. I hear that some sneaky guys don’t leave as big of a mess. Totally awesome. Sometimes ours doesn’t feel the need as well, but guess what? It still takes us about 15 minutes to clean up.
Need More March Ideas
You can HEAD HERE to grab March Learning Activities.
Also SEARCH here for St. Patrick’s Day Ideas
Learning about 2D and 3D shapes is not only FUN, but also hands on! We can take this idea of geometry and transform the concepts, vocabulary, and ideas of our little learners into great mathematicians. Need 2D & 3D Shapes Fun for Little Learners? Just read below.
Start with a book
The best way to teach about shapes is the way that little learners learn… through play and engaging activities. Let’s break down some fun ways to bring 2D shapes and using them to create 3D shapes to life in your classroom for your students.
We are blessed to give a basic assessment at the start of the year that includes identifying flat and solid shapes. I use this data to drive my initial instruction since I want to build on my students prior knowledge. If you can, give your students a basic shape assessment to see what shapes they already know. I have found that many students can see shapes, but they can not always remember the name of those specific shapes. It is very important to use the correct math language during this time so that you are working with their brains to teach them these terms.
You can use shape books to help drive the terminology home. There are tons of options on Amazon and through Scholastic Book Clubs.
I also found some on flat shapes, but specifically this book on Hexagons.
Once we learn about the shape, we work on finding the shape. This allows my students to work on the specific parts of each shape and the term we call that shape.
I use these I Can statements with mats to help them find the shapes. This is especially helpful for tricky shapes like the example below, the circle and the oval.
I laminate the mats and allow my students to write on them with a dry erase marker. There is also a printable version if you would like for your students to color or circle with a pencil.
We also love to make graphs! Since we start with flat shapes, I put one shape on each side of a die in a different color. We take the die and roll it, graphing the shape that lands on the top.
Although drawing the shapes could be difficult for some of your learners, you can differentiate by allowing students to simply graph the shape on the spot instead. It is also important for the learner to state the name of the shape as they roll it, try to ask them how many sides and points it has as well. I have found that by doing this and encouraging my learners to place that many vertices on the paper and using those “dots” to draw the lines, I am helping them form the shapes and remember the aspects of that shape.
Now that we are getting better at identifying shapes, this is a great time to sort our shapes. While sorting shapes, we are also sorting out minds! Don’t ever miss a chance to sort with little learners.
I took the attribute blocks from our classroom, you can find some on Amazon here if you don’t have any, and I gave my students black construction paper. They started this my just sorting the shapes how they wanted to. Perhaps they chose by color or size or even by their shape. I am actually just giving them a chance to play with the manipulatives.
Next, I give them specific things to sort by. For example, you can ask them to sort by the shapes with no straight sides or sort all the shapes with four sides. Keep giving them different attributes to sort by and see that they can do. The paper did help to make these shapes pop, but it also gave each student boundaries.
Although students have been using shapes for a little bit now, drawing shapes can be a struggle. That is okay! As little learners improve their fine motor skills, their ability to draw in general will get better and better.
One thing I created was this simple printable with shape given in the box for students to try to copy. Although it looks simple, it was not easy for my students to create on their own at the start of the year.
They needed more support with writing. Therefore I created these shape drawing activities to encourage their practice.
After giving them the vertices for their shapes, drawing them was easier.
By encouraging them using the correct terminology like vertices, straight sides, curved sides, ect., my students started using the correct terms as they were creating their shapes as well.
Breaking Down Parts of a Shape
One of my students FAVORITE activities was this shape breakdown activity. Each card has a shape on it and as students to tell you how many points/vertices, straight sides, and curved sides each shape has.
Here are some of our examples of the work we completed in small groups.
Here are even more examples.
Here is an activity we love to create 2D and 3D shapes. This set is called Dive into Shapes and it is made by Learning Resources.
We have used it for years and we love it. It is extremely durable.
You can use it as a structured activity as shown above. Student can use the card provided to create specific flat and solid shapes.
This activity can also be open ended at a sensory table.
We also love using these geometry nets to turn flat shapes into solid shapes.
The package comes with pieces that look like this below.
Students fold the pieces of the flat shapes to create a solid shape.
The best part of this activity is the price and the storage. You can easily use these nets again and again. They also store flat in a folder year after year.
I also love to use marshmallows to build shapes as well. (This price point also encourages teachers who can’t purchase the Dive into Shapes set.) This year I accidentally forgot to get the pretzels! I searched my cabinets and found pasta. It worked BETTER than the pretzels. I was very impressed. I used angel hair, because that is what we had on hand, but I would suggest trying for the regular spaghetti if you could.
Practicing With Shapes
Some other games with play with shapes include:
20 Questions: We use those Headband game headbands and this 20 questions back to play 20 questions. It is FUN and so interesting to hear the types of questions the students come up with to discover their shape.
CandyLand Shapes made by Mel D: I use an old Candy Land game board and these learning cards from Mel D as a fun review game. Most kids know how to play Candy Land, so this is a total win. I also assess my students while playing to see which shapes they know. Post assessment and they don’t even know it! That is another teaching win.
I was so scared to try out math journals, but once I did, I fell in love. My students are not scared of word problems at all because they are so use to seeing them, breaking them down, and learning with them.
Here is one prompt I gave my students about flat shapes.
You can see that two different students drew their shapes completely different! That is perfect.
Using 3d geometry with journals did require me to get a little creative. I knew drawing three dimensional shapes was not going to work for all my little learners, but I knew I wanted to include 3D shapes into my journal lessons.
I am obsessed with watching the Winter Olympics. I love the culture it brings in my home and the idea of worldwide competition. Simply put, these games are jammed pack full of meaningful learning opportunities for everyone. Since I love using this event in my house, I wanted to incorporate these Winter Sports Activities for Little Learners in my classroom as well.
So far it has been awesome! Let me show you how we are using my ideas to bring learning fun.
Winter Sports Introduction
We spend a little time charting what the winter games are all about. Most of my students have no memory of previous Olympics, as they were most likely around 3 when the summer games were broadcast. This idea as just an idea for them. It is like trying to explain to a 5 year old the difference between college football and the NFL. But this is WHY we have this conversation, to explain what is happening.
Honestly, this talk was a like watching learning ignite in my students eyes. Lots of countries! Lots of cold weather games I have never heard before. A torch. Rings? WOW. When we talked about The Winter Sports pocket chart of events, they were hocked. Luge. Skeleton. Bobsled. WHAT IN THE WORLD?
I sent this picture home (winter games with events pocket chart picture) with my students and asked them to watch a piece of The Opening Ceremonies. I asked my students to listen for the country that was hosting the games. Then, I asked them to look for the rings, which was a symbol of the games, as well as the torch.
Boy did these kids do their job! They were bursting at the seems to come tell me what they saw. We didn’t do so hot with the host country’s name. Being from Georgia, my students keeps saying the host country was South Carolina. Honest mistake. We just are not worldly, and that is okay! This showed me what to talk about and refer to more.
Countries and Medals
Next, I showed them a small sample of the Opening Ceremonies so everyone would see what was happening. They were enthralled with the countries and their flags. These are those moments that we know that bringing culture into our students lives is what they need.
Then, we talked about medals. We talked about how each event has athletes who try their best to win one of the three medals.
Here is where we bring in the idea of completion, podiums, medals, and being a good sport. My little learners LOVE the idea of representing their country instead of just themselves. They also really understood the gold, silver, and bronze medals. We used these pieces on our pocket chart to model what would happen post event for the athletes.
Now, we had some fun! I had my student select countries they were interested in following for medal counts. The USA was first, since that is our country. Since we have an ESOL population, they were all about following the countries that their extended families live in. We also included South Korea since I want to tie in the host country as often as possible. Many students left connected with particular countries when we studied Christmas Around the World, so we included those countries as well.
Graphing the Medal Counts
Moreso, I knew I had to bring in a globe to connect the countries in the winter games to our understanding. I put colored stars on our graph and matching stars on the globe location. (Using a globe is a huge must to show the perspective of the world.) Also, remember to explain that since these are the “winter” games, that countries that have cold weather tend to do better because those athletes may have more of a chance to practice. You could see their eyes connect with this idea. YES. You have to practice these sports often to be the best and you have to practice them in cold weather.
Glossary and Printables
I refer to a glossary of terms with pictures often to encourage understanding. I see my students refer to them and look through them often. It makes my heart soar. Providing them with resources to connect their learning thoughts is what we as educators live for.
Of course, I have printables for writing and more! If you can use these learning ideas, feel free to click HERE to grab this fun Print and Play pack. I know Winter Sports Activities for Little Learners will be a fun learning experience in your classroom as well.
Groundhogs Day can be a tricky time of year to find good quality resources to discuss groundhogs and lights and shadows. I have compiled a list of Fiction Books, Non Fiction Books, and books to cover lights and shadows. And of course, there is a printable copy you can grab as well.
First, let me say that this list is a resource guide. Look at your school library, your public library, and in other resources so you can find books to fit your classroom needs. I love shopping at Scholastic using my point.
Another resource I suggest is using FREE digital resources EPIC! (You can read how to gain access to this app as a teacher for free here.) I checked this free resource today. They have books to cover all the topics: groundhog day, lights, and shadows.
If you need the book fast, Amazon Prime is a great resource as well. This is why I included these links beside the titles.
Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts (Amazon)
I have a confession. Sometimes I want to quit teaching. gulp. You read that right. Sometimes I just don’t want to me a teacher anymore. Let me explain.
(First, I want to make it clear that I love teaching. It is a huge part of me an who I am. I believe that God put me on this Earth to be a Kindergarten teacher. I don’t just like my job, I love it. Let me vent, THEN let me share with you why I keep teaching in spite of the setbacks.)
But sometimes, I just don’t want to be a teacher anymore. Here are some of the reasons why.
I don’t want or need to constantly assess students.
I want to inspire my students to be the best THEM they can be. This means I want to engage their learning and make them want to be with me everyday. I want to teach them at their level and in fun ways. This also means I do not want to assess them so often and formal assessments. I loath pretests to see how they will do on the actual test. Guess what? I don’t need to do formal assessments all the time to know what my kids know. Instead, I talk with my students, have discussions, and play meaningful games to let them naturally show me what they know. Assessments rarely, if ever, shock me.
I teach a whole child, not a data point students.
Data can not show everything that a whole child can show. I know this student may not be “in progress” on their latest assessments and we really want them in the “mastered” category. But I know their parents recently separated and she is having a tough time with it. Or that a new sibling was born in the family. Perhaps a grandparent passed away. Maybe this little one just started off the year so low that in progress right now is actually amazing for them.
The lack of funding is shameful.
A few hundred dollars for a classroom full of children is just flat out ridiculous. (And some teachers don’t even get that much.) Add to that amount the time it takes to get a lucky PO processed and it is almost pointless. (And this assuming the items you need can even be purchased through a PO.) We, meaning the whole class, need writing paper, construction paper, art supplies, headsets, math manipulative, cooking supplies, and the other half a million items to makes hands on activities possible. Almost none of these said items are funded. When you throw in the fact that curriculum is constantly changing and we are required to teach these changes, even without any materials to teach them with, this will make you cry.
Support for teachers is lacking.
Parent demands. Administration demands. Student demands. So many people demanding your time and attention, but the amount of the amount of time you have to do these demands doesn’t change. Most people don’t see the 1054 correct choices you make. This wears you down.
The paperwork process is S L O W L Y killing me.
And it is constantly changing. EIP, SST, RTI, IEP, ESOL, and so much more. Document. Prove. Collect the data. This year we need this. Now we need that. Just one more step. Just another data point. Two strategies per area of weakness. This child was absent on this day, so you have to remember to make it up on the next day. I have to remind myself to breath! But then to remember to write down the date, time, and duration to enter that info in the computer as well.
But I Remain a Teacher
In spite of all the reasons I listed, I do not quit teaching. Here is why.
It is simple. I am here for the students. God put me on this Earth to teach Kindergarten. This is my role. As an educator, I believe in these little learners. These students are our future. I know that my place is with them and in creating a learning environment for them. Furthermore, I want to help students. I want to ensure these future leaders of society get their basic needs met. Then, I want to educate them to be self thinkers. I want to uplift them to know themselves and to find their purpose on Earth.
So I carry the burdens listed above for my students. This means I take the bad days just like I take the good ones. I take time to pray for my students, to pray for my students’ families, and to pray for those in leadership roles in education. More so, I speak up on behave of my students when needed. I try to make each requirement as fun and engaging as possible. I strive to change my mindset about the negatives into positives.
When you have those bad days, those moments of discouragement and negativity… take a deep breath. Know you are not alone. We all have these moments and these days. Concentrate on your purpose and your goals. Remember who you are and why you are in the role you are in.
Martin Luther King Jr was not just an Important Human Rights Leader. He was so much more. To honor him and he great works, I created an MLK Print & Play Pack to make sure that teaching about this man could be done easily in many classrooms, even with the very young minds.
I love to show the Brain Pop Jr video on MLK to start this lesson. You can watch it here even without a subscription. (I check to make sure it was free at the time I am writing this. But, I can not promise Brain Pop will allow it to be free forever.) I also love to use the book, Martin’s Big Words. MLK had a unique ability to speak the truth and make people listen and I feel like his words are a powerful part of his legacy.
Next, we use this MLK Print & Play chart to discuss him and use our own words to express what we understand about him. I call this time with my class “picking their brains.” I am striving to gauge what THEY understand about what I have showed them so I know how to do an even better job as we continue talking.
You will see a projectable chart in the background, then a cut and build chart for chart paper in the middle, and lastly, you will see a student printable.
Facts About MLK
Next, we head to the pocket chart to discuss MLK’s life. We use these printable pieces to connect the facts of his life to an image. I love this because your students may not be strong readers yet, so we need to pictures to help them visualize what we are teaching them. There is also a printable version for your students to put together as well.
As we discuss MLK, vocabulary will come up that we want to integrate into the conversation. I created these glossary cards to post and refer to as needed. We want the words like equality and peace to used by our students in context, like MLK did.
And of course we have printables to convey the meaning behind this lesson as well.
Student Cut and Sorts
Giving students activities that convey the lesson in a form they can work with is not only fun, but allows the student a more meaningful opportunity. Here is a cut and sort for MLK.
And here is a matching printable.
I also strive to integrate our social studies learning into writing. Therefore in the MLK Print & Play Pack, you will find a word wall, along with several other writing prompts.
There are also two cut and glue writing prompts. One if for the things that MLK wanted others to have… equality, peace, hope, and love. The next one is for the people that MLK wanted to help… men, women, and children. Once we cut and paste the images down, we use these ideas to encourage our writing ideas.
10 New Year Resolutions Teachers Should Make is all about trying to make yourself into a better you, to focus on an area to improve upon. Teachers are masters of multitasking and honestly, they usually take on too many tasks and work on too many things. So how can we teachers resolve to improve? What kind of resolutions should we make to improve our overall lives? Here is a list of 10 New Year Resolutions Teachers Should Make.
Make a list of priorities and stick to them.
The first item on our 10 New Year Resolutions Teachers Should Make should make you remember that… You can not do it all. No one can. Instead of feeling guilty, make a list of priorities and then stick to it. You faith, your family, your health, your job… and everything else on your priority list. Do you need to set aside devotional time each day? Try to set a timer on your phone to leave school everyday to be around your family more. Set aside date nights with your spouse. Did you read the part about your health? I struggle in that area as well, but don’t forget about keeping YOU healthy!
Don’t Strive for Pinterest Perfect
I have a secret to share… my classroom isn’t Pinterest Perfect. I am also a horrible chart maker and I never share those images online. My classroom is loud, messy, and sometimes unorganized. Those moments are not Pinterest Perfect. But those moments are real and meaningful to my students. And guess who doesn’t care if your room is Pinterest Perfect? Your students. They would rather your room be full of fun and engaging activities.
Pinterest is great for ideas and inspirations, but let’s not strive for constant perfection. You do things your way and how it works for you! You might end up happier and with happier students as well.
Don’t try to “get it all done”
Let’s keep it real. You are never going to finish everything on your list. Everything is never going to get done. You will only end up stressed out and unhappy. An important trick I learned years ago was to make a to-do list of those things you have to get done by a certain time. These items include assessments, paperwork, meetings, and more. Next, create a working list of things you would like to do. These are tasks that you want to do, but may not have time to complete. If time allows, you can start to work on this list. These items include redoing your word wall, reorganizing your classroom library, and perhaps sorting math manipulatives. Yes, your classroom would be better with these items done, BUT you don’t have to do them this instant.
Say no to tasks that take away from your top priorities.
Next on the 10 New Year Resolutions Teachers Should Make, we have the power of “no.”It can be flattering to be asked to take on extra tasks and responsibilities at school, but don’t forget the power of the word no. Sometimes we have solid time-consuming reasons to step down from additional responsibilities such as health reasons, an extra demanding class, or even graduate level classes. Other times we just need to step back because we need to step back. Make sure you can take care of your top priorities and if this new tasks takes away from them, kindly and politely decline the offer. Try rotating elaborate tasks year to year between grade level members as well.
Call in sick when you are sick.
Why do we feel guilty when we call in sick when we are actually really sick? Stop doing this to yourself. (And yes, I am speaking to myself here as well.) I know it is a lot of work to call out sick, but if you are sick… please do it. Your team members should be willing and able to step up and help you out, just like you would help them. In truth, staying home and taking care of yourself will most likely result in you feeling better soon and you not spreading germs to everyone else.
Read a professional development book in an area YOU are interested in.Many times teacher get professional development opportunities in areas their district or their school feel the need to grow in. This isn’t a bad thing at all. Sometimes YOU have to desire to learn about another area to make yourself a better teacher. Take the time to continue your education in what areas you need and you desire because YOU are worth it. Staff Development for Educators (SDE) is a great resource for Professional Development. Also check out free online webinars through ESGI.Looking for subjects or content? I recommend checking out:
Purposeful Play (on Amazon here)
Be the Wild Card (on Amazon here)
Daily 5 (on Amazon here)
Teach Like a Pirate (on Amazon here)
Kids Deserve it (on Amazon here)
Conscious Discipline (on Amazon here)
7. Learn how to incorporate an element of technology into your classroom.
Technology is the way we are going, so jump on board! Don’t be scared. Pick a techie element you find cool and work at it until you learn it. Ask for help when you need it, use Google to trouble shoot, and keep trying. You can do it! Not sure where to start? Here are some of my technology ideas you can try!
8. Show others you value them.
Here is a very important element for the 10 New Year Resolutions Teachers Should Make. One of the pitfalls of our career choice is the cycle of feeling unappreciated. Stress gets to us and the demands of our jobs feels like a heavy weight. Stop the cycle by finding little ways to show others that YOU value them. In return, you will feel better and so will they. We all want to work in an environment that uplifting and full of praise and affirmations. Be the spark that lights the fire. You will never regret the time and effort this takes.
9. Don’t engage the negative.
Why are so quick to brush off a compliment but then take a negative comment so hard? It simply doesn’t make sense. We need to improve our mindset to stop engaging in the negatives. Period. Acknowledge the negative so you can hear it, possibly help it, but also know when you just need to move on.
10. Find people who inspire you and motivate you.
Surround yourself with people who understand you and inspire you as a whole person. Let them motivate you to become a better you. They are the people who understand you flaws and don’t judge. These people help, encourage, motivate, and perhaps even share the work load. They can live close to you or far away. They can be across the hall or across the internet. If you are looking for more inspiration and motivation, try connecting with us. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter for exclusive freebies, our Instagram account for picture rich fun, and Sharing Kindergarten’s Facebook Page for ideas, articles, and more.
A staple in every lower elementary library could be a bin of timeless, fun, and beloved Christmas themed books. These books can be read once, or time and time again to help teach a lesson of traditions, giving to other, and to spread the magic of the season. Theses Christmas books are great for one on one lesson, small group reteaching methods, and even those whole group “we gotta get this together” meeting. There is a collection of Christmas Books Kids Love for lower elementary classrooms.
I provided Amazon Links for your convince. (Grabbing those books on Prime and getting them to your house asap is always helpful.) I highly recommend checking out Scholastic for their deals as well. I can usually find many of these titles for GREAT prices through Scholastic.
Books from a Series
These books are listed in ABC order only. We all have our favorite series of books, so have fun choosing a few of these Christmas books for your classroom.
These are great classic books that we all should have or read every year, but this list just can’t be complete without adding them to our list. These books also make excellent, thoughtful gifts for student teachers, new teachers, or even a parent volunteer.
We all love to travel around the world with our students as we explore the magical season of Christmas and how diverse this holiday can be around the world. Here are some great books to help guide these lessons. I don’t read every page of every book, but I skim most of them, esp the longer reads.
These next books are awesome because they contain real images from the countries listed. I think these would be great additions to your school or public library, but I wanted to include them so you would see great, student friendly options that are non fiction and picture rich.
Covering Content Using There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey
Thanksgiving is a crazy but fun time in lower elementary school. Teachers strive to make their activities content rich, while students are in dire need of a break. If you school is like mine, we also have progress reports due before the students leave for the holiday! So how to do we as educators cover content while letting our students have fun learning? Let’s dive in so I can show you how I cover content and even grab some assessments all while students have a blast.
First Things First
This week I am using the book There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey as my fictional piece of literature. This is an excellent book by Lucille Colladro that has tons of repeating words in it, which help build confidence for my little learners to readers. Another reason I love this book is because it also shows tons of actual Thanksgiving traditions like parades and floats.
Sequencing the Story
After we read the story together, we break the story down to sequence the events. Students love using these picture rich cards for sequencing. They also can follow up with ordering the events with their own printable sequencing sheet. Since this sequencing sheet also using ordinal numbers to 10, you are covering two standards with one activity! We like to using the sequencing cards in whole group, but we can easily complete the sequencing sheet independently.
Reading Comprehension Game
We also love to play this reading comprehension game. It is the ideal way to see which students understand what they are listening to or reading on their own. Your students think they are playing a game and you are instantly assessing tons of reading comprehension skills. I take a class list, then use a check mark or an X by their name to indicate how many questions they get correct.
When I say my students RUN to this game, I am understating their enthusiasm. This activity is never quick nor quiet, but it is a TON of fun. We use a die and unifx cubes for the game pieces. This game is perfect for parent volunteers and can even be used for a take home activity for parents and students to play together.
Getting students to write about what they read is an ideal way to integrate multiple subjects and have a blast while doing so! You can see this word wall and multiple writing prompts for this activity. You do not have to use the word wall, but it is a resource you can provide if needed.
Building Word Mats
One of my main educational focuses for this grading period is using letters to make words. Sounding out letters to build words can be fun and differentiated! I took these building word mats and made a quick video showing you how I can make this seemingly simple activity easily leveled to reach all my learners. And so can you!
Teacher Tip for Differentiating Word Building - YouTube
What About Math?
One of our favorite games to play is called fill the ten frame. Students use this foam die (or the printable one provided) to roll. Next, students graph the image that lands on top onto their record sheet. They keep rolling and graphing until they fill a ten frame. This game is fun, but also so educational. Student can write their numbers in the spots as well. Comparing numbers is huge in this game and your students will never get tired of playing.
Veteran’s Day is a great time of year to take moments to teach about the importance of our Veteran. These proud men and women put their lives on the line to protect our country and our freedoms.
Integrating Veterans into other subject areas is an ideal way to dig into learning and make this topic more than just one lesson, but an ongoing way to discuss Veterans.
Reading About Veterans Day
Start this unit by discussing what Veterans are and how their job is to keep America safe and defend our freedom. If you are looking for books to help teach this topics, I have suggested listed below. Check your school library or your public library for these titles:
We use these books to help get our minds thinking. Then we can chart Veterans with a are/have/serve chart. My students enjoy writing their ideas with me. I use the back chart for some students and the front chart with those who are ready to complete sentences.
Here is a student example from one student. This student wrote “Veterans can fight for us. Veteran’s have clothes, hats, and shoes. Veterans serve us!”
Integrating Number Writing
Now that my students have an idea what Veterans are, we integrate this theme into math skills. Many of these activities can be complete in centers or small groups. Here is a number chart to 50 in 4 difference levels of number writing.
Veteran Number Matching
Check out this number matching activity from numbers 0-23. Mix and match the numbers your students need to work with to match the number to the dog tag ten frames.
One great classroom management plan I love to implement utilizing color copy paper or card stock. I took this activity and made 4 colorful sets. Now 4 students can work on the same activity at their own rate and pieces do not get lost. You can make leveled activities as well, for example one set can have numbers 0-10, while another can have numbers 10-20, and so on.
Fill the Ten Frame with Veterans
One game that my students never get tired of is the game Fill the Ten Frame. You roll a die like this pocket chart die or you can use the paper version provided. Next, the student graphs the picture that ends up on top. The game ends when one of the images has their ten frame filled.
You can see this Fill the Ten Frame game in action.
More so, you can see these students playing the game in small groups independently.
Marching in a Line with Veterans
Since the topic is Veterans… I knew the idea of teaching ordinal numbers would be a perfect topic since soldier march in line.
Here is a great pocket chart activity for your soldiers to play with. Start by laying down the ordinal numbers. Then give verbal directions to place the Veterans in order. (I raised the ordinal numbers just so you could see them.) I suggest starting with ordinal numbers 1-5, then grow to 1-10.
You can also check out this printable. I make this into a listening and following direction activity.
The skill of ABC ordering take practice. There are cards to use whole group or small group, as well as a printable version.
Since it takes practice to make progress with ABC ordering, there are two versions you can use. One focuses on the branches of Veterans. The other focuses on their vehicles. You can teach one and practice with them, then use the second version to see how your students do on their own.
Scan & Learn FUN
One reader my students always love is this Veteran’s Day QR Scan & Learn. This activity is meant to be independent and engaging for your students.
Students take a smart device with a camera option and any FREE QR Code reader. Students then scan the code and listen to the recording to guide their learning. On one side they listen, on the second side the complete the activity… all with instructional guidance included.
You can see this activity in action here.
Here is the interactive reader part completed by a kindergarten friend.
Looking for the Veteran’s Day learning pack? You can find it by clicking here:
You can grab the Veteran’s Day QR Scan & Learn reader by clicking here:
Looking for more activities? This is an additional pack of different math activities?