Ahhh...Christmas time!  I know that I'm not the only teacher who sometimes struggles with fitting in all of the curriculum as well as allowing for some "fun" throughout the year, especially around certain holidays and celebrations. 

We are currently learning about structures in science class and I don't have the money (nor the patience!) to build gingerbread houses.  I should mention that we do have a classroom budget, but I don't want to spend a huge chunk on one day's activities.

In math, we are learning about fractions so I headed to my go to resource sites - Pinterest and TPT - to look for a craftivity for fractions and Christmas.  I didn't find any that would for my kids so (gasp!) I made one myself! 

I am really happy with how it turned out and had a hard time deciding which craftivity to do with my class!  I went with the Christmas tree.  All of the cutting and gluing took awhile, but at least they were practicing math facts and making a cute Christmas craft at the same time!

These are my samples - I'll post photos of the kids' trees soon.

I put both the Christmas Tree and Christmas Gift together as one resource available for purchase on TPT.  You can get it {here}.  If you already have your Christmas projects planned, you may want to consider it for next year!  If you do try it out, I would love feedback - let me know how it went!  Good or bad :)

Here's to making it through the next two weeks! 

Colours - a quick, fun unit!

We discuss primary and secondary colours, colour mixing, and touch on tints and shades and warm and cool colours.
As I mentioned before, How to Teach Art to Children is a great resource for this unit.

I start by discussing the primary colours - red, yellow, and blue - and try to drill that in, plus the fact that they are the main, hence, primary colours.

Then I demonstrate colour mixing using food colouring and water with a document camera.  
I love how during my demonstrations they find it magical when two primary colours are mixed to create a secondary!  While I'm mixing, they colour in their colour wheels.

Over the years I've tried different activities which allowed the kids to mix colours themselves - tempera paint, shaving cream and food colouring, and play dough.  I must say, play dough is the quickest and easiest - little prep and no clean-up!

Since it's early in the year, I demonstrated adding black/white to a colour using tempera paint.  A few years back I had the kids do it, but it didn't turn out too well.  They had a hard time keeping the brushes clean.  Suggestions are more than welcome!

For a centre activity, I put out a colouring mixing math activity where they had to solve the missing "sums" and "addends".  They used colour paddles and colour wheel/colour mixing anchor charts to help when they got stuck.

I created a Color Mixing Fun pack which includes posters for primary, secondary, warm, and cool colors, and tints and shades, color wheels, and 16 color mixing activity mats.  You can check it out at my TPT store by clicking {here}. 

I also posted a Color Wheel freebie at my store which you can get {here}.

I found this fabulous craft idea on Pinterest from Lakeshore Learning that I just had to try.  It seemed simple enough for our ability level so early in the school year.

My wonderfully crafty co-worker adapted it to her tastes and I liked her version so I went with that. 
We used a tree trunk template that was photocopied onto brown construction paper.  You can grab it {here}.
You will need:
  • brown pipe cleaners or yarn
  • brown, orange, yellow, red, pink, and green tissue paper
  • cotton balls
  • foam pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns
  • tree trunks
  • liquid glue
  • ledger sized paper (11x17)
  • 12x18 construction paper for mounting

Books about Apples and Apple Trees

My Sample

Hard at work


Some finished products

As part of our Colour Unit during which we learned about primary and secondary colours, shades, and tints, we made Colour Quilts when we learned about value.

I found this activity in the book, How to Teach Art to Children.

Using the 8 colours in their crayon box, I asked my little friends to use each colour to fill in 2 boxes - one with light pressure and the other with full intensity.
I encouraged them to colour in random boxes so that there is variation in colour and value.  As usual, some did a really good job and others didn't get the memo!

These 2 turned out pretty well.

You can grab the template that I used {here}.  Enjoy!

I made these cards for matching representations of number.  They go along with a Number Anchor Chart that I made.

We used these cards on the pocket chart together as a class and some students are already grasping the concept of telling time to the hour and adding coin amounts.  This should make those units a lot easier come spring!!

When I put it out at the Math Center, I took out the clock, coin, and tally mark sets.  I'll bring this activity out later in the year when we learn about these concepts.

This set is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. 
I made a set with Canadian coins and one with American coins. 
Just follow the respective link!

Our first unit in math is Number Sense - counting, printing and identifying numbers.  I came across some ready-made and "fillable" anchor charts on Pinterest and TPT and was inspired to create something quick and easy for my own use.  

We completed the chart as a class and then went on to complete a worksheet from Scholastic's Write-and-Learn Number Practice Pages.

What I liked most was the way it informally introduced money, tallies, ordinals, and time. 

Most of my kiddies quickly grasped these concepts, especially by the time we got to number 10. 

This anchor chart is my first freebie/product available on TPT! 
 You can get it by clicking on the picture below.


For the first week of school, I decided to try a craftivity - something that I usually put off for the first few months due to generally poor scissor skills and lack of familiarity with glue sticks.

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg is my go-to first day of school book.  My kiddies never seem to understand the surprise ending though!

I found this cute craftivity by Nancy of First Grade Wow and couldn't resist!  Check it out {here}.

After reading the story on the first day, we created a chart which shared our feelings about the first day.

Later in the week, I took the plunge!

I quickly demonstrated a sample for the class and then went on to assemble another one on the chalkboard as they assembled theirs at their desk. 

I tried my very best to keep calm throughout this 1.5 hour process.  Yes, 1.5 hours!!!

All in all, although it took a long time (for the slower ones), I think they turned out really well for a first week of school project!

My room is slowly coming together.  I'm optimistic about the first grade classes going through a shuffle which would leave me with three less students (from 23 to 20).  Doesn't seem like a lot, but it makes a difference in terms of classroom space!

Classroom Library
I sorted by theme.  Once I finish reading assessments, I will put out levelled book baskets that students select from for Independent Reading.

Listening Centre

My least favourite!  I can't seem to foster enough independence here.  At first, I don't allow them to change the tape or CD.  Once I do, it still doesn't seem to work.  Then SOMEBODY always seems to touch the volume dial and mute the player.

Work Windows


Calendar Wall


My Desk
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