Mooseltoe ~ Differentiated



Have you ever bought something from TpT and you wanted to do EVERYTHING?  I have this problem when I buy products and make them.  I can't decide what I'm going to do with all the choices I have. When it comes to the holiday season I have an over abundance of goodies and it makes my decision making even harder.  So when I was planning for "Mooseltoe", I got an idea.  I decided I would pick my favorite ideas and only make 5 copies of each.  

Then after reading the book, I would let the children work in groups and choose what they would work on.  Yes I would let THEM choose.  Choice is such a motivating instructional strategy and it allows for great differentiation.  There are more challenging activities and  activities that are perfect for my emerging learners.  They had the opportunity to choose and work at their level with other children.  It was so much fun for them and for me.  I got to see what they chose, and see them work on many different things.  Keep in mind, all of the choices provided were concepts we have already learned so it was review.  They did a great job!






In the end, nothing was the same.  How AMAZING is that? 





Happy Holidays!





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Holiday Gift for Parents


Today we made our holiday gift for our parents.  I think they are beautiful.  As a parent, I would be thrilled to receive one of these cute little trees.  I wanted to share with you how to make it. 

In the past we have always used wood because it was cheap.  My husband would cut it, sand the edges, and then the children would have to paint it.  This all had to be done before we could begin.  They were adorable as well, but this was much easier.  

First we went to Lowe's and found these tiles.  
They were only 69 cents each.  One of my teammates chose the square tiles which were even cheaper at 49 cents each. Square tiles!
Check out how cute they are... (I snuck in while they were working so they weren't quite finished.)

Next, we purchased some holiday scrapbooking paper.  Any paper will do.  I love to see the different colors each of us use.  You will also need Elmer's glue and Modge Podge, a small bottle is plenty.  

I had the children come back to our big picnic table and design their tree first.  Once it was laid out, they glued it down with just regular Elmer's glue.  After it had time to set, they went over it with a layer of Modge Podge.  

The great thing about Modge Podge is that it dries super fast.  We did this craft in the morning and we were able to wrap them up this afternoon. 


Here we are busy at work.  Messy but fun!

As an alternative to a tree, you could also do a Snowman.  Depending on your classroom  you could do one or the other or both.  This year all of my students celebrate Christmas and one celebrates Hanukkah.  I offered both options to all of them but only one student chose the snowman.  


Finally, one last thing to mention. I would have a few extra on hand to make for families of children who are divorced.  It is nice to offer the project to both parents and it is such a short project, there is plenty of time to do 2. 
Check out some of our adorable pieces of work!



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A Week Filled with Gingerbread


We spent our first week back from Thanksgiving break on gingerbread stories.  There are so many old and new stories, I decided to spend two weeks on all of the different versions, I just couldn't decide.  
On the first day we read two classic stories, The Gingerbread Boy by Galdone and The Gingerbread Man by Aylesworth.  First we read and sequenced "The Boy" story.  We also made a fun class book to put in our library.  Then we read the second story and use the cards below to compare and contrast the two stories.


I gave students sets of sorting cards and rings to work in groups and sort together.  They then recorded some of their answers on the paper Venn Diagram.


The second day was all about "The Gingerbread Baby" by Jan Brett.  We sequenced again and made another class book.  We used the colorful sequencing cards together before the kids went and did it independently.  I had students line up with their cards and read the card they had to the other children.  We all worked together to put them in order.  They really enjoyed doing this. 


In the middle of the week, we read "Gingerbread Friends" by Jan Brett.  We practiced sequencing by doing beginning, middle, and end.  We hadn't done this in awhile and I was shocked at how much they have grown.  At the beginning of the year I was getting a picture with maybe one word.  Now they are writing sentence or paragraphs.  

Then we did a super fun activity where we interviewed a friend and wrote about them.  They loved working with their friends.  Of course they wanted to choose their friends but after discussion we thought it would be fun to learn about someone new so we did a random generator and it worked out great.  Then we made our gingerbread friends.


 Next up that fifty girl!  She is so fun and we love the twist at the end of the story.  Of course we had to make some gingerbread girls!  


Finally we ended the week with The Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers.  You can't read this story with enjoying a few animal crackers.  Once we practiced our sequencing, we compared it to The Gingerbread Girl using a  Venn Diagram!  


We had a great week.  If you liked these activities, you can find them all bundled up in my gingerbread bundle.  


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