Wednesday, December 31, 2014


A New Freebie for a New Year!


I can say, "Happy New Year!" because 2015 has about 49 hours left of it.  2016 is just hours away!  I decided to update this little blog post this evening to make the best most of the remaining hours in 2015.

If you are an educator, you might be celebrating your New Year with a well deserved break away from school.  Schools in my area closed for the holidays on December 19th.  They won't reopen until January 5th.  That's sixteen days off of school!  The long span of time away from school will require students to adjust to a routine again.  That is, getting up early, getting ready for the school day, and staying FOCUSED in class.  For teachers, it makes January a challenging month!  The first week back is easier (for teachers and students) when the children are provided with plenty of breaks during the day.  Incorporating games into the instructional day can also keep the "Winter Doldrums" at bay. 

Perhaps you are planning a New Years theme with your students when they return to school.  You could have them write a personal goal for 2015.  You could also set time aside for a "Desk Cleaning Event".  (Some of them are going to find a long lost, half-completed, assignment buried in the backs of their desks!) Cleaning out their desks will give them a fresh start with their developing organization skills.  I highly recommend the "Desk Cleaning Event".  It gets them moving.  They'll need as much movement activities as possible as they adjust to going to school again. 

If you are planning a New Year's theme, you might like to use my New Year decoding phrases.  You can get them at my Teachers pay Teachers shop.  The file is FREE!  Here is an example of one of the pages.
This printable has the children write the missing letters in the blanks.  The code is given to them.
Additionally, for those of you that have SMART Notebook software, there is a companion product.  It will allow you to model the printable pages on the SMART Board as the children complete the activity sheets.  It's also free!  

These activities are NOT appropriate for per-kindergarten or kindergarten.  These activity sheets will work well with second and third graders.  They might be too challenging for some first graders although you could give it a try. 

Here's how the decoding phrases work.  Students use an alpha-numeric arrangement to decode a New Year's phrase.  An example of a phrase might be a fact about new years such as, "The New Year Begins on January First".  

Each numeral represents a letter.  Students write the appropriate letters in the blanks above the numerals which reveals the New Years phrase.
The New Year Begins on January First

After the children have practiced decoding, you will want them to create their own codes for a New Year's phrase.  When they create alpha-numeric codes, they are making their own choices about the numerals they will use.  It also requires them to plan, map, and check the location of the numerals.  This promotes higher order thinking skill.  Higher order thinking skills do not happen when children complete phrases with codes given to them.  An alpha-numeric code that is provided is a starting point which a child can draw background knowledge from when he is ready to create one independently.
This printable provides one of the numerals for the child.  The child chose to write numerals in descending order after the "seven" which was the given numeral.
The photo shown above has the task started for the children.  The "seven" is provided and is also written below the two blanks needed to spell the two "P's" in the word "HAPPY".  The children select other numerals which they print above the letters.  Then the children "PROGRAM" the correct numerals below each of the blanks so the phrase will spell correctly.

The final task is to print the letters in the blanks.  The students could switch papers with a classmate to complete this part.

This New Year's freebie is designed exclusively for the 2016 year.  I plan to update it for the 2017 New Year.  The update will take place in December of 2016.  You might like to get the updated version at that time.  If you would like to get this freebie from my Teachers Pay Teachers store, click the image below:

If you are interested in modeling this on the SMART Board, click on the next image shown below.

Have a Happy New Year!

Lessons by Molly © 2014  All rights reserved.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


I love the month of December!  There are so many great children's books about the holiday season.  I don't have time to read them all so I try to pick the ones that are the favorites.  One of my favorite holiday books is, The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola.  I love it when extension activities can be used after reading a good book.  It is one of the reasons I created an activity packet that could be used after a reading this story.  My freebie packet was long overdue for an update!  Fortunately, Edu-clips had some terrific graphics that worked well with the additions that I made.  You can read the original blog post here.  I wanted to include at least one activity for each grade level beginning with pre-kindergarten through  third grade.  The packet can be downloaded at my Teachers pay Teachers store.  Here is a sneak peek that will show you both the old and new pages within the packet.

The children can draw pictures to show what took place before and after the miracle.  The green weeds transform into beautiful Poinsettia plants.  This will be an obvious change for the children to understand.  The changes in the emotions of the characters could also be reflected in the facial expressions in the drawings as shown in the drawing above.  This requires a certain level of sophisticated thinking and young children may not be ready for that.  Discussing the emotions of the characters, before and after the miracle, and connecting it with facial expressions might be helpful before the children begin to draw their "before" and "after" pictures.
Here is a "child-made" visual of the people and the only animal mentioned in the story.
Uppercase letter printing.
I made a game for pre-kinders and kindergartners.  (Shown above)  The goal is to get to the hay.  The children  pretend to lead "Pepito" to the hay.  They draw Poinsettia cards from a stack of cards or from inside a bag.  The cards have one, two, or three flowers on them.  They count the flowers and move their markers the same number of spaces.  I used buttons for markers.
I made another game.  This one can be used with first and second graders.  The concept is the same as with the first game.  That is, lead Pepito to the hay.  In this version, the children solve math facts and move the same number of spaces as the sum.  If they "land" on a Poinsettia, they slide forward one space. 
The children can solve the facts mentally as they play the game or they can write in the answers and then cut out the game cards.  
There are a lot of words that can be made with the word "Poinsettia".  In the picture above, the words are categorized according to the number of letters.  I've included a list of possible words in the packet.
I made a "Fill in the bubble" comprehension quiz about the story.
 Here are the goodies again!  I tried to include something for grades pre-k through third.  I hope there's something YOU can use with your class.  There is also a pattern to make a Poinsettia.  Children love making crafts at any age!  My pattern is for making large, paper Poinsettias.  They are nice for holiday programs and decorations.  The original blog post (2012) about this freebie has a few images of the Poinsettia pattern.

The picture below is the updated product cover.  You can click on it to go to my Teachers pay Teachers store and get the free packet.

Lessons by Molly © 2014  All rights reserved.