Tuesday, April 11, 2017

April Writing Activities and Fun Spring Learning

Is it Spring already?! April writing activities, learning about life cycles, eggs and chicks and butterflies, oh my! I love Spring because students are finally starting to follow all the classroom routines with ease… right before the year’s almost over, of course :) but I also love it because there are a lot of fun spring themed science, writing, and math opportunities in April and May.

Spring writing activities that are easy no prep crafts for fun April and May learning

Life cycles are a fun topic in science in spring. We learn about the life cycle of a butterfly first. I love to integrate science into writing as you can see in the picture above from my Spring Writing Crafts pack. I think kids learn a lot more when they write about their learning.

After learning about the life cycle of a butterfly, an easy activity is the Find and Write: Butterfly Life Cycle activity. Simply put the big picture/word cards around the room (tape them to the wall, etc.) and have kids go on a hunt to find them, match the picture on their recording sheet, and write down the vocabulary word.

Life Cycle of a Butterfly science center that is fun and easy – simply put the picture cards around your classroom and let students find and write their new science vocabulary words

It’s nice because it gets kids moving up out of their seats in a controlled, educational way. You could have the entire class do it at once or have it be a group center during literacy rotations of just 4-6 kids. Kids love having to be detectives and find the words. You can also give them magnifying glasses and clipboards if you want to make it more fun :)

After learning about the butterfly life cycle, kids can show what they’ve learned by writing out the steps of the life cycle with this easy no prep craft. I’ve shown you my other no prep crafts in other posts by month (I’ll put them all at the bottom of this post so you can check them out if you want!) – I love them because kids simply write, color, cut, and glue onto construction paper to make an instant craft that makes a great bulletin board. I was so sick of cutting out this many legs, this many eyes, etc. for crafts so I created these to make it absolutely no prep for the teacher except for printing it out :)
Super cute butterfly writing craft activity that is no prep and perfect for young kids learning about butterflies and their life cycle

Like I said, I love integration across subjects whenever possible so it’s great to mix math in there too! This Butterfly Place Value puzzle is an easy way to get in a ton of numbers practice:

Butterfly place value puzzle where kids grab a card with base 10 blocks and figure out the number it is and color it in to reveal a butterfly! Click this to see a video of it being done… such a fun way to practice number sense!

For this activity, kids grab a card that shows a number in base 10 blocks. They figure out what the number is then color it the color of the card on their hundreds chart. Once they do all the cards, it reveals a picture of a butterfly!! These are a kid favorite and sneak in a ton of number practice!

I actually love to put the cards on a binder ring (simply punch a hole in the top left corner of each card) like I show in this video from my Instagram.

The cards come in both this base 10 blocks version to practice place value AND a full set of cards where it just says the number. Those are much easier, of course, and great for practicing number sense. If you haven’t read my huge post about building number sense and have kids struggling with it, I recommend reading that post to get some ideas – I shared a lot of my secrets :) I also have a post about teaching place value and a lot of other math concepts if you want more math tricks.

Anyway! Next is learning about the life cycle of a frog and another Find and Write activity.

Life Cycle of a Frog science center that is fun and easy – simply put the picture cards around your classroom and let students find and write their new science vocabulary words like tadpole, froglet, etc.

Then, have students practice their first, next, then, last, etc. style of writing with a Frog no prep craft to tell you the life cycle of a frog. These make a super cute April science/writing bulletin board as well!
Frogs writing craft activity that is no prep and perfect for young kids learning about the life cycle of a frog

Another fun thing to learn and write about in spring is insects! I LOVE all of the picture heavy bugs books available for kids – kids just eat them up with the “scary” real life pictures. They’re great for nonfiction reading practice, especially the little readers for small groups.

Insects writing craft that is NO PREP perfect for learning about bugs in science in the springtime! Click for a ton of fun Spring activities and writing prompts!

This is a quick little writing craft to do about insects if you learn about them too!

I also have one specifically for Ants because I know a lot of teachers teach specifically about ants so it’s an easy way for students to recap their learning with this cute little guy!

Ants writing craft that is NO PREP perfect for learning about insects in science in the springtime! Click for a ton of fun Spring activities and writing prompts!

Plants and how they grow is also another spring science concept!

How Plants Grow writing craft that is NO PREP perfect for learning about plants in science in the springtime! It’s also a great opportunity to practice how to writing. Click for a ton of fun Spring activities and writing prompts!

This can be an easy transition into practicing How To writing. Here's another fun one to practice procedural writing:

How to Fly a Kite is a great Spring writing prompt for kids to practice how to writing in a fun way

If you have the time to do a “science experiment” of taking the kids out for an extra recess where you try to fly a kite, it is such a fun way to bring their writing to life. I am awful at actually getting the kite up in the air but maybe you’re more skilled than me ;) After flying the kite, they can write about it in how to writing format to practice procedural writing.

… and it wouldn’t be spring without some bunnies! Here’s a quick little craft to do if you learn about rabbits:

So many fun Spring themed writing prompts and ideas that are wonderful for practicing writing

Speaking of bunnies… I have some fun Easter bunny crafts too if you do Easter activities in your home or classroom. All of the writing no prep crafts you saw above this (not the Find and Writes) are in the Spring Writing Crafts pack.

Now I’m going to show you some fun no prep crafts from my Easter Writing Crafts pack!

A TON of fun Easter writing activities that are no prep crafts and other fun ideas

A really fun way to get their imaginations going is to pretend that THEY are the Easter bunny and tell them to come up with a funny story of what would happen if they were the Easter bunny. Brainstorm some funny mishaps together and then let them write their own.

If I Were the Easter Bunny writing prompt and other fun Easter writing activities - there are a ton of ideas on this post for Spring learning in science, writing, and math!

Another creative writing piece they can do is The Magic Egg… another fun one to brainstorm what the magic egg could be, what could it do, etc. and then let them come up with their own stories.

The Magic Egg is a fun Spring creative writing prompt! Click to check out all these fun April writing activities and ideas on this post!

I love using plastic eggs for so many things in April. You can make centers so much more fun by putting things in eggs :) One fun idea is to get the clear plastic eggs and put dice in them for when they roll dice in centers. It’s just an easy way to incorporate a little fun AND the dice don’t go flying everywhere!

Another how to writing opportunity is How to Hunt for Eggs:

How to Hunt for Eggs is a perfect Easter writing prompt to practice how to writing all in a fun no prep craft - all you do is print and students write, color, cut, and glue for a super easy April bulletin board

To prepare for this craft, you could have an egg hunt in your classroom where you crumple up center cards for a skill and put them inside plastic eggs. Then, have students go around trying to find them and answer the questions like the Find and Write activities I showed before. You could do this with any center activity that has cards and a recording sheet!

I just love Spring! If you read my blog regularly, you also know I have a new behavior chart for every month (as well as other themed ones for fun throughout the year like pirates, circus, under the sea, etc.) so of course I have a Spring one!

Spring behavior chart - I love switching out my clip chart every month to keep it fresh and exciting. Everyone wants to be the Top Frog so it’s a great classroom management strategy :)

I love switching them out every month. If you want to read about my system and see my other behavior charts, it’s in this post: 20 Classroom Management Strategies You Can Start Right Away

Every kiddo will want to be the Top Frog obviously :) But really, kids love trying to get to the top of the chart to get the new certificate (in this case “Top Frog”) to take home to their parents and such!

Another fun Spring holiday is Earth Day! Here are some fun ideas for Earth Day that I like to do:

Fun ideas for Earth Day like this place value puzzle where kids grab a card with base 10 blocks and figure out the number it is and color it in to reveal a fun Spring message! Click this to see a video of it being done… such a fun way to practice number sense!

This Earth Day Puzzle is another place value activity like the butterfly one above :)

Earth Day is a great opportunity to discuss how it’s important to take care of Earth – I also have some Earth Day writing crafts I like to have available in the writing center.

Earth Day writing activities that are NO PREP! Just print and kids simply write, color, cut, and glue to make a super easy Spring bulletin board to show how they take care of our planet

As well as talk about the importance of recycling! There is a ton of paper used in K-2 so I love to emphasize the importance of recycling whenever possible. We also talk about how we recycle water bottle caps to use in math and literacy centers like my CVC Bottle Caps Word Building and other things we can reuse or recycle.

Recycling writing activity that is an easy NO PREP craft! I love these Earth Day writing prompts and ideas for April and May

Anyway! That’s what I have for spring :) I am working on a TON of blog posts right now to show teaching tricks and classroom management strategies that I’m really excited about so make sure you check back! There are a lot of different ways to follow along on the right side (by email, IG, etc.) if you want as well. I’m really excited about them!

In the meantime, here are some other blog posts you might like:
Chatty Class Class Management Strategies
Digraphs Activities and Ideas
Phonics Fluency Notebooks
EW UE UI Activities (the ideas can be used for any phonics skill)
Composing Shapes (go to MATH to see all my math posts)

Here are my posts for the other months:
January Writing Crafts
February Writing Crafts

March Writing Crafts
December Writing Crafts
November Writing Crafts
October Writing Crafts

Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear from you in the comments :)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

March Writing Activities and Bossy R Activities

March writing activities are a lot of fun because the topics are exciting - kids love writing about leprechauns, pots of gold, and coming up with wishes of their own! I wanted to show you some of my favorite March writing prompts and some other fun stuff.

St. Patrick's Day writing activities that are super easy no prep crafts for March! I absolutely love doing these each month!

Well, of course I love NO PREP crafts since you simply print them and kids just write, color, cut, and glue. Anything no prep is my favorite. :) I’ve shown you many of my other no prep writing activities by month. I have a massive bundle of them or you can get just the March Writing crafts I show on this post too!

There are just so many creative writing opportunities for March! One of my favorite St. Patrick’s Day writing prompts is “If a Leprechaun Rode the Bus.”

If A Leprechaun Rode the Bus and a bunch of other fun March writing prompts on this post!

This one is so fun to brainstorm and think of all the silly things that could happen if a leprechaun rode the bus to school with them.

You can also do “If a Leprechaun Came to School” to think of all the fun things a leprechaun would do in class. Would they do math centers with you? Swing on the swings at recess? Leave green footprints by the teacher’s desk? Again, a super fun one to brainstorm then have them write their own stories!

If A Leprechaun Came to School and so many other fun March writing prompts for first grade

Kids also love to talk about what they’d do with a pot of gold! Have kids imagine they found the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow and imagine what they’d do with it. You may get some funny answers and also heartwarming ones... and then just plain silly.

If I Had a Pot of Gold writing activity for first grade - so many great March writing prompts on this post!

Along the same lines, have kids imagine they caught a leprechaun and were granted 3 wishes! This writing prompt is a GREAT excuse to practice First, Next, Last in their writing to list their 3 wishes.

My 3 Wishes is a perfect St. Patrick's Day writing prompt to practice first next last in kids' writing

I try to sneak in specific writing skills like that in my writing no prep packs so that, even though it just looks like crafts, they’re practicing skills in the writing standards.

For example, “How to” writing is an important standard so have them write about how to catch a leprechaun!

How to Catch a Leprechaun is a perfect how to writing activity for first grade - click to see all the different writing prompts for March!

You could even do a project where students have to work together to construct a leprechaun trap! This is a really common activity in classrooms for St. Patrick’s Day so if you do a little searching, you’ll find some inspiration!

Another writing genre you can practice is nonfiction writing. March is a perfect month for learning about weather and rainbows. Students can then write what they’ve learned about rainbows.

Writing about rainbows is a ton of fun with this no prep March writing activity - click here for a ton of March writing ideas!

You can also have them write a nonfiction piece about the holiday of St. Patrick’s Day if you want more nonfiction writing practice OR have them write a narrative of how they normally celebrate St. Patrick’s Day using this simple craft.

St. Patrick's Day writing activity that makes an easy March bulletin board

All of these make really fast and easy St. Patrick’s Day bulletin boards. You could make your bulletin board all the same prompt OR pick each students’ best one from the different prompts to make a really diverse, colorful bulletin board. I love to let kids pick the color construction paper they use as the background so they end up being a really colorful display on a bulletin board like this:

St. Patrick's Day writing prompts galore! Click to get a bunch of St. Patrick's Day writing ideas!

That’s actually one of the biggest reasons I created these no prep crafts – keeping up with seasonal bulletin boards used to be such a hassle but having quick writing crafts that look nice and are easy to do has made it so much less stressful.

I’m also a perfectionist so I love how they’re on construction paper so I can make them perfectly straight and evenly spaced since they’re all the exact same shape – is that crazy?! :)

Another classroom display for March is my St. Patrick’s Day behavior chart!

St. Patrick's Day behavior chart - I love how she switches out her behavior charts each month to keep it exciting! This one for March is too cute!

I LOVE switching out behavior charts each month (or even more often if you do different themes) to keep it fresh and exciting! As I’m sure you know, a lot of behavior management tricks work great BUT stop working after a bit of time when kids get bored with them. In my opinion, this is the case for behavior clip charts UNLESS you change them regularly! I talk about how I do this on my 20 Classroom Management Strategies You Can Start Right Away post and let me tell you, it’s a game changer!

When the chart changes and they’re fun and new with a new goal (this one is to get to the top of the chart to find the pot of gold!), kids get excited to reach the new goal and get the new type of award certificate to show their parents! The colors stay the same so you don’t have to explain the new chart – just switch it out and they’ll freak out excitedly when they come in that morning and see the new one. :) It’s my favorite!

Since it’s St. Patrick’s Day and they reached the pot of gold, I love to give out those gold coin chocolates if they reach the top. EEEEEVERYONE wants that chocolate... especially me! :)

Speaking of pots of gold, this is the time of year when you’ve taught your kiddos a lot of different phonics sounds and you want to reinforce them. Bossy R sounds (or, ar, er, ir, ur) seem to be especially tricky so I made Bossy R Pot of Gold centers to review those sounds.

Bossy R center for reading groups where kids sort the gold coins to correct pot of gold for that r controlled vowel. I love these bossy R activities!

Kids simply match the coins with picture words to the R controlled vowel sound pots. It’s great practice because they have to look at the picture, say the word out loud, then match it to the written form of the sound it contains. This is me laminating them with my BFF, Lammy (my personal laminator). I like to laminate centers at home so I can do it while zoning out watching T.V. :)

I also bring back pages to review from my Phonics No Prep Packs for the OR sound, the AR sound, and the ER IR UR sounds.

If you teach R controlled vowels too, I actually have a TON, and I mean A TON, of Bossy R resources – you can see them all by clicking on “Bossy R” on the left hand side of my TpT store which is HERE.

This week is also Bossy R word rolls!

Kids roll the dice to make OR or AR words.

Bossy R word roll center that is too much fun. Click for directions!

If they roll a word they see on their mat, they get to color it in!

It can also get competitive with the roll and cover type version where partners take turns rolling the dice then covering the picture with THEIR color cube. Whoever gets a full line first wins! :)

Bossy R word roll center that is too much fun. Click for directions!

If you want to see more word rolls, check out this post I wrote a few years ago: CVC Word Rolls

I also love to bust out the letter bottle caps for the Bossy R Bottle Cap cards. If you’ve never seen my bottle cap cards, I wrote a blog post showing my CVC ones here: Bottle Cap CVC Word Building Centers. It shows how the different phonics sets are differentiated and just how to use them in general. Prepare to drink a lot of water! :)

Bossy R bottle cap centers are SO much for practicing reading words with R controlled vowels

I have bottle cap centers sets for all the different phonics sounds since they’re such an easy way to practice.

Another weekly activity for each phonics sound is notebooking which I wrote about in my Phonics Fluency Notebooks post.

OR sound phonics fluency notebook page for practicing this tricky r controlled vowel sound

Whatever sound you’re working on, kids take the puzzle (the pictures are out of order) and read the reading passage. Then, they highlight the words with the phonics sound you’re focusing on (in this case: OR). Next, they sequence the events of the story by putting the pictures in order to complete the puzzle. Last, they read the puzzle again and write down the highlighted words at the bottom. You can also have them read their completed puzzles and compare with a friend!

Anyway! I could go on and on about bossy R activities – I love teaching phonics.

Back to St. Patrick’s Day :)

To incorporate math and number sense into my St. Patrick’s Day activities, I do this St. Patrick’s Day Place Value Puzzle:

St. Patrick's Day math center where kids look at the number cards to reveal a picture of a leprechaun with a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow... SUCH a fun puzzle

Kids get a blank 100 chart and a stack of base 10 cards. You can see them on the left hand side of the above picture. They look at the base 10 blocks on each card and figure out what number it is. Then, they color that number the color of the card on their 100 chart to reveal a picture!

I also recently added number cards to all my 100 Chart Puzzles too which you can see on the right hand side of the picture above. You can do either the base 10 cards OR the number cards OR mix & match them if you wish. There's a full set of each so you can use them however you wish.

In order to keep the cards together, I laminate the cards and put them on a binder ring so they’re an easy grab and go center. I showed an example with my butterfly place value on my Instagram here:
Butterfly 100 Chart Video

I love using binder rings for all sorts of things – to see the binder rings I use, they’re on this post with some other fun things:
Must Have Classroom Supplies

One more fun March Writing Craft! If I Were a Leprechaun!

If I Were a Leprechaun writing prompt that makes the cutest no prep craft for a March bulletin board

You can get all the writing crafts I showed in this pack:

St. Patrick's Day writing activities that are no prep, easy, and fun - click to see examples to get a ton of writing ideas for March!

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the St. Patrick’s Day activities I do for March! If you want to check out my writing activities for other months, check out these posts:
January Writing Crafts
February Writing Crafts
December Writing Crafts
November Writing Crafts
October Writing Crafts

I am crafting a bunch of blog posts coming up of awesome teacher tips and tricks so make sure you are following this blog! If you go to the right hand side of this page, you can sign up in 2 different places to get emails from me AND to have my blog posts emailed to you – make sure you sign up for both! :)

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Thank you so much for reading!