Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Cutest EVER 'Student-Made' Holiday Gift Ideas for Parents!

Now you can cross at one more thing off of your December "to-do" list... finding the perfect holiday gifts for students to make for their parents (or class volunteers, secretaries, custodians, etc...!)

Those who follow my my RED DIAMOND Pinterest Boards know that I LOVE (a.k.a. "am addicted to") searching for the best free teaching finds online. But as time is short this holiday season, I thought I would save you a trip to Pinterest and compile the cutest (and easiest!) student-made gift ideas right here, along with a FREE download for the SECRET STORIES® Guided Reader—Like a Snowball, to help keep those guided groups on-track over the next week! (And don't forget to download all of the other freebies listed in the product description!)
SECRET STORIES® Guided Reader— Like a Snow Ball!
Spotting SECRETS— ER, MOMMY E™, TH, OW, AY, and ING 
SECRET STORIES® Outlaw Words— there, to, do

Okay, first up...
Photo Ornaments from Joyzz.com. I've never seen anything like this before, but it looks so simple that I'm definitely making these with my girls for their grandparents this year!
Sliced-Photo Ornaments by Joyzz
These next two ideas for easy and adorable Holiday Angels I'd actually found on a teaching site that is not in English, but it had lots of great pictures. I've only included a few of them here, but if you click on the links below the pictures, the 'angel-creation' process is shown step-by-step!
Hand Print Angels
Glittered Angel Rolls

This Hanging-Around Ornament is from Mrs. Goff's PreK Tales, and if you visit her site, she has posted lots more pictures showing different (but equally adorable!) variations on this theme! 
Hanging-Around Ornaments from Mrs. Goff's PreK Tales  
These next two are both tied for my favorites! I saw the first one on Pinterest, and then upon going to the website, Art Projects for Kids, I found the second one. I especially like these because they both allow for easy incorporation of simple math concepts, which the directions mention, as well!
Abstract Winter Trees by Art Projects for Kids

I love this next one—Watercolor Pine Ornamentsmainly because I adore watercolors! The addition of real pine branches in contrast to the watercolor ornaments on black makes it the perfect piece of "kid-art" to frame and keep forever!!  

There was no link to this one, but the directions included with the pin were as follows:
-Have kids paint on thick paper with watercolor paint in desired colors and cut out in circle shapes. Glue circles on black paper. 
-Use a bit of gold glitter to make the ornament clasp.
-Place ornament hook around a thin pine branch and glue as shown (Kids can also make water colored frames for this, or you can purchase cheap plastic ones in black from the Dollar Store :)
Watercolor Pine Ornaments

And my personal favorite.... this beautiful Christmas Tree Window, from Kathy's Angelnik Blogspot.
It's just so gorgeous, and Kathy provides easy-to-follow directions for kids to make it on her blog—Thank you, Kathy!

And these cute little Helping Hands Holiday Mitts are super easy.... no directions required! 
Helping Hands Holiday Mitts
I also wanted to share these beautiful Pine Cone Paper Flowers from That Artist Woman as a nice alternative to the traditional wintertime gift! Believe it or not, they are easy to make by just stuffing colored tissue paper into pine cone groves! Step-by-step directions for the whole thing, including the pots, are shown with pictures on the website!


And last but not least, add some extra "sparkle and shine" to your holiday gift ideas with this easy recipe for Glossy Sparkle by Pixie Pumps! This glittery-glaze provides the finishing touch for student gifts! 

Glossy Sparkle by Pixie Pumps



I hope that these "go-to" gift ideas make your holiday just a little bit easier, and that you and your students enjoy reading (and finding SECRETS!) in Like a Snowball!


Warm Wishes for a Happy Holiday!


PS Download Secret Stories® mini-anchor pack FREE using the text link below!

CLICK HERE to download the FREE Secret Stories® Mini-Anchor Pack!

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Farmer Gobbler's Birthday SECRET STORIES ® Guided Reader

SECRET STORIES Guided Reader- Farmer Gobbler's Birthday

The clock is ticking.... 

The SECRET STORIES Guided Reader, Farmer Gobbler's Birthday is currently in the FREE DOWNLOAD WINDOW from now until Monday, November 24th, so get it NOW!

And be sure to also download the previously posted Thanksgiving Feast of FREEBIES here!

Also, don't forget to enter this month's Rafflecopter Drawing for a FREE SECRET STORIES Class Set or Porta-Pics Set!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
EnJoY!

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Reading & Writing "Phonics-Secret" FREEBIES!

The more tools learners bring to the table, the more value they are able to take away...
In order for learners to take full advantage of the daily literacy experiences we provide in the classroom, they must be given access to as much of the "code" as possible, as soon as possible!

Knowing just 26 letter sounds and a handful of sight words doesn't get you very far in reading OR writing, even in Kindergarten!

Ask yourself, how much could YOU write about your favorite topic with only '26 individual letter sounds and 10 sight words' at your disposal? Not to mention trying to decode even the easiest, low- level reader?
No matter how many rich, literacy activities and experiences we provide daily for students in our classrooms, they are of minimal value to those without enough skills to fully partake in them!
Easy!  Just toss out some Secrets!
In conjunction with my guest posts on Mrs. Jump's Class Blog, let's take a peek at some student writing from her Thanksgiving Freebie, Turkey in Disguise and see how access to the Secrets gives this awesome activity even more "instructional-bang" for the buck!
The SECRET STORIES / Turkey in Disguise
The SECRET STORIES / Turkey in Disguise
The SECRET STORIES® / Turkey in Disguise
Notice in the last two samples above, the Outlaw Words, one and there, depicted as "mug-shots" for posting on the class Word Jail (the SECRET STORIES-version of a "Word Wall")  

The Word Jail is reserved only for words that truly are "un-figure-outable!"  As the Secrets allow learners to "figure-out" (as opposed to just 'decode') most unknown words in text , there are still a small percentage of words (mostly the high-frequency, one syllable sight words) that are simply "uncrackable!"  

These are the Outlaw Words and they are the only words that we commit to memory so as to recognize by-sight! Kids love discovering and capturing them throughout the day in environmental print as well as during instructional time when working with text!  (For more on this, click on the  text links above.)

You can download FREE Mrs. Jump's Turkey in Disguise, as well as A Secret Stories Sampling and SECRET Writing Pack below!  
Turkey in Disguise 
SECRET STORIES Graphic-Anchor Mini/ Sample Set
SECRET STORIES "Good Writers/ Zookeeper" Pack  (includes VLOG-link!)
Mrs. Mac's Class & the SECRET STORIES
Mrs. Mac's students, looking up the "ie" Secret in the SECRET STORIES book! 
(Mrs. Mac hadn't shared that one yet, but the kids said they needed it NOW!!!)
I received the series of short video clips from Mrs. Mac and her class on Halloween, along with the very excited caption- "And we have READERS!!!" 



And here are a couple more Thanksgiving-freebie that I wanted to share in time to use with your class before Turkey Day!  If you've been following my RED DIAMOND Pinterest Boards, you may have snagged them over the weekend, but if not, here's your chance!

The first is the popular Thanksgiving Turkey Mini-Unit from the The Bag Ladies (aka Karen Simmons and Cindy Guinn) and is one of my favorites!
The Bag Ladies FREE "Turkey Project"
The second is a very special Thanksgiving story by Michelle Condon, entitled Grandma's First Thanksgiving.  This book retails at bookstores for $20, but is being made available for teachers as a free download for a limited-time to share with their class for the Thanksgiving Holiday!
Grandma's First Thanksgiving A limited-time, Free Digital Download
This beautiful story provides the perfect springboard into many of the concepts covered in the Common Core, and includes a special "teacher-piece" with talking-points for class discussion and/or written response. Once you've shared the digital copy with your students this Thanksgiving, I know that you will want to add the published version of this wonderful book to your teacher-library! You can get more information on it here.

And last but not least,  a very special  freebie-surprise! 

The SECRET STORIES Guided Reader, Farmer Gobbler's Birthday FREE! 
Farmer Gobbler's Birthday- A SECRET STORIES Guided Reader
And to find out about all upcoming Free Download Window postings, be sure to follow my DIAMOND Pinterest Boards!

Happy "Almost" Thanksgiving!

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