Advent Adventures Day 3

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Advent Adventures Day 3

We continue our advent adventures with Day 3. Click here for a full copy or to print your own advent activities.   The categories we choose for 2016: Family Holiday Activity, Random Acts of Kindness and Workout Challenge.

Day 3 Tasks:

Family Holiday Activity & Fitness Challenge

Jingle Bell Jog

Tomorrow, in support of the Special Forces Association 7th Chapter, we have signed up to run the 38th an annual Jingle Bell Jog. My husband will run the 5K as I help the kids with their fun run.  We are using this not only as our Family Activity but our Fitness Challenge, as well. Time to get out, exercise and support an important cause.

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Random Acts of Kindness

Buy someone’s Coffee or Small Treat

Since we are headed out for the Jingle Bell Jog bright and early, we will stop for some coffee in route. This perfectly sets us up for treating a random person in line.  Now for a “race” to see who buys first, my husband or me.

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Advent Adventures Day 2

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Advent Adventures Day 2

We continue our advent adventures with Day 2. Click here for a full copy or to print your own advent activities.   The categories we choose for 2016: Family Holiday Activity, Random Acts of Kindness and Workout Challenge.

Day 2 Tasks:

Family Holiday Activity

Watch a Favorite Holiday Movie

It’s family movie night and what a better way to start the holiday season with a feel-good Christmas movie. With the weather chilly in Florida tonight, we are going to light a cozy fire, snuggle up with some blankets, pop some delicious popcorn and watch one of our favorite holiday family movies.  What’s one of your most treasured family Christmas movies?

Growing Red Christmas OrnamentImage from Clipart.com
Random Acts of Kindness

Hold the Door Open for a Stranger

Time to be thoughtful to the person behind me and hold the door for them! Perhaps this is an excellent reason to head to the local coffee shop to stay warm with kindness and coffee :). My oldest figured this was going to a breeze today since she is the door holder, for her class, at school.

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Workout Challenge

Two minutes of jump rope

Time for a quick warm up. Two minutes of jump rope is an excellent way to get my heart rate up before my regular workout.

jump-ropeImage from Clipart.com

Day One of our Advent Adventures

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Day One of our Adventure Series

December 1st has arrived and with it the start of our advent adventures. Just a week ago, I posted advent activities for the holiday season.   Here are the three categories we chose: Family Holiday Activity, Random Acts of Kindness and Workout Challenge.

Day 1 Tasks:

Family Holiday Activity

Write a Letter To Santa

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There are numerous websites advertising letters from Santa.  The one I like to use is the PNP (Portable North Pole) app. For the past several years I cultivated the magic of Christmas with a free, personalized video from Santa.  Last Christmas, I downloaded the free app that has both a parent and child corner.  This season I decided, to pay a little extra to make three unique videos on for each child.  Each one is about 5 mins long, creative and enchanting. It was worth it to see my three excited and beaming as Santa send hello to them, took them on a tour a different parts of the North Pole and demonstrated how each were on the nice list.  In all three videos I was able to provide their names, upload photos and pick out a task each had diligently worked on this year.  The videos are unique, creative and personal all together making for a magical experience.

This afternoon, when the kids return from school, we are going to each write a letter to Santa, (my husband and I included). In their message, I ask that they cover the following details:

  • The Date
  • Greeting to Santa
  • A kind word about Santa and his mission
  • Something for which they are thankful
  • One or more question(s) about the North Pole
  • Closing

Click here for a FREE PDF of Santa’s Letter  I created. We will send them off in the mail tomorrow.  The Package From Santa website listed Santa’s official mailing address as the following:

Santa’s Address
Santa Claus
325 S. Santa Claus Lane
North Pole, Alaska 99705

From this website, you can also have Santa write to your kids for free.  There is a charge to upgrade for a letter directly sent to your children.  However, I just choose to have the letters emailed to me.  I’ll print, seal them in an envelope  and a little glitter and place in their stockings.

Random Acts of Kindness

Smile at 5 or more people.

At the bus stop this morning, the girls sure had fun with this task as each was trying to out smile the other. What a fun way to start our day with positivity!

Workout Challenge

Get out your yoga mats, today we have:

1 minute of plank

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Need help on proper form when in plank? Check out this website for some instruction.

Advent Calendars

img_3669Our Wooden Advent Calendar

Celebrate and count down the days to Christmas with Advent Calendars. Beginning on December 1st, build the anticipation to Christmas by completing a different activity or project for each day.  Wanting to design your own advent project, here are some different ideas!

Family Holiday Activities: 

One of my favorites, this holiday activity calendar is family centered. Fun and simple projects are easy to adapt and individualize.  Click here to download a full copy of the Family Holiday Activities Advent.  Add your own ideas and celebrate the season in style. Some of the 25 ideas listed are:

  • Write a letter to Santa
  • Watch a favorite holiday movie
  • Read a holiday story
  • Make a Christmas ornament
  • Have a cup of hot chocolate
  • Have a slumber party by the Christmas tree
Random Acts of Kindness Advent

Pass on the gift of kindness and teach your child the importance of giving back to the community.  This Random Acts of Kindness Advent is filled with ideas on passing on the power of positivity. Click here to download a copy of Random Acts of Kindness Calendar. Add your own ideas for good will and consider posting below. Some of the 25 ideas are:

  • Smile to at least 5 people
  • Hold the door for someone
  • Pay for someone’s coffee or treat
  • Donate coins to charity
  • Donate a toy or book you no longer need
  • Help someone with a chore
A Bible Verse a Day Advent

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Write down your favorite verses from scripture or buy a pre-made poster that contains the story of the Nativity.  We purchased our calendar a couple years ago and love the picture so much, we reuse yearly.  Here are a couple websites with some lovely , affordable advent calendars.

A Christmas or Holiday Book a Day

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One year I picked out 25 Christmas and holiday books from my shelf.  I wrapped each book and had the kids open and read a holiday book a day.  Timing the books just right, I placed the Night Before Christmas on the 24th of December. As much as my kids LOVED opening a book a day, it was a lot of work to wrap all the books before December 1st.  Now, I collect the books into our big Santa bucket and have the kids choose a different book daily.

Workout Challenge

Two years ago, my husband and I started a fitness challenge for the month of December. Each year the daily challenges change but it gives us something fun to do as a family. These daily fitness goals are in addition to our 5 day a week workouts.  My husband usually designs our workouts, however one of my go-to sites for unique fitness is Bodyrock.com . I love their 12-24 minute workouts that I can do from home.  However, this fitness advent is a fun way to incorporate a little surprise into our day. Click here to download a full copy of the Fitness Advent Calendar.  Here are some of ideas we have added this year:

  • jump rope
  • pull ups
  • goblet squats
  • gator pushups
  • burpees
  • ab pikes
An Ornament a Day

Locate a small tree or decorate your family tree with a unique or small ornament a day. The dollar store is an excellent location to find a variety of inexpensive decorations.  Walmart and Target are other stores I have found a pack of tiny tree ornaments for a good price.

Have fun planning your advent activities!!

 

Window Writing

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Have your students ever dreamed they could enter a painting, be a reporter on TV, travel to an exotic location? Awaken their imagination, welcome them to window writing!  These “empty”  screen designs inspire and capture the attention of budding writers. Even young preschoolers will enjoy this creative tool. First, imagine anything that you peer through such as an open window (maybe even Santa’s workshop), a picture frame, a computer or television.  Next, using card stock or large paper, draw your object.  Now, cut a large hole “window” in the design.  Finally, laminate the entire project! You now have a clear window that can be used for many creative lessons.

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Here are a few ideas for window writing designs:

  • Open Window (You could even create a scene such as beach, mountain, forrest)
  • Snow Globe
  • Fortune Teller Ball
  • Picture Frame
  • Barn Door
  • Transportation Window (Bus, Car, Airplane, Helicopter, Train)
  • Book or magazine
  • IPad
  • Empty bottle or container
  • microwave
  • oven

There are many ways these could be used in the classroom, however here are some suggestions.

Writing

In writing, use these windows as a prompt to get ideas flowing.  Older students can use these screens to cultivate and create a story. While young leaners may choose to draw, with an erasable marker, on the prompt to create their stories.  Or, consider this, after the first draft is written, use the window as an editing tool. Have them place their paper behind the screen and revise their work with an expo or vis-a-vis.  Final projects can also be framed behind the screen as a eye-catching bulletin board.  Wanting to add positivity and encourage your learners, enclose writing behind the prompt then, with an erasable tool, allow complements and positive notes to be written on the window.

Performance

Wanting to foster creative expression through preformance?  Use these windows to design a student lead preformance. Or, have learners use the window as a backdrop while they read their writing aloud. Children can also practice the art of speech with one of these windows then share their work through a preformance.  Imagine a fun news or weather report, students would enjoy sharing their work. Plus, how fun would it be to film kids and their clever communication?! Certainly, this would motive children to practice reading with fluency and expression.

 

Creative Play

The importance of creative play is invaluable.  Abundant learning takes place while children are “playing”.  Incorporate some of the window prompt into their centers and observe them having fun.  While listening to kids play, write short stories of their adventures. Create a magical moment and watch their eyes light up as you read back what fun stories you heard them invent. Make these little adventures into personal books to practice reading.

Or, use the window prompts to practice reading words or letters. Put words, letter, phrases or important skills behind the window. Perhaps you want them to incorporate some spelling or vocabulary words into their theme writing.  Place it behind the screen thereby drawing more attention to the required skill. You could even consider adding velcro or a slit in the window for an interactive learning center. How cute would it be to have an interactive prompt while writing letters to Santa or his elves. There are so many possibilities for these window writing tools. Have more ideas of how to use these creative prompts, please share!  I would love to hear your ideas.

Learn through Play -Topic Sentences and Transitions

img_3505Designing a meaningful and eloquent topic sentence sets the tone for the entire expository or narrative essay.  Wouldn’t it be nice to take the guess work out of creating such a sentence while at the same time having fun?   Read this post, I have designed activities that will encourage your writers to do just that; learn through play while creating topic sentences.

Spin the Wheel

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Struggling to get your student to draft a topic sentence? Consider downloading this engaging tool.  Divided into eight sections, writers will explore seven styles of topic sentences. The eighth space is reserve for personal choice to allow freedom of expression.  Download this wheel on Venture2Learn’s Etsy Page. 

How could you employ this wheel in the classroom or at home? First, have them spin for a specific style of sentence to adopt in their essay.  The classroom writing center could also benefit from this wheel as a quick reference tool for identifying and writing topic sentences. Or, perhaps you will use this as a game to promote fun with writing. Clearly there are many ways to use this handy wheel but most importantly students will be engaged having fun learning to draft beginning sentences. The following topic sentences are covered in the wheel each with starter words and an example:

  • Love to List
  • Number Power
  • Preposition Ponder
  • Quick Question
  • Conjunction Junction
  • Verb Vernacular
  • Complex Sentences
Fun with Writing Game Board

Bring back the fun in writing with a game! Designed just this week to incorporate skills for writing, this short but fun game can be used as a writing center, home school lesson or learning tool. Divided into four categories, questions are grouped into four colors and ready to print on avery 5160 labels.  Just download print and stick to notecards, paper or simply cut into rectangles to have an easy and creative game.  Surprises await the learners on various note cards. Giggles and fun are guaranteed as kids play this game. Expect the unexpected! Find this game in my Venture2Learn’s Etsy Page. Categories covered are:

  • Topic Sentences
  • Transitions
  • Details and Idea Jogger
  • Fun with Writing
Transition Stickers

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Use this adorable printable tool as a visual for kids working on their transitions. Using the tag line “transitons are the glue”(Auman, Karas, Sage & Tyler, 2003), I have placed transition words onto labels (avery 5160) for stickers.  Or, simply print and have kids paste these transitions into their journals.  For further clarity, the first 15 glue bottles are traditionally used with procedural writing while the second 15 bottles are for use with narrative stories.  Help kids get a kick start on blending their stories together with these delightful glue bottle stickers. Download this tool on Venture2Learn’s Etsy Page. 

Creative Transition Manipulatives

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What are manipulatives?  These tools, most often used with math, reading and science are small objects used to cement visual understanding and assist in solving problems.  Why not use them to help teach transitions? Try one of these items with the following tagline:

  • Cubes: Connect your writing with transitions
  • Links: Link your story together with transitions
  • Buttons:  Button up your story with colorful transitions.

Have a handful of cubes laying around?  Use stickers or write transition words directly onto the cubes. If you’re not looking for something permanent, use a vis-a-vie or an expo marker. For links, print the stickers and wrap them around the tool. Buttons are an also easy to write on with a vis-a-vi or place a small sticker.  These manipulative are a fun, creative and interactive way to blend transitons into your writing.

Conclusions

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In another post, I will cover conclusions in depth.  However, as a side note, I like to outline my conclusion before I begin drafting, just after I have written my topic sentence. Why?  Doing so allows me to see and set the goal of my paper.  A conclusion is simply revisiting the beginning the writing.  Yes, it differs from narrative to expository as I will explore more. But, for now try using one of the following transitions to reword your topic sentence, thereby sketching out your conclusion. Find this printable on Venture2Learn’s Etsy Page. 

Expository (revisit the topic sentence)

  • Consequently
  • Finally
  • Third

Narrative (revisit a character, or share a feeling)

  • As a result
  • Finally
  • Afterwards
Have Fun!

Cultivate positive, excited momentum for young writers as they learn to write clear, concise topic sentence and create fluidity with transitons.Enjoy trying out these activities and games to embrace the fun and enjoyment of the writing process.

Works Referenced:

*Auman, Maureen E., Karas, Gwen., Sage, Peg., Tyler, Caela. 2003. Primary Steps Reproducibles, Step-Up to Writing 2nd Edition. Longmont, Colorado. Sopris West.

*Auman, Maureen E. 2003. Step-Up to Writing. Longmont, Colorado. Sopris West.