## Make Snowflakes and Learn Math!

What a great way to sneak math into a fun winter activity!  Have students figure out how many degrees will have to be in each angle if a hexagon shape is cut into a snowflake.  Well. 60 degrees of course because 60×6 angles would make 360 degrees.  You can also discuss symmetry after they are cut out to see if the snowflakes truly did turn out symmetrically.

I had students cut these out for a fun enrichment activity.  First of all, I read a portion of this book to them since it is about the science behind snowflakes.  Did you know snow is NOT MADE by freezing raindrops?  Me neither.  It is made by frozen water droplets smaller than the tip of your hair.  It takes over 100.000 water droplets to make one snowflake.  This information and more are included in this unique book which gives the science behind snowflakes.

After I read students a portion of this book, we made snowflakes.  I will show you below.  The more you do it the better you get!

Step 1:  Get a pair of scissors and a sheet of 8.5 x 11 computer printer paper.

Step 2.  Fold the paper in half “hamburger style” or the fat way.

Step 3.  Fold the paper in half again. Make sure the open corners are facing you.  If they are not facing you then your snowflake will be cut in half unintentionally, and you will be left wondering why this happened.

Step 4: Fold the top corner down until it is slightly over the bottom of the rectangle above.  I have not changed the orientation of the paper to accomplish this.  The open corner are still in the same location as above

Step 5:  Finally fold the bottom triangle over the other triangle in a waffle cone type of configuration–(that’s what the kids called it)

Step 6.  Slide the end of the “waffle cone” off of the rest of the figure.  and you will be left with the bottom of the “waffle cone” which is a triangle.

Step 7.  Cut any type of figures you like into the triangle and experiment with different patterns.

Step 8.  Open up your snowflake and see what you have created!

Hang them up  in your classroom for a festive winter theme!

## Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Lessons on snowflakes coming soon! 🙂

## Fun Christmas Lesson While Learning a Little History!

This year just for fun I let my students experience the “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” song during a 30 minute enrichment lesson. First, I let the students watch this video in which Gayla Peevey sings the song.

Then I give the students a copy of the words, and I rewind it to the beginning so the students can sing it with the words. At about 2:34 I stop the song and ask the students to tell me what they think happened to Gayla later in her life. I’ve heard students say several things ranging from Gayla became famous all the way to Gayla died. Then I ask them how old they think Gayla is today. I give students a few minutes to figure out how old she is (Gayla’s age and the date of the video show on the video). Then I play the remainder of the video for students to see Gayla all grown up at 73 years old.

Next, I read students a little history of Gayla’s life from this website. Then I follow up with having the students write an acrostic poem with the word hippopotamus. Students were so proud of their acrostic poems! If time, sing the song again! I always like singing the song because it makes me happy and makes the kids happy, too. Here are a few of the student’s acrostic poems. Enjoy!

## Fun, Free, Halloween, Pumpkin Activity!

I just learned about this fun, free, Halloween, pumpkin activity this year!  The kids absolutely love it!  I used it with kindergarten and first graders.  All the teachers that have seen it love it too!  First stock up on some orange paper!  I used copy paper.

Read this Story.  A teacher friend gave it to me, but I changed out the witch and ghost for a mouse and a cricket. ( i don’t know who wrote this story, but if I knew I would give credit.

As you read the story the children will fold and cut as the directions in the story tell them to.

Once upon a time a very small mouse was walking in the woods. The cold wind was blowingthe dry leaves all around her. The little mouse was frantically searching for a house for the winter. She could not find one. Suddenly a piece of orange paper, blown by the wind landed at her feet. She picked it up. The little mouse looked closely at the paper and then she said, “I shall make myself a little house from this piece of orange paper.”

She folded the paper in half.

Then she took her scissors–she always carried a pair in her pocket.(Cut off the two corners to make a roof. Cut the construction paper as a story indicates.)

This will do just fine, she said as she looked at her new house, but I will need a door. With her scissors she cut a door. She cut a special door for her pointy nose.(Cut a rectangle shape with one endpoint up more towards the bottom of the folded edge.)

The little mouse walked through the door into the little orange house it was very dark inside. She quickly hurried back out. I will need to make windows to let in the light in,”she said. The little mouse cut a front and back window (cut a square shape in the middle of the paper opposite end of the paper than the door. Cut through both sides of the paper. I have students fold the paper a bit to get their scissors in the paper.)

Oh it was a very fine looking house. Her very own little house with a roof, a door, and windows was all finished. But just as the little mouse started to go inside for the winter, she saw a tiny cricket come down the wind- swept path. As the cricket came to a stop near the little house, the little mouse saw that the cricket was crying. Why are you crying asked the little mouse? The tiny cricket stopped crying and answered, “it is cold and windy. It is getting dark and I have no place to spend the winter.” “You may spend the winter with me in my new house,” said the little mouse. “Oh thank you!” the happy tiny cricket said as she peeked in through the window. “This is a very nice house!” “First,” said the mouse, “ I will need to make you a little door of your very own.” She took her scissors again and began to cut. She cut a very tiny door.(Cut a triangle on the fold of the paper between the big door and the window. Make a longer part of the triangle point up)

The two happy friends went inside. The tiny cricket went in the very little door, and a little mouse went in through her own special door. All winter long they lived happily together inside a little orange house. Do you want to see inside their little orange house?  Just open your piece of paper and surprise!

Before you open the paper, take predictions from the students to see if they can tell you what the inside of the house will look like.

What do you see? A pumpkin of course!

I hope your children enjoy this as much as mine did!

## 5 Fun Activities for Halloween

1. Halloween Oronyms/MadGabs.  In case you don’t know oronyms are phrases that are that sound like another phrase.  These would be most appropriate for third, fourth or fifth graders.  My students absolutely LOVE these.  For example, COUNTER ACT YOU LAW = COUNT DRACULA.  Check these out by sawdust girl.
2. Pumpkin Logic Puzzles with ordinal numbers:  Check out this fun logic puzzle by KinderIRick on Teachers Pay Teachers Pay Teachers.  This would be perfect for your kinder or first students!
3. Don’t forget Super Teacher Worksheets!  You can find this fun crypto riddle for free! This would be great for K-2.
4. Halloween Hink Pinks.  Hink pInks are rhyming words that answer a riddle.  They are usually one syllable.  For example, ghost toast would be the answer to a Hink Pink riddle.  These would be most appropriate for third-fifth graders.

5.  Pumpkin Patch Math Investigations.  These are different activities to do if your class goes to the pumpkin patch and brings back pumpkins!  This is the only paid item on the list for \$3.50.  These come from my own classroom of third graders several years ago–most appropriate for grades 3-5.

## STOP! Don’t Throw Out the Markers!

Here’s what happens.  I’m in the middle of a lesson or art project.  You name it.  Then my Crayola, Sharpie or, Expo marker etc. stops working.  I declare, “This marker is going to marker heaven,” as I toss it into the metal trash can. BONG!

As you can see above, I have a whole collection of markers that aren’t in the best shape.  I go through these every year to check for ones that don’t work so that they can be thrown away.  Now there is a better way!

Did you know Crayola recycles markers?  Not only do they recycle their own markers, but they will recycle other markers, too!  They will also recycle  other brands of washable markers, permanent markers, dry erase markers, and highlighters.  They will do this for any K-12 school in the contiguous 48 states.  The school has to have a contact person to register the school, though.  You can get more information by clicking here.  Now, no more marker heaver–just marker reincarnation.

## How You Can Inspire Thankfulness in Your Kids Part 2

Recently, I wrote a post about thankfulness and how to inspire it in your students.  You can see this post here.  I called this their “Thankfulness Project”.   Students were to write down three things they were thankful for each day.  After that they were to write down one act of kindness they did each day.  After about a month, I took up their journals and read what they had written.  This was not for a grade, but I rewarded the students who had done most or all of the work.  The parents were aware of the project as well.  One of the journals that I read really touched my  heart.  It is pictured below.  Make sure to read the very bottom sentence.

I pulled this child aside after I read her journal and asked her what she meant when she wrote, “This totally made me rethink my whole life”.  She explained, “Because I didn’t realize I had so much to be thankful for.”  WOW!  This  speaks volumes.

## Need a Cheap and Easy Book Character Costume?

In case you are needing a quick costume for book character day or for Halloween, you can try this.  Now this is a bit of a stretch on the definition of “character” but everyone was impressed with the creativity.   All you need is:

*a few pipe cleaners

*purple balloons

*green pipe cleaners