Five for Friday the 13th!

It's Friday the 13th, but I am NOT superstitious! Only good things are happening today!

I haven't linked up in awhile, so I'm excited about today. I have lots to share! Thanks Doodle Bugs for hosting this fun party every week!

We started out the week writing to our pen pals in California. I can't believe how much my class LOVES to hear from and write to their new friends. I love the question/answers in the exchange of letters. It's amazing how kids can become such fast BFFs. We decided to make them a little holiday gift to send along with the letters. We created these starfish ornaments and wrote up a piece about our winter weather here in the Sunshine State. The pattern is HERE if you would like to make these.

The past several weeks have been super busy at our school! We have a tradition called Tanakeekee. (It means "gathering" in the Seminole language.) Next to our campus is a plot of preserved land called the Ridge. On this historical site, a war took place between the Seminoles and the U.S. military. For this special event, each grade level takes a part of local history to study and represent on the day of Tanakeekee. Kindergarteners are the Seminole children. 1st grade are the citrus growers. 2nd grade are Florida cowboys/girls. 3rd study the pioneers of our area. 4th graders are the Seminoles and the 5th graders represent the U.S. military. It is a HUGE tradition here and one I do enjoy even though it's a ton of work. Students create a journal in kindergarten and use them each year to fill with activities and information learned on that grade level. We ask the kids to keep the journals under their mattress so they can find it the following year. (Most do bring it back!) Two classes from each grade level walk out to the Ridge each day for 3 days to share what they have learned with the other classes. We set up "camp" there and spend the day. It takes several weeks to study our parts and create crafts and materials for the day.  As the Florida pioneers, we study Frank and Ivy Stranahan who came to Ft. Lauderdale around 1900 to start the first trading post and run a ferry boat.  Ivy was the first teacher. We have an actual trading post at our camp and the other grade levels get to do some trading.  It is difficult to imagine (and explain) unless you are there, but I think it's so neat to have this tradition that all the kids remember LONG after they leave our school. Here are some pics to give you a glimpse into our day on the Ridge.

My students (left) learning about the military from the 5th graders.

Kindergartners sharing paper bag puppets of the animals that live near the Ridge.

Walking out to our "camp".

My kiddos getting ready to tell a class about pioneers. This is Frank and Ivy!
 Sharing pioneer facts with 2nd grade.
Learning about Seminole life from 4th graders.

Here are my students making spice bags as part of our pioneer study. They loved smelling each spice and deciding which ones to use. We also made beaded necklaces.
Finished products.

They painted wooden toys that pioneer children may have played with. We put these in our trading post and they were a huge hit with the other grade levels!
My school has celebrated Tanakeekee for over 20 years.  Every once in awhile the activities need a face lift. I contacted Anna over at Simple Skilled in Second. Her Flip Flap books are so creative and clever! We have made several so far this year and I knew this was just what my team needed to give our pioneer study a little updo! The books came out adorable and now these will be added to their journals as keepsakes! Thanks, Anna!!

Our winter break starts December 22! (I can not wait.) When we return we will be starting our informational text unit beginning with understanding text features. I'll be using the posters and activities from my Text Features Pack.

This set is one of my best sellers and personal favorites. I have recently made some revisions to the posters, added an anchor chart, and added additional activities. (If you have purchased this already please be sure to download it for the updated version).

I added these text feature arrows (18 in all) for the students to "point out" features they find in nonfiction books.

I printed several sets on bright colored paper and laminated. These can be used in a whole group or small group setting as practice or an assessment. I plan on having a set handy during my one-on-one conferences. I can do a quick assessment by having students look for text features on the arrows and use them to point to the features in their just right books.
Last, but not least, I just finished this pack of spelling activities.
The traditional "list on Monday, test on Friday" approach just does not work for me (or the kids). Research says word study is the way to go. We spend a lot of time working with vocabulary and spelling patterns. I created this set because I just needed some new activities. It started out as a Scoot game for tricky patterns then other activities evolved.

In this set, you'll find word cards like this page that can be used as a Scoot game or at a word work center. 

I also included several cards of commonly misspelled words like this one.
These can be mixed with the picture cards to make several variations of Scoot.

Spell by Number is a board game that can be use with any list of words or with the cards in the pack. There is a color and b/w version included.
 I also included a printable for homophones(see below), a foldable for the homophones there, their, and they're, as well as a spelling brochure that, again, can be used with any set of words.
Check this pack out HERE if you are interested. Download the preview first!

I created this winter version of my Spell by Number game as a little freebie for you! Download it and let me know what you think. (Keep an eye out for more of these! My kids love it!)

Check out more Friday FREEBIES HERE!

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. You've been busy! I love the idea of a project that builds throughout the school. It looks like a ton of work which will make a ton of memories!
    Enjoy your weekend

    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

  2. Looks like a great field trip! I am also checking out your text features pack - I was just commenting that my kiddos are having a rough time with them during collaboration this week!

  3. I love the sea star printable... I'll have to have my kiddos make them when we do our ocean unit!
    I would love to be making a sand angel right now... Oh, to be on a warm beach instead of a cold one :)

    Seconds at the Beach


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