Veteran’s, Election, and Thanksgiving Step by Step!


Hey all and thanks so much for stopping by for this week’s edition of Kindergarten Step by Step!  You might notice a new look around here!  I just swapped to WordPress!  So excited about the change!  You can also now access my site directly by bookmarking  Alright back onto learning!  Today’s Step by Step post will cover  KinderLiteracy Veteran’s Day, Election, and Thanksgiving close read weeks!  It’s busy times so I am still trying to combine close read weeks into one step by step post!  This will help to be sure that I am covering YOUR week! 🙂  I will also have some additional math ideas for you too! Let’s get started!

Veteran’s Day

Up first is my KinderLiteracy Veteran’s Day close read! This close read can be found in the KinderLiteracy Unit 3! It is interesting that Veteran’s day fell on election week, but I feel it is equally important and I hope your’e able to cover it in your classroom as well!  This week’s focuses in on the nonfiction text, What is Veteran’s Day, and pairs with the fiction text, Hero Dad.


This week our main essential question focus around the main idea of the story!  We often times think of ‘main idea’ and see it as a clear cut and dry concept.  However, you’ll notice that students often times struggle with main ideas.  They like to tell you LOTS of things that happened, but do struggle to work through the mud and decide on that ONE thing that circles the entire book!  I suggest you you give ample time to discuss this between the students.  However, then you’ll want to step in and help guide the students to the correct thinking if they struggle!  Our second essential question asks what exactly a veteran is.  This is something I felt so excited about the last couple years… for once I felt my kids really did understand what a veteran is and what they have done for us!  Just another reason I LOVE close reads…. they allow us to teach “tough” topics but in a kid friendly way!  We are able to use the book as our “crutch” and the kiddos pick up on those big life lessons through the text and not because we “told them”.


Okay, it’s day one! Let’s go!  Remembering that day one is all about building that stamina.  What should go in your bubble chart this week?  I actually chose to go with a question, “What is a veteran?”  Be aware the the kiddos might not have a ton of prior knowledge on this topic and that’s okay!  Allow them time after the text to turn and talk once again so that you can add on additional information!


Day two- We know day two is the day we take a close look at those tricky words within our text!  I really try to choose words that are not only important in the text but also words the kiddos can use in their everyday lives!  Below I will share with you the words and possible “actions” you can do for each!

Armed Forces- arms out and resemble an aircraft
holiday- spirit fingers to show a celebration
military- march
veteran- salute and then hand to heart to show respect
patriotic-  wave your imaginary flag


Here is a snapshot of the quick vocabulary exit ticket!  The kiddos illustrate a veteran and something they see as patriotic!


This week I also wanted to spend a little time on the week’s poem!


On Thursday the kiddos will be listening in to you read the paired text, Hero Dad!  They will then get to draw a picture of their own hero!


This week we also learn about soldiers using a can/have/are chart!


On Veteran’s day I’ve always loved giving my kiddos a chance to create their own little soldiers!



At the end of the week it’s time for our craft!  Of course… the American Flag!  This craft helps to build those fine motor skills too!


Dotting those fifty stars is hard work 😉


The finished product!!!!  Love eyes!

Veteran's day close read.

I love displaying the flags along with our weekly poem!



It’s time for the next theme – – election! This is a FREE KinderLiteracy and FirtieLiteracy unit so be sure to get the link below! I’m sure you haven’t missed out on it being an election year 😉  I do think that teaching our kiddos about the world around us (in a sheltered way of course) is important!  We of course don’t have to speak directly of the candidates but we can teach them about democracy and what it means to vote!  My election close read pairs the fiction text, Duck for President, with a little nonfiction reader, Election Day.  This week will stay along the same lines of the Veteran’s week and instead of the main idea…we will learn about retelling!  However, we will take it a step further and instead of simple retell.. the kiddos will be responsible for retelling the story with on;y three major events!

Below I will share with you the week’s vocab words and actions you can teach the kiddos for each!

filth- shake your hands and rub them together to get rid of the dirt

election- put finger to your lip as if you are making a decision then bounce your finger back and forth between two items, then point to one as your “choice”

ballot- use one hand to resemble a ballot as you write on it to make your selection

requirement- put one hand above your head to show you are required to be a certain height

demand- Use your finger as if you are making a demand

Below is a look at this week’s adorable poem!


Here is a look at the Duck for President craft!

election close read



You can snag the the freebie election close read below!

Kindergarten close read for election.

Up next is KinderLiteracy Thanksgiving week!  This just blows my mind— Thanksgiving time? This close read was added last year to the bundle and can be found in the new Unit 8!  The Thanksgiving close read is based upon the fiction story, The Night Before Thanksgiving. This week we are staying right around the general area of the last two close reads– main idea!  The kiddos will be helping you to sift through all of the details in the story to form one main idea!

Below I will share with you the vocabulary words for the week and some optional actions!

nestled: cross arms and “nestle” into a warm spot

leap: jump up

feast: make a pretend fork and eat, eat, eat

sliced: use one arm to resemble a loaf of bread and then use your other hand to resemble slice the bread

patience: keep checking your watch


One of my favorite poems!!!!


When it comes to Thanksgiving I love reading all of my favorite seasonal books!  Here are my faves…


Each we also host a big Thanksgiving feast in the classroom!  We ask that the parents send in a donation (see more for that below), and I place large sheets of butcher paper over the tables.  While I set up the food the kiddos work on creating their own place mat using Native American symbols.



I pull up some sample symbols on the whiteboard so the kiddos are able to use markers to create their own!


Sometimes it’s harder to get them to put down their markers to start the feast 😉  They love it!


I also line the table with popcorn and their drinks!


If you are interested in trying out the feast in your classroom then you can download this freebie and editable parent note HERE or click below!


This week’s craft is an ADORABLE freebie from Miss Kindergarten!  The kiddos always LOVE these turkey headbands! You can download the freebie from Miss Kindergarten HERE or click on the images below!


So bright and CUTE!



See what I mean? A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E!


Okay shifting gears to some Thanksgiving freebies!  Up first is an adorable Thanksgiving literacy center!  This center the kiddos sort between the /p/ (pilgrim) sound and the /t/ (turkey) sound.

You can download the freebie by clicking HERE or the images below!

Kindergarten freebie.



Up next is my free preview to my seasonal centers!  You can grab these adorable Thanksgiving centers freebie HERE or clicking the images below!


FREE thanksgiving center

Next is a fun and cute freebie Thanksgiving math puzzlers freebie! Download the puzzlers HERE or click below!



Now it’s time for some math talk! Today I am going to be speaking and sharing all about comparing numbers!  I get a lot of emails and teachers state that their kids already know numbers to ten so should they skip over those chapters?  The thing is… even if our kiddos can state the number if of a number… doesn’t necessarily mean that they have number sense. Remember that to state a number is really more a form of memorization.  To truly have number sense takes way more than memorization!  The activities below are all ways you can work with numbers to ten but in a more advanced way!  These activities come from my unit 3 and 4 of KinderMath!

Up first is a game I call… More, Less, and Same!  This activity is played at the carpet in a whole group setting!  The great thing about this one is that it’s open ended so you can play it over and over again… each time it will be a little different and the kiddos enjoy that!

How do we play?  First off you will want to make sure your students know the meaning of the words: more, less, and same.  I like to start this game with using just more and less cards.  I also don’t use numerals at first.  I go for something more concrete– the dot cards or bee cards. (You’ll see the bee cards in the download!) I will lay down a start card up top!  Let’s say I lay down a 5 dot card.  I then ask the students to help me sort the remaining cards… are they going to be more, less, or the same!  I will then show them a 6, 3, 8, and 2.  They will help me sort each card.  I will stop and ask a lot… How do you know 2 is less?  How do you know 7 is more?

Eventually you can add in the ‘same’ card and pull out the numerals!  Each day you can pull out a new focus number/set and have the kiddos give their reasoning for each! You can download these freebie sort cards HERE or clicking on the images below!



Up next is a game I call More, Less, and the Same! (Wait that is the same as above HA).  For this game the kiddos are given a game board, spinner, and 10 each!  The counters are best if two different colors…10 green for one partner and 10 yellow for me.  Partner A will lay down some counters on the top of the board.  Partner B then spins to see if they will lay down more, less, or the same.  Let’s say they land on “less.”  They will then lay down fewer counters than partner a.  As you go around the classroom you will want to check in and ask follow-up questions.  Not just on if there are more/less but, “How many more?” and “How many fewer?”You can download the gameboard, lesson plans, and a couple follow-up practice sheets for this game HERE or clicking the images below!

More less same
 This is another More, Less, Same 😉 game for the kiddos!  For this game each pair needs a set of number cards and a set of counters!  Partner A will flip a number card and then tell tell partner to show more, less, or the same amount of counters! Video a video of the game HERE.

 This next game, How Many More?  Is another game used to teach kiddos that great number sense of numbers within 10!  For this activity the kiddos have a cup with sets of tiles/teddy bears.  You will want enough cups for each pair and possibly 3-5 extras.  The students will grab a cup, record, solve, and then swap for a new cup (or bag).

The kiddos will dump out their cup/bag and record how many of each they have!  They will then work with their partner to decide which has more (circle it) and then write how many more than one has!

You can download this freebie HERE or click on the images above!

That’s it for this week’s edition of Kindergarten Step by Step!  I wish you the BEST week!



  1. I was so excited to see your lesson that included Hero Dad written by Melinda Hardin. She was a paraeducator that worked in my classroom on a military post overseas. Her husband was a soldier when she came up with the idea of this story. She has another that is titled Hero Mom. So nice to see her hard work being shared in Kindergarten classes.

  2. You have SAVED MY LIFE this school year! My littles tell me daily how much they LOVE school and can’t wait to come back. By laying it out here on your blog, it’s so simple to follow. I feel for the first time in over 20 years of teaching that because of your products I am really teaching and accomplishing! I keep telling my husband that after this year of making and cutting out life will be a breeze! Finally, I look forward to seeing what each weekly lesson brings. Amazing material!THANK YOU SO MUCH, TARA!!!

  3. OMG!! The Thanksgiving Feast idea is so cute!! I love your letter to the parents!! I can’t wait to do this with my students before we go on Fall break!! Do you by chance have a note that you use for a small celebration for Christmas??!!

  4. Hi Tara! LOVE reading about EVERYTHING! Your blog is just so helpful and inspiring!!! Do you happen to have Christmas 1-10 puzzlers like the Thanksgiving ones for sale in your store?? I searched but couldn’t find them. I would be happy to purchase if you would consider making a set! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

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