It's Derby Time!!!

The 2 weeks before the Kentucky Derby may be one of my favorite times of the year. These two weeks are known as the Kentucky Derby Festival, and there are tons of fun events around the city. The whole event kicks off with Thunder Over Louisville, a fireworks show/airshow that is a ton of fun. I think it's fun because I can see the fireworks from my house and the plane fly over my backyard for days in advance. :-) Last year, we had a bonfire in my neighbor's backyard all day long and watched the planes. There is a Steamboat Race, a Balloon Race, Balloon Glow, marathon races, concerts, parades- there's pretty much something every single day. The excitement is addicting. :-) I didn't 'get it' until I moved here, but now, I LOVE Derby time!

One of the most fun things I did with my students last year was make DERBY HATS!!!

This is my class from last year and their adorable hats!  (OK, this is SOME of my class from last year!)

I wish I had more pictures from last year, but I totally don't.  But that's ok!  Because I'm going to get a bunch this year!

Our Derby horse prediction.  I loved how they all chose the same horse!!!  (A lot of kids left early this day, so that's why 11 people voted.)

There are 20 kids in my class, and 20 horses run in the Derby.  I'm considering giving each kid a number, and the student with the winning number will get a special prize on Monday or something.  

Anyway, I have been so excited about Derby that I walked around the house yesterday with my Derby hat on. :-)

I've been working on some activities for Derby that I am super excited about.  And I mean SUPER.  I have been working so hard on this unit, and I really think it's a pretty good one.  There are writing activities, a few literacy centers, a few math centers, a couple of crafts, an informational book with a vocabulary activity built in, Mad Libs!, and some activities to create your own Derby hat, Racing Silk, and Derby Horse.  There is a variety of stuff in here. 

There are 123 pages of fun Derby activities inside!  

Of course, there are ideas for making your own Derby hat, including a sheet where your students can design their own Derby hats before making them.  I also have a recipe for a kid-friendly Mint Julep.  I went out this weekend and bought some silver cups so it will look like we are drinking out of julep cups. :-)  I wish I could find some horseshoe stickers to stick on the cups, but I think that might be a bit over the top!

A fun activity that the kids always love, which always ends up as a contest, is a Derby silk coloring contest.  There is a "Create your own Racing Silk" activity in my unit, along with an informational type sheet on the different patterns you might find on racing silks and the reason for the colors and patterns.  I plan on copying it front and back, so the students can learn about the silks, then design their own.  When I taught Kindergarten, we used to take large pieces of paper and the kids could actually make "silks" that they could wear.  The preschool uses paper grocery bags. :-)  I always try to come up with different ways that different kids can win a prize, because not all kids are athletic or artistic.  When a child wins a contest, they get a red rose. :-)  For most of them, this is the first time they've ever had anything like that, so they love it!

I've decked out my classroom this week with Derby horses and jockey silks.  When the kids walk in tomorrow, they will see giant horses all over the place.  I'm sure they will wonder why I've hung horses all over the room! 
There is an activity in my unit called 'How Many Hands High?'  Horses are measured by 'hands' so I thought it would be fun if we could use our hands to measure horses!  I blew the horses up on the poster maker at school, laminated them, and hung them up around the room.  One of my math centers for the week will be to go around the room and measure the 10 horses.  Of course, I can use the smaller center-sized activity in a center as well.  There are 3 other math centers in this pack that cover time, missing addends, and money.  There is also 4 addition and subtraction color by number worksheets for homework or as a time filler.

I tried to include skills that I KNOW my students need more help with- time and money are two of the biggies, so I'm excited to use these activities this week!  They're ALL ABOUT telling time right now, so they'll love Post Time.  And who can resist balloons?  Or money!

There are also some literacy activities as well, including a horse that students can label, some Derby-themed writing prompts, and 2 literacy centers.  I may add more later, especially now that I have some really cute Derby hat clip art!  The "Winners Circle" ABC order activity actually has the horses from last year right now; I will update it as soon as the post positions are announced on Wednesday!


I also have an informational book that I wrote about the Kentucky Derby, because it's so hard to find stuff for the Derby out there!  I am excited to use it with my students.  There are vocabulary cards as well for common Derby words.  I may update this sometime with more words if I find my kids need some other vocabulary terms.  

There is also this cute Jockey craft.  The students can use the silks they designed and turn themselves into a jockey.  Sorry, the picture of me is a little small, but there is also a template for students to draw their own picture instead of using their faces.  I am planning on hanging these up in the hallway along with some Derby themed writing.  

I also found some super cute Derby ideas on Pinterest that I'm dying to use.
If I had found this idea before Easter, I am SURE I would be doing this with my students.  As it is, I want to make some for my own house! :-)  Too cute!

I also like the idea of making their own horse, and I have a TON of toilet paper rolls just collecting dust that I could use.  I think I would use yarn for the mane and tail, though.  I might let the kids put a saddle on the horse and make it their Derby horse, to go along with the "Create Your Own Derby Horse" activity where they give the horse a name and determine what it looks like, colors it wears, etc...  

I would LOVE if I had time to make these stick horses for the races we will have sometime this week, but I don't.  :-(  Maybe next year, because these are super cute!

Even Max is getting in on the fun!  I'm working on a mini Derby hat for the Mini Max.  I may have lost my mind!

I will be bringing these in to show the students when we make our Derby hats.  I also show them several Derby hats off the internet.  I've pinned a whole bunch of them to my Pinterest page as well!

I am also very excited about the Derby Mad Libs I wrote for my students.  It has nouns, verbs, and adjectives.  We did a Mad Libs last week, and the kids LOVED it and begged me for more, so I promised them I'd make another.  They're going to be so excited when I tell them what we're doing!

Some other activities we've done in our classroom are make hot air balloons from paper mache, and the students were asked to make a parade float for their homework.  I will post pictures of these activities after we finish them this week!  The students are in the middle of painting their hot air balloons as we speak.  It's not my favorite, especially since one of my little ones got red paint on one of the chair pockets.  And of course, I meant to bring the darn thing home to wash and left it at school! :-(  I'm sure the stain is set in now. Oh well. 

If you are still reading this far, you either must be REALLY bored or need some fun Derby activities to do!  You can find my unit in my TPT store.  I am putting it on sale for the first 24 hours at 20% off.  I really hope you will take the time to check it out and do some fun Derby activities with your students this week!

  I'm off to attempt the world's smallest Derby hat for a sock monkey!  :-)

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