Saturday, December 20, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

What would every teacher you know want for a holiday gift?

A Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificate!

Well, you're in luck, myself and a few other teacher/ bloggers I know are giving away TpT gift certificates!

Just enter the Rafflecopter below, then see the linky to see what other teacher bloggers are giving away gift certificates! (A special thanks to Laura of Corkboard Connections for initiating this fun gift idea!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Don't Blame Santa!

I've heard a lot of teachers blaming the holidays for the struggle many children have in school this time of year.

I suspect it's not the holidays that are making it tough for them to concentrate. I think it's a couple of other things.

1.  These little guys have been pushing since August!  They've had a couple of long weekends, but they really haven't had a real vacation!  They're due for a break!

2.  The days are short.  They get up in the dark. By the time they get home from school, the sun is pretty much down. Not only are they not getting outside to let off steam, but so much darkness robs them of Vitamin D, and makes them sleepy!

Some of my little guys can barely hold their heads up during the day! 

I had a little girl today looking lost, so I asked her what she was looking for. She said she couldn't remember.  (I admit, I do that all the time: walk to the other side of the room, then can't remember why I walked over there, but I blame old age!)

Honestly, I think the holidays are the only thing that hold them together!  The promise of fun activities, Santa's watching to see if they're good, seasonal literature and games... there's still some great learning happening, despite their low concentration.

They'll be back on track after a good rest.  We have almost 2 weeks off coming up, if we can make it through 4 more school days!

...but I'm not blaming Santa!  He's the one who's helping them hold it together!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Giving Back

A group of teachers on Teachers Pay Teachers are donating a % of today's sales to a charity.

As you browse Teachers pay Teachers today, be sure to look for the logo above, and you'll know where your sales will be going toward a charity.  

(Of course, profits from ALL sales on Teachers Pay Teachers go to TEACHERS, not big businesses and corporations!)  That's one of the reasons I spend so much money there! The other reason, of course, is that the stuff is made by teachers, therefore you know it's good for the kids!

I've decided to join this group for charity!

I'll be donating 100% of today's sales to McLean Hospital, a psychiatric facility in the Boston area.

We are all touched by the tragedy of mental illness.
Today is the 2  year anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. There have been too many other school shootings.
We were all touch by Robin Williams' tragic death.
I'm sure you know someone personally who has suffered with mental illness. Some of these illnesses are under control, some are not.

Today I'm doing what I can do to make a difference.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas and Beyond

We just have 7 school days before the big holiday break.  There's a lot I want to squeeze into those quick days.  Plus, I want to be ready for coming back after that vacation, so I don't have to spend my vacation planning!

One thing I'll be doing this week is my very favorite Christmas activity.  I've done this activity year after year, and it's always a hit!  It's a great activity for working on visualization, sequencing, and summarizing!

This little booklet is a summary of the Nutcracker story for the children to illustrate.  It even has information on music to play while children illustrate, and it's a freebie!  Just click the image or click HERE to download.

I'll also be using many of my activities from this No Prep Math and Literacy set. These are most of the same skills we're working on, but there's something about the holiday theme that makes them more fun!

Click the image or click HERE to see more about these Printables.

How about all that holiday literature!  I'll be finding time for these favorites during the next few days!  I absolutely love ANYTHING by Patricia Polacco, and these are two great holiday stories. Of course The Polar Express and The Night Before Christmas are classics that MUST be read each year. If you've never read Peef, you're in for a treat!  Nutcracker Noel has a special place in my heart because I have such a strong connection to the story.  Just like the girl in the story, Noel, my daughter was also in a production of The Nutcracker when she was little and had the same part as Noel! To this day, I can't read the last couple of pages without getting choked up! (I'm such a sap! This same daughter just finished her last college final yesterday!)

Click any of the book images for a link to Amazon!

These should keep us busy for the next 7 days!  Then, suddenly it will be 2015 and we'll be back from vacation!  I'm prepared with my FUN calendar! Click the image for the link!

Then, to get started in January, I'll be doing a few of these activities!
There are plenty of Literacy and Math activities to get us going in the New Year. Just click the image for the link!

And just to make sure you have plenty to start the new year, here's a winter freebie!  Click the image for the link!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

An Educational Winter Art Project

I love a craft that ties into something educational.  
I also love a craft that allows room for individual creativity.  

This time of year, we have to pull all the stops out to get them enthusiastic about learning, so we did this art project.

The kiddos made snow people with snowballs for each of the letters in their names. They made a math equation to represent their names, then decorated the snow people. 

Sorry, I had to cover the last names.
Middle names were optional, but several wanted to include them. 

Look closely at this one: the third snow person is sad because the wind blew away his hat!

Here's another, aren't these adorable?

One thing I really like about these: I can hang them in the hallway now, and I can keep them up until January!

Monday, December 1, 2014

December Currently

How can it be December already? 
It's time for a brand new Currently!

Don't you love the movie Elf?  I'm watching it tonight, and I have a feeling I'll watch it again before the holiday!  

I have a TON of Christmas CDs, and I need to bring them to school. The time is limited to play these, so I want to enjoy them while I can. I always play music when the kiddos arrive in the morning, and I often play it during certain activities.  I wished I had them today, but tomorrow will have to do!

Yep, I haven't started my Christmas shopping yet, but I'll get to it. I don't have many things to get, so I'm not worried.

My giving?  Here's a freebie that I was working on today with my students. We'll have to finish it up tomorrow. Click HERE or click the image to download!

Here's another freebie!  This one gives the kiddos a chance to practice fluency, while having a little fun!  Click HERE or click the image to download!

Enjoy these freebies, and be sure to check out some more Currentlys on 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Too Busy for Black Friday

It's been an amazing week!

I only taught 2 days this week, but they were 2 very busy days! Then we had more fun! Here's how the week went:

We made pies!

On Monday, the kids all brought in ingredients, some wonderful parent volunteers came in to help out, and we made pies! They made 2 apple pies, and 2 pumpkin pies.

We never actually told the kids how educational the experience was. They just thought it was fun.  (So did I!)

A couple of parents were kind enough to bake the pies Monday night, so guess what we did on Tuesday: 

We ate the pies! I was amazed at how many children were quite willing to try something they'd never eaten before! And they liked it!

They also were good sports about one of my "old fashioned" rules: no one eats until everyone has been served. They were not only good sports, but they agreed it was fair!

I loved how the kids were asking other teachers to come in and try their pies.  They were so darn cute! It warms my heart to see that kind of pride!

New Hampshire has a cool tradition for kids. Every fall, 10 children's picture books are nominated, and children in grades K-3 are encouraged to vote for their favorite. It's called the Ladybug Picture Book Award.

See HERE for more information about the Ladybug Picture Book Awards.

All the books were read to the students by various staff members, and then the children vote for their favorite!  I can't wait to find out this year's winner!

Somehow, despite the New England snowstorm, we managed to have a great Thanksgiving! (Sorry, not a great picture, but it was a great time!)  Unfortunately, many New Hampshire citizens have lost power, and had to make last minute changes about their Thanksgiving dinners. I saw many figured out how to cook turkeys on their grill, some cooked with the help of generators, and some had to postpone their turkey dinners. I'm counting my blessings that we had a great dinner as well as a nice group of people for celebrating!

Rather than getting up early and going shopping this morning, I've been getting ready for Cyber Monday!  (There's no way I was going shopping on Thanksgiving!) I know I should be shopping for family, but I've been moving things into my Teachers Pay Teachers shopping cart for the big sale on Monday and Tuesday!  I've also got a few things for sale myself... click HERE to see my store!

Be sure to check out Doodle Bugs Teaching for the Five for Friday Linky!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Planning for the Week of Thanksgiving

Can you believe it's almost Thanksgiving? After Thursday, Christmas will come quick! 

We only have 2 days this week with kids, but they're going to be pretty antsy. I'll be pulling all the stops out!

Here's my Sunday Scoop for this week!

Top priority for me is to get the report cards done! I'm really hoping to finish them BEFORE the holiday break, so I can relax and spend the break with family. 

I'm doing my planning right now! Big projects coming up this week!  Here's one:

Yes, we're making pies! Click the image or click HERE for the Pie Making Freebie! It has the recipes we use, and some organizational ideas if you want to try this fun project this week, or even next year!

I also have some other fun things in the works!  We've been talking about the First Thanksgiving and we've read a couple of books, so now the children are ready to illustrate their own version, which you can download here: The Thanksgiving Story for Illustrating.

I'm always looking for extra fun ways to practice the same old skills around the holidays.  I'll be using several pages from these No Prep Printables, which you can download here:  Thanksgiving No Prep Printables.

In math, we're working on automaticity of basic addition and subtraction facts. They LOVE this game, which works just like "Old Maid". Unlike dinner on Thursday, in this game, you DON'T want to get stuck with the turkey! You can download it here: Thanksgiving Turkey Adding Nines.

Be sure to check out The Teaching Trio's Sunday Scoop linky!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Weekend in the City

A few weeks ago I went way outside my comfort zone: I took a trip ALONE to New York City!  It was an opportunity to see loads of other teacher/ bloggers from all over.  Some of them I met when I was in Vegas, some I'd never met face to face, but I knew them through their blogs or their TpT stores, and through some of the teacher facebook pages I follow. We'd been planning this trip since we got back from Vegas!

I flew in, although from the Boston area I could have driven, taken a bus or a train.  It all would have cost me about the same amount. When I got to the city, I immediately went to TKTS to see what Broadway shows were playing.  (Yes, I am a huge fan, but rarely get to NYC for the real thing. )

As soon as I found out Carol Burnett was playing in Love Letters, my decision was made. Musicals would have to wait, I HAD to see Carol Burnett, and she didn't let me down. She was amazing!

Here's a review of a the show I saw:  Love Letters With Carol Burnett  

Yes, that's the office of Brain POP! We spent a couple of hours here, chatting with other teachers, eating a free breakfast, and learning some of the new features on the BrainPOP site. If you're not familiar with BrainPOP, it's time you found it!  They do offer a free membership for a month.  I'm more of a BrainPOP Jr. kind of gal, which is geared more to the primary grades. 

The office was on the 17th floor, and gave us the view in the picture at the top of this post.

We had amazing weather for the end of October, and decided to go for a walk through the city after the BrainPOP visit.  We had lunch at Bryant Park (great conversations!) and made a few other stops!

Everyone recognizes me by my pose, not by my logo. Oh well, if it's working, I'll keep doing the pose!

Dinner with 20 amazing teacher bloggers was such fun! Let's just say it wasn't quiet at our table!

There's no way you could find me from this angle, since I was way down the other end. These are the people I didn't get to chat with at dinner because they were sitting too far away!

The next day many of us were able to stop by the Teachers Pay Teachers office!

This is Adam, the CEO of Teachers Pay Teachers. He stopped in to ask us our opinions as teachers. Honestly it's so rare these days to have anyone value the opinion of teachers! It felt good! We had some incredible conversations!

This was such an amazing experience, and such a great group of people! The energy in this room was amazing! Thank you TpT for such a great visit!  I think we were all smiling for a long time after this visit!

As with all trips, the best part was coming home. As much fun as I had, I was glad to come back to New Hampshire and breathe fresh air again! 

We're planning to make this trip an annual event! 
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