Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Reflections and New Year's Linky

2012 Reflections

I like to think back on the past year and how lucky I am for so many reasons.   I don't know how I got so lucky, but I do think I need to take the time to recognize the wonderful blessings in my life.   Here are just a few of the reasons why I am so blessed....

#1 - I have the best, most loving family in the entire world.  My two daughters make me smile everyday.  My husband is my rock.  I am so fortunate to have a brother and sister who I have great relationships with and who I have so much fun with - especially around the holidays.  I am also so blessed to still have my Nana, my mom, stepdad, dad, aunts, uncles and cousins and of course my in-laws who are always there for us!  I am so happy to say that my family is happy and healthy - who could ask for any more than that?? 

#2 - I have such kind, supportive friends who never let me down.  I have so much fun with each of them whether it's a text or phone conversation or getting together for dinner and drinks.  I am truly honored to call them friends!

#3 - I LOVE my job!!!!!!!  I just switched to 1st grade this year after the last 8 years in 3rd grade.  I loved my 3rd graders and was worried that maybe I wouldn't like 1st grade as much.  But this year, even though it's been difficult switching grade levels, I have found that I really adore my little firsties and am having SO much fun!!!  I have 21 wonderful families who have allowed me to spend time with their children each and every day.  We have so much fun and I am always so impressed with how much information they can soak up every minute and how far they have come just since the beginning of the year.  WOW!  It's truly amazing!  

There are so many things in my life to be thankful for, but these 3 are the most important.  I hope you can all say the same for your life!  


NOW for the linky party for New Year's.  I linked up with Ms. M at Teaching is a Gift for a fun linky.  
Check it out HERE 

Teachingisagift

I linked my New Year's Glyph




Go check out my glyph and the entire linky party for some great new ideas for a new year!

Here's hoping everyone has a new year filled with lots of love, happiness, laughter, and good fortune! 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Read Alouds

 Day 12


The end of my 12 Days of Christmas Read Alouds and what better book to read than the classic Twas the Night Before Christmas - I like the version by Jan Brett personally.    


This year I found another super cute book called 
Twas the Night Before the Night Before Christmas by Natasha Wing


This follows the same rhyming pattern as the traditional story.  It's about a family who, on December 23rd is still not ready for Christmas.  They don't have a tree yet and Mom has the flu.  What a disaster!  At the end they realize that Christmas is not about stuff but about love!  

Since my class also did a whole day on the Grinch, we made some text-to-text connections with that book since they both have the same theme.  

We finished up with an activity about how you can give Gifts from the Heart and they are more meaningful than any other gift.  Here is the bulletin board we created.  We traced and cut out hands on green paper.  Then we glued pom poms onto our fingertips for decorations.  The presents were just plain white paper that the students decorated with one "Gift" that doesn't cost any money.  Then we put a bow on each gift and place them around the tree (we ran out of room at the bottom of the tree so they went up the side :-)







Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope you all get and give gifts from the heart this holiday season!!!  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Read Alouds

Day 11

Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini


I had never heard of this book before, but now I LOVE it!  What a cute story about a moose who just wants everything to go right for Christmas...but her forgot the Christmas tree.  Uh-oh!!!  I would definitely recommend using this cute little book around Christmas time with your kiddos.  Who doesn't love a moose with a mustache.  :-)  

Check out these 3 great freebies that go along with this adorable read aloud.  

The first one I liked because it involved using some new language that I hadn't used before - Strong Thought.  She does a nice job of first explaining what a strong thought is and then has 3 cute activities to go with it.  Click HERE to get it!!!




The next one covers the basics that you would want for any story --- sequencing, story elements, and summarizing.  It has different leveled worksheets to use with your class.  I used the cut and paste sequencing events and glued them onto some cute holiday stationary that I got at Dollar Tree.   
To pick this one up click HERE and enjoy!


This last one is from 2 Brainy Apples.  
They have really great ideas and this packet is full of them too!!!  This packet seems to be better suited for 2nd or 3rd grade - so if that's your thing then I would definitely check out this freebie.  
Click HERE to get it!



Hope you like this cute little Christmas book!  :-)


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Read Alouds

Day 10

Santa's Stuck by Rhonda Greene


What an adorable little book this was!!!  Santa eats a little too many cookies and becomes stuck in the chimney of a house on Christmas Eve.  The dog, the cat, the reindeer, and a mouse try to free him.

Here is an adorable craftivity from All Students Can Shine.  Included in this FREEBIE are the pieces to make the craft and writing papers to write about how you would help get Santa out of the chimney.  I haven't done this yet (it's amazing how quickly you run out of time around the holiday season), but I know my kids would love this activity.  
Click HERE to get it!  



Monday, December 17, 2012

GRINCH DAY!!!

If you've been following the 12 Days of Christmas Read Alouds - we are now on DAY 9!!!!

GRINCH DAY!!!!!   My favorite!



We started off the day with a little photo shoot with our life-size Grinch in front of our mini (Charlie Brown-type tree) in my classroom.  We will be putting these in ornaments this week.  Here is a picture of one of my cuties!


The we read the book - of course!  After that we did a sequencing activity and a bubble map with adjectives that describe the Grinch.  Sorry I forgot to take pictures of that.  

In Math we used Made for 1st Grade Grinch Problem Solving packet.  Very cute word problems and perfect for my firsties!  I changed the cover because I cut and pasted the problems right into the book to save time for the kiddos.  You can download this freebie from them HERE



Another activity we did came from this adorable little unit, A Pinch of Grinch.  You can get this one from Nancy Vanden Berge First Grade Wow.  This is just one of the many cute ideas she has.  



How to Make a Grinch Grin!!!
This next activity was by no means my idea, but I can't pinpoint where I got the idea first.  I've seen it all over pinterest and in many different places so I can't be sure who to credit for the idea.  What I will take credit for is the actual craft shown here because I did draw that.  It took a long time and I know it not perfect, but I am happy with the way it turned out.  





FINALLY.....while the kids were writing, guess who showed up for a visit???????  
THE GRINCH!!!!!!

The kids loved it and of course we got a class picture.  


And at the end of the day I gathered with the other teachers and aides for a group picture.  We found our T-shirts at Target (the best store on EARTH!).  


It was such a fun day!  Happy Grinch Day everyone!!!!! :-)

12 Days of Christmas Read Alouds

Day 6

Due to the "Blogging Day of Silence" yesterday for Sandy Hook Elementary I am a little behind on my 12 Days updates.  Who am I kidding - I was behind anyway :-)  So today I am going to do 3 different days in one post and then Day 9 in a new post.   Day 9 is a very special day so it deserves it's own post.  Just wait until you see what we did for Day 9!!!  My favorite!!!!

So onto Day 6....
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell by Lucille Colandro


The most obvious lesson to come from these books is a sequencing activity.  I found a super cute one (after browsing through multiple freebies).  You can get it HERE.  It comes from Bright Concepts 4 Teachers.  It also has a writing component with a SUPER cute way to publish it.  Check it out!  


I also loved this FREEBIE (below) that I found on TpT.  I thought this was a quick, easy way for younger students to grasp one part of Author's Purpose.  This comes from Rebecca Wrenn.   This is actually a free portion of her more complete Book Study.   I didn't use that this year, but I might have to check it out for next year.  


Day 7

How Santa Got His Job by  Stephen Krensky


This is a super cute story that helps kids imagine that Santa was once a young man who was looking for a job just like anybody else.  With each small job that he had he found out something about himself that led him to his final job - Santa Claus.  It was so fun to read this and stop after each part to ask kids how that job will help him with being Santa.  Very fun read aloud!

I found this cute freebie that includes two activities - sequencing and cause and effect.  This would be too difficult for first grade to do independently, but you could use these activities to help teach a whole group lesson.  Click HERE to check them out.   You will find this freebie on Pitner's Potpourri blog.  





Day 8

How Santa Lost His Job by Stephen Krensky


Again, Pitner's Potpourri has another activity to go with this book - 
also sequencing and cause and effect.  Get it HERE


Enjoy this next round of read alouds!  

Leave me a comment and let me know if there are other Christmas read alouds that you love :-) 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Read Alouds

 Day 5 - Elf Elementary

For some reason I have always really loved Santa's little elves.  I think they are hilarious in Christmas movies - like Hermey in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and of course Will Ferrell in Elf.  I love little elf decorations - especially with the striped tights and bells on the shoes and hats.  When I was younger I helped out at our church's pancake breakfast with Santa and I dressed up as an elf - it was so much fun!  Also as a child we used to have elf stocking holders that I loved.  

So when I found this book: Elf Elementary by Edward Miller, I thought it was soooooo cute!  It's about a school for elves and if they pass then they get to be one of Santa's elves.   Such a cute little story!  Not to mention, all throughout the book are Christmas facts that could be used for so many different lessons.  


I decided to send my students to elf school, too!  After reading this book I gave them a test based on the book.  Within the book the elves go to different classes: Gym, Music, Art, Tree Trimming Class, Library, Cookie Class, and Geography Class.  I made a question for each "class".   If they passed the test they went to the next step and also got a report card.  

After the students pass the test, they get to apply for the job!  

If their application is "approved"  then they can become an elf.....(with striped tights of course :-)
If you like these activities, click HERE to send your students to elf school!!!


Other ideas to go with this book would be the numerous Elf on the Shelf activities out there.  Here are a few that I found and might be using next year:



There are LOADS of other activities to use as well.  It seems other teachers like elves just like me!

I hope you are able to use this book with your students!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Read Alouds


 DAY 2, 3, and 4 ~ Gingerbread Stories

 There are so many Gingerbread stories, but I chose 3 to use in my classroom.  The Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett, The Gingerbread Man by Karen Schmidt, and 
The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup


You wouldn't believe how many Gingerbread activities there are out there.  I will link to a few, but just know that there are SO many more!  I bought a couple myself on TpT during the CyberMonday Sale, but I know there are SO many others and TONS AND TONS of free items as well!!!

This Common Core Based Gingerbread Man Activities by Erica Bohrer is AWESOME!!!  It has LOADS of centers and literature activities that were just perfect for what I was doing in my room.  You need to check out this item if you're doing Gingerbread stories and also check out her blog.  You will love it!

The Ultimate Gingerbread Literature Study by Christine Statzel is also a great buy.  She has TONS of great product in her store as well.  Check her out - I know I will be going back to see what else I "need".  


This one is a FREEBIE and SOOOOOO cute!!!!  I will be using this this week with my kids as well.  Lori Rosenburg of Teaching with Love and Laughter made this great activity and she has so many more fun ideas too!

I also have a product that could be used during your Gingerbread story unit, but it is not solely gingerbread themed.  My Christmas Math Centers have a money center where I used adorable FREE gingerbread clipart from Pink Cat Studio 


I hope you got some great ideas for using gingerbread stories!!!