Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Grinch Day!


Yeah!  It is the last week before our two week break.  It is going to be a whirlwind of a week but I am ready for it.  I am linking up with Erin at Mrs. Beattie’s Classroom to share about our Grinch Day because it was just “that awesome”.

First off, I need to confess something.  Grinch Day was Tuesday and this is Wednesday.  I had full intentions of coming home after my hair appointment and Christmas shopping to write this post but instead I crashed minutes after getting home and was in bed at {GASP} 9:15.  This NEVER happens!!  I am a night owl and am usually up much later.  I think I am running out of gas and just need to get through to Friday.

Our day started with most of my kids wearing green and checking on our elf, Snowflake.  He got a hold of some scissors and decided to decorate our tree.  My plan had been to have him sitting with a  stuffed Grinch.  I asked around and went looking myself for a stuffed Grinch, but apparently they are nonexistent now.  Believe me, I tried all the possible shops but had no luck.  I have borrowed from a student in the past but I could not remember who it was, so I was out of luck.   

The first thing we did was listen to a reading of the story.  There are some great audio versions that are far more expressive then I can ever be, so I settled for turning the pages of the book.  We had a good discussion about why the book was black and white and red (no colour). The kids then paired up and filled in an organizer with words that described the Grinch.  Just as we wrapped this up our “special visitor” arrived.  My Principal had agreed to come in and do a craft with the kids.  I didn’t let them in on the little secret in case something came up at the office and she could not come.  She often finds cute crafts on Pinterest and sends them to me.  I thought it would be fun to have her do one with the kids.  I am glad that she was able to come and the kids really enjoyed making their Grinch handprint with her and an older student helper that came with her.  As you can see they still need a few finishing touches. 

 
After a break for recess we began another “craftivity”.  We discussed things we could do to make the Grinch grin, but first we discussed what a grin was.  I was surprised by the fact that the kids did not know what a grin was but several were happy to “show” their friends what the word meant.  Very cute!!  They partnered up with their turn and talk partner and shared their ideas before heading off to start the writing.  Once the grin was completed they got to work assembling their Grinch.  The templates came from Deanna Jump’s Grinch Unit, which I can't seem to find anywhere online now to give you a link to.  They turned out super cute and perfect for a whole class photo because their faces were all covered with the Grinch. 


Our final Grinch activity before lunch was more academic and involved talking to a partner again as well.  This is my “go-to” strategy to prepare kids to write.  Even my most reluctant kids are better prepared to write if they first share with a peer.  I used another activity out of Deanna’s unit.  We have been learning about character traits and comparing the character at the beginning and the end of the story was a perfect activity.  Colouring the Grinch when the writing was finished might have been a motivator too J

 

We ended our day with the Grinch animated version and enjoyed a green candy or two.  The kids declared that Grinch day was the “funnest day ever”.  At least until Polar Express Day on Friday. We will have to see!   
 
http://mrsebeattie.blogspot.ca/2014/12/a-year-of-awesome-week-16-wednesday.html
 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

My Christmas Questionnaire 2014


http://fabulousinfirst.blogspot.ca/2014/12/the-christmas-questionnaire-2014.html


I am linking up with Michelle, from Fabulous in First and filling out her Christmas Questionnaire to share with you how I celebrate the holidays. 

When do you decorate?
Well, lots of people decorate right after Thanksgiving but I am Canadian so it would look a little odd if I decorated right after our Thanksgiving.  For those of you who don't know we celebrate in October.  I usually decorate the last weekend of November or the first weekend of December, depending on how hectic my life is.  I love to decorate - I am a little Christmas obsessed.  Here are just a few of my many decorations and some of my favourite kid made ornaments. 





Elf or no Elf  My children are now 11 and 14 so we dont have a home elf.  But I do have an elf in my classroom.  I am having a blast coming up with new adventures for our Elf, Snowflake.  I have a linky right now on my blog for teachers to link up their blog posts about their elf adventures.  You can find it HERE.  Here are some of Snowflakes escapades so far.

Christmas Baking
YES!  We spent a day baking with my Mom.  I was always the one to do the baking when I was young and my daughter likes to bake now too.  Next weekend we will finish up with some more sugar cookies and gingerbread.  I definitely like to eat the Christmas baking too

My Favourite Holiday Tradition
That is a tough one to answer.  I love going a getting a real tree every year.  The kids now are the ones to cut it down but I am always the one who chooses it.  I am very picky when it comes to our tree.  Another favourite tradition is our Christmas countdown calendar.  I got this at Costco years ago and each day the kids open a door and a find a toy to hang in Santa’s workshop.  There are lots of other favourites but these two would be my most favourite!  

Favourite Christmas Movie
That one is easy!  Ever since I was very little my all-time favourite movie has been Miracle on 34th Street.  I love the magic of it.  I am about to age myself but it was big deal to watch it on TV and you had to plan to watch it because there was no PVR or VCR.  When we got a VCR in my teens, my Mom bought me a copy of the original so I could watch it when I wanted.  I have seen the remake but still thoroughly enjoy the original so much more.  I also love to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas with my students at school on our Grinch Day. 

Snow or No Snow
I live in Canada, so snow is a given.  I only remember a few Christmases without snow.  To me Christmas is not Christmas without snow.  This is a shot from last Christmas when I was trying to take the lights without a flash.  I do love the snow but when March Break rolls around we head to Florida for a week.  I would be perfectly happy if I returned and the snow was done, but that almost never happens. 


Favourite Christmas Song
I LOVE Christmas music, much to the dismay of my family.  I will put Christmas music on as soon as I can.  One of my favourite traditional songs is O Holy Night (John Berrys version) I also love anything sung by Michael Buble, he has such an amazing voice.  Lastly, I love the Christmas songs that Train has made over the past few years: Shake up Christmas and their version of Joy to World.  I just LOVE Christmas music! 

Favourite Christmas gifts to give and get
I have grown less fond of Christmas shopping lately because I am finding it harder and harder to come up with great ideas for those people I am shopping for.  I find as the kids get older it definitely gets more difficult.  This year I am wishing for another charm for my Pandora bracelet and helped out my husband by buying 2 things for myself for him to wrap.  Your welcome! J

Thank you for stopping by and reading all about my traditions.  Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

Friday, 12 December 2014

More Elf-tastic Adventures with Snowflake!

Week 2 of our Elf-tastic Adventures with Snowflake, our classroom elf. 

Welcome to week 2 of my new linky, which highlights the adventures we are having with the Elf on the Shelf in the classroom.  Grab the graphic above to use on your page and link back and then scroll right to the bottom to link up. 

2 weeks to go before the holidays and the kids are excited!  We have had a great week with our elf.  I am having a lot of fun coming up with adventures each day.  If you were here last week you will know that I mentioned something was coming on Monday. 
On Monday morning my children found a note on our Christmas tree.  I forgot to take a picture but the gist of the note was that our elf, Snowflake didn’t feel safe in our classroom and was going to visit another elf in the Kindergarten classroom.  He had heard that the children there don't try to touch their elf.  He was afraid he was going to lose his magic if he stayed in our classroom.  My kids were a little shocked by the news but quickly pointed out that these boys were touching him and that maybe, just maybe he would come back to us.  Unfortunately, the boy who was the worst offender ended up being absent that day.  The other little guy was at school and he definitely got the message.  Snowflake also put in the note that he would come back to the classroom if the boys wrote a letter and promised they would not touch him again.  This little guy eagerly sat down to write. 

So what happened to our elf in the K room?  Well, take a look!

 Poor Snowflake, he goes there to stay out of trouble and then gets tied up and surrounded by playmobile people.  Too cute!  Later in the day my little guy and a girl who is sooo in love with our elf visited to make sure Snowflake was OK and to deliver the letter.  I think this really had the impact I was hoping for. 

I really struggled with what to do next: Do I wait until my other little guy returned to school and wrote his own letter or do I have him return?   I had no idea if he would be back to school the next day because we didn’t know why he was absent.   As a result, I decided Snowflake should return.  This is what we found him doing on Tuesday morning. 
I purposely “guarded” him because he was within reach and my little offender was back to school.  When we were all on the carpet we read the letter that Snowflake was reading (It was the apology letter) and everyone shared how happy they were that he did come back.  I think I will strategically place Snowflake out of reach of my little friends.  J



This morning the kids thought that Snowflake was giving another reminder, one that I didn’t even plan.  He was on top of the smart board wrapped in these great dollar store Christmas lights.  He was right beside our whole body listeners posters.  The kids thought he was trying to remind them to use their whole body listening skills.  Not my plan, but believe me I ran with it all day.  Today we also did an awesome directed drawing activity that I found on Pinterest.  You can read about it {HERE}.  I am a big fan of directed drawing because it allows all children to feel successful.  They totally surprise themselves when they are done.  I will post a photo of the collection of reindeer later; I totally forgot to take a pic of my bulletin board. 



Today our students will performing in our school concert so everyone was crazy excited and full of questions about whenwhenwhen are we going to do the show.  We were sing "All I want for Christmas is my two Front Teeth"  2 little girls arrived that morning missing a front tooth.  Perfect timing! 
Snowflake also picked this day to bring a friend to visit. It was a hippo who sings “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas” but I didn’t check the batteries and he didn’t work L  Beside our elf is our class mascot, Ellie.  The kids took this really well.  However, I was reminded many times throughout the day to bring batteries to school the next day Guess what Snowflake will have with him tomorrow? ;) That makes an easy Friday set up with our Elf. 




I am looking forward to a much calmer week next week.  That may sound a bit odd for the week before the holidays but it has been an incredibly busy week at our school.  We are going to do a lot of crafting, math games, Christmas read alouds and responses, Grinch Day and Polar Express Day.  That kind of chaos I can handle because my nights are free. 

I would love for you to link up if you have an Elf in your classroom.  It is fun to see all the photos people post but I really enjoy reading the stories that go with them.  If you link up please grab the graphic above and link back to this page.  Have a great final week! 

Saturday, 6 December 2014

A week of "elf" tastic adventures.



Welcome to my new linky which highlights the adventures we are having with the Elf on the Shelf in the classroom.  Grab the graphic above to use on your page and link back and then scroll right to the bottom to link up. 


It’s December 1st and time to bring out the Elf Snowflake!   I don’t have the kids name him.  I tell them that Santa hand picks classroom elves because they have to be super well behaved!  I can’t have him messing up our classroom!  The kids were super excited to meet him. 

When the kids joined me on the carpet and I closed down our attendance they let out a collective cry when they saw the elf was on the smartboard.  He hijacked my background.  Later on we were writing our letters to Santa.  I used my Letters to the North Pole pack.  You can read more about how it works {HERE}. The kids really got excited about using the candy cane spacers and crowding around our Christmas word wall.  The Grade 7 or 8 Challenge Program students are responding to their letters.  I have also submitted them to the local paper to hopefully be included in their Christmas section. 

 

We arrived to find Snowflake sitting on Santa’s lap today.  That was a great reminder that we needed to finish our letters today.  We are working on graphing right now in math and have been making some concrete graphs with materials in our classroom.  I love using the rulers as our “starting line” and the kids love using post its to make their labels.  We will progress to pictographs and bar graphs later this week and adding most/least to our math star chart.  Next week will start using my Christmas Graphing Centers.  You can find them {HERE}. 

More elf shenanigans today.  After our letters from Tuesday we decided that maybe Snowflake would be our mail carrier to the North Pole.  Today he arrived with a basket and sign and a letter saying he would love to deliver letters to everyone at the North Pole.  He also had a little reminder from Santa to be better listeners.  Unfortunately, that didn’t help because it was somewhat of a crazy day!  We went to our local high school to watch the musical Seussical.  They did an amazing job.  I spotted several former students in the cast and many former students from our school.  The kids truly enjoyed the show. 

TGIFIt has been a long week and the elf isn’t really helping the kids behaviour as I thought it might.  It worked wonders for last year’s class.  Today he was on our clipchart with a reminder from Santa yet again.  I have big plans for Monday so you will need to check back to see how it goes with the elf and a couple of boys who think touching the Elf is a good idea. 
What have the awesome moments been from your week? 
And since this week has been so awesome I am also linking up with Erin at Mrs. Beattie's Classroom. 

http://mrsebeattie.blogspot.ca/2014/12/a-year-of-awesome-week-14.html

Currently!

Currently!
 
I am linking up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade this week.  I can never seem to remember these happen at the beginning of each month.  I am thinking 'better late than never'! 
 

Listening to My husband is a TV addict!  He PVRs so many shows.  I think he rarely watches live TV.  My daughter likes TV too but she is still sleeping on this dreary Saturday morning. 

Loving We are heading out when the kids are up to go and cut our tree.  I MUST have a real tree for Christmas.  A few years ago I put an artificial one up in the front room of our house and my husband had the audacity to suggest that we didn’t need a real one.  Did I have news for him!  Unfortunately, the weather is not very Christmasy but I will make do with Christmas music on the way there and back.  I just love this time of the year. 

Thinking We are heading to my Mom’s after getting our tree and my daughter and I are going to do some baking with her.  Leah loves to bake and so does my Mom so I am sure it will be a lot of fun. 

WantingMy class to hold it together!  I introduced my Elf on Monday and we had a pretty settled day.  From there it has gone downhill.  I have a couple of little boys who are making it their mission to {GASP} touch the elf.  It caused quite the uproar.  So I have planned a little something for Monday.  Our elf is going to leave a note saying that he is staying with his friend in the Kindergarten room at our school and will come back when these boys write him a letter of apology.  He will tell them he doesn’t feel safe and doesn’t want to lose his magic.  What do you think?  Is this a little too much?   We are just all really squirrely right now and I haven’t really started the fun stuff yet! 

 
 
 

Needing More time!  This coming week I have commitments 4 nights out of 5 and then I am hosting our friends on Saturday night.  Thank goodness for my cleaning lady, although I do have to “clean” a bit before she comes.  You know what I mean, right {wink..wink}.

Giving I am so fortunate to say I am featured in the Holiday Ebook for grade 1/2.  In it you will find my tip and my freebie.  This is a direct link to my freebie but DO go and download the book {HERE} for 49 other amazing tips and freebies. 

http://bit.ly/1FpvzFs

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Elf Adventures and our new Writing Center!

 I am linking this post up with RClassroomsRUs.  We worked on writing all week long but this is a snapshot of how it looked in our room this week. 

 
What an exciting day we had today.  The kids arrived to find our elf was sitting at my computer and had changed the desktop on the computer.  He was promptly relocated to the top of our tree so we could get on with our day.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Letters-to-the-North-Pole-A-Complete-Letter-Writing-Package-1588981
 
The highlight of our day happened after recess.  In the morning the kids were asking all sorts of questions about a new bulletin board area but I held them off until later. When they came in I shared with them that they were all going to write to Santa.  Everyone was very excited but some were a little concerned that they had already sent their letter to Santa.  I was quick to share that Santa is ok with another letter. 
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Letters-to-the-North-Pole-A-Complete-Letter-Writing-Package-1588981
We started off by looking at the sample letters and taking a look at each part.  We talked about what each of these parts meant and they talked to their “turn and talk” about what they could say in their letter.  I asked them to think of 2 things they wanted to tell Santa and then 2 questions they had for Santa.  Everyone was very engaged and full of information to share with their partner.  This talking piece always translates into a better start to the writing part. 

Next we looked at the resources that would help them write their letter.  We took a close look at the I Can.. chart or success criteria and the word cards.  Right away the first question was “why are there candy canes between the words?”  To which I replied “We are using candy canes instead of our space men!”  They literally cheered about that, but I did add the disclaimer that they weren’t going to eat them today. 
Everyone got to their writing and it was a very productive writing time.  My principal happened to wander in while everyone was writing.  She got a first hand look at how well everyone was working.  They were very excited to share about the candy canes, too. 
 
After we finish our Santa letters (which our elf, Snowflake, is delivering to the North Pole) this will become our regular writing center.  Students can choose to write to anyone at the North Pole: Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, Frosty, the Elves.  I expect with this shared experience and their own opportunity to write their letter to Santa that they will be able to use the center independently during Daily 5.  There will be a basket to put finished letters in and Snowflake will do nightly deliveries for us.  I think that some of the letters might even get responses. J

I have this product on sale right now.   I just realized when I went to my store that it was not discounted, as I added after I had set up my sale.  I will keep it on sale through Wednesday seeing as it wasn’t on sale the first day of the sale.  I am sure your kids will love it.  You can click on the images in this post to go to the product or you can click on the image below and check out my entire store.  Thanks for stopping by!  Don't forget to enter my rafflecopter {HERE} for a chance to win this product. 
 
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Hanging-Around-In-Primary