Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sandy Hook

I hope you will take the time to remember them today, and to think of the survivors and the horror they must be dealing with right now.  My thoughts are with you, Sandy Hook Elementary.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fun with the Gingerbread Man

So I have a confession to make: I love the Gingerbread stories. Ever since I taught Kindergarten, I've had a soft spot for the Gingerbread stories. All of them. Last year, I went as far as making salt-dough Gingerbread ornaments for my little school Christmas tree using Gingerbread characters. I have Gingerbread Pirates, a Gingerbread Girl, the Gingerbread Baby, and a bunch of others. When I moved to first grade, I felt like I shouldn't do the Gingerbread stories since they had read them the year before. I read a few books, but I didn't do much besides that. So this year, I decided to do a little bit more. I tried to step up what they had done in Kindergarten with some more writing and graphic organizers and stuff. I decided to put the stuff I have done (and one more activity I'm planning on doing!) into a little Gingerbread mini-unit.

 Make a Gingerbread Friend!

4 versions of a Gingerbread Reader. 
 Gingerbread Pirate Glyph- I made these with my students, and they were adorable and easy!

Lots of Graphic Organizers for the different Gingerbread Stories.  I filled these out with my students together as a whole group, then had them fill out a smaller copy in their notebook.  The kids who can write wrote what happened, and those who have a hard time were able to draw a picture.  These are the perfect size for a notebook if you trim off the edges.  No overhangs- I love it! 

Wanted Posters- Create your own Wanted poster for the character of the fox or Gingerbread!

You can find this unit here.  It's super easy prep for the last week before Winter Break!  And I'm going to put it on sale until Monday.

We have 4 more days left!  And I have so many things planned.  I can't wait to make these cute snowmen from Reagan Tunstall as a parent gift.  And I hope we can make salt-dough Christmas trees again this year (and I won't screw them up this time!)  I just hope I have enough time to get through it all!

Have a great last week before break!

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's Only Temporary...

Is this what not having any homework feels like?  I came home from work (early for me... I left at 6:30), made dinner, did DISHES, and came to sit down on the couch and work on some stuff I wanted to make for school.  I made a bunch of ABC order worksheets with different themes (Gingerbread, Polar Express, Reindeer, Santa's Workshop) since my students are obsessed with them!  I made some stuff for my Holidays Around the World Unit.  And then I created a blends game for my students to play next week during Literacy Centers.  Look at me! :-)  I feel so productive!  I didn't have to worry about any papers or projects from grad school hanging over my head, since I've submitted everything!  I even got a 100% on my Test Construction project and the final paper we have to pass to pass the class!   Go me!  So in celebration of grad school classes being over with for a month or so, I have a freebie for you!

It's called Spinning with Santa, and maybe someday it will be part of a larger literacy centers packet since I need more stuff anyway!  There is a color and black and white version for those of us who need to conserve color ink!  I really love this clip art from Creative Clips!

 The Color Version

Black and white version (which I will be using!)

And a recording sheet to go with it! 

I hope somebody can use it!  You can download it from my TPT store here.  

Also, since I am feeling super generous, I am putting my TPT store on sale for a few days!  Why not?! :-)

Freebie Fridays


I created a Hanukkah book that my students will make tomorrow and keep in their Holidays Around the World suitcases.  Then either tomorrow or Tuesday (as time allows!), we will make a Menorah to go with it, stamp our passports, and add Israel to our map of countries inside our suitcase.  Whew!  Wednesday and Thursday will probably be Sweden, and probably another country.   Crunch time!

I thought I'd share my book.  It's free, and available in my Google Drive.  I've never shared anything from Drive/Docs before, so I hope it works!  Please let me know if you have any trouble with it and I'll be more than happy to email it to you/upload it to TPT.  You can find it here.  It's nothing fancy, and it's probably terrible, but you are more than welcome to use it!

Here is a preview of the page from the book.

Happy Hanukkah!

Freebie Fridays

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holidays Around the World and How to Decorate a Christmas Tree

We began our Holidays Around the World unit this week.  Finally!  I used 2 awesome freebies to get started, because I didn't have time to make my own.  Stupid grad school.  My students each made their own suitcase to hold their stuff, and a passport that we stamp each time we visit a new country.  So far, we've done one.  I, apparently, am a slacker.  Or just had less time than I thought.  I let the kids actually take time to color their suitcases, since we never have time to color!  I assembled the passports and the kids filled out the inside.

We are also working on informational writing.  On Friday, we wrote an informational piece together about how to decorate a Christmas tree.  The kids were so excited!

Here is our decorated Christmas tree.  I forgot to take a picture of our informational writing though.  Oops.

I love my Gingerbread ornaments!  I made them myself last year at Christmas.  They are all book characters.  Can you see the Gingerbread Girl, a Gingerbread Pirate, and the Gingerbread Baby?

I was concerned because I've always done the tree decorating myself, but this year, I let the kids help.  I have glass silver balls since I've had them since college (the tree is from college too!), and didn't even think about it.  I was worried that one of the kids would break one.  Well, guess who broke one?  ME.  Ha ha ha.  I guess that's a good way to show them that they are fragile!

I have a lot planned this week!  We are still working on Holidays Around the World and working on Gingerbread stories.  Our Polar Express Day is Friday.  On Friday morning, we go to see the Nutcracker ballet.  How cool is that?  Our school has a grant so we get to take our kids to go see different plays and performances, or have different people come to our school.  It's really awesome.  I just wish I had some great Nutcracker activities to do with them to get them ready!  I don't even have a book!  

I sure hope I get to make it to school tomorrow.  I have had a fever since last night, and a somewhat queasy stomach.  My back is killing me.  But I haven't thrown up or anything, which surprises me since there is a nasty stomach virus going around.  I'm not really sure what the problem is, but I'm tired of feeling blah and cold!  

Hope everybody has a great week!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


I am such a slacker!  I have been so busy, I finally found time to fill in this month's Currently.  I had 3 assignments due for my classes, and I needed to get them finished.  I have one more to do, and I have no motivation to do it.  Thus, the internet posting. :-)

So I feel like there just isn't enough space on those little Currentlys to write much, so I must explain myself.  Especially since my entire Currently has to do with being crafty and making ornaments!

Listening:  I hate Christmas music.  Actually, hate is a strong word.  I just prefer not to listen to it unless I'm in the mood.  Which is rare.  I know some people like to listen to it when they are decorating the house or making Christmas crafts, but I'm not one of them.  Call me Scrooge.  I don't want anything to do with it.  I will play Christmas music at school the last week or so when the kids are working on Christmas crafts, but it's silly goofy kids stuff like "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer."  I don't mind when my dad turns on the Trans Siberian Orchestra on Christmas Day too, but I had to draw the line on Thanksgiving.

Loving:  This year, I finally bought what I consider to be a "big girl tree."  My old tree was 6 feet tall, and I have 9 foot ceilings.  There was quite a ridiculous looking gap there.  So I finally sucked it up, and when Target had a pretty nice looking tree on sale, I bought it.  OMG, this tree is HUGE!  It is 7.5 feet tall, and it's 55 inches in diameter.  Compare that to my old 6 foot tree that is like 44 inches or so in diameter (it's written on the box, but I'm lazy.)  So I had no idea how many ornaments to buy for this new tree.  I was going to use the old ornaments and buy new ornaments for the old tree (which is now in the dining room), but I guess I changed my mind.  So now I have a new tree, in a new spot (in front of the front door of all places!), with new ornaments.

Thinking/wanting:  I really want to go to JoAnn Fabrics or Hobby Lobby or somewhere today.  I feel like my tree needs something more.  Like, not plain green and silver ornaments with a few bells thrown in.  I made some cool looking mercury glass ornaments for the tree, and while they are beautiful, they don't exactly stand out.  I was perusing the internet after coming home last night (bad idea!), and saw where somebody had taken some clear glass ornaments and covered them in alcohol ink.  I also saw where somebody used tissue paper.  I, of course, used all my clear glass ornaments to make the mercury glass, so that means I need to go out to the store to purchase more!  Not that I need more things!  That is my dilemma.  I also need a tree topper.  And a skirt, but I'm not willing to pay the prices I've seen at the store so I just took a scrap piece of fabric and laid it under my tree for now.

Needing:  Yep, more money.  I know the ornaments are on sale, but I still need more money to buy them!  Don't we all?

R.A.K.  I had to do a "service learning" project for my class this semester.  So last weekend, I went to the Center for Women and Families and helped to serve dinner one night and breakfast the next morning.  It was a pretty good experience.  :-)

So that's my Currently!  We've had a pretty busy week this week, so I will (hopefully) be back later this weekend to sum it all up!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Santa Needs a Vacation!

I finally finished my newest activity and posted it to my TPT store.  It is really cute, and I am so excited to do it with my students!  Best of all, it's flexible enough that if I don't get to it in the next 3 jam-packed weeks, I can even do it after Christmas!!!

It's even differentiated!  There are 2 different writing assignments.  One is an informational writing assignment for older students where they can research a tropical vacation spot and write a letter to Santa explaining where they think he should go on vacation, with 3 reasons why.  There is a graphic organizer to organize their thoughts.  The second is a creative writing activity about what Santa does after Christmas.  There are graphic organizers for both younger and older students included.

There is a page that explains to the older students what their assignment is.

Some of the graphic organizers included.

And check out the cute little tropical Santa your students will make!  There are 2 Santas included, a smaller Santa and a slightly larger one.  You can make the full body Santa like I've made here, or you can make just his shirt and head.  The choice is yours!

Sorry the picture kind of stinks- my camera is at school so I had to take it with my cell phone.  I'll try to update to a much better picture later!

If you are interested in this pack, you can find it here..

This is the first time I've ever made anything like this, but I'm super excited about it! :-)   Thanks, Ashley Hughes- your clip art inspired me!

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