Friday, January 2, 2015

Elf on the Shelf (Classroom Ideas) and Other Holiday Happenings (+FREEBIES!)

Well friends, as my lovely Winter break dwindles in days, I have finally found some time to blog! I apologize for lacking in keeping up on it lately. I have just been SO. BUSY.

*I apologize in advance for this extra long post!*

This break has been a wonderful time for me to truly stop and reflect on how much I love my job. Today I sat (for the first time all break) *cough cough* grading papers. I was astounded at how much my sweet firsties have learned so far this year. 

I remember being so afraid during my transition from 3rd and 4th grade into 1st. I remember saying to my colleagues that first grade teachers , in my opinion, had a "Mary Poppins" like quality that I lacked. I wasn't sure I could handle such little people. Was I ever wrong. 

These last couple months have been everything I could dream of and more. Through many hugs, tears, and hours of learning, my 22 little firsties have taught me wonderful things. I have fallen in love with their true love of learning. Seeing them grow to love reading has truly inspired me. I love their blossoming independence. To me, they are my world. I am so blessed to have landed this wonderful job, and even more blessed to be in the first grade. 

In that respect, Christmas in room 16 was a BALL. I was able to truly enjoy Christmas in the eyes of the littles. We had a fully decorated classroom, christmas themed stations, and even a visit from Buddy, our classroom elf.

Here's what he spent December doing in our classroom!

This was the day he arrived in our classroom. I came early to school and put this wrapped box in the freezer. He was delivered by a special visitor at lunch time. Their faces when they felt the ice cold box were priceless! 

Climbing our calendar!

Taking a dip in a bath of marshmallows.

Swingin' from snowflakes.

On this morning, he left a journaling page on each of the students desks for them to complete, he also did one himself!

My mom ( who is an amazingly talented artist) cut out this simply amazing snowflake depicting Buddy's self portrait! THE KIDS WERE MIND BLOWN! (so was I). 

After a rough report from our gym teacher (3 days of indoor recess was rough on us :() Buddy arrived in the morning with a naughty and nice list in hand! 

One of my sweet firsties spent his indoor recess writing Buddy a note telling him how much he loved having him in our classroom. He then proceeded to go sit next to him and read it. So, so sweet. 

For our Christmas around the world unit, we made shoes to symbolize shoes that St. Nicholas fills. Buddy filled each one with sweets at night!

A little reminder from Buddy that he is watching!

Silly elf got into my sticker stash!

More reminders!

Buddy was feeling sleepy and ready for bed. On this day, be brought our class a book to read.

Another one of my mom's creations, she made this sweet tent and found this mini pizza box. The students thought this was SO funny to imagine that Buddy eats pizza just like us. This has to be one of my favorites. 

This was on one of our read-in days!

On the last day, my sister came to school to help. She brought her elf from home. The students literally LOST IT when they came into our classroom and saw two elves! Buddy left a note saying goodbye and explaining that he brought a special friend to help watch extra carefully on the last day. 

P.S. I got that sweet Sven on sale for 3 dollars! I mean, who can pass that up!?

I truly hate to see him leave just as much as the students do! He was a wonderful addition to our classroom. I loved seeing their reactions each day, and they loved hunting for him each morning.

Do you use an elf in your classroom? Do you find that it improves student behavior?

 I am thinking of implementing maybe a leprechaun in March?....... It is certainly a possibility!

We also made gifts for our parents! My students thrive at the chance to be creative. It is truly the quietest time of day in my classroom when I pull out the crafts! I love it! For our parent gift, we made these adorable snowman ornaments.

I had the students take their fingers, dip them in white paint, and stamp them onto the blub. When the paint was dried, we decorated them with sharpies. I love the way they turned out! 

I packaged them into these foldable boxes and surrounded them with shredded construction paper (via a paper shredder! Talk about a simple packaging! ). 

On the outside, I printed out the students name on a label, and attached a sweet poem. 

*This whole idea was inspired by this awesome bloggers idea! Snag these sweet tags from her blog! (linked here)

Here is the finished product! All 22 adorable memories packaged and ready to go!!

I love the way these looked hanging on our classroom tree. They were all so individualized! :)

For my parent volunteers, I made these little gift baggies! I created personalized cards to attach to them as well. On the back of the card, I took a class picture with all 22 of my students. I had the students in the middle hold up letters to spell "THANK YOU!".  It was a sweet personal touch that the parents loved. 

Here are some freebies for you! Enjoy!

Grab the "Helping Hand" cards HERE
Grab the "THANK YOU!" signs for your students to hold in the picture HERE
(I recommend printing these on card-stock for durability)

Well friends, on Monday morning we begin again! When I left my classroom on Friday, I had ripped down my Christmas Around the World bulletin board and had began to put up my January bulletin boards...... *sigh* they still need so much work. These pictures have found a home on my computer desktop to serve as a reminder as such. 



I plan to create a MLK wall as well as do some arctic animal research projects. Soon, all that empty wall space will be filled up! (Bleh! Empty walls!)

Do you have any fun bulletin boards that you put up in January? I'd love to hear your ideas! 

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Summer Book Club

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am running a summer book club for twelve girls. Nothing is more rewarding then being around children who love to read and thirst for knowledge. It has been a summer full of deep thinking, questioning, crafting, and most of all; LOTS OF READING!

I chose three books for us to read this summer. The first book that we read was Flora and Ulysses. This was an adorable and inspiring tale about a girl and her super squirrel! The girls absolutely loved this book. 

This book was written with comic book inserts and illustrations throughout. In an effort to teach the girls about the use of onomatopoeia in comics, we created our very own pop art! By using paint and cotton swabs, the girls were able to create their very own works of art. 

I have quite the group of artists! Here are some of their finished creations.

The next book we read was The Penderwicks. This was a story of summer adventure and the bond between sisters. The girls loved this book as well and they could all really relate to it. It gave us wonderful opportunities to make text-to-self connections. 

The setting of this book was an adorable cottage with a beautiful garden. One of the main characters was a botanist! I wanted to do an activity that had to do with flowers, but it needed to be rather quick. This book required a lot of discussion and I knew the craft would need to be quick and easy. 

We created flower pens! We used washi tape, artificial flowers, and ballpoint pens. As simple as this activity was, the girls LOVED it! They were so excited to use their new flower-pen creations!

The final book we are reading is Everything on a Waffle. 

I have big plans for activities for this book! Stay tuned for updates on my next book club meeting! 

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Summer Projects

With school fast approaching, I have been hard at work preparing for the new school year. I can't wait to see the adventures that this new school year has to offer! 

It seems this year the back-to-school sales have come out sooner than ever! I woke up this morning, grabbed my coffee, and scanned the sales papers for good deals. I was able to find quite a few!

Scissors were 25 cents each

Highlighters were 1 dollar each

Pens were 1 dollar for 10. I bought green for proofreading and red for checking.

Crayons and Colored Pencils were also 25 cents each! I am fairly certain the cashier thought I had lost my mind, but when I pulled out my TeacherPerks card, he knew what I was up to. He proceeded to give me the run down of what would be on sale from now until the beginning of the school year. How exciting is that! 

This year, I wanted a way for the students to differentiate my supplies from their own. By mid-year I glance in the supply bins and notice that half of them are gone. I don't mind replenishing them, but I wanted to find a way to mark my class set. It makes it so much easier when we are working to clean up the room if we know which ones go in the supply bins and which go in their pencil boxes. 

I bought a roll of chevron washi tape. I cut it into small pieces and marked each of the supplies. It will make things so simple this year and I am thrilled to see how it will work!

Here are my supplies all labeled! (eek!)

I came across this gem at a garage sale this week! It's a spinning scissor stand. It is adorable and will work wonderfully in my classroom. 

I also was able to get a great deal on Expo markers this week. I often use whiteboards as a way to informally asses during my math groups, spelling groups, etc... Before group, I always have to pass out an eraser, Expo marker, and whiteboard to each student. I saw this brilliant idea on Pinterest last year and knew I wanted to do it this year!

Gluing a pom-pom to the end of the marker creates a built-in eraser. How awesome is that! I created a class set of these as well hoping to cut down on my supply pass out time. 

I bought these adorable supply bins from Dollar Tree! They have so many different options, colors, and styles. 

I also picked up the start of my borders for my bulletin boards! Here is a sneak peak of what is to come! Lots of chevron and polka-dots in the future!

I stopped by Target and got a few packages of crazy straws. This was yet another project I saw on Pinterest early in the year and I loved it! The birthday straw bouquet is a cute and simple birthday gift for the students in your classroom. 

All you need is a pack of pencils, a roll of washi tape, a few packs of crazy straws, and some eraser caps. 

I created labels for the gifts and laminated them. I am so thrilled with the way these turned out!

As much as I am enjoying summer, I am so very eager to get back to school. I miss it so much! 

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