January 12, 2018

Weekly Recap - The Good and the Bad

Happy New Year! We started this week off with a one day PD back on Monday. The students came back on Tuesday. Now that it's Friday, I feel like I never had a break!

While it is not that uncommon to have students not return from a break due to unexpected moves, I was extra upset when this happened to a little one I am worried about. This student is caught up in DCFS issues, and I am concerned about the future of all the children in this family. 

My favorite activity was task card scoot for New Years. We did this on Tuesday because it made my students review the classroom rules/routines along with making resolutions and goals. They loved this activity so much that they wanted to do this again the next day! 

New Years Task Cards
Click the pic to get your free set of task cards.

There is not much else good or bad that happened this week. It was fine - pretty uneventful. 

How was your week?  
What was good and bad for you?

January 5, 2018

January Activities and Resources for Your Classroom

Happy New Year! Are you ready to go back to school? If not, these activities and resources may put you in the mood! If not, a freebie may help!
Here are some of my favorite things to do in January with my students!

Disclaimer: Some links are affiliate links; clicking on theme provides compensation for me at no cost to you. 

Picture Books to Read

Here are some of my favorites this month. (Can you tell I love penguins? We do a huge unit on them since Penguin Chick is in our reading series.)



Chapter Books to Read

I usually read the middle book, Eve of the Emperor Penguin since I LOVE Magic Tree House books. If my group is really high, we will read Mr. Popper's Penguins. The third book is a nonfiction alternative that accompanies the Magic Tree House series.



Besides picture books, there are so many activities to do involving penguins.

Websites - KidZone Penguins, Penguin World, and Penguin Watch are great for research purposes. There are some great live penguin cams from the San Diego Zoo and the Kansas City Zoo.

Blubber Experiment - Have your students get to know how blubber keeps penguins warm with this simple experiment. 
     1. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
     2. Open a gallon size Ziploc bag and fill it with Crisco.
     3. Place another gallon bag inside. (This keeps hands from getting "blubber" on them.
     4. Have students compare and contrast having one hand in the ice water and one hand in the "blubber."


There usually is a ton of snow in January around here (although last year it didn't snow until March), so I do a winter unit with the focus on snow, snowmen, and migration. 

A quick activity is a "Snowball Fight." You can do this with any subject. Students create questions about the topic of your choosing. They then crumple of the papers. Throw the papers around to have a snowball fight. When the snowball fight is over, students can answer the questions.

New Years Task Cards

Let me leave you with a freebie - task cards! I made these cards to start my students off on a positive start. There are 6 cards that help the students set resolutions/goals for the new year. The next 12 cards will help you review procedures/ routines. There are the ones I am most excited about! Click the pic below to get your copy.

What seasonal activities do you like to do in January with your students?

December 15, 2017

Weekly Recap: The Good and the Bad

Are your students as crazy as mine? My favorite example of this was a boy that tried to fly. He fell flat on his face. Later he told another teacher, "I tried to fly...it did not go well." Yep, that happened!

1. I took a personal day on Monday (not bad). Unfortunately, I came back the next day to a huge mess! I also had a student that had to get stitches. I guess I was right to be concerned when I saw the name of my substitute. I dread having her in my room.

2. There was a fire in an apartment building in the town I work. A lot of families are affected by this. It breaks my heart to know that some families lost everything.

1.  We studied Hanukkah this week. I love seeing the excitement in my students' faces when they study people different from themselves.

Hanukkah Subtraction Scoot - My students love scoot!

They also loved these addition review sheets, because they wanted to know the answers to the questions! Click the pic to see more of these sheets!

2.  I jumped on board the desk wrapping bandwagon. It was a hit - very festive! This also makes a great incentive for being on the best behavior!

How was your week?  
What was good and bad for you?

December 10, 2017

Student Holiday Gifts (At Almost No Cost to You!)

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

I know that my students do not get many gifts at Christmas (or even on their birthdays). Therefore, I want to give each of them something special. The only problem is there are usually 20-24 gifts that I need to get. My budget is not that accommodating, and I am guessing that you might be in the same boat as me! Therefore, I have included my favorite gifts that cost little to nothing for you!

Disclaimer: Please note there are clickable affiliate links. Clicking on them allows me to get a small fee at no cost to you!

Holiday Crayons

I love to make crayons for my students for each holiday. Once you buy the molds, there is no more cost to you! Here's how:

1. Collect crayons throughout the school year. I have a space for broken crayons. (Side Note: Having a spot for broken crayons keeps students from wanting to throw them!)
2. Take these broken crayons and put them into candy/soap molds. Make sure the molds are filled completely. They will melt down into the molds.
3. Bake the crayons in a 250 degree oven for 20 minutes until the crayons are completely melted. 
4. Let the crayons sit for at least 2 hours or until completely cooled.

*Tip - Make sure to group like colored crayons together. I have tried to get fancy, and the crayons have looked like poop!

Holiday Candy/Soap Containers

Scholastic Books

I LOVE Scholastic! I stock up on their books throughout the school year (using bonus points, dollar books, and freebies). Some people like to give students the same book.. I used to do this but have gotten away from this. Now I keep a bin of books and let my students choose the one they want. I know that each child will find a book they are really interested in reading! 

*Personalize the books with a special bookmark!  Click the pic to see my new Editable Bookmarks.

Editable Holiday Bookmarks
Dollar Store Bulk Items

Finally, I like to make goody bags for my students. I get pencils, erasers, and pencil sharpeners from the dollar store. I add a homework coupon and a homemade crayon (or two) to a bag (also from the dollar store). 

Alternative: I know some people like to buy water bottles and clipboards (like the ones below) to personalize using a Cricut or similar product. While I have a Cricut, I never used it. Maybe next year...

While the water bottles can be pricey, the clipboards are the same price as the dollar store.

What are you getting your students?

December 8, 2017

Weekly Recap - The Good and the Bad

Another week in the books! This year is going too fast! I can't believe we are down to two weeks before break (although I mentally need it)!

Meetings bite! This week I had about 4 hours in meetings! No wonder I was so exhausted each night!

1.  Staff Giveaways - This week we started daily prizes for the staff that have contributed to our social fund. It has been a fun way to get our staff enthusiastic about the holidays! I am looking forward to our other staff events this month - ugly sweater day, coloring contest, Secret Santa, and a cookie exchange!

Simple gifts show the staff that someone cares.

The staff choose a prize from this bag! The bag is actually huge.

2.  This bulletin board makes me so happy! It's full of lots of activities from different subjects. We traced our hands and cut them out as a following directions/community building activity for our tree.  The students did a dot-to-dot for the star. It had the students counting by 25's to review counting quarters. The chains are from our STEM activity last week. The light ornaments go along with our Kindness Challenge - students had to give examples of kindness. The presents are my favorite. They open up to a writing assignment where students stated what they would be if they were a gift. 

I admit that I never planned to make this bulletin board. I was going to put up boring math sheets. However, my students asked for something they could work on together (as we previously had a class flag up from Veteran's Day). I feel like I should think about a community bulletin board each month now. Maybe...

3. Our Kindness Challenge today brought us over to Kindergarten to read them stories. My favorite student reaction was from the boy that was disappointed not to know ahead of time, because he would have written a book for them. We quickly rectified that problem. I gave students time to practice reading their chosen stories (or writing them 😀)! It was sweet watching them read their books to the Kindergarten students (and gifting the stories they had written)!

The best way to practice our books and write stories is with the Christmas lights on and the "fireplace" going!

How was your week?  
What was good and bad for you?