Sunday, November 30, 2014

Gingerbread Man Write the Room {Giveaway!}

Hi hi!!  I posted a new Write the Room activity to my TPT store last night....just in time to use it in December!  
I LOVE reading all the different variations of The Gingerbread Man with my class in December.  It's one of my favorite stories of the entire school year -- probably because my students always love it so much too!
This activity would be a perfect addition to your December literacy stations...or maybe for a word work or vocabulary center.
Head on over to my Facebook page for a chance to win!  I'll choose a winner this afternoon, so act quickly! :)

Friday, November 28, 2014

RAKs -- Random Acts of Kindness...for Christmas

What better thing to do on the day after Thanksgiving than begin to put some finishing touches on our RAKs project for December?!?  I dove head first into a RAKs project last December after being inspired by a fellow Kindie teacher.  I had no idea what I was doing, but I asked for some advice, scoured Pinterest and blogs, and developed a plan.  I kept it all very hush-hush because it was a top-secret mission and I didn't want anyone in my school finding out about it.

As soon as we completed our first RAK, I knew that this was something I would want to do again and again.  The excitement my kids felt about our TOP-SECRET missions each day was so contagious!  Sure, it added to an already busy month, but what better time of year to talk about KINDNESS, JOY, and the true spirit of GIVING than at Christmas??  

I kept things mostly the same for this year, but tweaked a few things based on what I learned last year.  There is definitely still time if you want to do something like this with your class this year.  Hopefully these ideas can help get you started if it's something you want to try.

I send this note home mid-way through November explaining to parents what we'll be doing and asking for them to help if they are willing and/or able.  Over half of my class sent back forms this year.  I just divide what we'll need between the students who offer to help, and I take care of whatever doesn't get covered.   

After the due date has passed, I review the forms and send these home...with specific items for each student to send in.

I went into school for a bit today to get things organized and got so excited by this pile of LOVE!  Pencils for every student in the school, hot chocolate packets for our awesome para-professionals and recess aides, and fun Sharpie markers for teachers.  And Hershey's kisses for all!!

A friend of mine who teaches in my district is doing RAKs with her class this year too and she wrote this letter to share with her students on the first day of December.  She has an elf that she'll be using to reveal the missions to her class each day.  I didn't do this last year, but I LOVE the idea.  I don't have an elf, so I'll be using a polar bear.  This is the letter that she wrote -- I just tweaked it a bit for my class.  And my son fancied it up for me... :)

 I use this calendar that I made in PowerPoint.  I'll change it each year to match the correct dates.  I keep track of which classrooms/teachers/staff members we will surprise each day so that I don't miss anyone.

I'll keep posting throughout the month as we complete our RAKs.  I'm so excited to get started!!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to you!!  

That warm and fuzzy grateful feeling??  Yup, I have it today!!  This awesome bloggy community is something I am very thankful for!  

Feeling thankful today in countless are a few of the biggest reasons why I am THANKFUL!! 

Wishing you and yours a wonderful day filled with love and gratitude.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gratitude List FREEBIE

I love Thanksgiving.  I always feel warm and fuzzy inside all day long.  Anyone else like that???  I am so grateful for so many things.  God has blessed me far beyond what I deserve....and, especially on Thanksgiving, I just can't contain my overwhelming feelings of gratitude!

I so want to instill a sense of deep gratitude in my children.  We always do something special throughout the month of November, or during the week of Thanksgiving, to remain mindful of all that we have to be thankful for.  This year, I created a "Gratitude List" for each member of my family to fill out.  We'll share them on Thanksgiving morning.
 My daughter filled hers out over the weekend.
 All sound-spelling and Kindergarten-handwriting perfection.
 I LOVE that she wrote that something that makes her laugh is her brother.  She sure loves him to pieces!!

 She fancied it up a bit when she was finished.  Of course.

Maybe you're looking for something like this to use with your family too?  
CLICK HERE to grab it!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Five for Friday {November 21}

Well, hi!  Hope your week has been great!

1. My week started off awesome and so productive at school!  
On Monday we spent some time partner reading from our book bags...
Anytime we make a student reader together as a class, I have my students keep them at school in their book bags.  That way, we all have the same books and can use them to partner read.

We also completed our first personal narratives.  We wrote this one, about trick-or-treating, together as a class.  They are ready to dive into the next one on their own!  

2. Monday's end-of-day recess was super cold.  The wind chill was 6 degrees and boy was is WINDY!  So glad I had my awesome recess partners to brave it with me!!
I posted this pic on Instagram.... you can follow me HERE.

3. The snow and wind didn't let up and Tuesday was our first snow day of the school year.  In November!  Before Thanksgiving!  So crazy.  Crossing my fingers that this isn't a sign of what our winter will be like!  Missing my sunshine already!!
BUT....we made the most of our winter-like day and put up our Christmas tree!  I had two happy little helpers!

4. Wednesday we were back at school and busy!  I re-discovered my "whisper phones" after forgetting about them for several years, and I've started "Whisper Phone Wednesday" with my morning reading group.  They LOVE these things!!

5. Thursday was another snow day!  SO much blowing and drifting snow.  I can't even believe it.  The local meteorologists announced yesterday that this is the snowiest November ever in my area.  Lucky us!  
BUT...we made the most of another snow day and went out to get groceries.  On a weekday!  It was bliss!  No weekend crowds or lines or empty shelves.  And of course having my sweet helper along made it even better.
Two more days until Thanksgiving Break for me!  Happy weekend!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Five for Friday {November 14}

Hi there!  It's the weekend and that's a wonderful thing!  I'm cozied up under a blanket today because everything outside is snow-covered and all of a sudden Michigan is like a frozen tundra!

In related news....I survived the first days of snow with my Kindies.  This is no small feat, and I'm feeling extra successful this weekend.  Every time I got them all bundled and out for recess, it was a feeling of sweet victory!  Only infinity more recesses to go before winter is over.  We can do it!  Ha!

Here are my Five for Friday (Saturday) this week... 

1. I created this simple anchor chart a couple weeks ago to remind my students what I am looking for in each of their stories.  It simplifies the process for them a bit, and is easy for them to remember.  My students are at so many different levels, but this is something they ALL need to remember.
 2.  We drew dragons this week during Project 64.  They were all so cute.  So, so cute.
3. It snowed all night on Wednesday, so we woke up Thursday to a snow-covered ground.  Meaning that I had to make sure my kids had everything they needed for recess when I brought them to school on Thursday morning.  Adding that one extra thing to my morning completely threw me right off and I realized when I got to school that I had forgotten my shoes!  I had my big clunky boots, but I couldn't teach all day in feet would have been soooo sweaty.  So, I used these socks from the office.  They had been donated by one of our staff members after her son outgrew them.  He is now in 4th grade.  Navy skinnies and faded navy little boy socks.  It's a good look.  
4.  We completed our Thankful Turkeys this week.  I always love these.  They are so sweet!
I love that this girl added bottom lashes to her turkey! :) 
 Melt me.

5. We're learning about MOTION in science.  My kids loved this investigation this week.  They had to make ping pong and golf balls move without touching them.  Such a blast!  

SNOW, SNOW, SNOW!!!  My kids played outside until dark on Thursday.  Fun in the snow!  
Just can't believe it's not even Thanksgiving yet... 
Hope you are enjoying your weekend!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Choice Time favorites

My students this year have definite preferences during Choice Time.  We have 20-30 minutes of Choice Time each afternoon, and I've been surprised this year at how many of my students do the exact same thing every single day!  

Here are my students' current favorite activities:

I have a handful of students every year who LOVE the puzzle table, and this year is no exception.  But this year, they all happen to be busy boys.  Some of my busiest bodies calm and focused at the puzzle table during Choice Time each day??  Yes, please!  I just love watching them use their minds to work together and solve puzzle after puzzle after puzzle.

I posted this pic on Facebook.  Click the image to head over to my page to weigh in!

This book is taken out and used every single day.  The pages are falling out and I really need to make a second copy!  I ordered the original book from Scholastic years ago, and just photocopied and bound it for my students to use.  They LOVE it.
Crayola Twistables are the best, yes???  Love love love them in my classroom.

My students are nuts about our word wall this year!  All of our word cards are magnetic and they love to take them off the wall, copy the words down, then put them back.  They know the rule of one card at a time.  Several students do this every day!!

They especially LOVE the name cards this year.  I had each child write their name on a card, then I traced the names with different color Sharpies.  My students love taking them down and making lists of their classmates.
You can read more about my word wall HERE.

I'd love to hear about Choice Time in your classroom!  If you have it, what activities do your students love?