Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Christmas Potpourri Post and a Sale!

Well, it's Christmas Eve and it's 6:55 am when I started typing this post. I just can't sleep. I wish I could say it was from Christmas excitement, like when you're a little kid, but it's more of a boring grown-up "mind spinning, thoughts running around in the head like crazy" kind of non-sleep. Anyway, I was thinking that since it's Christmas Eve, I would put all of my Christmas products on sale in my TPT store for 50% off. I know our teacher holiday season is over, but hey, you can stock up for next year. (That's what we do at Target after Christmas, right? Who's ready to stock up on all that cuteness at 50% off????)

Here's a quick glance at my seasonal products. (Click on the pictures to take you to that page!)
"Elf" Movie Task Cards + Bonus Internet Craftivity

A Season for "Merry-Mint"- Christmas Reward Activities

***Here are some pictures of my class in action with some of these activities we did from my  "A Season for Merry-Mint" packet:
(singing carols to our administrators)
You can get the elf hats here. Thanks, Laura Boriack - Over the 1st Grade Rainbow  

(our head of school read them a Christmas story - The Gingerbread Pirates, so cute!)

(we read Christmas stories with a few younger students in the school)

(our last item was a Christmas party, of course!)

***I had originally planned to do a Secret Santa week gift exchange with another class. However, the week before we planned this, the other teacher got a new student in her class and our student numbers weren't even anymore. This is why I don't plan things in advance! I had to come up with an alternate plan at the last minute, and a HUGE thank you goes to Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for saving my life with the idea of a stocking stuffer party!!!! My kids loved it. They acted like it was Christmas morning!!!!

Creative Thinking - 12 Fun Christmas List Activities

The Stockings Were Hung - Fiction & Nonfiction Text Summar

I'm also going to put the rest of my store on sale as well. Might I make a recommendation? My "Frozen Movie Task Cards" was a popular item this month! You KNOW those kids will be watching it all Christmas break...why not use those as a "reintroduce students back to the real world slowly" activities? You're meeting them where they are (hopped up on sugar, tired from playing and lack of a schedule) and they are reading and showing their comprehension all at the same time. I like when they are learning and don't know it!

Frozen Movie Fast Facts Task Cards

Merry Christmas to all of you! Have a restful break and recharge for the new year! :)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Five for Friday 12/5/14

Even though Doodle Bugs Teaching is taking a break from her linky parties, I decided to post this up anyway! Happy Friday!

 We use Sadlier's Vocabulary Workshop Book A. It is a middle/high school SAT/ACT vocabulary prep workbook, and I have to say, some of the words are really hard. There are words in some of the units that I've never even heard of before...words like "manacle." I don't think I'd ever heard of that before, or at least, not to my knowledge.

Anyway, my (special ed) students had trouble with a large chunk of the words this week, so I decided to do what works best for them - I used picture clues to match to the words. I made flaps with the words on the outside. They cut out the word flaps and glued them onto a large sheet of construction paper. They then used picture "cards" that I had made for them to glue the pictures under the correct vocabulary word flap. Some of the pictures were obvious as to which vocabulary word they matched, but with others, they had to really think about what word the picture was showing. For example, I had a picture of Santa Claus to match "jovial" - that was easy. But, for the word "onset," I had a picture of a kid with chicken pox on his back. It was meant to show the onset of chicken pox, or the beginning of the illness.

Here is a look at the flaps. I put them out in the hallway, and we did a last "look-through" the cards and pictures before our test. It really helped them. Their post-test scores improved tremendously!

I just used Google images to search for pictures. Otherwise, I would share the file with you!

What do you do to help your students with difficult vocabulary???

We're obviously in the holiday spirit and doing some holiday-related crafts and activities, and one of the fun ones my technology students did this week was from Computer Teacher Solutions. It was a technology-related version of the 12 Days of Christmas. It was a simple MS Word activity where the students typed the techie version of the song and made the page "their own." They added a festive border, fun fonts, and changed the font colors to Christmas-colored fonts. They really enjoyed it! I have to say, too, that they look great outside the tech room door for the season! Here are some student samples:

(Again, I couldn't get these darn pictures to turn upright - I tried everything. If anyone has any tips for fixing this, please help!) :)

We had to do report cards for term 2 this week. We used to have 3 terms, but we added a fourth one this year because our progress reports weren't "very helpful" to the parents. I don't mind doing report cards, but man, I feel like I just finished the last round. I have a literacy class with 7 students, and that's no issue, but I also teach technology to the entire school. I have over 100 report cards with grades AND COMMENTS for all of those kids. I know I'm whining. I need to be thankful that I have a job, and things could definitely be worse!

Two words: CHRISTMAS. SHOPPING. I feel like I haven't done ANYTHING yet. I know I've shopped for my own child, but I still have so much more to be done. Is anyone else feeling like they're barely treading water???

My literacy class is reading the book, Wonder, by RJ Palacio. It is an amazing story about a boy named August who has a deformed face. All he wants is to be treated normally since he feels that he is completely normal. He gets bullied and mistreated, as one could imagine, but the story is about how he overcomes all of this and how his friends (and classmates who are not his "best" friends) change and become better people because of him. I think it's the first time since high school that I've cried as much as I have, especially while reading a book. It is SUCH a good story. I can't recommend it enough. If you are looking for a great book to read over the holidays, pick this one!!! You can click here to get it.

photo courtesy of Amazon 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Countdown

My students are doing my "Christmas Countdown" activities this week. They are LOVING it. You can check out this product here, but basically, at the end of each day, we pull a candy cane from my container. I have papers and a number wrapped around them. They unwrap the paper, read the card, and the next day, we do whatever the card says. It's not a new idea - it's similar to Advent activities, but anyway...
Did I mention my kids are loving it? 
(I could NOT get this picture turned upright. I'm so sorry.)

Today we decorated another teacher's door. I used a simple ornament bulletin board activity from First Grade Blue Skies. You can see it here. My students really enjoyed the simple craft and they LOVED surprising this teacher. The teacher was so excited and my students were in heaven when she noticed and told them how much she loved it. 

We decided to give the candy canes to a teacher or staff member each day - just another way we can show some random kindness. So far, the teachers love getting a little treat and the kids can't wait until the end of class to see what will come next! Oh, the magic of Christmas!

It really put me in the Christmas spirit, even though sometimes it's hard to get into the Christmas spirit as an adult these days. Things are so much busier and hectic as an adult. Does anyone else feel this way?