Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Teacher's Christmas List

Inspired by Courtney at Swimming Into Second
Graphics from Diane J. Hook

1. A sick detector: I'd like to have one at the entrance to my classroom, instead of alerting for metal it would set off an alarm when a student had a fever, stomach virus, or symptoms of the flu. I love to see my kiddos every day, I wish they'd leave their germs at home though. :)
2.A homework machine: will someone/something please review and log my homework for me?!?!
3. A bathroom break: let's face it, lunch is only 35 minutes and if you have recess duty every day like I do, there's no time to relieve yourself.
4. Howler's from Harry Potter to send home to parents: I can tweet, write newsletters, post on websites and information still never seems to get to everyone's homes... (totally borrowed this from Courtney!)
5. A desk elf or monkey: I just can't seem to help my kiddos keep their desks clean this year...
6. A never-ending budget: Who doesn't want everything they could ever need for their classroom??!!?
7. My own personal laminator
8. A copier that never jams!
9. A printer that always works!
10. A Mac!!!! Or maybe just an iPod. I'm definitely a mac girl and I love all of the educational tools (garage band, imovie, etc) and apps that typically come standards on most macs. I also just think macs are easier for students to learn to use and are deceptively simple. Who doesn't love clicking and dragging?!?! I'd love to have my whole school running on macs, sorry Dell :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Wrap-Up!

Finally made it to Christmas, or really "winter" break! I'm excited to just read, sleep, and eat good food more than anything else. I had a 3.5 day week this week and it just seemed like a marathon. I dunno about anyone else, but my firsties seemed to have an incredible amount of energy this week that was directed in the most random places.  Every year, I finish the last few days of school before break with Polar Express activities. Who doesn't love a little Chris Van Allsburg?!?! First I read the book, and we practice summarizing by completing the activity below. I then add student pics, laminate the summaries, and wrap with ribbons so that kids can take them home and give them as gifts to their parents.

**Polar Express Summary Gifts**

The following day, we watch the movie and compare and contrast it to the book.  My students are always SO impressed to learn that the book was written far before the movie lol. 

We also finished our reindeer gifts! This was the first year I tried this little craft and I think it turned out much cuter than I expected to. Note to self: next year I will NOT wear a white sweater when painting and stamping student feet in BROWN paint! Somehow, I managed to get away unscathed, but I may not be as lucky in the future...

This year, I had a really tough time figuring out what I wanted to give my students as gifts. I typically buy a $1 book from Scholastic and give that to everyone, but I just wanted to give something a bit more meaningful and memorable. As I was shopping in the grocery store, I saw a simple pack of bells...
I was able to buy the bells from Giant in 6 packs. The assortment of colors was very festive! I put all all of the bells in a reindeer gift bag and told my class that last year, I had written to Santa. I wanted to know if the Polar Express was really fiction. I went on to say that I came home recently and found a bag of these bells on my doorstep with NO note attached! My class went crazy! They just knew that Mr. C (Santa) had left 'em on my doorstep to teach me that the story was nonfiction and that he really does exist. When I shook the baggie of bells and my class could hear them, they were thrilled. They reminded me that only "believers" could hear the bell. I then let each student pick a bell from the bag (with their eyes closed). It was one magical afternoon! I also gave each student 2 homework passes, but they paled in comparison to the reindeer bells.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Craft

So this year, I'm trying a new holiday craft/gift. With the help of my classroom aide, high school aide, and myself I am going to attempt to complete the craft below. Many teachers make hand-printed wreaths in my school, but I think the foot is darling! :)  I'm seriously hoping that this is non-denominational enough (although I do not have any students this year that celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.). I also do a polar express train summarizing activity (pics to come soon) and sometimes I do a hand-painted poinsettia for Las Posada.

I'm planning on creating just the Rudolph from the piece above and mounting onto green construction paper. I am substituting red glitter along w/ a red bingo marker for the nose so that I can laminate the project. After laminating, students will add the googly eyes. A poem to go with this project is included below and was found at

Join the fun, share your ideas over at:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holidays Around the World

My favorite unit is fast approaching: Holidays Around the World! I just love teaching about different cultures and their traditions. :) Below is a copy of my passport that I use when teaching this unit. Students complete the cover, and we use Google Earth to visit each country. We call it "skydiving!" I usually visit 1 or 2 countries per day.  If you'd like a file that can be edited, feel free to email me:

Happy blogging!

Passport front cover

Passport inside pages

Chestnuts Roasting...

Even though December is one of my favorite times of the year for teaching, it's also the time of year when students seem to be the most distracted! Santa's on the way, reindeer are coming too, Hanukkah is near, latkes will soon be eaten and menorahs lit! Visit the website below to view a real fireplace with AWESOME sound effects. My students love to write with the fireplace on and read near the fireplace too. Just having it on seems to calm us down keep us focused!

Blazing Fireplace

Hope you enjoy!