Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Penguin Writing Freebie!

I love vacation!  But I am (almost) looking forward to going back to school simply because we begin one of my favorite themes.  Animals!  And, more specifically, PENGUINS!  I am a huge sucker for these adorable black and white birds.

In their honor I am offering my Penguin Writing Activity Pack free until January 2, 2013.  All you have to do is:

1) Follow my blog by clicking "Join This Site" to the right --->
2) Follow me on Facebook by clicking here and clicking LIKE.
3) Leave me a comment letting me know you did these two things and include your email!

I will email the pack to you.  It includes words and vocabulary for a tree chart for Penguins have/can/are, writing paper,  and a penguin shape craft. 

This offer has expired, but you can find this cute writing pack HERE.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Facebook Page

I just set up a new Facebook page-- Come find me on Facebook!  Like my page and we can chat there, too, about day-to-day teaching stuff...and whatever else we feel like talking about!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wrapping Up 2012 With A Calendar Freebie

Before I get into what we were up to last week, I want to let you know about a project for Sandy Hook.  In case you haven't heard, the CT PTSA is collecting decorated snowflakes from children around the country to decorate the temporary school for the Sandy Hook survivors.  Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the families of the victims and the community as a whole.

Well, we were busy little elves last week.  We wrapped up our gingerbread unit with cookie decorating and our "Gingerbread Man" play.  This is the play by Heidi Butkus of Heidisongs.  If you've never done a play with your class, this is a great one to start with.  It's adorable!

I purposely posted a dark pic so as not to show faces, but it was beyond cute!
We painted pine cone Christmas trees.  I collected the pine cones in Lake Tahoe last summer, but you could certainly do this project with the smaller cones you find at Michael's.  

Just have them paint the cones in a paper bowl and sprinkle with glitter while wet.  Allow to dry overnight.  The way I did the display was put tacky glue in the bottom of the bowl, crumple a half sheet of tissue paper and stick to the bowl.  Coat the top of the tissue paper with more tacky glue and attach the pine cone.  I used Solo red plastic bowls.  Next year,  I will remember to take pictures of all the steps!  

We also made bead pattern candy canes.  I got the kits from Oriental Trading Co. but you could certainly just use pony beads from any craft store.

It was a great final week before the holidays, filled with fun projects, lots of hugs, and a renewed appreciation for the privilege it is to do the job I do.

I had a wonderful holiday with my family and have even created a couple of new items for my TpT Store.

HaPpY NeW YeAr!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Batman is Watching!

Well...this has been the longest week ever an interesting week! 

So our Elf on the Shelf arrived  on Monday.  I have never done this before and was really looking forward to doing something fun that also keeps behavior in check.  However, my class sometimes reacts a little on the extreme side to the introduction of anything "fun."  ie: When we started the spider unit in October I put some webbing across the front door-- you would have thought they'd stepped onto the magic school bus or something!

So needless to say, the first day with the elf was less than stellar. 
Here's where we found him:
Just hanging out on the white board with a good view of the room.

Here's what happened:  It had rained all night and I spent most of the morning recess shooing kids away from a lake-sized puddle that had formed at the edge of the playground.  Now I know playing in a puddle is good healthy fun, but I have many children who would literally soak themselves and who would soak others who may not want to get soaked. Then they will spend the rest of the day complaining about wet shoes, socks, pants, etc and I just don't have that kind of patience anymore.

 So, at the end of our morning recess, I blew my whistle for the kids to line up.  They all did.  We were settling down and getting ready to walk in for Reading groups when suddenly, one of my crazy   energetic boys (I have 18 boys this year, by the way) points toward the puddle and yells, "SQUIRREL!!!"  He takes off to chase the squirrel, through the puddle, around the big tree, and is promptly followed by SEVEN MORE of my little friends!!!  The rest of the children remaining in line are in complete fear of the look on my face!  I quietly usher them in the door while the 8 escapees proceed to return to the playground for an extended recess!  They were unbelievable!  Swinging on their stomachs, running up the slide-- it was like the movie Kindergarten Cop!  I did not call to them.  I watched them.  I watched them become utterly possessed by their own impulsiveness.

Finally, after nearly 5 whole minutes of this, they notice everyone has gone inside.  They come to the line and look at me like nothing has happened.  They did not even get what a crazy thing they had just done!  Well, I read them the riot act in the most serious, stern teacher voice I can ever remember using.  I've been teaching K for 13 years now.  I'm no newbie.  This was insanity.  Oh, did I mention this was my  BIRTHDAY?  Yep.  Fun.

These 8 friends got notes home, I conferenced with as many of the parents as I could that afternoon, and our elf left for the North Pole before day's end to have a big meeting with Santa.  This resulted in Santa installing a secret camera so he could help our elf monitor certain children.  I don't know that Santa has ever had to go to such lengths for one Kindergarten classroom, but he did what he had to do.  And our elf took the next day off deciding if he wanted to come back or not.  The children who followed the rules and stayed in line were rewarded with a trip to the prize box.

Another lesson I learned: when you have 18 boys in a class, do not make selecting the elf's name open-ended.  Here is what they came up with:

Yes.  Batman the Elf.

I could not fathom telling them every day that "Batman" was watching them (LOL!), so in one of Santa's notes (the one regarding the squirrel fiasco) he referred to our elf as "Batty."  A little easier to live with!

Since then, things have improved and we've had a little fun with Batty.  When he returned, he wanted the kids to focus on Rule #4:

We "Elfed" Ourselves: I bought this pattern on TpT RIGHT HERE.

Today, Batty was found on Rule #5 with a  slight change:
and he brought some special stickers for well-behaved friends.
For tomorrow, Friday, he has changed our letter of the week:

and left us a special project to do:

I found the elf parts on Pinterest. Click here for the pin.

You can download the scrambled sentence by clicking here.

If you made it through this long post, you are a trooper!

Leave me a comment if you like the elf download and please follow me!

Cheers!  (Literally!)