Monday, December 31, 2012

Giveaway Reminder, Currently, and a Happy New Year!

Thank you to everyone who has entered my giveaway! I appreciate the support! I'm also grateful to the wonderful people who donated items! If you haven't entered yet, click the image below. There are some great prizes available. Entries will be accepted until January 6.

Thanks to Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for once again sponsoring this month's Currently!

OLW - I chose the word, creativity, because I always want to be more creative, and that's what I will try to be in the coming year. It will help me in my teaching, my blog, and in my personal life.

It looks like this will be my last post of 2012. I'm looking forward to blogging in 2013! I hope all of you and your families have a very happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My 100 Follower Giveaway!

Great news! I'm finally starting my 100 Follower Giveaway! Thank you to all of my followers! I truly appreciate your support! Also, a BIG thank you goes to everyone who donated an item to this giveaway! I had such an overwhelming response for donations, that I'm dividing this giveaway into 3 separate contests. First is PreK-2, then grades 3-6, and then grades 7+. I did my best to divide the items into the grade levels I thought would use them most, but there is some overlap. You are more than welcome to enter all 3 giveaways when they are posted. 

PreK-2 Package

English Winter Vocabulary Cards
 Synonym and Antonym Matching Cards
 Mr. Snowman
Penguin Letter Matching Center
Short Vowel Word Family Cards
 Elf Diary & Elf Writing Contract
Making Inferences About GIFTS -- A Fun Lesson for Young Learners!
Christmas Math and Literacy Centers
 Naughty or Nice? Tattling vs. Reporting and Fact vs. Opinion 
 First Grade Winter Math Review
 Grammar Gifts: Noun, Verb, Adjective Sort
Wonderful Winter Numbers: January Math Centers
The First Gift of Christmas Craftivity
I Have, Who Has Christmas Edition

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Grades 3-6 Package

Map Skills Task Cards
Winter Word Problems Basic Multiplication and Division
20 Creative Reward Coupons for Students
Goal Setting Power Pack!
 Christmas Writing Prompt Cards
 Money Madness Interactive Whiteboard Activity
 Winter Words Synonym Match Up
Winter Penguin Art Project
 48 January Writing Prompts
Scoot: Multiplication Arrays {Common Core Aligned}

 Here is the Rafflecopter for grades 3-6. Again, all grade levels are welcome to enter, as there may be items you can use in this set.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Grade 7+ Package

 Bubble Borders
 Wintery Snowflake Borders Clip Art 
Zombie Expressions
Equinox and Solstice Science Lessons

  Here is the grade 7+ giveaway. Everyone is welcome to enter!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Another giveaway! Jaime at Bright Concepts 4 Teachers is having a 200 Follower Giveaway! Be sure to visit her blog to help her celebrate!

Just Wild About Teaching is also having a giveaway. She is celebrating 600 followers! I hope I make it to 600 someday!

Second Grade Nest is having a huge giveaway to celebrate 500 followers!

  Be sure to check out all of these! You could win some great prizes!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Blogiversary, a Giveaway, and a Happy New Year!

Happy Blogiversary to Cynthia over at 2nd Grade Pad! She has been blogging for 1 year! To celebrate, she is giving away her entire store! Be sure to head on over to her blog to enter this fabulous giveaway!

Happy New Year to all of my readers!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Elves, Ornaments, and Christmas Trees

Christmas has come and gone! It's hard to believe. It's also hard to believe that I've taken this long to write a new post! Anyway, here are the school-related activities that have kept me busy lately (besides trying to get report cards done - UGH!).

Snowball continued his adventures in our classroom, leaving clues to new Christmas words for us. Here are some pictures of his adventures in our classroom.

On our leveled books

 Using one of our listening centers

 One day he decided to swing on our word wall. Of course, that day another teacher came through, saw him, and touched him right in front of the kids! She doesn't know about the elf rules since she wasn't doing it in her class. I didn't think we'd be able to recover from that one! Then, I had an idea:

 Snowball left us a note the next day, saying everything was okay! I also managed to get out of writing a morning message that day. :) The kids all know I can't stand when capital letters are misused, so they knew I couldn't have written that messy message.

 As you can tell, I haven't been doing a great job of counting to the 100th day. I actually got to 13, but put it on all zeroes so it didn't look as bad for my observation (which went very well, by the way!).

 Snowball toilet papered our Christmas tree!

 On our dismissal sign

He decided to take a nap on top of the microwave. I guess the children wore him out! 

Unfortunately, I was so busy with other things I forgot to take the last picture of him. It took them a while to find him peeking out from behind one of our Daily 5 posters. 

After all of the clues, we found the missing candy canes! They were in the principal's office.

Every year I have the children make a gift for their parents. This year, I had to get creative since some of the children had been in my Kindergarten class, and already had the ornament with a hand print made into snowmen. My mom found this project, which seemed easy. It was fairly easy, until we got to the part where the children had to place the sticks on the tagboard, and mark where they would be glued. For the most part, they came out cute.

Of course, I had to do the "Which Part Did You Eat First" gingerbread graph. I use Little Debbie gingerbread cookies for this.

After we made the graph, and the children made their own, we had a discussion as to why most people ate the head first (thanks to a coworker who gave me that idea). They came up with answers such as more icing, it sticks out more, and it's bigger.

For our final celebration, we made edible Christmas trees! They were pretty easy to make. First, we spread white frosting on the plate to hold it in place (and to look like snow). Then, they stirred green food coloring into more white frosting to spread on a sugar cone. This made the tree. After the trees were covered in green frosting, they could put M&Ms, gumdrops (which were the spicy ones, and all of the kids ended up spitting them out in the garbage! LOL! It was a funny sight!), and sprinkles to decorate the trees. To finish them, they were given tubes of gel frosting to add garland to the trees. They had lots of fun doing this, although some did get carried away with the decorating. I put plastic dollar store tablecloths on the tables first for easy cleanup. It's definitely an activity I would do again.

Now that I'm caught up on things, I can get to making new activities for TPT and trying to get that giveaway together. Rafflecopter is a little more complicated than I thought it would be! 

Feel free to leave comments!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Snowball the Elf, Real Reindeer, and a Gift From Flat Stanley

Snowball the Elf arrived in our room on Monday! He decided to hang out on the Christmas tree and brought his first clue to the Case of the Missing Candy Cane Mystery. The clues came from an activity pack by Anita Goodwin.

 Clue #1

The children's first time seeing Snowflake.

The letters were hidden under the children's chairs that day. The letters spelled, "reindeer." Some of the letters are green, some are red. After we find all of the clues, the children are supposed to take the red letters and unscramble them to find the name of the place where the candy canes are hidden.

On the second day, Snowflake wanted a softer place to settle for the day.

 He decided to get into our class bucket of pom poms, which the class earns when everyone is making good choices. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to take a picture before the children came. When they saw he had "spilled" some of the pom poms, they decided to put them back in the bucket. So, I had to stage these pom poms to make the picture look better. :)

Clue #2 - The letters were hidden on the playground, and spelled "lights."

Today, Snowflake decided to do some reading in our library center.

 Soon after the children came in, one of my "little darlings" decided that moving the book was a good way to move Snowflake without touching him. He ended up laying on the book for the entire day.

Clue #3 - The letters were hidden in the library, and spelled "ornaments." It took them a while to unscramble that word! :)

Keep checking back for periodic updates on Snowflake!

Now for the further adventures of Flat Stanley!

Thanks to Mary-Jo (my friend since 7th Grade) and her family, here is Flat Stanley in Connecticut. Not only did he get to see real reindeer, but he got to see snow! I miss snow! We don't get much of that here in Florida!

Today I got to do one of those last minute lessons that turn out to be really interesting! I went up to the office during lunch time, and found I had a package. I had no idea what it was, but the box said, "Byrd's Cookies." I thought it might be something from one of our Flat Stanley recipients. I got back to my room, opened the package, and found that it contained a tin of cookies. I was excited about sharing this with the class, and went to get them in the cafeteria. 

When we came back, I suddenly had an idea! We usually do Math after lunch, but I figured it was okay to switch things up a little bit. I quickly went over to the box, which the children couldn't see, closed it up, covered the words with paper, and brought it over to the carpet to show the children. I told them they were going to write about what could be in the box. After holding and shaking the box, they had to think of 3 things it could be, and tell why they thought that. The children were very excited about this, and we even managed to extend this into practice for looking up words in the dictionary.

The "mystery box" with the words covered

 Working hard on their writing!

Still writing!

After writing, we shared our ideas with the class. Most of them were thinking of items like Christmas ornaments, lights, gingerbread, books, etc. One child even said she thought the box contained cookies from Flat Stanley! Afterward, I opened the box and showed them the styrofoam peanuts. Some of them seemed excited about that, but some were disappointed. Then, I pulled out the cookie tin, and read the note attached to it. The cookies were from a student's grandmother, who signed the card from the child and Flat Stanley. They were so excited! Then, I opened the tin...

I was shocked to see a tiny ant crawl across the tissue paper. When I lifted a pack of the cookies, there were more ants underneath. YUCK! You can't see them in the picture since most of them are under the cookies, and thankfully they seemed to stay there. Even though the cookies were wrapped in plastic, I didn't want to take any chances by giving them to the children. I apologized to them, and explained to them why I had to throw the cookies away. They seemed to take it okay, but I still felt bad. I think I felt worse about it than they did! So, I told them I would buy some cookies for us to have tomorrow. They liked that idea! 

Overall, it was a great last-minute lesson despite the ants. I just love those lessons that just seem to flow so naturally!

As always, feel free to comment below! I love to hear from my readers!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Currently

It's a new month, which means it's time for a new Currently sponsored by Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade! Here it is:

Be sure to keep checking back this week! Our classroom elf, Snowball, will make his first appearance in our classroom tomorrow, and he'll be leaving clues to the Mystery of the Missing Candy Canes!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Another Nomination, a Giveaway, and Flat Stanley Goes Hollywood!

I have received another nomination for the Liebster Award! This makes 3! This nomination came from Melissa at First Grade Smiles. I've already fulfilled the other requirements in another post, so I'll go ahead and answer Melissa's questions.

1. How long have you been teaching?  
 This is my 18th year.

2. What is your favorite thing about teaching?  Least favorite? 
 My favorite thing is that moment when a child "gets it." I also love doing an activity knowing the children are fully enjoying learning. There is nothing like it! My least favorite thing, or I should say "things" are the politics, testing, and data collection.

3. What is the one thing in your classroom that you can't live without? 
 My computer! It stopped working at one point this year, and I couldn't take attendance, send my lunch count, check e-mail for what was going on at school that day, print out a last minute activity, access the online textbook, etc. It drove me nuts!

4. What is your favorite food? 
Pizza (cheese only!)

5. What was your favorite vacation? 
 It would have to be our recent Disney Cruise!

6. What movie could you watch over and over? 
There are tons of them! I'm definitely one to watch movies over and over and notice new things each time (like when you reread a book). One of my favorites is "While You Were Sleeping."

7. Mac or PC? 
PC, but I love my iPhone!

8. What is your favorite subject to teach? 
 Reading, Writing, or Grammar! I love working with words!

9. Favorite childhood TV show?
 I'm dating myself here, but probably "The Brady Bunch."
10. What do you like to do in your free time? 
 I like to read, play word games (and other games on my computer), blog, make things for TPT, and watch tv.

11. If you weren't a teacher, what would you be?   
I would probably be working in publishing or something with computer graphics.

Thanks, Melissa!

It seems I'm not the only one who recently reached 100 followers. Jodi over at Realistic Teacher (who first nominated me for the Liebster) is now well over 100 followers! To celebrate, she is having a giveaway!

She will be giving away 5 different bundles, one of which includes one of my products! She also has fantastic products from many other talented teachers from TPT. Be sure to click on over to her blog and check it out!

Finally, another Flat Stanley update! 

 Stanley visited my friends, the Womacks, in Alabama. They brought him to the Montgomery Zoo. It sounded like they had a great time!

 These 2 Stanleys went to a the family of a child in my class in Hampstead, MD. They carved pumpkins, drank lots of hot cocoa, and played in the leaves.

 This Stanley went to Fredrick, MD and went to Harry Grove Stadium to buy tickets to a Keys game.

 This Stanley went to Gilford, NH. There he climbed Mt. Washington to see the beautiful fall foliage and went apple picking.

Here is another Stanley visiting my brother, David, at the University Plaza Hotel (where he works) in Springfield, MO.

This next Stanley went to visit my old friend, Chris, who lives in Santa Monica, CA. Here are some pictures of the exciting adventures he had the day they went to Los Angeles. By the way, Stanley spotted Tom Hanks, but didn't want to be rude and interrupt his meeting to get a picture. That would have been the coolest picture!

 Here he is in front of the famous Beverly Hills sign.

 Shopping on Rodeo Drive.

 At the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he saw the stars for Kermit the Frog, Walt Disney, Bugs Bunny, the Simpsons, and Shrek!

Here he is at the famous Hollywood sign.

 At Grauman's Chinese Theater

 He got to step in Donald Duck's footprints!

 He even saw them setting up for the premiere of the movie, "Wreck-It Ralph."

I wish I could have gone with Stanley on that trip! He's actually staying with Chris to have more exciting adventures!

That's all for now, but coming soon I'll be having my own 100 Follower Giveaway! I have 3 fantastic prize bundles in the works for grades Pre-K all the way to high school!

Feel free to leave comments below!