Sunday, December 15, 2013

Student Gifts & A Little Elf Mischief...

What do you do for student holiday gifts?  Like many people, I hope for a reasonable holiday book in the Scholastic book orders and then order 23 of them.  This year's selection is admittedly not my favorite, but it is cute and the kids will love it.
Usually I hit the Dollar Store for some cute wintery wrapping paper, but this year, I happened to be in Michael's and found this Debbie Mumm owly paper:
$6 a roll was a little more than I usually spend on paper that my kiddos won't even look at before tearing off (lol) but it was so darn cute for my Wise Owls that I couldn't resist.  I bought two rolls to make sure I had enough for 23 books, and I guess you get what you pay for, because I didn't even make it through one roll!  Now I am super excited to have a full roll ready to go for next year.  You know how excited we teachers get over being well prepared! :)
Most of my area was closed down with the snow we got yesterday in central New Jersey, so here is what I spent some time doing:
Ahhh... wrapping in front of the fire... kinda makes me wish every Saturday were like this!
Meanwhile, our family elf, Blitz, has been up to more mischief...
She showed up in the kids' bathroom taking a marshmallow bubble bath.
Then on our very first day of snow, she led the girls down the hall from their bedrooms with some signs...

... all the way to the front door, where she was staring out at the Winter Wonderland!
She had also left us our own snowy wonderland in the living room:
She and Barbie played a little checkers with peanut butter cups, yum!
Dun dun dunnnnnn.... this warning came after a day when my girls were not particularly nice to one another.  (Chocolate crackle coal.... a Dollar Store find!)
Oh, Blitz!  You stinker!  Writing on our pictures with dry erase marker!
Tsk, tsk....
Then she did something nice and put candy canes on the tree. :)
Oh, Blitz.  What will you do next?
Ok, now I'd better start writing lesson plans and my reflection to my pop-in observation that occurred this past week (glad to have that done!) while my poor hubby shovels us out of snow and ice.
Hope you are staying warm this weekend!

post signature
Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Super Readers and SNOW DAY... Sort of...

My kiddos this year are super strong readers.  Several of them entered first grade at an end of first grade level and none of them are really struggling readers; which has led me to some major retooling of the things I typically work on during the first half of the year.  Overall, they don't need much in the way of decoding strategies (although we did review them).  What they do need, though, is a lot of comprehension work.  Like many strong first grade readers, we are working on understanding that we don't always understand a word simply because we can say it out loud correctly.  (Metacognition!  Remember that word from college?)
Since my kids are reading longer and harder books and often word solving in their heads, I really needed a way to make sure that both my reading groups and my independent readers are accountable for understanding what they read, as well as a way to explain this to parents.  So I decided to try something with one of my higher groups - treating their group more like a book club and giving them comprehension questions (reading response logs) to check in on how they are doing with their longer and harder books.  So far, I am really happy with how it is going!  I feel like I have a much better sense of their understanding of the story, story vocabulary, inference, and story message, and I know that even when they are reading without me, the books are an appropriate level.  Here is the first one of my reading response logs that I have prettied up as a unit.  It goes with Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad Together, which is a guided reading level 18/20, DRA K, Lexile 330L.
It includes comprehension question pages for prereading and chapters 1 - 5 as well as answer keys.
In other news, most districts around me were closed today (including my husband's and my kids') but mine soldiered on through a crazy snowstorm.  I was actually home with a migraine, but did drive in to set up for my sub and got caught in the storm on the way back, making my typical 30 minute drive home a 1 hr 20 minute drive... with a migraine.  ACK!  Fortunately, I made it home fine and crashed into bed for a few hours.  My hubby took this picture of my girls and their Snow Day achievement:
Have you gotten any snow yet?

post signature
Sunday, December 8, 2013

Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives: Word Detectives On the Case!

My kiddos at school are working hard on learning parts of speech.  I wanted some fresh, new activities that would make nouns, verbs, and adjectives fun and motivating, so I decided to make my kids Word Detectives!  Here is a peek at the new unit we are using.  My kids are having a blast, and many of my Wise Owls are now adding more adjectives into their writing as a result. Bonus!
I have to keep my kids motivated to do important learning as the holidays get closer, and this is helping!  Hope your kiddies aren't too crazy yet!
post signature
Saturday, December 7, 2013

Elf on the Shelf in Effect!

I am an Elf on the Shelf newbie!  To be honest, they always creeped me out a little, lol.  But this year I decided to try it with my own kiddies at home.  I blame Pinterest with all of its creative ideas!  It just looked like so much fun!  And it is... it's been a stressful few weeks and setting up Blitz's (we have the girl elf, my daughters named her after Blitzen) shenanigans has actually been a fun stress reliever.  I can't really use an Elf in my classroom but I am having a blast at home so I thought I'd share some of Blitz' adventures so far:
Blitz arrives hanging by chandelier :)
Blitz takes a ride on Tasha.
Portia gets in some Elf snuggles
Blitz takes the gold!
Just hangin' around...
Storytime with her friends
Oh my...
Super Blitz! (Suspended from a beam by fishing line)
Uh oh... The Lego guys are tired of her shenanigans...
All dressed up for a night on the town.... and following traffic signs, of course!
A heated game of Guess Who with Rudolph!
Stay tuned for further Blitz excitement!  Hope these chilly days hold some fun for you, too!
For more Elf fun, link up with Seusstastic's Elf on the Shelf Classroom & Home Elfcapades Linky Party!  Click on the link to join the fun!

post signature
Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas to the Common Core PLUS Science!

Whew!  I'm SOOO excited to have posted my newest unit, Christmas to the (Common) Core PLUS Science!

It's 71 pages of print-and-go Math and Language Arts activities, plus a thermometer practice book (Fahrenheit and Celsius) and two full science experiments.  Here is just a sneak peek:

 Also, my Handsome Hubby created the Christmas tree background for the cover, which I have posted as a FREEBIE!  Enjoy!  Happy Thanksgiving and happy shopping at the TpT Cyber Monday/Tuesday SALE!  I can't wait!

post signature