Saturday, December 22, 2012

Elf Update

So things have been crazy with trying to get ready for Christmas with my family and with school and everything else that has been thrown in on top of that, so I haven't been on to post my other Elfie pics.  I realized today that I didn't take pictures of him the last 2 days, so sorry about that.  Here is the update. :)

Hanging out by my phone in case he needs to make parent phone calls.  lol  

A birds-eye view of the class from the projector.  

A note from Elfie after a really bad day.

Came back even though the class was better, but still not great.  

The kids had spelled out COMPLIMENTS! so they earned a class reward.  The reward they picked was a gingerbread party.  So I had made gingerbread men on a Sunday, but the class was so talkative and chatty that I wasn't about to let them get a reward, so here was Elfie with one of the cookies trying to tempt the class into being super good so we could have the celebration.  No luck.  lol  

Here is Elfie sitting above the behavior chart watching the class.  They were finally much better this day and we were able to have our gingerbread celebration.  

This was from Monday, I had forgotten the note at home, so I had to re-do one at school and there is not color printing at school.  I just colored the border with marker.  Hanging out by the character traits.  

Hanging out on the TV with friends as an extra set of eyes.  

Wednesday, hanging out above the door by the clock.  

Thursday Elfie was hanging out by my window that sees into the hallway and the note mentioned that he was there so he could watch the class inside the room and in the hallway.  Friday Elfie was on my back whiteboard with a good-bye note.  
So there is my Elf Update.  He is now gone back to the North Pole for the year.  How did things go in your room?  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Elf mishap

So today Elfie is sitting on my cabinets, next to the Christmas lights waiting for the students to come.
He has earmuffs on his lap, ready in case he needs them, we're all good, the bell rings and students start to come in, and he falls over.  I was like, really????  So there he is laying on the cabinet instead of sitting nicely as students are looking for him.  I wanted to say can you 3 please wait in the hallway for a minute, shut the door, and fix him, but I couldn't.  So they see him and say Elfie fell down!  They thought it was funny though.  I said he as taking a nap, because he was really tired.  lol  So as more kids streamed in, all of the kids would repeat all of that.  It was funny cause during math one of the students in my math group from another class said, when I told him he was napping, "is he tired of us?"  lol  He was joking and it was pretty funny.  So when the class was in PE, I fixed him back up.  Of course the second they walked in the room, they noticed and made a big deal out of it.  They asked if I fixed him and I said, "oh no.  I'm not allowed to touch him, he'll lose his magic!"  One of my boys said, "adults are allowed to touch him."  lol  Well anyway, my kiddos weren't too bad today, they weren't as loud as Mon. & Tues., but they weren't as good as yesterday when there was the threat of him leaving, so no treats for tomorrow.  I'll keep them on hand for when they finally get them (they're just hershey kisses).  Have you had any Elf mishaps?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Earmuffs to the rescue!

So as I've mentioned in the last 2 posts, my class has been uber chatty these past couple of days.  Monday I said, okay, it's the start of a new month, there are holiday decorations up, snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, holiday books out, an elf, it's understandable they are excited and chatty.  However, yesterday they still were, maybe even worse!  I thought there is no way that I am going to make it to the 21st with my sanity if this continues.  Enter earmuffs for Elfie.  I made earmuffs out of little pom pom balls and a pipecleaner.  I used sticky tac to stick the pom poms to the pipecleaner, and then more sticky tac to stick the earmuffs to his ears.  Then I wrote a note, which you can see below.

And another shot, up close.  
So the students came in today and immediately started looking for him.  One of my students found him pretty quickly so they all ran over to where he was to read the note.  They also noticed his earmuffs right away.  One of my girls said, "he's wearing them because it's cold outside."  The students who read the note said, "No, we were too noisy for him and it hurt his little ears."  lol  Let me tell you, it was so quiet in my room during morning work time, I almost couldn't believe it.  I e-mailed 2 of my team members to tell them and my teammate next door replied back, "Where can I get me one of those???"  lol  All day if some students started getting loud, the other students would say, "Be quiet, or Elfie will leave!!!"  Those earmuffs and the note saved my sanity today!  lol  Look at the cute note another one of my little girls wrote to Elfie during Daily 5 time on her white board.  
So tomorrow Elfie wrote a note praising them for their good job and hoping he doesn't have to put those earmuffs on again.  They are on his lap.  lol  We'll see if Elfie has to threaten to leave again to get them to be quiet.  lol  
Another funny thing is that one of my teammates brought in an old elf of hers from home.  It looks NOTHING like the elf on the shelf.  It looks more like a Santa or gnome.  However the kids in her class are treating it just like an elf on the shelf!  So funny!  Then my teammate next door who asked where she could get one since it was helping my class to be quiet, told me after school that one of her kids told her she was the only teacher who didn't have one.  I told her that's not true, then she said, well in 2nd grade.  I said I bet that's not true either, I'm sure our teammate on the end doesn't have one (but none of our students go in her room, so they wouldn't know that).  Well anyway it sounds like she really is going to go out and get an elf for her room, which just cracks me up, as she is Jewish, but whatever, most of the kids in her class aren't!  lol  So it's elf craziness in 2nd grade!  Now to just stay creative with what to do with him...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Elfie Day 2

So I'm being good and getting on again today!
I found an Elf on the Shelf linky party, so Elfie and I are joining in!

So I was hoping that my students would be better today after the excitement of Elfie yesterday and trying to be good to send a good report Santa's way, but that didn't happen.  It's not that they were bad, it's that they wouldn't stop talking!  All day long, I'd stand waiting for them to get quiet and then after enough time passed they'd get quiet for maybe a minute and then it would start all over again!  So today I made earmuffs for Elfie and he's wearing them with a note that said their noise hurt his small ears so he had to wear the earmuffs and could they please get quieter so he doesn't have to wear them.  It probably won't work, but it's worth a shot right?
So today the class found Elfie with a new note on top of the cubbies next to the globe.  I did research to find out where Santa lives and sources said upper Finland is in the arctic circle of the North Pole so that's where he'd live.  So there was an arrow pointing to it.
Amazingly enough no one asked me if I put the arrow on the globe.  They asked if I hung the note up, but not the arrow.  lol  So for tomorrow Elfie is sitting on the ledge of my high window in the library corner, where it's quieter, with his earmuffs and his new note.  We'll see what happens tomorrow!  Is it crazy in your class yet?  

Monday, December 3, 2012

Elf fun :)

So when I was little we had this elf that used to get tacked up to hang from the ceiling in our bedroom.  My parents told us that he was watching and listening and would be telling Santa all the good and naughty things we were doing.  He had no name, we saw him come out of the Christmas decorations box every year, we touched him to help put him up, and still we believed.  Even when we got older he still went in the same spot.  Once I became a teacher, he moved with me to my classroom.  I would hang him up in my classroom and I would tell the students the same thing my parents told me.  Then what do you know, 3 years ago I'm in a Hallmark shop (I think) and there is this family tradition kit, "Elf on the Shelf."  It comes with this elf that looks JUST like the elf we had growing up and there is even a book that goes with it.  I can't even believe it when it says how he reports to Santa every night to tell how we've been.  I think to myself, I HAVE to get this for my sister's family, it's just like what we had growing up!!!  Now I have 3 sisters and a brother, but my younger sister and I are the closest in age and we're the ones who went through the elf thing together.  He hung in our room.  The 2 of us are really close and every year I play Santa and buy a family gift.  I go over to their house while they're at her father-in-law's on Christmas Eve, let myself in, and put the gift under the tree so that way they have a fun surprise from Santa too (my sister knows who the real culprit is).  So I buy the "Elf on the Shelf" as their family gift that year from Santa.  The next year, my sister doesn't do anything with it because my niece is only 2 1/2 at the time and wouldn't get it.  I continue to do my thing in the classroom, no one knows anything about "Elf on the Shelf."  Then last year my sister and niece open up the elf and read the book.  My niece loves the story and the elf, but refuses to name it because she doesn't want it to come alive.  She wants it to just stay in her room.  lol  I put up my elf and all of a sudden there are kids who say it's "the elf on the shelf."  I tell them the story of the elf growing up like I have every year.  They ask me what my elf's name is.  I tell them that we never named him.  I also told them that he stays in one spot and doesn't move around, but he's still watching and reporting to Santa and that they can't touch him.  That brings us to this year.  My sister decides she's going to try again with the elf in the hope that my niece will do the whole thing since she's now 4 1/2 (really 4 5/6, she'll be 5 in Feb, lol).  My sister had gotten the movie the year before and they loved that as well.  So she decides to get the skirt and put it on the elf and tell my niece that Santa thought maybe she'd prefer a girl elf.  She gets this whole thing planned and my niece starts asking about the elf and where is it packed up in the basement.  They have to find him.  lol  My sister plays it off but is thinking in her head, "oh great"  lol.  So anyway Thanksgiving weekend this new girl elf comes to the house with a letter from Santa saying that he thought she would prefer a girl elf and to please give it a name.  Well that's enough for my niece who tells my sister, "THAT'S why we couldn't find the elf!"  lol  She does name her this year, Karen, after the little girl who helps Frosty.  Now my sister also has a small version of the elf that hung in our bedroom that she uses as an ornament every year.  Well my niece decides that they need to name that one too and see if it will get it's magic, so she names it Holly.  Why yes it did get magic too, and they have a fun time every morning looking for the 2 elves together.  That brings me back to my classroom where after Thanksgiving break a few of my students have had "the elf on the shelf" come to their homes and they are talking about.  I think to myself, okay this thing has really blown up this year, I think I'm going to have to go all in with the elf instead of my usual.  So Friday when I was switching my room over from November to December I got out my December box and took out the elf.  Now this elf is not new.  He's been around for at least 30 years (not sure if my older siblings had him or not) and he had some holes in his outfit.  I brought him home over the weekend and my mom and I fixed him up so he looks like new.  This morning, I put him in his spot along with a letter from my elf (whom I named Elfie, which my mom gave me a hard time about, lol  She didn't think I was very original, but I thought it was cute).  I also hung these felt-like snowflakes from the ceiling and put up Christmas lights around my cabinets.  When my students came in this morning, they were mesmerized by this and then lost it when they saw Elfie.  They were so excited and had a million questions for me.  I told them we would talk about it during our morning meeting and that they needed to do their morning work.  So it's time for the morning meeting and the kids can't wait to hear what I have to say.  I do my same shpeal about how the elf has been around since I was little and what he was like for me.  I then explain that he now has a name and so he has his magic.  I had borrowed the book from my sister and read it to the class to help explain for the half of the class that didn't know.  This makes one of my little girls say "oooh!  We have one on our tree, but we never named him!  That's why he doesn't move around.  When I get home today I'm going to name him to get him his magic!"  I read the letter from Elfie and tell my class that Elfie was the one who put up the snowflakes and Christmas lights, which impressed them a lot!  lol  All day the students were excited about Elfie so he did not help with behavior at all today.  lol  They were EXTREMELY chatty.  When my teammate's class came in to learn about the art of the week, my kids couldn't wait to tell them about Elfie.  When students from another 2nd grade class came to our room for our math group today, they again couldn't wait to tell them (to which those students went back to their class and shared the news, lol).  All day long that little girl keeps telling me how she's going home to name her elf.  lol  So once my kids are at PE, I e-mail her parents to give them a heads up.  lol  They are fine with it and will be going along with it.  lol  I e-mail all of my parents to give them a heads up so they know what their child is talking about and I've had some really great parent replies back about how great I am for sharing this and doing it with the kids.  So without further adieu, meet Elfie.
You can see the holes in his hat, as we didn't fix those, just his arms and legs.  He was hanging above my reading chair where my boggle board is.  You can download the stationary from here.  It's an editable pdf that comes with the font.  I made my letter a full size for the first one.  The photos below are the snowflakes from the ceiling and the lights that Elfie surprised the kids with.  

Sorry for the blur.  I was in a rush when taking the pics.  The art of the week is a gingerbread glyph we do every year.  I'll tell more about that in a later post some time.  Tonight, Elfie has written the class another note on the stationary for the spot where the students will find him tomorrow.  He's on top of the cubbies, next to the globe, pointing to the North Pole.  I'll try and snap a picture tomorrow.  My plan is to have a note every day (it's a good thing I bought more ink for my printer!  lol).  I also plan on making Elfie some earmuffs out of puff balls and pipe cleaners if the children are noisy again and writing something along the line of how it's hurting his ears and he won't be able to stay around if they are that loud, and maybe sitting on my classroom phone with a note that he's ready to call anyone he needs to.  lol  It should be fun.  Hopefully I'll take pics and let you know what happened for the day every night.  This way the parents will know too.  Are you doing "Elf on the Shelf" in your classroom or at home?  How's it working for you?  Any great ideas you want to share for an Elf in the classroom?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Fun! :)

So yay for Thanksgiving Break!  :)  I'm always ready for one when the time comes!  :)
We started off the week with our Thanksgiving Friendship Feast on Monday.  I cooked the bird on Sunday and we were ready to go.  Everyone remembered to bring what they were supposed to and I had a lot of fabulous parent volunteers.  It was so much easier with their help.  We set up the food on the counter and then I called up groups of kids to fill their plates.  Our lunch tables were set up in the hallway for the students to go sit at.  They took their Native American paper placemats that they weaved and their headbands and were all set.  While the other students were waiting for food they watched Garfield's Thanksgiving.  Here are some photos from our feast.  :)
The bird, before I cut it all up.  
Lining up to get food.  
Feasting away.

Here are my November bulletin boards for the month.
First up is the pumpkin cut paper craft I got a LONG time ago that we do every couple years or so and a pumpkin acrostic poem.

 Here is a turkey glyph that we found somewhere online last year and it turned out cute and the kids wrote either a turkey story or what they were doing for Thanksgiving to go with it.
Here is the wall outside my room where I put the class writing we did together.  Here is our class how-to article on How to Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich.

Also as I'm sure you know TPT is having an after Thanksgiving sale Monday + Tuesday.  Teacher's Notebook is having one Saturday through Monday.  So stop by either of my shops to pick up my Treasures units for up to 28% off.  :)  Below you will find the button that the fabulous 3AM Teacher made to link up to the TPT sale.  Click below to go to my stores.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and fun shopping (either in store or online)!  :)


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Crazy Week & Silhouette contest

So this week started off not great for me, as my mom called me Sunday evening to tell me that they rushed my dad to the hospital in the early hours of the morning.  She didn't call earlier because she knew that we were going to the circus, typical of my mom.  She said that my dad's heart was racing and wouldn't slow down so he told her to call the paramedics that he thought he should go to the hospital (thank goodness my dad is not afraid to do that sort of thing).  Now some background info on my dad, he is 70 years old and has had 2 open heart surgeries.  One 30 years ago when I was a toddler and one 5 years ago.  Luckily he's been fine.  The other thing that is always scary for me is the fact that he is the first one in his immediate family to make it to 70.  His parents and 2 of his siblings did not.  So like I said, yay for Dad not being afraid to go to the doctor/hospital.  My mom said that once they got to the hospital they tried to give him some medicine to slow it down, but it didn't work so they had to shock his heart.  The first shock didn't work, so they shocked him again and then he was fine after that.  All of this happened at like 3AM.  She said not to worry because he was fine and they'd just been sitting around all day at the hospital.  He was scheduled to get a defibrillator put in the next day so if that happened again, it would shock his heart without needing to go to the hospital.  Then she asked me to call all of my siblings (I have 4 of them) to tell them.  Yay me.  lol  So I conference called them because I didn't want to make that call 4 times.  Thank goodness for my family.  I'm very lucky to have them and that we are close to each other and don't live far away from each other.  The surgery was supposed to be very minor and would be in the afternoon.  So I went to work and got through the day (happy to have the distraction) and left immediately after school to rush to the hospital.  My eldest sister had texted me when he went into surgery and I was getting a little nervous that I hadn't gotten a text saying he was out yet because it had been 2 hours.  I met my older sister in the parking lot and she showed me where everyone was waiting (my eldest sister, my younger sister, and my mom).  I was there maybe 10 minutes and then the doctor came out saying the surgery was done, it went well, and that my dad was cracking jokes though half of it (he's sedated, but awake), so my dad.  My sisters were teasing me that I came at the tail end when they had been there for hours.  So then they wheeled my dad back to his room and he was still cracking jokes.  The doctor said that as far as he could tell on his end, everything was fine, and he'd be discharged the following day.  Relief, let me tell you.  So Tuesday I call my mom during lunch to ask when they were letting him go and she said they weren't.  His kidney levels weren't where they really wanted them to be.  They assumed it was because of the dye they had to put in during the surgery and that they just need to put another i.v. in to flush his system of it and then he'd be able to go home the following day.  So again after school I headed to the hospital to give my parents some company (my dad was starting to get stir crazy and was taking it out on my mom) and a break from the sameness.  Wednesday I called again and this time he was signed off by all of his doctors that he was good to go and went home.  Now I always go to my parents house on Wednesdays for dinner.  It started out 5 years ago after his open heart surgery.  It happened during the summer and I was pretty much with my dad from morning until my mom got home so he wouldn't be alone.  My mom worked 2 jobs so I didn't like him by himself all of that time.  My siblings would come at times too so I could get a break and do things in my classroom.  When school started I was going there everyday after school to hang out with him until my mom got home.  Then finally last October my mom quit her 2nd job.  My parents didn't want me to just stop coming though, so I cut it down to Wed. and Sat. evenings.  So anyway, my dad looked good, just tired, and we're all happy he is home.  He is sore, but good.  So thank Heaven for that.  Luckily my class was pretty good for me (I had told them my dad was in the hospital).  It was a very long week though.
Now onto more fun things (thank you for letting me get the above off my chest).
All week I have also been getting everything ready for our Thanksgiving Feast for Monday.  Every year the 2nd grade, as part of our social studies unit, has a real Thanksgiving Feast.  Us teachers cook and provide the turkey and the classroom families sign up to donate the rest.  We ask for mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, corn, green beans, biscuits, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, juice, plates, napkins, and silverware.  Of course everyone signs up to bring juice boxes, plates, and napkins.  lol  I bought my turkey on Tuesday night so it would be thawed out for me to cook this weekend, a nice 16.5 lb bird.  Wednesday enough of my class brought back things to have everything on the list covered.  Thank goodness for those fantastic families that say, "whatever you need."  For Art of the Week the students weaved paper placemats for the feast and made either a Pilgrim hat or Native American headband to wear for the feast.  It's a very cute affair and so good because it's amazing to me how many students haven't ever tried a lot of those foods.  They are more willing to try it here because their friends are eating it or brought it.  Then they find out they like it!  So it should be fun and my house will smell great tomorrow.  :)
Last night I went out with friends and saw Breaking Dawn part 2.  I think my heart was beating a mile a minute near the end of that movie, but wow.  That's all I will say it.
Today I plan on baking Shirley Temple cupcakes that I found on pinterest for a princess party that my younger sister, niece, and I are having for the premiere of the new Disney princess movie that is coming out tomorrow, Sofia the First.  We are having a princess themed premiere party so that should be fun.  :)
I'm going to leave you with a contest that Silhouette America is having for people to win a new Silhouette Cameo.  Just go to and you can do your own letter to Santa asking for one.  Below is my letter.  I hope I'm one of the three winners!!!  :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I'm a total slacker when it comes to this blog.  There has been so much stuff going on and usually I'm too tired at night to come on and blog about what's been happening.  Major kudos to all of those bloggers who blog daily and make all of those things for TPT.  I have no idea how you do it.  I was such a slacker that I even missed the Monthly Made-It for this month, the first time since I started blogging that I didn't do it.  Well I'm taking the time now to catch you up on what's been happening.

So we went to the CAFE workshop by The 2 Sisters and it was of course, wonderful!!  They are great speakers, so fun to listen to.  They were also great about explaining everything and showing examples. I knew everyone at my whole table because there were 6 of us from my school who went and then 3 from my old school that I taught at before my school was built.  We had a great time all together.  Going to their workshop, we kept joking throughout the day, as like being at Oprah's Favorite Things episode.  They'd be talking about something and then they'd be like, "and you're all getting one!"  We walked out with a whole bag full of great things.  It was definitely motivating, but of course there has been no time to sit down and implement everything we want to do from that workshop.  Maybe this upcoming in-service day I'll have a chance.  We'll see. If you do Daily 5 or CAFE and can get a chance to see them, definitely do.  You won't be disappointed!  :)

Moving on to Halloween.  We celebrated Halloween on the Friday before, which was FABULOUS!  Parade, party, then weekend.  My teammates an I were Super Teachers, an idea I found through Classroom Freebies.  I linked to it in a previous post.  It was fun dressing up together and we got so many compliments.
The kids loved it too.  We had a great party with a Halloween sugar cookie decorating and eating station, a trick-or-treat counter where the kids filled up goodie bags, Pass the Pumpkin (like hot potato), Pumpkin Buckets (like Bozo buckets), and a spider web craft.  
Even though the day is always hectic and crazy, I love seeing the costumes my kids dress up in and how excited they are about everything.  I had great parent helpers so it was a big success and pretty much cleaned up for me by the end of the day.  

Last weekend I did my bi-annual (is that a thing?  I go twice a year lol) scrapbooking weekend.  I took off on Friday and went to a conference room in a hotel for a scrapping weekend with this group of ladies who put it together.  We go to the same place every time and there's anywhere from 10 to 13 of us.  My friend and I found it by accident.  Her husband had found a flyer about it at work and asked her if it would be something we'd want to do.  We went and now 3 years later we're still going.  :)  This was our 6th time.  I always get a ton of pages done.  We only scrap Friday and Saturday.  I usually have too much school stuff to get ready to do it Sunday too.  This year I also brought my teacher's manual along so I could get 3 more packs ready for tpt.  I did one Friday before I started scrapping and one Saturday before scrapping and let me tell you I was very happy to have the time to get them done.  I'm trying to keep ahead.  I'm hoping to get more done over Thanksgiving break but we'll see if that happens or not.  They take me 3 hours to do one pack, so I don't usually have 3 uninterrupted hours of time and I like doing it all in one sit down, not having to come back to it.  

This week for Election Day, my teammate and I did our yearly election process.  We read The Three Little Pigs and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and the students have to vote on who's telling the truth.  We've been learning about the election process in social studies, so this fits right in.  I tell the students that the stories are like debates where the candidates are trying to tell their side of the story to get you to vote for them.  Then I picked 4 election judges to help me run our classroom polling place.  The students have their library cards as their voter registration cards and they have to show it to an election judge and sign by their name.  Then they get their ballot and go over to a ballot booth (Really Good Stuff privacy shield) to vote.  Once they are done they bring their ballot over to the ballot box where another election judge is standing and the judge gives them an I Voted Today sticker.  While the students are waiting to vote or after they have voted and are waiting for the results they did an election day abc order sheet.  Then 2 election judges tally the results and display them.  This year it was 3 Pigs 12, Wolf 11, so very close.  It always depends on the group of kids.  We have had some years where the Pigs win by a landslide.  In my teammate's class the Wolf won by 1 vote.  It's fun and my kids get to go through the election process as well, in a fun way.  

Now that leads me to this weekend, where yesterday since it was 65 degrees here, I put up as many of my outdoor Christmas lights as I could so I wouldn't have to do it in a couple of weeks when it will be cold.  I'm not going to turn them on, but they are up.  Hopefully they are still working after how windy it was last night and how windy I hear it is today!  Today I'm going with my siblings and their families to the circus.  We go every year, so it will be a fun outing again today.  :)

I'm going to leave you with my last October "bulletin board," courtesy of A Cupcake for the Teacher.  It was one of our Art of the Week projects, "We Are Batty for 2nd Grade."  My teammate and I did it together.  We had the students do the acrostic poem.  Very fun project.  

So sorry I've been such a slacker and hopefully I'll be better, but who know how I'll be feeling!  lol  Have a great weekend and week!  :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

October fun

Luckily now that conferences are over and we're back to being able to come in early and stay late, things are not so crazy.  I feel like I can catch my breath!  However because of all of that, October is almost over already!!!
My kids had a fun day on Friday as we had an in-school field trip where a company called HighTouch/HighTech came to do one of their science programs with our kids.  We did the matter one, as we have for the past couple of years.  We always find it's a fun way to wrap up the matter unit and it's cheaper when you have them come out closer to the beginning of the year.  We've also done their weather program before, which is also good.  So the students had a lot of fun getting to do all of these experiments with matter.  They told me it was "the best day EVER!!!"  I always laugh at that because I get that every year and then you know what?  The day of the Halloween party will be the best day ever, and then our Thanksgiving feast will be the best day ever, and then our holiday  I love my students.
I also got exciting news during the week and found out that my teammate and I are going to go see the 2 Sisters for their CAFE workshop on Monday.  Woohoo!  It was nice because my principal came in my room taking pictures of my kids during Daily 5 time and told me to stop by and talk to him later.  I had no idea what it was about and asked my teammate if she was told to come in too.  lol  Nope, just me.  So I went in during my specials time and that's what he told me.  He had spots reserved for the Daily 5 workshop and the CAFE workshop and wanted to know which one we'd like to go to.  His thoughts were for us to go to CAFE because it seems like we have Daily 5 down (which I thought was really nice of him to say).  I told him that I definitely feel more comfortable with Daily 5 than CAFE now that I've done Daily 5 for 2 years and I'm just trying to start CAFE.  One of my other teammates is going to the Daily 5 one because she's just trying to really get into Daily 5.  When I told both of my teammates that they were going to the workshops, they were VERY excited.  lol  Usually it seems like there is this group of people and they are always the ones that are asked to join committees and go to workshops and things like that and most of us are left out and that always bothers my teammates.  This year it's been nice though because we're being asked to do more and more.  I don't know if it's just because I'm team facilitator but they keep talking to me about things and then I pass it along to my team (that's my guess).  I went to a Common Core workshop this past summer, I was asked to be on the district writing committee for my school, and now this.  It makes you feel good that they know they can count on you.  So I'll have to make sure I come on here Monday afterwards to tell you about how it went.  :)
My team and I are being Super Teachers for Halloween this year, thanks to a great idea and freebie from Katie Smith and her tpt store  So we had a pow-wow to decide everything for our costumes and who was going to do what to get them ready.  They brought me shirts so yesterday I ironed-on everything and have it ready to go.  Our party is Friday so that will bring more craziness near the end of the week, but it will be fun.
Today I'm off to the pumpkin farm with my parents and my younger sister's family.  Should be a nice day!  Have a great Sunday!  :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall Bulletin Boards

Things have been crazy lately (of course).  To show solidarity as a union we've been only working to contract hours.  I hate that.  I'm one of those people who gets to work 30 minutes before we need to be there and stays usually an hour past when we can leave (sometimes longer), so this has been killing me.  Without my extra time I've been feeling like a chicken with my head cut off because I'm rushing to get as much done as I can while I'm there.  Luckily our union has come up with something else so starting Wednesday we don't have to do that anymore and I'll have some sanity back (I hope).  lol  The lucky thing is that I have scrapbooking club after school tomorrow anyway so I can stay and get some stuff done while that's going on.  Woohoo!  :)  We had a meeting today after school so we could stay and work on some stuff too and that's when I switched out one of my bulletin boards and took pictures of them to share with you.  :)
As I've mentioned in past posts, one of my teammates and I share a wall.  We open the wall during Daily 5 time to do guided reading book clubs and the Daily 5 centers.  We always did centers before we learned the Daily 5, but what the sisters said in that book hit home with us.  It was just more work for us and we didn't know how meaningful it actually was for the kids.  So we got on board with Daily 5 and love it.  There was just one thing we could not part with though from our old centers and that was "Art of the Week."  For "Art of the Week"  we'd introduce an art project on Monday.  I would show both classes my example and teach them how to do it.  All of the art supplies were on the counter in my classroom and the "Art of the Week" was a Must Do on a center ticket we had.  We could not give up doing art with our kiddos because we love it so much.  So we put it in as one of the Work on Writing choices because we almost always have a writing component with our art project.  We also made it a choice (most of the time) so that way those who aren't big into art or good at it, didn't have to do it (there are some weeks the "art of the week" is the Mother's Day present, so they have to do it).  It's worked out very well that way for all of us.
So this first bulletin board is of our ice cream cones.  As a fun September art project and a way to introduce "Art of the Week" to the students we do this project in a celebration of the patent of the ice cream cone.  The funny thing is that one guy says he created it on September 22, 1903 and another guy says he did it on September 23, 1903.  So around that time we let the students create their own cones.  The rules are that they have to have a least 3 scoops, they can have as many more as they want, but at least 3.  Also, they have to be able to write about everything they put on their ice cream cone.  So if they want to make 20 scoops that's fine, but they have to write about all 20 scoops.  It's a cute project and the kids enjoy it.
As you can see, they vary in size.  lol  They add a fun bright display in our room though.  We also have to post by our bulletin boards what the students are learning or practicing by doing the activity.  So at the top you'll see my title and my learning standards.  The far left has the explanation of the ice cream patent.  (The green border seam down the middle is one of the areas where the wall opens up so I have to keep the bulletin boards separate but I use it as one.  This bulletin board came down this afternoon to make room for the fun Halloween project we had as "Art of the Week" last week.
So last week we kicked off our Daily 5 centers and rotation and did this art project that my teammate and I love.  We've been doing it the last few years because we just love it!  She brought it over from one of her previous schools she taught at and has always shared her tracers with my class and me.
So for these the student use a 12 x 18 sheet of yellow paper and black paper.  The tracers were made a long time ago from some large manilla folders they had, but this year we made more by using a file folder unfolded.  One of the tracers is solid and that's the one they use to trace on the yellow sheet of paper.  The other tracer has window holes in that they use to trace on the black paper.  Then they have to go back in and cut on 3 of the 4 sides of the windows so they can open and close.  Behind the openings are secret pictures.  I always show them to cut the windows by folding on one of the lines of the window and making a cut big enough for the scissors to fit in and go around.  We say it doesn't matter if it looks ragged because it's a haunted house!  Then they have to write about their haunted house or can write a story to go with the house.  These take the kids a long time (I still have some who aren't done with it!), but they are definitely worth it!  

You can see some of the creatures hidden behind the windows (I opened them for the picture).
This next bulletin board was another practice for "Art of the Week" before we started it for real.  
The good old fall tissue paper tree.  :)  So if you don't know this one, here's how it works.  The students get a brown 9 x 12 piece of paper and trace their arm and hand (fingers spread apart) to be the tree (trunk and branches).  They glue this on one side of a blue 12 x 18 sheet of paper (to act like the sky).  Then they take small tissue paper squares of different fall colors.  One square at a time, they wrap the tissue paper around the eraser on their pencil and swirl it around the top of a glue stick (careful not to dig into it).  They then hold it down where they want on their tree and carefully remove the pencil.  They could add as many or as little as they like.  A lot of them have a ladder, apple basket, and pile of leaves because that's what my example had and they wanted to copy (sincerest form of flattery right?  lol).  After they finished, they had to write about fall.  Always so funny to me that you have to tell them to add more details.  "Where's your grass, your tree is floating in the air."  I also love how skinny some of those trunks are.  lol  They turn out so cute and different.  

The last bulletin board is nothing snazzy.  It's our science bulletin board.  I made this printable a few years ago.  Now I wish I had changed the words on it so maybe someday I'll go back and re-do it.  I was going to give it away as a freebie, but I can't find it on either computer so maybe I got rid of it already.  We were learning about the 3 different forms of mater and the students had to draw something for each category to show what they knew about matter.  
This will be coming down soon too because now we're starting Living Things Grow and Change to go with our reading series (Unit 2 is Grow and Change).  The first chapter is Plants grow and change and our story for this week is The Tiny Seed.  
So there are my bulletin boards for now.  I'll take more pics when the next ones go up.  :)