Friday, 5 December 2014

A Kind-deer Classroom for the Holidays

Happy Saturday! I am not going to post how many days left until Christmas break because it freaks me out. I am ready for the break (really ready!) but I am not actually ready for Christmas and the 100 things I need to get done before the big day. So instead I will focus on what I have been doing in my classroom to try and keep us focussed on spreading Christmas joy and happiness.

First of all I was inspired to start this program after reading this amazing post from Erica at Erica's Ed-ventures. You really need to read her post on how she is using kindness elves in her classroom (she even includes some freebies).

So, after reading her post I thought I am totally going to do that!! And I kept thinking that until Sunday night when I finally found a minute to run out to a few stores looking for some elves to use (not THE elf - just some cute elves). Alas, when you wait till Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. you are not always successful.

BUT I did have a few Christmas stuffies at home - and in the pile of stuffies I found some reindeer and the Kind-"deer" was born. I took the ideas shared by Erica and changed the elf to a reindeer.

Here is what we are doing. On Monday the Kind-deer showed up in our room. He had a note for our class introducing himself.

Each day a reindeer drops off a note giving us a kindness challenge.

At the end of the day, students get a sticker for their countdown calendar.

The students are loving it!!! We have said thank you, spread smiles, shared sweets (candy canes), made cards and helped others.

Those are the stickers we add to our countdown calendars. On send a smile day my teaching partner brought in smiley face balloons for our classrooms.

Next week we will have a few notes from elves too (there are only so many reindeer!!).

If you are interested in having a kind-deer visit your classroom - you can click here to pick up the kindness notes we have been using. The file includes Give a Gift - we will be giving pencils and erasers to others. It also includes a few empty cards for you to make your own.

I am using Avery circle labels to make stickers for our countdown calendar (I got this one free online). Each day they complete the kindness task they get a matching sticker for their calendar.

On Friday we made the window reindeer craft (cause I love it!!). We added some math - about what shapes we used.

We also added some writing - if the kind-deer looked in our window how would he see us being kind.

The writing template is part of the note file.

I am linking up with Erica at Ed-ventures - since this is really her idea with a change of clipart!

I am also linking up with my friend Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching since our Kind-deer is definitely motivating my students to spread Christmas joy and happiness (in between the I wants and can I haves!!). No, seriously, the students, love coming in to see the note each morning and hear what we need to do. They also love sharing with me how they met the challenge at the end of each day.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

What's on Your Wishlist?

Thank goodness it is the weekend!!! It has been a crazy week and think weekend is shaping up to be non-stop as well. I of course will be taking some time, okay a considerable amount of time, to organize my TPT wishlist in order to be ready for the sale on Monday (and Tuesday!!)

You have heard about the upcoming sale right?

Before you check out your wishlist you may want make sure you entered to win one of the five $25 TPT gift cards we are giving away! Today is the last day to enter. Click the image below to enter if you haven't already... winners will be announced tomorrow!

I don't know about you but I can spend hours on TPT and Pinterest looking at products - sometimes it is nice to get a little help or heads up about a great product. So to help you out we are sharing what is on our wishlist - it is like checking out other people's cart at the grocery store (which yes I totally do!)

Feel free to grab the banners and link up, too! Share two items that everyone has on their wish list from your store and one item that you have on your own wish list that you'll buy during the sale.

Perhaps it is the season but the number one most wish listed item in my store is my Elf Applications - a Persuasive Writing Activity!!

My students have always had a blast with this activity!! In fact we have loved all persuasive letter writing activities - you can check them out in this bundle.

The second most wish listed item is my Writing Goals Chart with Editable Pages. I love using these charts to display the goals we are working on in our class and to make customized goals for students or specific lessons.

You could also check out the Reading Goals Chart

 or the bundle of the two!!


What am I going to buy (besides more clipart that I probably do not need!!). One of the first items I will be purchasing is this amazing pack of Winter and Christmas Interactive Elements for any book!!

I was worried that my students may not be able to handle the cutting and pasting involved in creating notebooks, but they can and they love them!!! What I love about this product is that it is not book specific - I can use it for any book that we use!!! Also I love that there are grammar activities too - nouns, verbs and compound words - yes please!!

Check out this picture I stole borrowed from their blog.

What do you have on your wish list? What do you recommend?

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Elf & Reindeer Calendar Card Freebie & TPT $$ Too!!

With just a few days left before the craziness of December sets in I have been spending some time trying to figure out what I want my theme to be for December. I have done elves for the past few years...but I also love reindeer. So I think I am doing...BOTH!!

I am going with "Santa's Helpers" so that I can have the best of both worlds  : )

What do I have ready for this theme...umm.... nothin' but calendar cards. Last year I had just elves (which I can not find!!) so I updated them to include reindeer. If you would like a set of the Elf and Reindeer calendar cards click here. (if you want just the elves click here). Would you like a set of just reindeer - I could make those too!!

 And since you are here don't forget to enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win 1 of 5 TPT Gift Certificates - perfect for holiday themed purchases!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Spreading Love with some TPT Cash!!

We are so excited for the holiday season that we couldn't help but spread some love! Lots of your favorite TPT Teacher-Authors and I have teamed up to give YOU some TPT spending money. We love you and appreciate you (and we wish we could give all of our fabulous followers some money)!

Enter the Rafflecopter below by simply following our TPT stores, and you will have a chance to win one of five $25 TPT gift cards! Good luck!

Just click the link to enter!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving or like those of us in Canada just a crazy shopping weekend : )

Monday, 24 November 2014

Craftivities - Can't Live Without Them


I am very excited to be linking up with Elizabeth at Fun in Room 4B for her super fun new linky....

It is my first time linking up (obviously!!) and I am already cheating. I am linking up a "them" instead of an "it".

Something that I can not live without in my teaching...craftivities. I know it is a ridiculous word. It is a word that was not even part of my vocabulary two or three years ago. But is a word I use frequently. It is also a word I type into Pinterest on a regular basis. Also, it is a word that lets you know you have met a kindred teaching know what I mean...when you bring the word up in conversation and they do not look at you like you are a crazy person...they look at you with a glimmer of excitement in their eyes!! That is a teaching kindred spirit : )

A craftivity is the perfect blend of an art activity with curriculum expectations all wrapped up in one beautiful bulletin board display!

The best thing about a works for any subject and any craft.

Halloween? Yep, use shapes to create a Frankenstein and write sentences describing the shapes you used.....

Writing Template from Rachel Lamb
Pirates? Yep.

Squirrels? Yep.

Splat the Cat? Yep.

50th Day of School? Yep, how to make a root beer float book....

One of my favourite finds this year have been these Power Passages from Teacher to the Core (I don't know her - just a fan!). Because they include great reading passages perfect for building fluency? Nope. Because they include writing templates that match the reading passage? Nope. Because the include adorable craftivities? YES!!

We made these super cute placemats with writing about food we like and these adorable cats with sentences about what cats can do...

You know what is coming, the Christmas Season or as I like to think of it Craftivity Season!!! Yes, I have a problem : )  But seriously if you know of any must-do craftivities let me know!!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Bullying Prevention Awareness Week

Happy Monday. I am just stopping by very quickly for two reasons. One to try and stay in a blogging groove and two to share some posters I made for our classrooms.

It is Bullying Prevention Awareness Week. Our school is using the book One by Kathryn Otoshi as a mentor text.

I found this great Pinterest board with lots of links to ideas to use with this book. Only a few of the links don't go anywhere - ugh I hate when that happens. So I took two of the ideas I found on Pinterest and created posters for our classrooms. If you would like a copy just click on the picture.


Be sure to check back tomorrow to see if I can keep the blogging streak alive : )

Saturday, 15 November 2014

50th Day of School - Sparking Student Motivation

Yes I am alive and kicking (well more like shuffling). I have thought of many posts that I wanted to share, I have even taken pictures to support some of those posts, some even had freebies too, but as you know those posts have never made it onto the screen (mine or yours). Hopefully this post is the first step back to blogging and sharing (fingers crossed).

Thursday was our 50th Day of School and we celebrated like it was 1999 (which to my students might as well be 50 years ago!!).

First off, my teaching partner and I dressed up in poodle skirts. I did not get a picture but we looked amazing. Here is the skirt I wore:

Some of our students dressed up too. This cutie had a comb in his back pocket and Popeye cigarettes rolled in his sleeve!!

We started the day with a PPT on the 1950's - comparing and contrasting then and now. They loved seeing pictures of what a "mom" would wear as she cooked in the kitchen. The teacher who comes in to do our arts and phys ed wore a dress, heels and a 1950's apron all day - it was awesome.

We did a lot of math activities counting to and making 50. A lot of our activities came from this packet from Cara Carroll (don't know her, just stalk her, but this is a great unit perfect for this year and different stuff for next year!).

Making root beer floats and these little books was the highlight of the day for many of the students. They kept saying how it was the best day of school ever (high praise from students who have only been in school for two years!). They loved making the books, drinking the drink and talking about them (non-stop).

We had a sock hop in the gym. We hand jived, twisted and bunny hopped. Of course we hula hooped too.

The day before, or the 49th day of school (not the most amazing day of school ever!!) we did this little counting to 50 chart. A quick way to check in on number skills. Click here to pick up a copy (and save it for next year since I am a terrible blogger and blog after the fact when I blog at all!!).

Since my students said this was the best day ever and I do believe that theme days are a great way to motivate students to learn without them realizing it, I am linking up this post with Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her always inspiring linky....

I hope to be back soon to share ideas for Bullying Prevention Awareness Week and what we have been up to in our class.