Saturday, December 31, 2011

Listen up!

Ok everybody, I need you guys to stop creating all of these great printables and activities for January and even Valentine's day!  Not really, but could you slow down a little - just when I think I have a good idea of what I want to do when we go back next week, somebody posts another cute, adorable, fun activity.  I mean, come on people, the kids are only there for 2 days the first week we go back and we have testing to do!  How am I going to have time to do all of these great activities?  If you don't believe me, just go check some of these out for yourself (but don't blame me when your head is spinning and you're trying to get the kids to come back a few days early to fit it all in):

*Rebecca at Teaching First has this great penguin packet (and a penguin math game freebie)

*Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching has this cute winter pack available:

*Yvonne over at Sassy in Second has a penguin pack (and an ABC order freebie):

*Linda at Primary Inspiration offered this free ABC order activity:

*Angelia at Extra Special Teaching has a bunch of freebies - click below to check her out!

*Mary over at Pitner's Potpourri has this mitten contraction game:

Hadar at Miss Kindergarten has a snow pack available and she gave a place value freebie:

*Deedee at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten had this cute polar bear read the room activity:

And these are just a few of the great activities I've downloaded over the last couple of weeks.  See what I mean? And I didn't even touch on the Valentine's Day stuff!  Now, I'm off to figure out where to plug in each of these activities.  On the bright side, I think all of my activities for January are saved and filed on my computer (as long as I can stay off the computer and quit looking at all of the fun stuff you guys are posting)!  Happy surfing!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

A Teacher's Treasure New Year's Linky Party

A Teacher's Treasure is hosting a New Year's Resolution Linky Party!  All you have to do is to list your resolutions (both personal and professional).  Here goes:

1.  Set aside more time for me!  I spend all of my time working.  Don't get me wrong, I love what I do, but I really do need to set aside time each day just for me to do some of the things I enjoy doing (reading, doing puzzles, etc).
2.  Keep my house clean and organized (those of you who know me can stop laughing now - I really mean it!).
3. Set aside more family time.

1. Keep my classroom neat and organized.
2. Take the time to stop and enjoy my students.
3.  Spend less time chatting with my coworkers so I can get more done at school (so I have more time to do #1 and #3 above).

I can't wait to see what your resolutions are, so go link up!  Just click the link above!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

11 in 11 Linky Party

Hadar at Miss Kindergarten and Kristen at A Teeny Tiny Teacher are hosting a linky party, so I thought I'd join in.  Here goes:
11. Favorite movie you watched

10. Favorite TV series
I am completely a TV junkie, so this one is really hard...let me think about it...ummm...I guess I have to say that although I love crime dramas (think CSI Miami, Law and Order, Criminal Minds), my favorites would have to be all of the old TV series (Bewitched, Brady Bunch, Dick Van Dyke, Little House on the Prairie, etc).  Yep, I love old movies too!

9. Favorite restaurant
Laredo - it's a local Mexican restaurant that has the yummiest quesadillas!  I could eat them everyday!

8. Favorite new thing you tried
Definitely pinterest - now I have a way to organize and remember all of the wonderful ideas I find on the web.

7. Favorite gift you received
My kindle - although I don't have a lot of time to read during the school year, this summer when I go to visit my Mama, I won't have to lug a bunch of books with me (although she always gives me hers when she's done reading them, so I'll probably lug a lot back, lol!).

6. Favorite thing you pinned
Oooh- that's a hard one!  I don't think I can pick one - I don't pin it unless I love it, so...

5. Favorite blog post
 I don't have one - at least not one of my own.  Some of the ones I've read from you guys - priceless!

4. Favorite accomplishment
Being recognized by other bloggers with blog awards. 

3. Favorite picture
My mom and my kids

2. Favorite memory
December 10, 2011 - Had a girls' night out with my daughter for her 11th birthday.  We went shopping at the mall, saw A Christmas Carol at the theater and then went to dinner.  She's growing up so fast and I know that these times are so special.

1. Goal for 2012
Try to balance my time better - less work during times off with more family time, relaxing, and rest!

 Now it's your turn!  Head on over to Miss Kindergarten or A Teeny Tiny Teacher to link up!

Thinking Buttons

I wanted to share an idea with you - who knows, maybe you can start the new year with some thinking buttons in your classroom.  This idea came to me when I had some parents send in some M&M's for a math project and we had a bunch left over.  I told the kids that when they were doing a really good job, participating, paying attention, etc., they would get a thinking button.  You would have thought I promised them the moon!  Isn't it amazing what kids will do for a tiny piece of candy?  Now, I give them out when I have only a few kids making good choices, when they do really good work on their papers, or when they participate in or class discussions.  The great thing about it (other than it saves me from sitting at my desk after school and eating an entire bag) is that any little piece of candy can be a thinking button.  I used candy corn and candy pumpkins at Halloween, red and green M&M's for Christmas, and I'm thinking candy hearts in February, Skittles (for the rainbow) in March, and maybe Smarties for the pastel/spring colors in April.  Try it out in your classroom and let me know what your kids think!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

So many ideas, so little time...

Let me just say that you guys are amazing!  Since I have been on Christmas vacation and have all of this free time to spend blog hopping, I've found some great ideas.  Every now and then, I'll see an idea I really want to print, make, do, etc. and think, "Oh yeah, I'll remember where that idea came from and how to do it".  I really don't know why I think that as I really can't even remember last week, but...
So, I decided to create this cute little sheet that I can print out and keep by my computer.  That way, if I find something neat that I want to make, print, or buy, I can write it down to remember.  I know, I usually pin everything (and probably still will), but this way, I can take this sheet with me when I'm doing my planning (and my not have access to my computer).  I hope this is something you can use!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Holly Bloggy Christmas gift

I did it!  I was able to hold off until Christmas (Eve) to open my gift from my Holly Bloggy Christmas partner.  Thank you Monica for these wonderful gifts:

There were Hershey candy bars (yes, I am a chocoholic - but milk chocolate only - none of that healthy dark chocolate stuff!), fuzzy socks (wonderful on those cold winter nights), bath and body works lotion (love, love , love Bath and Body Works), a very cute ornament with my initial on it, and some adorable stationary in a cute little bucket with an S for Spradlin!  If you have a blog and they hold this again (and I seriously hope they do), you've got to sign up! You can check out the cool gifts everyone got here:

or here:

Kindergarten Korner

 It was so much fun!  Now, looking forward to the new year - gotta think about those resolutions... 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

In the Spirit of Christmas...

A couple of days ago, I posted a wintery words abc order activity.  This was one of the first times I ever listed anything on TPT for a price and I really have gone back and forth about it.  It would be nice to make some money (I mean...don't we all aspire to be Deanna Jump, lol), but I've always believed that teachers should help each other out and share ideas.  Isn't that what it's all about - helping our students and each other become the best we can be?  So, I've decided that from here on out, I'll never charge anything for any of the resources or activities I create.  Feel free to download the wintery word cards below and Merry Christmas!

Wintery Words ABC Order

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I just want to say thank you to all of my blogging buddies and teachers who have inspired me this year.  You guys really are amazing - from your classrooms, to your ideas, and the wonderful resources you create.  You've helped me not only have a Merry Christmas, but a great school year (so far) as well.  I hope you enjoy your Christmas and remember the reason for the holiday!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wintery Words

Only 2 more days until Christmas!!!  I love this time of year.  Not just because of the wonderful celebration of our Saviour's birth, but also because of the chance we as teachers have to start over.  I mean, in what other profession do you have the chance to have 2 weeks off in the winter to re-energize, renew, and really evaluate how your year is going?  We truly are blessed to have this opportunity and I take advantage of this time each year.  My kids usually find our room very different when they come back in January.  So far this year, I've moved around some pocket charts, changed our workstation boards, and rearranged the kids' tables.  With a new year comes a fresh start.  We really are blessed. 
In order to start your year off right, I've posted a winter words abc order activity to my TpT store.  Click the link below to check it out!
Wintery Words ABC Order
If you download it, feedback is always appreciated!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Waiting Is Killing Me!!!

So wayyy back at the beginning of December (which seems soooo long ago), I received this cute little Santa package from my Holly Bloggy Secret Santa, Monica:
When I signed up for this exchange, it seemed like a good idea, but now that I'm on Christmas break and have to sit and look at this wonderful little gift every's driving me nuts!  I want to peek in it soo badly, but I won't (I promise)!  Now, let me say, I've never been one to peek at Christamas gifts - partly because I really enjoy the suspense and partly because it was my mom's policy that if she found out that you knew what one of your gifts was, it went back to the store.  But, there's just something about getting a gift from a blogging buddy you've never really met in person - someone who only knows you from your blog, pinterest boards, and questionaire.  The curiosity is killing me!!!!  I guess I'll just have to turn my attention to that yummy pecan pie Paula Deen is making right now (I think I gained 3 pounds just watching them eat it)!  Don't worry - I'll let you know what wonderful goodies are in the bag (but not until Christmas) and hopefully, I'll have some January goodies for you to download!
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Liebster Blog Award and Bloggy Christmas Card

So, I just realized that I never passed the Liebster Blog Award on to anyone, so here goes (check out these great blogs with under 200 followers):

Casey at Cardigans and Curriculum - her blog design is so cute and she just finished her master's degree!


First Grade Fanatic - She just posted a cute math read the room activity in her TPT store - go check it out!

Run over and check out her Gingerbread Fact Family houses!

Froggy Friends Fun

On another note, one of my favorite blogs, Ladybug's Teacher Files (they are great for freebies and blogging tips - I always go there first if I have a blogging question) has made a Bloggy Christmas Card. You can check out their post about the card here: Ladybug's Teacher Files.

I would like to pass this to my best blogging buddy Rebecca over at

Teaching First

She has the cutest blog design, great ideas, and is such a sweetie!  If you've never been to her blog, go now and check it out!
Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Last Chance Day - a Christmas Tradition

This is more of a mommy post rather than a school post, although you might be able to use it in your classroom...not sure how it would work. Anyway, in honor of beginning Christmas vacation today (can you hear me cheering?), I thought I would share a Christmas tradition in our family. 
Every December 15 is Last Chance Day.  This is the day that Santa comes to our house to let the kids know how they've been doing.  If they have been behaving, then they will get a small gift.  If they haven't, there won't be any gift left by Santa.  They know then that they have 10 days before Santa comes back t turn their behavior around.  Santa always leaves a poem for the kids telling them what he thinks about their behavior.  I usually write the letter on Christmas themed paper, but this year (since I was up til about 1 a.m. making teacher gifts last night and forgot about it), I wrote them on plain paper and added some shiny Christmas stickers as a border.  This year, these are the poems Santa left for the kids:
Logan (my kindergartner) (some background here: the other day "Santa" heard Logan singing a Christmas song that went something like this: "Christmas is not about Rudolph, Christmas is not about Santa, Christmas is not about toys, Christmas is about Jesus' birthday!" When I asked him where he heard that song, he told me, "I just made it up"  Cool, huh?) got this poem:

   You've been pretty good
And I heard you sing
That song about Christmas
And Jesus the King.
I'm glad that you're smart enough
To stand and to say-
Jesus is the reason
For Christmas Day!

Lauren (my 5th grader) got this one:

You're a very smart cookie,
I know that is true.
But I'm seeing things that make me feel blue.
You're room is too messy
With stuff everywhere.
I'm afraid that I might
Trip on a suitcase or chair.
I see that you're working
To clean it all up -
Putting toys away,
Taking trash to the dump.
So please finish cleaning
And then, my dear-
On Christmas Eve,
I'll have nothing to fear!

The kids love Last Chance Day and, if their behavior is less than the best, this usually kicks them into gear for the last few days before Christmas.  I may just have to try it in the classroom next year!

One half day left...

I think I can, I think I can,...  We have only one half day left tomorrow and then we are officially on CHRISTMAS vacation. 

We had our party today and it was lots of fun.  We had 4 stations:

Santa strawberriesWe made Santa strawberries

and brownie Christmas trees

tissue paper light up Christmas tree craftand tissue paper Christmas trees (when you hold these up/tape them onto the window, the light shines through the tissue paper and "lights" the tree).

We did also play a version of the dreidel game (because we ran out of time when we taught Hanukkah and I needed another station). 

I have to say that I have the best moms this year.  Anything I need, they send in.  One sent me a message on Facebook Wednesday night asking if I needed any last minute items for the party.  I'm sure glad she did, because I hadn't gotten any mini M&M's for our brownie trees.  I even had one mom make all the brownie trees, sent in candy canes for the trunks, and even made each child individual piping bags of frosting with little decorator tips on them!  Sorry, I know you may not really care to hear about my wonderful pack of parents this year, but after last year (yep, it was one of THOSE years), I just have to enjoy it.  I think I'll try to retain all of the kids so I can have them again next year, lol!

Anyhoo, we also did our class gift exchange today.  The kids had a blast!!!  Not everyone brought a gift, but with a class exchange, that's okay.  No tears because the kids knew that even though they didn't get to open a gift, they still get to play with it.  We got such great presents for our class today.  We got lots of coloring books, crayons, markers, and colored pencils.  We also got the Headbandz game, an I Spy 3-D game, an I Spy Memory game, Jenga, stickers, pencils, glue, construction paper, and some puzzles.  If you've never done a class gift exchange, you really need to try it (especially in today's world where we don't always have the money for those extra "fun" things for the kids to play with).  Our inside recess days will be so much more fun now! 

Tonight, my own kids made their gifts for their teachers.  I wanted to give them something that was made by the kids and was personalized to each teacher.  So we made clipboards for each one.  This was really hard for me as I have control issues...'nough said.  Well, this is what they came up with:
My kindergarten son decided to paint ladybugs since that is his teacher's theme in her room this year.

My son and daughter collaborated on this one.  For their gifted teacher, they decided to do a Mondrian clipboard (they've been doing a study of artists this quarter, so they wanted to choose one to represent).

Finally, my 5th grade daughter decided on polka dots for her teacher.  I still have to seal them, but they didn't turn out too badly!

I have to say thank you to Rebecca at Teaching First and Amy over at Krazy About Kiddos for nominating me for the Liebster Award!

The goal of this award is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers.
Kind of awesome!
The rules are:

{1} Copy and paste the award on your blog.

{2} Thank the giver and link back to them.
3} Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

Thanks, guys for nominating me! I promise, I will do #3 tomorrow (I just can't do it tonight since it's now 12:45 and I can barely keep my eyes open).

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas - my favorite time of the year!

Most people dread this week at school. You know - the week before we get out for Christmas vacation(I just heard you shudder!). But, although the kids really drive me crazy, I love this week. No, I haven't lost my mind. I love it because it's the week I get to teach about the Christmas story. Not the Santa and elves version, but the real reason we celebrate Christmas. We started last week talking about Christmas traditions around the world. This week, we move on to Hanukkah and Christmas. Here are some of the Hanukkah books we will read this week:
We also watch some videos that teach the students about Hanukkah.  We make menorahs and play the dreidel game. 

To teach the Christmas story, we read these books:
Product Details(I love the pictures in this version)


I wish I had all of the books here at home with me (right now, I can't remember all of the titles).  Each day, the kids write in a Christmas Story book that we made for them.  Basically, it's a coloring sheet on one page with writing lines on the facing page.  The first page is a picture of Mary holding baby Jesus, the second page is Joseph, then the shepherds, angels, and wise men.  Each day, the kids write one part of the Christmas story after we read.  It really is cute to see what they write.  If I get the chance tomorrow, I'll scan in one of the books and post it here for you to grab. 
Each year as I teach this, I can't help but think that this might be the first (and possibly only) time that some of these kids might hear about our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  I'm so blessed that I have the opportunity to teach these kids the real meaning of Christmas.  Thank you, Lord!
Merry Christmas!