Dec 12, 2015

Holiday Cookie Hop 2015

Hello! Today's blog post is a fun one!! Some of the bloggers from the CTR collaborative blog are taking a break from teaching and sharing their favorite holiday cookie recipes! Grab a cup of coffee, get cozy, and click through all of the linked up blogs that are involved! I promise that you'll find some goodies to make this holiday season! 

I'm actually sharing my cookie recipe more for the "crafty" idea! I hope that's okay! I had this idea for awhile, displaying handwritten recipes in my kitchen, so when we moved into our new house this past May and I finally have my DREAM kitchen, I decided to get busy! The framed handwritten recipes that I have displayed come from my grandma and also my great-great-grandma. (As you will see, it says "Great" grandma on the recipe, but this was written by my grandma and found in her recipe box, so I'm guessing this comes from my great-great grandmother...if not a little further back!) 

I always collect frames that I like and reflect the style and decor that I'm "trying for" in my house. This gold frame actually had the perfect backing already in it when purchased, so I just slipped the recipe card inside! 

For the larger frame with three recipes, I took out the frame inserts and wrapped the cardboard backing of the frame with burlap ribbon. It was slightly difficult to slide back into the frame, but once it was in, it fits nicely and won't budge or slide. {Also displayed is my grandma's rolling pin.}

Click on the picture below to download a printable copy.

For a special treat, click below for a freebie! (A little teaching fun included!)

Dec 11, 2015

Children's Books for Grownups

As a teacher, I have a feeling that you have a large collection of books....and some of them are YOUR in, kids can't touch them. GUILTY! I just want to know where they are when I need them! I may share them after I read them, but they have to go back on my special shelf in my classroom!

Okay, well there are some children's books that I own that I haven't shared with my class...only because I think they are a little bit too much for them to understand, but I love them! (Probably more than my adult books!) Do you have any books like this? I am still deciding how I will present this one to my students!

If you have followed my blog for a little while, you may have seen my post about meeting Patricia Polacco last fall! She doesn't live too far away from me and she had announced a book signing at a small hometown bookstore, so Abbie from Tales From the First Grade and I drove up (about an hour) to see her! It was so much fun! Here's the post and a picture!

She's just the sweetest lady and it was such a memorable day! Before she started her book signing, she spoke to the small crowd that was there and told a few stories about the books that she had in the works. First of all, she's an amazing story teller, as I'm sure you can imagine! Plus, the stories she was talking about publishing sounded AMAZING! Well, of course I also follow her Facebook page and the day that this book (Tucky Jo and Little Heart) was announced that it was available for sale in August, I ordered it on Amazon right away!

Since I had heard her tell the story in person, I couldn't wait to see and read the book! It didn't disappoint! It's a heart-warming story about war, friendship, trust, and just a true miracle. One of the sweetest stories that I've read and it reminds me of how things always happen for a reason! Just when you think it's a sweet story, like all of Patricia Polacco's, it has an amazing twist, which seems almost too good to be true!  Do yourself a favor and either purchase this book, or look it up at your local library, just for a heart warming read!

Click on the picture to see the book on Amazon (affiliate link)

I've been working on the rehabilitation of my leg and was just doing some stretching on my exercise bike, grabbed it, and read it again while I was riding...just a lovely story! It's okay for grownups to read children's books, right? Now I'm thinking of how I can share this with my class when I return and some of the lessons that we can learn from the heart-warming story! Since I had just read it again today, I decided I wanted to share it with all of you! What is your favorite Patricia Polacco book?

Dec 10, 2015

Making Read Alouds Interactive {How Santa Got His Job Edition}

I love making read alouds interactive. In fact, I love teaching literacy skills straight from read aloud books. It's a great way to not only get good stories into your classroom, but to teach skills that your students need at the same time.

One of the most important things to do while reading a book aloud is to model THINKING WHILE READING. Your students need to HEAR what you are thinking in your head while you are reading, so they can understand what THEY are supposed to be doing when they read. They need to be interactive when reading on their own, too!

The lesson that I'm posting today can be done easily with any book, but if you want to do this exact lesson, all you need is the book How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky. (Plus chart paper, markers, and sticky notes if you choose!)

In my classroom, I usually get the anchor charts "prepped" beforehand with a title, but other than that, we do our anchor charts TOGETHER as a class. That's what makes it interactive. My students give me feedback on what we should add, what they want to add, etc. It's a SHARED anchor chart. I never pre-make a full anchor chart. I find that then it's just a poster for them to stare at. If they make the chart WITH ME, they have more ownership and understanding of the concepts.

For this lesson, when students arrive in the morning, they will see this anchor chart and they are asked to grab a sticky note and record their answer/prediction on it and then stick it to the chart. This should be quick and easy, and it will get the students thinking and engaged right away, even if we aren't going to be reading the book until later in the day. In fact, they may not even realize that the question has anything to do with a book! This is PART of the "before reading" activity.

 If you aren't into using the sticky notes like I am (I do it all the time as a quick strategy!) You can also just ask students for their predictions when you start the lesson and record the answers for them on the chart.  I have them all record their answers, stick them up, then once it's time for us to meet and start this actual read aloud, I start pulling them off, read them to the group, then record our ideas onto the chart. (Without repeating any!) 

Show your students your "During Reading" anchor chart that you have prepared, so they know what to be listening for and looking for when you start reading the book. You may decide that you want them to look for other things, but here is what I put on my anchor chart. The "ways Santa got his job" could be changed to "Skills Santa has for the job." These are basically just a few big things that happen in the story that you want your students to be ACTIVELY listening for!
{To stay engaged and interactive!}

Next, is the easy part...start reading the book! As you read, THINK ALOUD, stop and say things like, "Oh, here is a good skill that would help him be Santa, I'm going to add that to the anchor chart." and "Wow, I think that job will help him get the job as Santa, I'm going to add that to the chart." Also, "Oh no, that's a big problem and obstacle that got in Santa's way, let's record that to talk about later." Let the kids raise their hands and "think aloud" too. Sometimes, if you don't normally teach like this, it can be hard to get used to because the story will be interrupted many times! BUT, that's super important if you are really modeling how to "think while reading." The only way to truly model it is to do it OUT LOUD and unfortunately, that may interrupt your perfect story... in a GOOD way! 

After finishing the story, we go over and discuss some of the things that we came up with DURING READING and decide if we need to add anything that was really important. Then we move onto the AFTER READING portion of the lesson.

There are a few ways that you can do this. You can simply just have a discussion, you can pose and post the questions, then have the students choose one to answer on a sticky, or you can actually have them pull out a response type notebook to answer the questions. The "after reading" portion should connect the before and during reading portions of your lesson and shouldn't skipped! It's important to help with your students' comprehension!  Although I just have my students respond on a sticky note or in a response notebook, I am including a freebie today with some of the response questions and a place to answer the questions. You can choose one of them or all of them, or you could have your students choose which one they'd like to answer!

Visit my store for this freebie (click on the picture below!) and please let me know if you do this lesson and how it goes! I can't wait to hear!

Dec 8, 2015

A+ Images Blogger T-Shirt

While in Vegas, I heard about this awesome promotion from Allyson at Going Strong in 2nd Grade! A+ Images, Inc. was giving away free T-shirts for teacher bloggers! How exciting, right!? I have to share how cute mine turned out and how wonderful A+ Images, right here in INDIANA, was to work with! They were so helpful! Won't this be perfect to wear to the next TPT conference? I'm so happy with how it turned out! THANK YOU A+ IMAGES, INC! 

Be sure to check out their website, Facebook page, and Pinterest page! {I hear that that may have another teacher promotion coming up soon!}


Dec 2, 2015

#2getherwearebetter Linky: Christmas Traditions in the Classroom

I joined some other teacher bloggers today in this fun LINKY about Holiday Traditions! I've added my GRINCH DAY post to the linky, which I had just shared yesterday on my blog! If you haven't read that post yet, I'm posting it again below, but don't forget to check out everyone else's holiday traditions that they have LINKED UP at the bottom of this post!

My favorite tradition to do in my classroom is Grinch Day. I have so much fun with it and I'm sad that I won't be in my classroom this year to continue this tradition. I'll be doing it next year for sure though! Here are some pictures from last year!

 I've also listed other blog posts from other bloggers that gave me inspiration!!

Grinch Tags by The Teaching Tree

Grinch Templates Click Here 
and here 

Other teachers' Grinch Days that I used for inspiration:

A Cupcake for the Teacher

Don't forget to see the other great TRADITION ideas below because

Dec 1, 2015

Grinch Day 2014 (Reposted!)

Here is a repost of my 2014 Grinch Day to get you reading for your 2015 Grinch Day! Since I didn't do Grinch Day until one of the last days of school before Christmas break, it was too late to post about it! See all of the fun pictures below for some good ideas!!!

Happy Grinching!!!!!!

Look at all the fun we had before the holiday for Grinch Day in my room! It's taken me a little bit to get this post put together because I had to remember where I found everything! Ha.

 I've also listed other blog posts from other bloggers that gave me inspiration!!

Grinch Tags by The Teaching Tree

Grinch Templates Click Here 
and here 

Nov 30, 2015

Are you Ready for December?

What could be better? Start the month of December with some fresh, new products and enjoy them at a great price during TPT's CYBER SALE!! Eeeeek! I can't think of anything much more exciting as a teacher! PROMO CODE: SMILE

I love teaching in December, not only because it's short (ha!), but because I love doing fun holiday related activities. Yes, we are still allowed, so I do know that I'm lucky! {I have a super fun blog post that will go live on December 1st explaining what I usually do in December for Grinch Day!}

I have to admit that I'm really sad to not be in the classroom this year for December. If you have been following me on Facebook, Instagram, or here, you probably saw a few of my posts about having an accident back at the end of September, and I'm still off work. I visited my surgeon last week and there is just still no end in sight for me. Six more weeks of no walking at this point.

I noticed that here on my blog I had scheduled my GRINCH post to go live on December 1st (I scheduled it one year ago because after I did it last year, it was too late for people to USE it in 2014, so I wanted to make sure to post it again THIS December so people could see it and try it out!) Anyway, when I saw that was coming up and December 1st was so close, I got really sad that I won't be with my class this year to make sure it's a fun December for them. I've been reminded by some good friends that I can try to do some fun things with my kids at home and try to make up for it! I'm planning to find some fun crafts we can do in December here at home.

Well, enough about that, let's get to the fun December products that I have in my store! The best news is that I have bundled my most popular December items together this year, which give you a big savings if you purchase as a bundle!

If you purchased the 5 items included in the bundle separately, you'd spend $26.00, but I have this bundled for $20, saving you 23%. PLUS if you purchase it through the CYBER Monday sale, you will save even more! With my sale, plus the TPT code, you should be able to get this whole bundle for: $14.40!!! PROMO CODE: SMILE

 Just in case you don't NEED all of these items, or you already have a few, click here to see them each sold separately and ALSO on SALE! :) Don't forget the TPT code at checkout, I always forget!(Then I just get really mad at myself and you don't need that! LOL)

I also have a brand new item for the month of December that goes with the book, The Not Very Merry Pout Pout Fish. As soon as I saw it was out, I ordered it, and I loved it! So adorable! Then, I just knew that I'd want to some activities to go along with it. I created a companion pack with graphic organizers, a few writing response sheets, and a few hands-on centers. Click the picture below to see the finished product, but also click here to get the FREE sampler that I created to go along with it!

Some other super popular items that I have this month are below. The Two-Digit Pack would only be $3.60 during the Cyber Sale (with the code!)
and the Main Idea activity would only be $1.44!!!  PROMO CODE: SMILE

If this is your first TPT sale, you have been missing out! Now is definitely the time to stock up on the products that you were on the fence about buying. Not trying to do a sales pitch here, but I'm just sharing my experience, as a buyer too! I buy PLENTY for my own classroom and of course great clipart and items to create more products. It's my favorite time of year. Here's the way that it works, MOST stores will have a 20% off sale. So the prices you see listed in their stores for these two days (Nov 30-Dec 1) will be the price. THEN, when you are ready to checkout, put in the TPT PROMO CODE and you will save an additional 10%...which is off of the already marked down products, so overall that works out to a total of 28% off!

Here's what I do... I start going through my "Wishlist" first because over the last few months, I have added items that I see and don't want to forget about to my wishlist. I check to see if those are on sale (which most likely they are because just about every seller will put their store 20% off!) and then I decide if I still really want them and they are worth the sale price. Then, I start thinking about what I need for the next few months in my own classroom and just fill up my wishlist more! I hope that you can find some goodies to get you through the next few months! HAPPY SHOPPING!!! {Don't forget to enter the promo code!!!} PROMO CODE: SMILE