Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Season Of Change

It's that time again! Five for Friday!

The Christmas season is upon us! As much as I LOVE the holiday season, this year has been different. As most of you know, my grandma passed away a few months ago. So, I've spent some time trying to figure out what the new "normal" is, or is going to be. 

Last Saturday, I woke up ready to decorate my house for Christmas {yes, before Thanksgiving-I know some of you are cringing}. As I finished all of the decorations, I looked around and realized that none of it made me happy. I wondered, what could be wrong? My Christmas decorations always make me happy. I sat on it for a day or two. 

Sunday evening came around, and I told the hubby I wanted to re-decorate the entire house. You can imagine the look I got. I explained to him that my Christmas decorations were too loud and too happy. I just didn't feel happy. His response: "So, you want to decorate the house to be a sad house?" <insert my eye roll and sigh of frustration here> 

In case you are wondering what too loud and too happy looks like:
Monday morning I got to work on re-decorating the entire house. I was hoping for something a little less flashy. Something more traditional. Gram's favorite color was red, so I decided to incorporate some pops of red throughout the house. Here's what I ended up with!

Tuesday evening, the hubby came home from work and said, "Wow, this is a totally different feel this year; this is nice." I think he finally understood what I meant by too loud and too happy. He must be a visual learner, like me:).

The hubby was right about one thing: there is no decoration, or ornament, or present that is going to fill this void this year. It is a season of change. I added these angel wings to my tree to remind me I will always have a beautiful guardian angel watching over me from heaven. 

Ok. We did it. We finally gave in to the artificial tree this year. No more Christmas tree mess! I don't know about you, but I hate cleaning up all those dried pine needles. I will miss the smell of a freshly cut tree. I guess that's what scented candles are for. I'm loving how my tree came out this year! It's not bright and whimsical like years past, but it's perfect.
As I stood back looking at my tree, I could hear gram saying, "It's beautiful, I don't know where you got your creativity from, it certainly wasn't me." She would always tell me that after I finished decorating for the holidays. The truth is, all the decorating her and my mom did when I was a kid is probably where my love of decorating came from. Christmas has always been one of the happiest times of the year.

I know I've spent most of this post talking about Christmas, and you're wondering, where did Thanksgiving go? Here was our Thanksgiving feast:

You didn't think we were done with Christmas, did you:)? I created my first mesh garland this week! Not bad for my first try. 

Someone else is ready for Santa, too! Isn't he the cutest?

I apologize if you were expecting five awesome December classroom activities. This teacher has been on vacation! Well, I may have created a thing (or two) this week. Stay tuned next week for lots of December fun! We have a visitor from The North Pole who will be visiting room 16!

Friday, November 21, 2014

It's Beginning To look A Lot like Christmas!

Hello yoga pants, sleeping in, and a whole lot of yummy food! Yep, it is Thanksgiving break! It's hard to believe the school year is nearly half over.

Before I get too comfy cozy on the couch (and in total vacation mode), I'm going to share my Five For Friday!
I have some exciting news! I was connected with a company that made a VERY generous donation to each of the students' families in my class. Each family will be receiving a fully cooked Thanksgiving dinner. I work at a Title 1 school, so this donation will be greatly appreciated by the families. To say thank you to our donors, I had the kiddos create thank you cards. I didn't help them with the cards (which, you all know, was very hard-I'm kind of a perfectionist)....all first grader created:)!
I did help with the mailing, of course...and maybe the bow:)

Ok, so, I'm sure I wasn't the only teacher whose kiddos needed a little bit of extra motivation, to remember the classroom expectations this week! What is it about the week before vacation that makes everyone go crazy:)?! So, I came up with this lil' turkey. Each time the kiddos were doing what was expected, being respectful, and responsible, they earned a feather for the turkey. They had to earn a total of 15 feathers to fill the turkey this week (to earn a popcorn party).
Unfortunely, the kiddos didn't earn the party this week. Sad, I know. They were 4 feathers short of earning a popcorn party. No, I didn't give in. I'm mean, I know. Not really:-). Hopefully, it's a lesson learned for next time:).
I have a confession. I am OBSESSED with Christmas decorations. If it was up to me, my house would be a winter wonderland by November 1st! After all, I have fall decor up for 2-3 months. The Christmas season is just way too short. So, what did I do after school today? I started the holiday transformation! The holiday books came out, a long with some a lot of decorating! Here is my door:

I love it! It was fairly easy to make...just takes some time to cut all the pieces out.

Speaking of decorations...I may have had the students create some trees to decorate our wall. While other classes were making turkeys....we already moved on to December:).

I just LOVE how they came out! I think I love them as much as our pumpkins.

Guess who will be making his great debut from The North Pole, on December 1st? Yes, our classroom elf, straight from The North Pole:). Here is a pack I created to accompany any lil' visitor from The North Pole. It includes a journal, to document all the mischievious things your little visitor will do, several writing pages and prompts, graphic organizers, and a couple of math and language arts printables. Stay tuned for a month of elf mischief!

Happy Thanksgiving break!

Friday, November 14, 2014


Wheeeew! What a short week! Three days sure does fly by quickly!

I didn't think I'd have much to blog about this week...but, here we are with my Five for Friday:).
I'm so excited to be apart of the 2014 Gingerbread exchange, hosted by Pawsitively Teaching. I know, you're asking, what's this gingerbread exchange about?! Click here to read all about it. In short, I've been teamed up with 15 other teachers (in various parts of the U.S) and we are exchanging gingerbread men and letters with our classrooms. So much fun! Here's what we've done so far:
We created gingerbread men that best represented where we live. Since we are surrounded by agriculture, we dressed up our gingerbread men as lil' farmers. Don't you just love their cute overalls?
Next, we wrote a letter as a class to our soon-to-be new friends! I had one kiddo copy the letter over for us.
All of our letters and gingerbread men are ready to be mailed off. I don't think any of my firsties have ever mailed anything. They were fascinated with the fact that we were MAILING our creations off to other kids! Yes, I Iet them decorate the envelopes:).

Stay tuned for more gingerbread exchange fun...
Today was an exciting day for room 16! We took 2nd place in our PBIS door decorating contest!
The kiddos spent quite a bit of time learning how to use our new iPad this week. Thank you so much to Donors Choose and all the generous people who helped make this possible! 

Gobble gobble...time for verbs! The kids thought my drawing was hilarious (which is why I'm sharing it). I'm a first grade teacher, not an artist. I tried:). Hopefully I'll have some fun verb activities to share with you next week. This was a short week:).
I also finished up my newest creation this week! With all the excitement of the gingerbread exchange, my kiddos are going to LOVE these activities! If you're interested, take a look here. It's filled with several math and literacy activities. I've also created a family-home project that is also included in this pack.

Have an awesome weekend!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Hello Four Day Weekend!

 I'm finally linking up again with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

Sniffle, cough, sneeze. It's that time of the year. I may not have much of a voice...but I made it! No substitute. Just a teacher with no voice most of the week. We all know it's much easier to go to work than plan for a sub:). I got through the week on a bag of cough drops and some airborne. I'll have four days to recover now. Yes, a four day weekend for me!! Yippee! Can you tell I'm just a little bit excited:)?
We began the transition from Halloween decor to Thanksgiving this week! I'm secretly excited (shhh...don't tell my firsties). I'm not really into the bats and spider decor. So...turkeys it is! Aren't these adorable?! They are so full of personality. Although each kiddo had the same turkey parts, they seemed to put them together just a little different. We also did some turkey themed writing. I wasn't sure if the kiddos were going to finish the writing this week. It was one of "those weeks" {sigh..}. I know all of you teachers out there can relate. I'm blaming the Halloween candy:-). But, any-hoo...we got our writing done!

First grade writing in progress!

This month is "responsibility" month at our school! Next week, we are having a door decorating contest. With it only being a three day week, I decided we better get it done this week. Did I mention I have a four day weekend:)? I really wanted to touch on Veteran's Day with my students, so I decided to incorporate it into our door decorations! I love how our door turned out! We are responsible lil' soldiers! I don't have a handy dandy template to share with you. I just cut everything out by hand...tracing random bowls and cups around my room for sizing. 

Speaking of Veteran's Day, I'm so excited about winning Cara Carroll's Veteran's day pack! We will definitely be putting some of this to good use next week:)!
Next up...Common Core math! Math has been really tough for my firsties this year. It's a big change from what they are used to doing. Unfortunately, our current math curriculum doesn't always meet the needs of all my students. So, I created this pack to help more of my students become successful. Click here for some freebie pages from this pack. If you're interested in the entire pack, click here.

Happy Friday!