Saturday, December 27, 2014

Weekend Warriors {December Deliciousness}

My fellow Weekend Warriors and I are back for the month of December!  This month, we are bringing you some of our most delicious recipes.  'Tis the season, right?


We thought it would be fun to take a break from "shop talk" since we are all on break right now.  The recipes we are sharing are perfect for celebrations involving family and friends, and this time of year, we do lots of celebrating!  

With the hectic nature of the season, I thought I would share my favorite fudge recipe, Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge.


If you ask me, there is no sweeter combination than chocolate and peanut butter. And, you can never go wrong with fudge!  It's lip smacking delicious and so easy to make.  Check it out!




Cook's Tip: To make your fudge even more peanut buttery, add a spoonful of peanut butter to the mixture in the saucepan.  Your fudge will be a tad bit chewier, but also yummy, yum, yum!

Click on either image to grab this recipe for FREE!

Be sure to visit these lovely warriors and see what kinds of goodness they have in store for you!



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Friday, December 19, 2014

Week in Review

Happy, Happy Friday!  Do you know why it's happy?  One, we survived the week before winter break.  Two, my blog just got a major makeover!  Isn't she purdy?  I can't wait to celebrate the new design (but, more on that to come, my friends).

I haven't done a weekly recap in a while, so I thought it would be nice to share a few highlights from the week. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a bit of randomness from my week.

Most of you would agree, I think, that this week was all about surviving, but we still had some learning to do, like perfect our close reading skills.  Over the past few weeks, we've been using these winter close reads.




Can I just say that my kiddos are rockin' the close reading skills?  Sometimes we do the reads as a whole group, and other times, the students complete them independently.  Either way, they are doing an amazing job as close readers!

We also wrote some wintry narratives about what we would like to do on a snowy day.  We don't get many snowy days in the desert, but the students certainly had some great ideas about what they would like to do if given the chance!  Some have visited the snow before and decided to write about their experiences.  They had fun publishing their mitten shaped books.


Like most teachers, I've spent my week planning and preparing for our return in January.  I can't wait to get into some of the material I have planned, but I'm most excited about our upcoming unit on time.  It might have something to do with the fact that up until this point we have been working on one and two-digit addition and subtraction and we need a change of pace.  Once the students have been formally introduced to telling time, I like to use these Time Check slips to continually practice our time telling skills.


I tape them to the students desks and call out "Time Check!" randomly throughout the day.  The students stop what they're doing, check the time, and write it down. Easy peasy.  Click the image below to grab this freebie from TpT.


This was also the week of gift giving.  I gave the students their holiday gift and they were so excited! I always give my gifts out on Thursday, rather than Friday.  This way, students who leave early for vacation still get their gift.  I used my Scholastic Bonus points to purchase multiple sets of books.  Each set included a variety of books within various reading levels so I was able to give the students a book at their reading level.  I wrapped the books up and attached these adorable bookmarks from First Class in Fourth Grade.


Finally, our pen pals sent us a new batch of letters.  It's always an exciting day when these letters arrive.  The kids loooove to read the letters from their friends in California.  Not only do we get letters, but treats too!  Stickers for the kids, and a Hello Kitty notepad for me.


I hope you had a fun and productive week too!  Happy Holidays!


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Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Survival Guide

The countdown is on. Friday is within our reach.  It is so close, yet it feels like it is so far away.  Rarely do I long for Friday to roll around on a Monday, but goodness me, it's the week before winter break, and we all know what that means.  Crazy Town!

My kiddos have certainly been amped up the past few weeks, so I decided to get proactive to help keep my sanity in tact, and to accomplish some legitimate teaching.  I thought I would share my ideas with you in hopes that a few of them might help you survive this crazy week too!

My first step to surviving the week before winter break is the Gift Table.  This is an extra desk in my classroom that I basically use to hold random things throughout the week (I don't have any tables). This week, it is holding gifts that are up for grabs for the good boys and girls.


In order to earn a gift, the students need to fill these punch cards, which I've actually been covering with small incentive chart stickers rather than punching.

You can grab a set of these punch cards for FREE by clicking {here}.

What kinds of gifts am I offering?  Easy, cheap stuff like markers, crayons, books purchased with bonus points from Scholastic, etc.


The second way that I'm planning to survive this week, and keep my sanity in tact, is by keeping art supplies on hand. On the menu, this delightful directed drawing from ARTventurous.

This image is from the ARTventurous website.  Be sure to visit this site, it is awesome!

Directed drawings are a student favorite in my classroom. They love them.  They love to paint and use pastels, and that is exactly what I've pulled for this project.


These projects are like a magical time in the classroom. The students quiet down and get lost in their creations.  I love that!  Today, we drew our reindeer, and throughout the rest of the week we will color and paint the portrait.  I usually have time to spare in the morning after our phonics lesson, so this makes for a great filler during this time.



One final way that I plan to survive this week is by offering daily flashlight reading.  I have  a set of finger flashlights that I purchased on Amazon.  They are amazing, and tons of fun!  The kids love using them.  Best of all, it makes for a quiet time and the kids are reading (I make sure of that).



I hope you can take a few ideas away from this post, and I wish you all a great week.  We can do this!
Toodles!

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Friday, December 12, 2014

A Wintry Card Exchange

One of my favorite holiday activities is to facilitate a holiday card exchange.  It's always a hit with the students, and it makes for a great take home project.  This year, I decided to go with a wintry theme as opposed to holiday, and it was just as much of a success as in years past.

Last week, I sent home a note explaining the card exchange.  I also sent home a blank card (construction paper folded in half).  The students were tasked with making a non-holiday specific card at home and returning it to school on the specified date for the exchange.

You can grab a copy of the letter {here}.

Before I sent the materials home, we talked a great deal about the expected quality of the cards.  I emphasized that their card was a gift for a classmate and that they should create something that they would like to receive.  I showed them this card as a sample.


The students exchanged cards today, and I have to say, I was really impressed with their creations!  Here is a sampling.


How cute is this mug of cocoa with real marshmallows glued to it?  Love!



Love this one too!  I forgot to snap a pic of the inside, but the message urged the recipient not to let their light shine too closely to the snowmen and included a picture of melted snowmen.  Haha!


In years past I have let students facilitate their own exchange, but in more recent years, I have assigned partners.  I do not tell them who they will exchange cards with until the day of the event. This is because seven year olds are terrible at keeping secrets.  Hehe.  I always tell the students to give each other a compliment and to say thank you.  Then, I let them all mingle about and show off their newly acquired treasure to the rest of their friends.  

The exchange is always a low key event, but the kids love it.  You can see their eyes light up and they can barely wipe the smiles from their faces. 

I know there isn't much time left in the holiday season, but hopefully you can use this idea!

Toodles!

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Unwrap a Gift from Me to You!

The holiday season is upon us, and there is no better way to celebrate than with a brand new seasonal freebie!  I'm linking up with The Primary Gal to share my newest freebie with all of you.


I love to change out my bulletin boards each month, and I'll be honest, sometimes time is not on my side. When that's the case, I turn to a quick and easy craft and pair it with a poem.  It's a win-win because I end up with a cute display that the kids take great pride in, and it gets done in a short period of time.  I typically hang up their writing (poem) with the craft next to it.

Knowing how busy December is, I created a quick and simple craftivity pack that includes the templates needed to make the cuties shown below, and two different poetry templates.


Each of these kiddos only require 3 pieces of colored construction paper. Or, you could print everything on white and have your students color them in.  This saves you even more time when it comes to prep!


Simply print out the poetry templates and let your students create a fun poem about winter.  I usually lead my students in a whole group brainstorming session after reading a book about the topic, but feel free to use it as you see fit.  You could even use this freebie in January!


I hope you can use this freebie. Click {HERE} to download it from TpT.  

Enjoy!

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