Thursday, December 22, 2011

X-mas gifts for parents and teachers~ Gift tag freebies!

So here are some CUTE little buckets I found and decided to give as gifts to my K-1 team members.  I filled them with Tootsie Rolls and added a label and some ribbon.

My team teachers are a talented bunch and it is truly a JOY working with them!  So if you would like to use this for next year, here are the labels I created MINUS my name. 

When you first pull them up in google docs they look white, but once you download them they are green. 

And so while I was feeling crafty, I whipped up this label for a parent thank you gift for my two AWESOME room moms and another parent volunteer that helps me out tremendously on a daily basis!  I got the original idea from Melissa at Domesticated Lady- but her label is for teachers.  So even though mine are NOT as cute as hers, I thought it might be cute as a parent thank you gift. 

Here are the labels if you would like a copy. 

Again, these look different when you first pull them up in google docs, but should be okay after downloading them.  Let me know if they are not. 

Hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas Break!  I am loving my first day off so much that I haven't managed to even get out of my PJs yet!  It is THAT kind of day ~ Enjoy!

Charlie Brown Inspired Christmas Party

Today if my first official day of Christmas Break!  I thought I would share a few pictures from our Christmas party that was inpired from Charlie Brown.  One of my awesome parent dads made this Charlie Brown Christmas tree for us!  He cut it from one of his own trees.  {please excuse the mess in the background}.

I can't believe I didn't take pictures before my lovely students started devouring our treats, but I thought I would share a few pictures of these cute labels for our snacks - including some in the CUTEST dog bowls from (where else) but the Dollar Tree. 

My favorite was the puppy chow labeled "Snoopy's Snack Mix".  Adorable!

And how cute are these popcorn holders?  Charlie Brown cartoon printed cones! 

Here is a banner and a game we played during our party.  The game was called "Pin the Ornament on the Tree".  The one closest to the big ornament was the winner. 

My parents found some really cute ideas from the blog "Oink - The Blog of Piggy Bank Parties".  I would have loved to go over board with the Charlie Brown stuff, but we ran out of time.  If you are interested check out this post that has tons of pictures and ideas for a Charlie Brown theme

Here is a picture of the finished product of the craft my kiddos put together at the party.  We had 5 stations set up so the kids could add each item:  brown sugar, flour, chocolate chips, sugar, and recipe label.  They were very proud!

We also had a visit from Santa... YES!  Can you believe he came ALL the way from the North Pole just to visit us on our party day?  All my students had a picture taken with him and got to tell him ONE thing that they REALLY wanted for Christmas.  Here are a couple of pictures so you can see he was AUTHENTIC!

Santa even commented on this little guy's shirt!  Heh, heh!

What a VERY special TREAT this was for us!  Santa is such a kind, kind man.  The kids asked him if he brought his reindeer and he explained that today he traveled in a pickup truck out here in the country...{FORD - that is}!  He left his reindeer back at the barn at the NP. 

I wanted to share ONE last thing. We have a holiday luncheon for the kids in our cafeteria.  I'm not talking about what we serve... but HOW we serve.  The cafeteria is decorated in lights and music is playing.  The tables are lined with red tablecloths and candles.  The kids don't drink out of milk cartons but are served milk in Christmas cups.  A few of the 5th grade students help serve as they bring the food to the kids. I found this tradition to be so unique and special I just had to share.  The pictures do not even do it justice but this may give you a little glimpse into the beauty of it all!

Here is a picture of some of my girls enjoying their holday lunch.  I think one of them had already taken a bite of their mash potatoes.  YUM!

They even have a special table for the teachers to make them feel extra special. 

I hope everyone enjoyed their last few days of school before the break.  It may have been a little hectic but the smiles and joy of my little ones were worth it!  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Grinch Twist... made by my first grade "whos"!

So we did the Grinch thing.. And who doesn't just L-O-V-E the mini-grinch unit by Deanna Jump?!  Anyway, flying by the seat of my pants, we took the Grinch project a little further.  We read the book "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" by Dr. Seuss and was fascinated by all those little whoville characters.  If we were going to write about how we would make the Grinch grin, well then we were going to pretend to be whos in whoville.  So on a whim I took the kids pictures, glued it to a piece of black construction paper and wrote each kiddos name above their picture in white crayon.  If they were a girl their name was (Insert girl name here) - Lou Who.  If they were a boy their name was (Insert boy name here)-Woo Who!  Too funny... but they just giggled and loved it!

They were then given an array of construction paper, ribbon, yarn, pom poms, and a menagerie of craft items to decorate themselves as WHOS.  I wasn't sure how it would turn out - but the end product was super cute! (At least I think so.)  Take a look at these whos...

What do you think?  Like I said it was a whim ~ and they l-o-v-e to do projects involving pictures of themselves.  My little whos had fun and enjoyed telling me how they would make the Grinch grin. Didn't mean to post twice tonight but couldn't help sharing.  Happy Friday!

Painted Ornaments Christmas Gifts

We made our parent gifts this week.  I say parent gifts, but actually my students make them for whomever they choose... grandma, grandpa, sister, brother, etc.  I bought these ceramic ornaments (that are VERY strong considering).  One of my students knocked two off my shelf and believe it or not they did not break!  Whew!  Anyway, they only cost me 60 cents each!  I have a supply of paint pens from years back that I break out on the day we decorate these ornaments.  I am always pleased how they turn out and each one is unique.  Here is my example that I show the kids.

So then they get to work painting and decorating their ornaments.  Here are how a few turned out.  Beeeeauuutiful!

This little guy has a sister named Myla - My ornament said Nyla for my niece. He copied my design but turned out super cute!

On the back I write our class and the year so each time they hang it on the tree, hopefully they will remember our time together.

And finally we package them in tissue paper in these cute little red bags that they decorate.  We add some ribbon and wah-lah!  They can't wait to take these home and give them to their relative.  Here are some of the bags they decorated.

Just thought I would share what we've been up to in Room 23.  Hope you are having as much fun!  Only 2 more days for us...Have a fantastic weekend!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Glitter Fun... and pinterest crafts!

It was time to break out the glitter and let's just say our room was one big SPARKLE!  Take a look at this mess!

Friday we finished up our projects we have been working on the last couple of weeks.  First I have to share this AWESOME book I found in the library!  It inspired the "If I Lived in a Snowglobe..." writing project.  My kids LOVED this book and it inspired some creative writing.

After we read the book, my first graders wrote about what it would be like if they lived in a snowglobe.  We used this writing paper.  Feel free to grab it, if you'd like.

After they wrote their stories, my students made their own snowglobe.  We used a special kind of snowy irridescent glitter that made them look real! 

We were so proud of these!  While the glitter was out, we used it to decorate some snowflakes to hang out in the hallway.  We had glitter on our faces, clothes, hair, E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E!  How does that happen?  We tried to be so careful.  We listened to Christmas music and let the sparkle fly!

Here is a little pinterest inspired craft that I just HAD to try out.  I think they turned out adorable and they were all unique!  Did anyone else try these wreaths? My first graders did everything but staple them together.  I have had many compliments on these!

Some students put their first name and some put their last name! 

What is amazing is my first graders have been SO well behaved!  December first we made stockings from Construction paper and hung them by our cubbies with care.  I was able to contact Santa and ask him for a little favor.  Every night he sends a couple of elves to our classroom to check out our behavior chart.  All the boys and girls that are on green or above get a little something in their stocking.  On our last day of school (December 20th) my students get to take their stockings down and see what those elves have left them for being such good little boys and girls!  It's been difficult - but NO PEEKING is allowed.

Some items hang out the top...

Finally, here is what our hall looked like after we hung up our snowflakes, snowglobes and writing projects.  OH, and I almost forgot.  We made our names using cut out christmas lights (another pinterest inspiration!)

Here is a close up of our names in lights.

I just love this time of year!  We have a special parent guest coming this week to present a lesson about Hannakuh and we will make our parent gifts this week as well.  I will share those when they are finished.  I did the same thing last year and they turned out adorable.  I have lots of assessing to do this week, so I hope our behavior incentive continues to influence their choices.  Have a great week!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Science Experiment ~ Mayflower Freebie!

It's hard to believe it is already time to go back to school.  I've had a wonderful break and wanted to post about an experiment my class did before the break.  Since our school is a K-5 elementary, I was able to get together with one of our 5th grade teachers to plan an activity involving both her 5th grade class and my 1st grade class.  We began by learning a little bit about the Mayflower and toured the ship online, learning about various sections of the ship. 

The experiment we decided to try with our 5th grade buddies is by no means an original idea, but actually came from Deanna Jump and her Simple Science Volume 1 packet.  I purchased this packet and tweaked the activity a little to fit our needs.  This experiment originally was to be used with the book In 1492 by Jean Marzollo, but since we were approaching Thanksgiving we focused on the Mayflower. 

After discussing the huge ship, the passengers, the cargo and everything the large ship held, it made us wonder how does this boat stay afloat?  Students then went back to stations where they were given a ball of clay, a tub of water and a recording sheet.  The first thing students did was drop the ball of clay in the water and record what happened.

Students did predict that the clay would sink and many students had the same conclusion... the ball of clay sank!  Now it was time to think about how they could turn the clay into a sailing ship.  Could they make this ball of clay float?  Students thought of a design and began shaping the clay with the help of their 5th grade buddies.  It took several tries before finally we began to hear shouts of "Our ship is floating!"

Everyone was so excited to look around at their neighbor's ship to see what theirs looked like. 

The 5th graders were just "helpers" in this activity, but they were so encouraging to my first graders and allowed them to think about this experiment.  It was so great to look around and see the level of engagement of all students. 

The experiment had really just begun, because once students got their ship to sail, they must now see how many bear counters it can hold (and record their information).  Let's just say it became a little bit of a competition.

This ship only held about three bears.  But the next ship held much more.

And some learned just how many their ship could hold before it started to sink.

Once students had recorded all their information, they cleaned up their area and then went to buddy read around the room until all students were finished.  I think they enjoyed this as much as the experiment!

Once everything was cleaned up and put away, we came together again and each partner was able to share with our group just how many bears their ship held.  We had punched out some bear dicuts that we wrote the number of bears on for each partner and placed on a large bar graph based on the amount of bears.  I was so caught up in the lesson, I forgot to get a picture of this.  I can tell you though, that the largest number of bears a ship could hold was 23!  We were all amazed! 

I made a recording sheet to go with this activity to include more writing space for my first graders.  It is a freebie and click on the image to get your sailing ships experiment recording sheet.

Overall this was an excellent experience for all involved and we have decided to try and get our 5th grade buddies to visit again for another activity soon.  We hope to get together again before Christmas.  Do any of you have upper grade level "buddies"?  How often do you get together and what type of activities do you do?  Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I guess Christmas is just around the corner. (I'm not sure I'm ready!)  Have a great evening!

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