I like easy planning, do you?

Sad to say, but Christmas break is almost over. It has been glorious lounging in my pjs all day, staying up late, and enjoying all things non work related! And since I want to continue Netflix binging as long as I can, I need to get my lesson plans knocked out. I wanted to drop by real quick and share my plans for the first week back and show you what's making my planning easier. I like easy planning, do you??

Sooo, all things New Year's. I love the fresh start January holds. I love making lists and goals and trying my best to stick to them. Its always fun to talk goals and New Year's resolutions with 6 / 7 year olds. They usually have some pretty funny things that they wish to do better.

 I will start off my week with this book:

I absolutely adore all of Natasha Wing's books and have *almost* all of them.  This one is a great little read to jog their memory of what they did on New Year's Eve.  After reading, I will do a few pages from this UNIT!!

To get back into the school mode and wake our brains up, we will review some basic skills like story elements (characters, setting, problem, and solution) and retelling (beginning, middle, and end). This won't be all in one day but over a couple of days.  I have several assessments to give when we go back and these flip strips and response pages will be great independent work while still reinforcing those concepts.

If you are lucky enough to not be testing, you could also use these in small groups with those little ones who are struggling.  

Then... on to our experience with New Year's.  Did they get to stay up late? Did they fall asleep early like in the book? And making connections from the text to another time they wanted to stay up late.

And then... Goals! Resolutions! What do we want to do different? Try harder to do?

I also have included 2 station activities in this UNIT that could be done in small groups / whole group / or in Daily 5 / literacy stations. Here's a peak at one:

I will also be prepping my Winter Literacy Stations while I'm lounging today to make sure we are all set to go when we return.

Sooo... that's the gist of my first week back.  Are you finished planning? Here is a little freebie for you for stopping by!  

I hope you enjoyed your break, and that your 2016 is filled with joy and happiness!

Ebs The Classroom Elf!

Happy New Year's Eve Ya'll! Any exciting plans tonight? We're keeping it pretty low key here and I'm pretty happy about that!

On to a little school... I've never had an Elf in my classroom.  Usually by the time December rolls around, I'm done. Out of gas.  Tired.  Just done. This year, this class has my heart. I just adore them.  I wanted to do something a little *magical* to make Christmas in our classroom special.  So... I splurged and bought an elf. And movie. And lots of treats for the elf to bring.  And holy moly... it was expensive! But... I just keep telling myself I love this class and I won't have to buy any of these things again. So I now present...

So.. way back on the Monday after Thanksgiving break, we got a very special delivery in my classroom!

I don't have pictures of the actual delivery.  Our ESL / Bilingual Paraprofessional was kind enough to make the delivery.  I put the box in the freezer before school so by 1:15 it was nice and COLD!! The kids started guessing what was inside.  I hadn't planned on that, but it was fun to see what they thought.. and NONE of them guessed an elf. This is what we saw when we opened the box:

A closer look at the letter...

And then we saw this...

And so it began! A magical adventure in room D106! Thank goodness for Pinterest and Instagram because well I'm just not that creative. That Monday afternoon we only had time to read the book, discuss the #1 rule: DO NOT TOUCH THE ELF, and name our new friend.  The naming process wasn't anything fancy. Every child got to come up with one name, and I wrote 23 names on the board. I would like to tell you they had some cute name ideas, but the names were pretty generic like "Bob".  I have a special friend in my room that has some challenges and my kids all take such great care of this little guy.  For whatever reason, this friend chose "Ebs".  After each child came up with a name, each child got to vote for one name and we took the top 5-6.  It was between "Ebs" and "Sparkle".  Then we voted between those 2 names and it was unanimous! Ebs was our elf's name! And I absolutely LOVED it!

**Let's just say I'm not the teacher who gets to school super early.  I'm doing real good to be there at 7:50... School starts at 8! :/ Part of it is because I live 30+ minutes away, and part of it is because I'm just not a morning person.  My advice is to move your elf before you leave each day! There was no way I was going to have time in the mornings.

So Day 2 we saw this:

Ebs brought us his movie so we watched it on this afternoon.  It was very cute, and I recommend it. We also started a journal from MISS GALVIN LEARNS:

Click The Image to Go Download From TPT

We wrote a sentence or two each day about what Ebs was doing or what he brought us and drew a picture.  This was usually our morning work during breakfast and didn't take too much time.

Here are a few pics of his classroom adventures.  (iPhone pics of course because remembering my nice camera just isn't going to happen either. :/  I wish I could say I took a picture every day, but it just didn't happen. I was sick a couple of days, and just forgot some others.

My Favorite:

As you probably noticed, Ebs brought us some treats.  Most of them were from Dollar Tree.  Lots of candy, pencils, erasers, crazy straws, chapstick that we used as a smelly stamp on our hands... just simple easy treats. 

A few of the shenanigans I didn't get a picture of:
*A sick day (after a day of Way.Too.Much.Talking!) This was the all over Pinterest Kleenex box bed.  This worked like a charm! The kids felt so bad and were really on their best behavior that day.
*Climbing inside a bag of M&Ms
*Sitting on my desk
*Sitting on the Elmo
*I have these:
Click Picture for LINK

*Ebs was hanging upside down from one of these one day.
*His departure was simple. I had thought about a letter to the kids or something more exciting, but I was out of energy by that day.  He was hanging / peeking out from behind the blinds in the window and had used marshmallows to spell out "BYE" on the counter below.

**During our classroom Christmas party, one of my moms told me that the Elf was the first thing her daughter came home talking about every day. The mom said, "They'll remember this forever!" That made it ALL WORTH WHILE. I want them to remember the FUN stuff!!

And that was it!! I'm so so so very glad I put the extra cash and energy into this.  My kids were far from perfect, but I do feel like it helped with behavior during the last 3 weeks when the kids are so hyper! They were so excited each morning to come in and find Ebs. 

Did you have an Elf? Are you super creative with your Elf's shenanigans? Or are you a Pinterest copier like me?!?! Ha! 

I'm back... just in time for Christmas!!

Welp! Nothing like a little 3 year break from blogging! I think I'm ready to jump back in to this world and hopefully share a thing or two with you!

Tomorrow is the first day of the Christmas season in the classroom and I am *so* excited! I absolutely adore my class this year and can't wait to create as much magic in our room over the next three weeks as possible.  To start, I am planning a week long gingerbread unit using the printables from this unit!

Because we are starting the 2nd round of DRA assessments this week, (didn't we just finish the beginning of year assessments like last week?) I need things that are easy to plan and easy for my kiddos to work on independently.  I plan to put some of the response pages in stations and some will be independent seat work throughout the week.

I also included retelling cards which my kids love to have during Read to Someone! Just add The Gingerbread Man book and that's a pretty easy station the kids enjoy!

And.... a word work station.  My kids can always use a little extra practice with abc order!

And as a thanks for staying with me... even after 3 years of silence... I'll include a freebie! Just click the picture below! I hope you can use this in your classroom this year!

Hopefully it won't be 3 years before I'm back!! Enjoy every bit of your Christmas season! It'll be over before we know it!

How-to Pudding Cups

In writing, we have been working on writing "How-To" papers.  I saw an activity HERE that involved pudding cups and I thought it tied in well with Earth Day,  Earth Day... pudding dirt cups... it works, right?  I made my dirt pudding cup as an example, and we talked through the steps.  Then, I gave them all of the supplies they would need to make their own, as well as a sheet with first, next, then, and last.  As the kids were making their cups, they wrote the steps down.  After they had made their cups, they got another sheet that had feels, tastes, looks, and smells.  As they enjoyed eating their pudding cups, they wrote down how it tasted, looked, smelled, and felt.  This was a great way for us to review adjectives!  Overall, a super fun project!  The kids had a blast, and learned a thing or two! ;-) I would HIGHLY recommend this cute activity from Amy Lemons!

The finished project:

Earth Day Fun!

We celebrated Earth Day this last week! So much fun! I found all sorts of super fun activities on blogs and TPT for us to use in our class.  Here are a few pics of some of the activities:

Our Earth Day Anchor Chart: (I CANNOT draw at ALL so I used this anchor chart found here to help me! Again, not my creative thinking!)

Here is a pic of the craftivity we worked on! It turned out very cute, I think?! 

We also reviewed less than, greater than, and equal to.  The kids completed math facts, then sorted the cards according to their relationship to 10.  This activity was found HERE.

We also read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss and discuss story elements- character, setting, problem, and solution.  Then, we wrote and illustrated the main events from the beginning, middle, and end of the story!  The Lorax activities came from a unit called Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle!