Liebster Blog Award

Well Hello Everyone,
                                   I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and/or Festivus Celebration! I for one have been slacking on the blog front and catching up on sleep, spending time with friends and family, reading, and watching some great movies! I plan on getting back into the whole "work mode" sometime next week, along with gym mode! Been slacking in these areas too!

Well, despite my lack of posts and focus on anything "teaching" in the last few days, I still found an impressive, motivating, and well appreciated (on my part!) surprise waiting for me over at Mrs. Cockrell's sweet little blog Teach on. She was very generous and kind in nominating me for a Liebster Blog Award! My first award YAY! Thank you to Mrs. Cockrell for this great award! 

This award was created to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. If awarded you must:
1. Copy & paste the award on your blog.
2. Thank the giver & link back to them.
3. Reveal YOUR picks & leave a comment letting them know.
4. Hope your followers will share the love.

So I have ventured back out into the blogging world (as I said I've been M.I.A. for a while) and looked for some great blogs that I love and have been following for some time to share the love with!

Let's Begin...

I must begin by sending you all over to my mentor/bestie Mrs. Leslie. She is a phenomenal teacher who has taught, not only myself, but hundreds upon hundreds of teachers. She is devoted, experienced, creative and the kind of teacher we all aspire to be! You must take a look at her resourceful, informative, not to mention beautiful blog!

Check her out!

Another wonderful blogger/teacher/great friend is Ms. Valerie over at Grow Up Learning. She is a motivated, technology savvy, and innovative teacher! I love her enthusiasm and passion for teaching (we had a student teaching stage together, I know how good she is)! 

Check her out!

Mrs. Cupcake over at A Cupcake for the Teacher has managed to combine two of my most favorite passions! Teaching and cupcakes. She is very creative and has some wonderful ideas! 

Check her out!

I must agree with  Mrs. Cockrell, who stated that most blogs have far more than 200 followers! I had a difficult time finding blogs who have just started up like mine! On thing is for certain, all three blogs are definitely stalker worthy! Thank you again to all who follow and stop by to visit my little blog! I am having a blast sharing these ideas with you and have learned so much from all you fellow bloggers out there! I promise not to disappoint in the new year! Plenty of great ideas and freebies coming your way! A little sneak preview for you: I will begin with a Candyland Theme for January and the beg. of February (thought it might be a cute segway into Valentines Day activities), so plenty of sweet treats for all my blogger friends!

See you all in 2012! I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year filled with lots of love, laughter, happiness, HEALTH, and teaching!


The Tales of Elves and Latke People

Good Evening All,
                              I am almost certain that you are all feeling the last minute crunch of the holiday season! I certainly am! I apologize for not posting in some time, however I have been as busy as an elf preparing for Christmas at home and with the kiddies! We have two more days of school left and about 1,000 things to do! 

Today we honored the first day of Hanukkah by making potato latke people (I ate four real latkes myself at Governing Board last night)! We read a story about the celebration and customs and made these adorable little people! 

Download free latke template HERE!

In keeping with Christmas, our little Invisible Elf made his way back to our classroom again! Two times this week, to be precise!

First, he stopped by and left some little "knick knacks" for my sweeties. Who would of thought that some dollar store stickers could stir a classroom up as much as they did! The kiddos were in love with them! "Can we color them? Can I wear my sticker from the Invisible Elf?" Too cute!

You can download the free 
note template HERE!

Today, the students had the great idea of baking for the Invisible Elf. Well, due to time constraints, we were unable to actually devote an hour and a half to actually bake SOOOOO.... WE PRETENDED! How, you ask.? Well simple, we brought in some flour and water (we claimed we had already mixed in sugar, baking powder and such with the flour) and had the kiddies each take a turn mixing the concoction! To our dismay, we began this endeavor much to close to recess time and had to drop everything and "Continue" after recess. Well, what do you know! The Invisible Elf dropped by while we were out and baked the cookies for us! 

And, What a mess he made!

Of course, as you all are very much aware, I am quite the avid baker and spent all of Sunday making 3 cakes and 90 cookies! None of which will accompany me to any of my destinations on Christmas Eve or  Day! Thus, I will have to bake again! I will definitely share some photos in an upcoming post of all my delicious little treats!

At the very beginning of all of this Invisible Elf "stuff" I had thought of revealing myself as the Invisible Elf on the last day of school. However, upon seeing the magic in these little eyes and the belief they all have in this spectacular little creature, I have made the decision to pretend as though this Elf truly exists! I think it is wonderful that the munchkins still believe and that they are beyond happy and excited to have had the privilege to be visited by an elf from the North Pole! I simply can't take that feeling away from them!

I know many of you are already on Holiday Break (very jealous btw), however you can still expect at least one more holiday classroom activity post (my last day with the kiddies centers, to be precise) AND some posts about holiday baking!

Happy Holidays to One and All!  And Until next time...


The Invisible Elf Returns!

Good Evening Everyone,
                                        You'll never believe it! The Invisible Elf returned today with a beautiful treat from France!! He was right on board with our theme for the day (what a surprise). I have been teaching the kiddos all about Christmas around the world. I've been using a wonderful resource by Sarah over at First Grader at Last

Grab this great resource HERE!

So, today we worked on the France page and I decided to show them some youtube clips of the Eiffel Tower at Christmas time. 

It's really lit up like this every night, however the French Christmas song makes for a great holiday treat!
I also printed the lyrics to the song Petit Papa Noel. 

While we were learning a little bit about France, the Eiffel tower and how the kiddies leave a shoe for "Papa Noel" to leave toys in, my very amazing attendant prepared a great big surprise for the kiddies. We were in the Smartboard room and were discussing the fact that in France they eat "Buche de Noel" (Yule Log) and what do you know, The Invisible Elf left us another note AND a mini "Buche de Noel" (Swiss Rolls, yumm!). My attendant was darn creative, she used brown paint to make 'elf handprints" all over the classroom! (love this!)

Tell me this is not AMAZING!! The best part is that those who were apprehensive to believe the first time around, were completely shocked because I spent the entire time in the Smartboard room with them watching videos from Paris!

Tomorrow, the Invisible Elf plans on stepping foot into our baking bowls!
This should prove to be very cute indeed!
Until next time...


Blogger Help Freebie

Hi Everyone,
  I spent the day teaching a fabulous eager group of future bloggers, alongside my bestie Mrs. Leslie (! They were great! 

Do you ever have one of those days where everything goes completely wrong? Well, that's what we experienced at the beginning of our day!

Despite the fact that I walked into school and had a missing substitute (god bless our amazing secretary for finding one on such short notice!) and had technical difficulties with our laptops (I totally hate technology sometimes, tell me I'm not the only one!), we actually had a successful "workshop!" Just imagine half the group already having a url and working on templates while the other half didn't even have a working computer yet! Oiiiii, what a mess! Is it pathetic that we needed a sixth grader to help us and ensure that the computers were working correctly?!?! 
He was awesome by the way! 

Anyhow, as I mentioned, the "workshop," as a whole, was a great success.
They did such a great job! I am proud of our little bloggers!
 I am talking, a group of teachers who have never used blogger, now have their very own classroom blogs! Yippeeee! 

My school was a great host to these wonderful teachers as well, they were very impressed with all that is going on in my amazing school. I've I mentioned about a billion times how much I love it there!?!

Thought I'd share the handout I made for the "workshop" with all of you. Found some great new ideas on Lady Bug Teacher Files, Kristen rocks the blogger world!

Get my freebie blogger help handout here!

P.s. Forgot to mention I'm super happy about hitting 100 LIKES of Facebook! Show some love and help me get 100 followers over here! 

Also, please make sure to check out my christmas writing activities below. Stories, shared reading, writing prompts and arts and crafts. ALL FREEBIES.

And for those who are interested in The Invisible Elf, he will be visiting the kiddos again tomorrow so stay tuned for another freebie! Until then! Take care!


The Invisible Elf

Hey All,
             So I was a little late in learning about this Elf on the Shelf business. I love the idea and will definitely be ordering mine for next year. Despite the fact that I did not get the chance to do it this year, I still wanted to incorporate some elf magic in my classroom. SO, I decided to come up with a little elf of my own for my kiddies and named him "The Invisible Elf." I have to say I introduced him today and what a success!

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is experiencing the joy and magic through the kiddies eyes. There's nothing more precious than a child's excitement and belief in all the magical parts of Christmas. I just think that as adults we get all wrapped up in the shopping and wrapping and craziness of it all and we don't really appreciate the remarkable parts of the Holiday Season. We are almost all guilty of it!! Myself included!

Ok so back to my elf idea! I created these neat little individualized notes for the kiddies and placed them on their desk with a candy cane (I even made one for myself). 

Then I placed some footprints and a note on the board. I wasn't sure if it would work but decided to give it a try! Second graders are not always believers anymore! Let me tell you, mine definitely are! They were astonished! They walked around the room looking for the elf and for any signs that he was still there! They even went to find the principal to let her know an elf had visited our room! She played along really well! I have never over exaggerated emotions this much in my life! "WOW!" "THIS CAN"T BE!" "OH, MY GOODNESS!" etc... hehe It was great fun! 

"Ironically," I had an elf writing activity planned! What are the chances?! hehe! We wrote about an invisible elf visiting our classroom! Can you believe that we missed our computer period because the kiddies insisted on working on their elf story instead!! Amazing! This was such a success! I plan on having our invisible elf visit again. There will be other treats such as pencils and bookmarks, as well as activities that he will ask them to complete. I bought some cute holiday puzzles at the dollar store and I'm thinking the invisible elf will want the kiddies to work together to complete them! 

One of my cuties actually had a wonderful idea! She asked if we could bake cookies for the elf to thank him for visiting. As an avid baker, I'm all over this idea and plan to leave some crumbs behind with a note stating how delicious they were and how grateful he was for the treat. The cookies will go to the staff room and make both my kiddos and colleagues very happy!

 Leave a comment if you have any other ideas for me! I'm looking for some cute things to do with my elf! 

Here is a look at our elf stories!

I am trying this new approach to downloading! Found out about it on Lady Bug Teacher Files. What a great resource for blog help! You simply have to click on the link and you get a direct download! 
Love this!

Get your freebies here!

Hope this magical experience puts a smile on your kiddies face!


Sweet for Contractions

Dear Blogger Friends,
                                   If you are anything like me (which I’m sure most teachers are), you must have a sweet tooth! I love anything to do with cupcakes, chocolate, and other little treats! I also love creating engaging and resourceful units to use with my kiddies. Upon reading my latest writer’s workshop stories with my kiddos, I noticed that many of them had trouble with contractions. So, I combined 2 of my many passions (baking and teaching) and created a wonderful contraction unit based on cupcake treats! 

This 55 page unit is a fun and exciting way to learn all about contractions. Students will take part in many great activities and practice using contractions in various ways. Through the colorful and vibrant images, students will be motivated to complete tasks. With a cupcake theme as a basis, this unit provides students with an amusing approach to mastering this skill.

Included in the package are:

- 8 contraction rule signs (colorful and informative)

- a complete list of 64 words and associated contractions (can be given to the students as a reference)

- 4 contractions centers including: memory game, build a sentence game, match the word with contraction game, and build a contraction game (all centers/games include recording sheets for students to use)

- 3 contraction worksheets (great for homework review)

The students will love using the cupcake patterns to play games and build contractions. A great resource that can be implemented any time of year. 


When Santa Lost his Sleigh

Hello Everyone,

My little elves have been hard at work creating the most amazing stories! I have to say the quality of their writing has greatly improved over the past few weeks and I am very impressed! They are however, exhibiting some difficulties with contractions and thus I have been hard at work, myself, creating a unit to help them better understand these rules and remember how to spell them correctly
 (stay tuned, it's a great resource). 

I began the lesson by reading a story that I made up and created on notebook (god bless scrappindoodles clipart, they made my story so vibrant and exciting)! I have to say I am loving creating stories for my kiddies. I no longer need to worry about having a specific book and running around like a chicken with no head looking for a book that is suitable for the lesson. Of course, I still loooooove books, I just like that I can come up with any whacky idea and be able to read a story to the kiddies about it!

So my story goes a little like this...
Santa loses his sled on Christmas Eve and is devastated (lots of new vocabulary words!) of course because he will not be able to deliver the presents to all the children. Alas, his North Pole friends try to help him find the sleigh. Rudolph thinks that if Santa rubs his big red nose, the sleigh will reappear... The elves think that if Santa rings the little bells on their shoes, the sleigh will reappear... After many magical attempts from the North Pole friends, Frosty shows up with a special snow globe and saves the day! It's a cute little story and guess what! You can download it below for free!

After we read the story, we wrote a class story together! I have 2 language arts classes so here is what both groups came up with...


These kiddos crack me up! Their ideas are genius! 

After we wrote our class stories, they went back to their seat and created their own masterpieces.
I supplied them with templates and a model to make a Santa and here is an example of what they came up with!
Looooooooooooveeeeee This!

Tell me this is not precious!

Download the templates and writing prompt below!

I also made a shared reading activity to go with this story. It is based on the "When Santa Lost his Sleigh" story that I created. You can find more information about shared reading from a previous post I made: Shared Reading Information

You can download the shared reading activity here

I hope you enjoy these activities as much as we did!
Happy Holidays!


It's Lion Taming Time!

Hey everyone,
                       I know we are all wrapped up in holiday units, but I thought I'd slip one last circus activity in! No harm in downloading something for later right?! So our very last circus writer's workshop consisted of stepping into the shoes of a lion tamer! We had a lot of fun and our lions were quite the talent!! These imaginations, they flabbergast me! 
  We basically went over our same old writer's workshop routine: I read a theme related story, we talked about it, we mapped out what we should write about, we wrote a theme related class story, read it, and finally they kiddos wrote their own story. 

I swear this approach is NUMERO UNO! I will not lie, the first few weeks of doing this were difficult. I may have aged 10 years at times, however the students have gotten so great at this and are so excited to write! It is worth the craziness in the beginning! Now our writer's workshop lessons flow so well! I love it and so do the kiddies!!

Here's what our lion tamer stories looked like...

The kiddies did a great job!

You can download free templates here: lion mane
And here: lion face

Enjoy and stay tuned for "When Santa Lost his Sleigh" 
Post will include: Smartboard activity, shared reading and writing activity! All freebies!


Sounds, Sounds, Everywhere!

Dear Blogger Friends,
Hope you are all doing well and are starting to enjoy the festivities of this holiday season! I absolutely looooooove this time of year! I am slowly wrapping up my circus unit (one more cute idea/freebie to come!) and have begun looking into my holiday activities (great ideas/freebies to come!). Seeing as though I am slightly in between units at the moment, I thought it would be nice to share something I do each day during my morning routine! 

As a cycle one teacher, my main focus is to help my students learn and improve upon reading and writing skills. I do so by having my students take part in many daily 5 and balanced literacy activities. Furthermore, I have a phonics routine! This can be done at the beginning of each day, during calendar time. Everyday, my students review the jolly phonics (b, s, t, etc...) sounds as well as other more difficult sounds (ee, ea, ough, ow, etc...). 

My bestie, Mrs. Leslie (I think I've mentioned her before, hehe), has so graciously shared some wonderful sound posters (free of course). 

These are displayed on the wall and a designated student (usually the V.I.P for the day, also courtesy of Mrs. Leslie!) points to the sounds and the students say each sound. We say "oo" as in "tooth," thus helping students remember the letters and sounds. More specifically, when they are reading or writing, we can refer back to the sounds cards. For instance, if a student wants to write the word "booth" and is stuck on the "oo" sound, I say: "oo, like in tooth!" The students usually refer to the sound posters and are then able to write the sound correctly. 

Click here to download Mrs. Leslie's Sound Posters
Click here to download Mrs. Leslie's V.I.P. Student

Another great freebie by Mrs. Leslie, is the mini sound chart. It is a great resource to have in writing folders and around the classroom for reference. It includes all the same sounds as the posters with the added bonus of fitting all on the same page! 

Click here to download Mrs. Leslie's Sound Chart

I have also made small sound cards that can be cut and used as flash cards. Once again, they include all the above sounds (bottom portion of the poster) and are without pictures. These are used after a certain knowledge of the sounds has been attained. It is a good daily practice for the sounds and can be sent home. I use these with my students who are having a little more difficulty remembering the sounds. A great tool to use when the resource teacher is in your classroom. Also fun to use when the students are in centers and you want to work one-on-one with a struggling student.

Click here to download  FREE Sound Cards

Hope these prove to be helpful for some of you out there! 
Be sure to continue to check out my blog and Mrs. Leslie's for more great ideas!


Walter the Elephant!

Hello All,
                I have only just arrived home, upon spending a wonderful evening meeting most of my kiddies parents. I have to say, not only am I blessed with great students, but with wonderful, supportive parents as well (isn't that the greatest!). This job is so rewarding! I loooooooove it!!! I also love teaching the second grade because I can really have some fun with my units and the kiddies...

So much fun indeed, that I introduce to you, Walter the Elephant!

I swear, even the adults at my school are in love with this cuddly guy! P.S. you can find him at IKEA!

Walter LOVES to watch the students work AND he really enjoys going home with students to take part in many great adventures!

Everyday, a different student has the privilege to bring Walter home. Walter usually chooses a student who has demonstrated a positive attitude and has worked hard all day! He also likes it when he catches a student doing something really great, like helping a friend or sharing. He sometimes likes to go home with students who have been putting a lot of great effort into their work. He is really good at choosing the right home to visit each day! 

He also wants the students to write and illustrate about their adventures together. 

Walter is a great motivational tool and the students respond well to receiving him and sharing their adventures with their peers. Every morning, the student brings Walter back to school and reads his/her story to the class. I have seen some great reading and sharing from reluctant readers as well as timid students. He is a great tool to use for building confidence!

You may of course use any stuffed toy you wish. We are using an elephant, as you all very much know, we are in the midst of our circus theme.

You can download the Walter the Elephant pack here: FREE

I hope this activity brings smiles to your kiddies faces!
See you all very soon

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