Stay Merry and Bright the last week of School:)

Who's in the last week countdown?  I am!!  I am teaming up with some awesome upper grade teachers to bring you some tips  to help you keep that last week before Christmas break a MERRY one!!  AND, one lucky person will win a fab Winter Prize Bundle!!
Stay consistent with "sprinkles" of Christmas/Holiday fun mixed in here and there.  This may sound like a no brainer BUT it has kept me merry and my kiddos calm this past week and I know it will help even more next week.  I don't know about you, but the weeks leading up to Christmas break tend to get a little "off track" from our normal routine, structured days that kiddos thrive in get changed or interrupted....testing, Christmas programs, Holiday store, activities, sing-a-longs....just change.  Now, change can be good but at times it can lead to a little unraveling and some not so merry days.

I do most of my math and reading in a workshop format...I have kept that format but added little bits/activities  and sprinkled a little holiday magic here and there in their rotations.  The consistency of keeping our "routines" keeps my kiddos focused and jolly and their teacher a happy camper.  

Some of these "sprinkles" have been:
- making ornaments for parents (not done yet) 
- I've handed out Elf tags 
- We have had daily fun with our kindness elf making cards for a nursing home, letters to firefighters, delivering Christmas pencils to another class just to name a few

In the plans for next week:
Snowflake QTip Angle Snowflakes
Candy Labs from The Science Penguin with Crystal Snowflakes, Cookies and Milk experiments and Elf potions:)
Another tip I have for you is to make sure your have a little pack of "thank you" notes and even a pack of Christmas cards in your bag or desk.  Then you can write notes as you need to and not forget anyone:)

Be sure to visit my other teacher friends and read about their tips and make sure you enter our Winter Prize Bundle giveaway!


Character Traits and Kindness Elves

So this year a kindness elf showed up in my classroom!  I got this fabulous idea and wonderful little tags from Erica at Erica's Ed-Ventures!  If you haven't already, you must pop over there and read all about how she incorporates kindness elves in her classroom!  (Click Here)

I am absolutely thrilled with the response our kindness elf has gotten from my kiddos!  We have cleaned up trash, picked up toys at home, collected clean blankets and towels for an animal shelter,
written letters to the local fire department and are working on cards for a local nursing home.
I am absolutely loving how it's making the kids think of others:)  They are so excited each morning to come in and see what the kindness elf has for them to do!!  

On another note, I wanted to share a little activity we did wasn't planned or in my lesson was one of those last minute ideas.  I don't know about you, but sometimes those are the best;)
Last week we worked on character traits and motivations, and this week we are working on explaining a setting in depth:)  We are also working on working in cooperative groups with our learning (that's a whole other blog post...we have a rules poster they came up with and everything), anywho, I broke the kids up into 5 different groups.  I gave each group a Christmas themed book.  Each group had to read their book and then make a tree map.  

The tree map had to include the main character and 2 character traits for that character along with evidence to support that.  
They also had to include the setting including details about that.  Finally, they had to tell one character motivation and the evidence for that.....THEN each team presented.  They did great with their presentations and I love the traits they came up with as well as the evidence they used to "prove it".   Reading a story, synergy with group work, thinking maps, and presentations....I'd say that's a Win-Win! 

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