Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Blog Best and Brightest

Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge is having a 2012's Blog Best and Brightest linky party. 

Yikes, I've almost waited too long to jump in - but here I go.  Mine are all blog posts that I'm particularly happy with. 

1 - Math Centers - Laura Candler had a linky party about Math Centers and when I joined in, I got the most page views of any other blog post of mine. The things I'm most pleased about on this post was the freebie (I think my one and only) I offered. My Bump Plus games. The Bump Plus games use a 10 sided die and target specific addition facts, like 6 + __.  Other Bump games use 3 dice and add them together, but my kids need to be more proficient at basic math facts. Anyway, you can still download it. And please leave a comment if you do :)

2. Monday Made It - I only did a couple Monday Made Its, but I was really pleased with the inspirational photographs I took. I took pictures of some zoo animals, then added a motivational word to them using Photoshop. I had them printed at Walgreens - 8x10 size, and they are hanging in my classroom.  I really like them! See more about them in my post.

 3. Tell Me Something Good -This year seems like a tough one for me. I've got several interesting characters in my class. But I've really wanted to focus on the good. I was really glad to see this Linky Party that encouraged me to remember the good that's happening.

Well, as I was typing the last of these good things, I realized that these are all linky parties. So I want to say thank you to bloggers who start linky parties. I appreciate the chance to do some thinking and reflecting, even if it is about something silly. I also appreciate the chance to read about what other people are doing in their classrooms.

Right now, my little corner of the world is getting some much needed moisture in the way of beautiful snow. I suspect we've already gotten 3 inches of it this morning. Thank you for reading and thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Yesterday was a normal day in my class, thank heavens. None of my kids mentioned the tragedy and our principal told us not to bring it up. We had a good day and I was glad. 

I also want to say Thank You to all the kind teachers out there who posted poems and ideas for this terrible situation. Thanks for helping me. 

Sometimes when these terrible things happen far away, I feel like I don't know what to do. I send up prayers but I want to do more. Mrs. Bartel is going to do a RACK - Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. So I'm thinking, what can I do to uplift a fellow teacher? I've got 4 days at my school - I bet I can think of something.  What about you? 

{I wanted to say thank you to Ruby Slippers Blog Designs for the cute Christmas blinkie. It was a freebie on her page. I found her blog from Mrs. Bartel who just got an update on her blog - you ought to check it out.}

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Around The World

So, as seems to be my way, I bought Lory Evans' Christmas Around the World


which is FULL of wonderful ideas! But instead, I end up doing my own thing. (I think I just need the ideas to get started!) 

She has cute little suitcases that her class makes - I decided for my first year of doing this, not to do that. So we're just learning about a couple different countries and how the celebrate in December. 

Yesterday, I read Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto.

This is a fun book about a girl that is helping her mother make tamales, but then she tries on her mother's wedding ring and it gets lost! You can imagine what happens next.  My kids really enjoyed the story. And we have a large Hispanic population, including our school secretary. So I asked her to come in today and talk about how she and her family make tamales. 

Then we made mini pinatas. I was so sure my kids would think these were dorky beyond belief - but they didn't. I told my husband I thought it was the 4 Starbursts I gave them to put in their pinata. To make these, I gave them a brown lunch bag and had them decorated it. I did tell them that pinatas at Christmas time are traditionally made in a star shape, so some of them drew stars on theirs. Then they made a Starburst sandwich inside the bag - crumbled up newspaper, Starburst, crumbled up newspaper. We folded over the top, punched two holes in it and put some yarn through so it would hang.

I also showed a quick powerpoint I made. I included tamales and a few steps on how to make them, poinsettias, and Las Posadas.

Tomorrow we are going to learn about Israel. I'm planning on reading the book Lory suggests - Light the Lights. Then I found a recipe for edible dreidels using marshmallows, a pretzel stick and a chocolate kiss. That should be fun!

Hope your December is going festivally! Sara  

** Update - Link to mini pinata how-to HERE, although mine didn't go this fancy.
And edible Dreidel HERE  We're going to use Kisses so they will fit the marshmallow a little better. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Gingerbread People Decorating

We did something fun in my class on Thursday that I'd like to share with you. We decorated Gingerbread People. It's a pretty simple craft and one the kids seem to really enjoy. I cut out a bunch of 12 inch tall body outlines - I used brown paper. I gave each kiddo a body, then told them I had scrapbook paper, construction paper, pieces of fabric, yarn, and some sequins for them to use. I also have 4 pairs of "fun" scissors - they cut zig zag or scalloped edges. To keep from getting run over by an excited mob of 2nd graders, I called up table groups to pick one thing to get started. Once everyone had gotten one thing, I told them if there were less than 5 people at the table, they could come up and get more. 

I have to tell you, I was extremely tired that day, having woken up at a very, VERY unreasonable hour. And when we started, I was just thinking, help me get through this. But after the first rush, it was fun to just sit in my chair and watch them work and visit and be creative. And the kids would come up and get a little more, a little more. 

I'll try to take a picture of everybody's - they are all on my bulletin board - but here are a couple work in progress ones -

I had a sub today, but she told me that when they came in this morning, they all had to ooh and aah over the Gingerbread People. Ah, that's nice to hear!

So easy-peasy craft idea and I'm sure you could connect it to some reading, like Jan Brett's Gingerbread books, if you wanted. 

Anyway, Happy Friday, Happy Weekend to you! Sara