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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Oh, Yes We Need a Little Christmas!!

Now that Thanksgiving is officially's definitely time for CHRISTMAS!
This is my favorite time of year and I know most of our kiddos feel the same way.  There is something magical about working with kids during the month of December.  There is also something a little stress-inducing about it too.  But, I've got a ton of products to help keep your kiddos busy from now until Christmas break, so maybe they won't make you pull all your hair out!
But wait!!  Did you know that it gets even better?!?!  There's a TPT site-wide sale Monday and Tuesday!  TPT is holding their annual Cyber Sale Monday November 28th and 29th.  My entire store will be 28% off using code CYBER2016 when you check out!

Check out some my products to make your December run a little smoother!  Prices listed are 28% off - you have to use the code CYBER2016 when checking out to save the additional percentage from TPT!

Centers - my best friends!  Math centers are a part of my daily routine, but sometimes as the holidays approach, I like to do some special holiday centers for Language Arts as well.  These Christmas Jammies centers are just too cute and include both ELA & Math Centers.

Does your classroom have an elf?  Our elf Curtis will be making his return this coming week and the kids are already waiting for him!  

Our "Elf Door" made an appearance this past Monday.  The immediately started guessing what it was and how it got there - they soon decided that it must be a door for the elf!

During the month of December I like to change up our morning work routine and let my kiddos track Curtis' nightly adventures and also practice math and language/grammar skills each morning.  My Elf Fun At School set includes 18 days of morning work and much much more including the Elf Writing Craftivity.  You can also purchase the elf craftivity separately.

I don't know about you, but my rack of Christmas books is practically overflowing...and I have even more on my bookshelf at home!  Adding in some comprehension activities and book studies makes them educational...cause you know...that is why we are at school!

One of my newest and favorite activities - Ugly Christmas Sweater writing craftivity.  We did this activity this past Tuesday before we left for Thanksgiving break and my kids had so much fun.  Each child designed their own ugly Christmas sweater.  I showed them some examples online so they could get some ideas.  Then, after they designed and created their sweater, they wrote a paragraph describing their sweater.  We wrote them so that it makes our bulletin board like a guessing game - they had to describe their sweater and then ask the reader to find their sweater.  

As the last week of school approaches, we like to celebrate with our kiddos!  Years ago, we had Polar Express Day to celebrate, but the last few two years we have had Grinch Day and the kids love doing something different!  Each set includes comprehension activities, Language Arts centers, math centers and more to make it a memorable day (or week) of fun focused around two very popular Christmas books and movies!

Need resources beyond just the month of December?  My 2nd Grade math center bundle will save you a bundle of money and time!  Prep your math center cards ahead of time and they'll save you time next year because they're already ready!  I store my task cards in ziplock bags and then each month, I pull out the cards, make copies of my center activity sheets and I'm ready to go for the month.  Just pull out the cards and activity sheet and bam! I'm ready for math centers!

Getting ready for January yet?  Leave for Christmas break all ready for January.  Start the year off right with my Happy New Year writing craftivity having your kiddos make New Year's Resolutions.  January math centers will keep them busy and reviewing math skills.  My Snow Day Challenge is perfect for when you are going to be out of school due to snow - keep your kids learning even at home!  I prep these when the weatherman is calling for snow and then send them home in case we are out of school.  They bring them back, completing a couple pages for each day that we are out of school, and I hand out a few rewards!

Don't forget to use the code CYBER2016 when you are shopping the TPT site-wide Cyber sale this Monday and Tuesday!  Happy shopping!


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Easy Rustic Snowmen Gifts for Parents!

Long time since I blogged!  Wow!!  It's so hard to believe that the holidays are upon us and Thanksgiving is only 4 days away!

If you are anything like me, you are already thinking Christmas!  I've got an easy parent gift that you, your kids, and their parents will love.

A couple months ago I was on Pinterest looking for craft ideas for my mom and came across these cute snowmen made out of landscape timbers and I just knew that I needed to these for my parent gifts this year.

Here is a quick how-to of how I prepped my materials and assembled my example snowman that I'll use to show my class when we make them the last week of school before Christmas.

Gather your materials:
8 foot Landscape Timbers - Lowes - I purchased 3 to make a class set
Googly Eyes
Buttons - JoAnn
Toe Socks - Dollar Tree - 1 pair of socks will make 2 snowmen
Christmas Fleece - I got mine from JoAnn, but can't find it online
Orange Felt
Spool O' Ribbon - Michaels
White Paint/Kilz
Black Sharpie

Here is the Christmas Felt I got from JoAnn's.  I purchased 1 1/3 yards to make 24 scarves.

Toe Socks for hats

 Prep Your Materials:
1.  Cut your landscape timbers.  I cut each timber into 8 pieces, between 11.75" and 12" for each piece.  My dad was able to cut them for me, but you may also be able to get them cut at Lowes (asking never hurt anyone!)

2.  Sand and paint your landscape timbers.  I painted my pieces first using leftover Kilz that we had from previous painting projects.  One coat was perfect so that you could still see some of the wood grain through the paint - exactly what I wanted.  I sanded after I painted, just on the edges, to clean off the rough edges left over from cutting.  You could also quickly sand the edges before painting - that's probably the better thing to do rather than waiting until after painting.

3.  To make assembly easy for me once I'm surrounded by kiddos I also cut the fleece for the scarves, cut squares of the orange felt for noses, and then the ribbon to tie for the hats.
Fleece - I purchased 1 1/3 yards of fabric, so I had 4 feet.  I was able to make 24 4" wide scarves out of that fabric.
Orange Felt - I purchased 3 sheets and cut 8 rectangles out of each sheet
Spool O' Ribbon - I cut ribbon into approximately 18" pieces

Make your snowmen!
When it comes time to assemble with your class, it's basically putting everything together and gluing on the wood timbers.  I used Gorilla Glue super glue when I made mine, but you can also use hot glue.  I haven't decided which I'm going to use when I make them with my kiddos - I can just imagine super glue all over their it might be hot glue!

1.  Cut orange triangles for the nose

2.  Glue on eyes and nose

3.  Draw a mouth with Sharpie marker

4.  Put 1 toe sock on top and use ribbon to tie hat so it'll "poof"

5.  Tie on scarf around neck - students can cut slits in the ends of the fleece to make a fringe on the scarf

6.  Glue on buttons under scarf

7.  Use sharpie to write their name and year on the bottom - that'll be something parents will appreciate in 10 years!

And Done!

This can be a somewhat time consuming project to prep the materials, but go ahead and start now and do a little at a time - that's what I did!  It may have taken me 45 minute to an hour to paint the timber pieces and then another 30 to sand.  But once that was done, assembly was easy!

I can't wait to make these in a few weeks and I know the parents will just love them and I hope they'll remain part of each family's Christmas decorations for many years to come.

Have a great week y'all!  It's a short week too!  I'll be on Thanksgiving break come Tuesday and lunch.  I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving break with your family.  We do have so much for be thankful for.