Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year's Time Capsule Family Activity

Are you having people over for the holidays or for a New Year's Eve celebration?  Or are you going somewhere to celebrate either of those occasions?  If so, this Time Capsule activity is for you!  Bring a bit of "Awwwww, cute!" to the party along with an appetizer or dessert and you'll be the hit of the night!!

Each year we have everyone over to our house for Christmas Eve.  We do a silly Dollar Store gift exchange, have a goofy ornament making contest, and order pizza.  Nothing fancy, just fun!  We also make a Family Time Capsule.  The best part is reading the sheets from the previous year and seeing how much we've changed!!  Fun, fun, fun!

Even though we create this on Christmas Eve, this activity could really be done at any time of the year (first day of school, 4th of July, birthday, etc.).  Just keep the envelops in a secret place and remember to open it on the same date the following year.  You could also save it for a certain day of the school year-invite family members in, serve light snacks and have them complete the time capsule together.

To get started...
Setting Up the Time Capsule Area

Gather some winter or holiday themed items and designate a table in your house for families to go to and complete their time capsule sheets.  Provide the sheets, fancy pencils, envelopes, glue sticks, a scale, and measuring tape and let the memory making go from there!   

Includes a directions page and:

Happy Memory Making!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Holiday Compliment Box

One year I was thinking about how much my students always *LOVE* passing out their Valentine's Day cards to their friends.  The excitement on their faces as they sit there and go through each and every sweet little note is priceless.  This got me thinking of a way to bring that joy to them at another time of the year.  That's when I started the Holiday Compliment Box activity in my class.

Here's how it goes...
Give each student a class list, a collection of compliment sheets (1 for every student besides themselves), and a take home letter explaining the project.  First, students are to decorate a small box (a shoe box, Kleenex box, etc.) at home.  Most students wrap it in wrapping paper.  Be sure they wrap it so it can be opened (be sure they don't wrap it shut).
Then, have them write why each classroom is a special gift to their class on the blank compliment sheets.  I usually do a couple in class first {secretly so the other students don't see who they're writing to!!}.  Then, the rest should be done at home.  I encourage students to do a few each night so they are not overwhelmed with cards to do the night before.  I tell the students that each compliment has to be specific, not just, "You are nice."  Going with the nice theme, one compliment could be, "It was so nice of you to help me when I fell and scraped my knee on the playground."

Next, it's time to pass them out!  This is by far the best part!!  The students place their decorated box on their desk and pass the notes out "Valentine's Day style".
Finally, it's time to sit down and read them.!  The looks on their faces are priceless.  They feel SOOOO special and feel really good about themselves!  It is so beautiful to see.  I hear comments such as, "I didn't know Johnny thought I was great at solving math problems!!"  Or, "I'm so happy that Emma thinks I'm a good friend to everyone around."
If you're interested in this file, you can find it on Teachers Pay Teachers by clicking here.  The file includes a parent letter, 2 options for the compliment cards, directions with pictures, and a reflection sheet for $2.

     Who would you compliment this holiday season?  What would you say to them?  The first 2 people    
           who comment will receive the file for free.  Be sure to leave your email in your comment!!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Teachers Pay Teachers Sale!

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a huge sale on Monday and Tuesday.  This is the perfect time to stock up on some items that are on your wish list!!  Here are all of the details…

Happy shopping :)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thanks for Giving

Are you looking for a way to show appreciation for the staff members at your school?  Do you want your students to recognize the people who do so much for them during the day?  Or how about showing your thanks to the unsung heroes at your school such as the crossing guard or lunch workers? If so, look no further!

I started showing some love for the staff members at my school quite a few years ago.  We start by brainstorming a list of all the workers at our school.  Next, each child chooses one of the staff members and writes them a secret special note telling them why they are thankful for that person.  Then comes the super-top-secret-mission...enlist the help of a parent volunteer and have each child take a picture with their chosen staff member.  I always have my students say, "We are doing a special project in social studies about the people who help us at school.  Can Mrs. ___ take our picture together?"  After printing the pictures, have the students use scrapbook paper as a background for their secret note and add the picture to the top.

Next, have your students write an invitation asking for their presence at a special presentation in their honor.  Include the date and time you would like them to come (the presentation usually takes about 2-3 minutes so you can schedule them every 10 minutes or so).  Be sure to have an option on the invitation that allows them to choose a different time if the times you provided don't work with their schedule.

Finally it's time for the big day...presenting them with their writing piece!!  I usually lay a piece of red fabric on the ground to act as a red carpet and line the 2 sides of it with star lights I found at the Dollar Tree or some glittery stars found at your local craft store during the holidays.  When they enter the classroom and walk down the red carpet, have their special student waiting for them at the end.  At this time, have them read their writing piece about them and be prepared for some tears!!  Have the student give them their writing piece and cue the class to say, "Thanks for giving!" before sending them on their way.  What a wonderful way to celebrate those who do so much at your school!!

If you're interested in this file, you can check it out here on Teachers Pay Teachers.  The first 2 people who leave a comment sharing who they would like to say, "Thanks for giving!" to and why will receive the file for free.  Be sure to leave your email when you comment.

Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm Thankful for My Funny Family (or Friends)

I've had my students complete the same story starter for years when Thanksgiving rolls around...What are you most thankful for?  And it seems I always get the same responses...
"I am thankful for my friends, my school, and my video games." 
That was basically the gist of their writing pieces...ugh! 
I wanted them to get deeper, more specific, and use great word choice-and year after year, I taught them about juicy words, asked them to tell specific things they were thankful for and why.  And, year after year I still got the same type of responses from the students.  Then...
The FUNNY FAMILY pictures ended the boring and lifeless Thanksgiving writing pieces.
I'm Thankful for My Funny Family Writing
How to get a great Thanksgiving writing piece started:
First, ask each child to bring in a family photo.  If a child doesn't bring in a photo, simply take one with their friends in class and use the Thankful for My Funny Friends writing topic.  Enlarge it on the copy machine (make sure it is set to photo).  I enlarge a 4x6 photo 180%.  Then, give them their photo and have them go crazy with fun foam, chenille sticks, puff balls, fabric-any odds and ends I can find in your bin of art supplies.  You can even ask parents for donations of scraps since many of them have little things like this around the house (let them know you are just looking for scraps, nothing needs to be bought new).

    Next, the students complete a graphic organizer and writing piece on why they love their funny family.  They often include funny nicknames their parents call them, funny stories they share, or things their brothers and sisters do.  Then, when their final writing pieces are done, invite their families in and have each child read them to the group and be prepared for lots of laughter!!

Interested in the file?  Find the file here on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Includes a Thanksgiving version (I'm Thankful for My Funny Family/Friends) and one to use any time of the year (I'm Grateful for My Funny Family/Friends).

 The first 2 people to leave a comment telling me why they're thankful for their funny family or friends will receive the file for free!  Be sure to leave your email address in your comment!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Editing Fun With Halloween Goodies

I just love all that this time of year brings...the fall colors, the decorated pumpkins, the trick-or-treating, and-of course-all of the Halloween-themed goodies everywhere!!

If you're looking for a way to spice up your editing this upcoming week, here's just the thing for you...editing jingles to go along with witch fingers and eyeball rings (both found at Party City).

Here's just a peek at some of the things inside this little freebie:

(to the tune of the SpongeBob theme song, teacher leads, students reply with italic parts)
Are you ready editors?  “Eye, Eye Captain!”
Oh, who’s looking for errors in their writing piece?       Super Eye-Guy!
Who’s correcting for punctuation and grammar, at least?   Super Eye-Guy!
Who can use what they’ve learned to make mistakes right?  Super Eye-Guy!
Who can add details and “wow” words to give it some bite?
Super Eye-Guy!
Super Eye-Guy!...Super Eye-Guy!...SuperEyeGuy!!!!!

Here's one to use with those icky green witch fingers:

WITCH FINGER - Word choice
Witch finger, witch finger with a nail that’s red
Point to a word I could use instead.
Lead me to this word, tap it twice
Let my brain think and then add some spice!
A dash more description, a sprinkle of “WOW”,
Help me change it in ways I didn’t know how!

There are jingles for editing punctuation, grammar, word choice, and organization.  There's also ones for general editing and for tracking while reading.  To top it all off, there are 2 conference forms to use with your students.  

-Click here to download this 6-page file-
Happy Editing!!