Saturday, December 7, 2013

Thank you TpT. What a great gift! And can you help a curious "dinosaur"?

I always love getting the Winter Holidays ebook from TpT because it's full of great ideas.  I end up downloading some and using them.  I try to remember some of the great tips, but I'm learning that writing them down can go a long way :)

This particular ebook is good for grades 3-6.  There's at least one for littler kiddos and one for older guys, too.  I had nothing to do with this book, so I'm only encouraging you to take a look because I thought it had great ideas.  Some wouldn't work for my 6th graders, but a lot of them cross grades easily.  And the best part is:  It's FREE.  Nothing wrong with that!

Here are some ideas I downloaded:  
This one looked like fun.  Instead of doing a reading log or journal entry, kids earn marshmallows for reading a certain amount of time --for my kids, it'll be for half an hour-- doing what the marshmallow says.  There's a page of marshmallows with Christmas themes and another one with winter themes, so you can use either one.  As the kids do the activity, say, reading with a scarf on or reading next to the Christmas tree, they cut out the marshmallow and glue it in their mug.  Then, when they come back to school in January, you hold a hot chocolate and marshmallow party.  How cute is that?

Here's a holiday coupon book that you can have kids color and give to family members.  Kids don't always have presents to give their parents or siblings, and this is a nice way for them to gift a gift of their love or their service.                                                                                                                                           And then somebody (I can't remember who!) had the idea to have kids make RACK SACKS - Random Acts of Classroom Kindness.  They would decorate the sacks and put them somewhere in the room.  Then all the other kids write notes, drop treats in, and just do things to support each other.  I think I'm going to try that with my homeroom.  I really like that it can be small, like an eraser or a pencil or even a nice note.  I'll fill the bags with some treats too, and then the kids can take them home on the last day before break.

I also really loved this idea!  This gives every kid a chance to write about what they want to tell you.  Then, they get to pick one to share with the class.  Everyone wins!
How about you?  Have you found something you're planning to use from this year's book?

And now, I have a Techy Question.  Can you help me?  I know there's a way to create a link between these pictures on my blog and TpT, where they came from.  I know how to create a link with words, and I know how to post pictures by url.  But I can't seem to combine them so that you can click on the picture and get to the other blog, website, etc.  Help!  When I went to college we were using chisels and rocks to take notes....

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Read Alouds, Currently, and a Sale!

My thought was about posting about read-alouds today.  And then, as I read other blog posts, I realized I had forgotten about two things.  Two important things!  The TpT cyber sale, which is a great time to buy everything that's on your wishlist.  Everything in my store is on sale for 20% off.  Plus if you use the promo code: Cyber (remember to do this -  I forgot the last time - you'll get an additional 10% off, resulting in a whopping 28% off.)  That's nice!

And then I also forgot that today is the first day of December.  Which means my brother and my nephew have birthdays tomorrow!  And that it's time for Farley's Currently:
I'm loving that the house is pretty quiet right now.  My husband is driving my one daughter to the train station, my son is hanging out, and after all the commotion of the last few days, I'm enjoying the peace and quiet.  I think we sometimes forgot to slow down and breathe, just breathe.  I know I do!

Thanksgiving ranks up there in holidays for me.  It's great family time, there's little pressure to do anything except eat, talk, and enjoy ourselves.  And I love to cook many of the family favorites that were my favorites when I was a kid.  Plus, I love to try out a couple of new things - this year it was a sweet potato and pear casserole and a new cranberry dish.  Both turned out pretty nicely.

We're downsizing - totally unexpectedly - this was something we thought we'd do five to ten years from now, but a wonderful house came up on the market and we decided to go for it.  Last weekend, we raked leaves at our current house and then raked at the new place (they're only 1/2 mile apart.)  But that's going to get old soon.  Real soon.  Especially when we have to start shoveling snow.  Our house has only been on the market for two weeks, and this week was Thanksgiving, so I need to be patient.  But I'd love for someone with kids to get excited by what this house has to offer.

Still working on and making minor changes to a plan for one of my classes.  Rotating kids through stations seems to work for them.  I just need to make sure I carve out the time to fit everything in.  And the one thing I've fallen down on with them is read aloud.  Can't do that!  They need to hear books come to life!

With read-aloud in mind, one of my other classes and I just finished reading The Cay. This is a great book for the right group of kids.  It's historical fiction (it takes place during World War II) and it touches on racism on a very personal level.  It's a powerful book and the kids really enjoyed it.  I enjoyed the conversations we had and the wonder they experienced as they heard Phillip's attitude towards Timothy and thought about how times have changed (and in some ways, how they haven't.)  
Now I want to introduce them to a different genre.  One of the students asked if I would read The Hunger Games to them.  Although many of them have already read it, a group of them insisted that they'd love to have it read to them.  So we explored that idea and several other Science Fiction books.  One that I considered (without having read it - not a good idea!) was Ender's Game.  The class voted and the vote was tied.  Twice!
So I told them I'd start reading Ender's Game over the break and make my decision then.  Boy, am I glad I did!  Ender's Game is NOT for 6th graders!   By page 2, I was seeing language I'd have to delete and by the end of the first chapter, he'd nearly killed a kid.  And he was only six at the time.  Yeah, it may be a great book, but it's definitely not meant for upper elementary kids.

I wasn't as into reading it, so I grabbed the other book I'd brought home.  What a great read so far!  The main character is a boy who has Tourette's syndrome, and the book deals with that in a very even-handed way.  He also has an ability to shock people, something he tries hard to control.  Until he meets someone else with unusual abilities.  And discovers that people are looking for him.  Hmmm....will need to finish this one and then maybe throw this into the mix?  Or just read The Hunger Games?                                                                                                                                           No sure.  What do you think?
This has been a way longer blog post than I intended.  Here's hoping you have a good week at school!  And if you are lucky enough to have tomorrow off, have a great day!