Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Black Friday SALE and Magic Elf...He's BAAACCKK!!

Good Evening!! Kerri B here...

Who loves Black Friday?? Not me, sad to say. Not when it involves me being out all hours of the night standing in line and freezing my tushy off, only to be trampled on by thousands of crazy shoppers. Not for me.

However...I HEART with a capital H online shopping from the comfort of my own living room. So, that is why Lindsay and I will be joining my fellow Blog Hoppin' buddies by throwing our own little Black Friday sale! YAY!! 

Now that's a Black Friday I can get behind! Getting all of my Holiday teaching goodies bought whilst chillaxing in my snuggy PJ's! Both our stores will be 20% off on Black Friday.  Whoot whoot!
Thank you Amy Lemons for the beautiful button!

On the subject of the holidays, have you met Magic Elf??
Magic Elf magically appeared in my classroom last year to teach my students about the true meaning of Christmas! On December 1st, my students walked into my classroom and saw this little guy...
...holding a note that explained why Santa had sent him-to remind my class all about the true meaning of Christmas, namely that Christmas is a time for joy, sharing, love, family, being neighborly, and many more things! Each night, he flew around the room and landed in a different spot. When the children came in the next morning, they would find him with a new note!

People, my kidlets went cuckoo for Cocoa puffs over this little guy! Like, for reals! Magic Elf also would watch for good behavior and report back to Santa the students who were following the rules and showing each other the true meaning of the holidays. I kid you not, my students' behavior was AMAZING the month of December, and as we all know, most kids' behavior gets a little, shall we say, NUTSO the month before Christmas! Am I right??

Some days, certain well-behaved students would walk in to find a certificate from Magic Elf on their desk, congratulating them on showing the true meaning of Christmas. My kids ATE. IT. UP! 

We also had a Magic Elf book that we worked on the whole month, and each day we would write what Magic Elf had taught us for the day and illustrate how we could show that to others. At the end of the month, my students took the book home to their parents so they could teach them all about the true meaning of Christmas. It was truly precious!!

Would you like to experience the Magic in your own classroom?? 

Presenting, my Magic Elf Writing and Activity Pack!!

Here's what you get...

Magic Elf and Daily Messages-Purchase a stuffed elf or laminate the clip art elf that is included in this packet. Laminate messages for durability and cut out. Each morning before your students arrive, hide “Magic Elf” somewhere in your classroom along with one of his messages about the true meaning of Christmas. I have included 17 days worth of messages, so you can choose the ones that work best for you, depending on how many days you are in school the month of December. 

Magic Elf Story Paper-Students can write a story about Magic Elf visiting their classroom, and then illustrate their story.

Magic Elf Letter-Students can use the writing paper to write a letter to Magic Elf about what he has taught them, or what they would like him to tell Santa!

Magic Elf Book-Copy the cover and inside pages back to back, including as many inside pages as there are school days in December. Instruct students to draw Magic Elf on the cover. Every day, after reading Magic Elf’s clue each morning to your students, instruct them to write what Magic Elf’s meaning of Christmas was for the day and illustrate what that means to them. At the end of the month, your students will have their own book on the meaning of Christmas to take home and share with their parents!

Magic Elf Acrostic- Students can write their own acrostic poem about Magic Elf, or write one together as a class!

Magic Elf Certificates- Let Magic Elf pass these certificates out to students who are caught showing the true spirit of Christmas! My students find their certificate on their desk each morning!

Magic Elf Scramble-Students can unscramble the Magic Elf sentence, glue it in the correct order, write it, and illustrate it!

Magic Elf Art Project- Students follow directions to create their very own Magic Elf art project. These look great mounted next to the acrostic poem or Magic Elf Story on construction paper and displayed for all to see!

Here is a picture of our Magic Elf art and Acrostic Poems from last year... sooo fun!

You can use ANY elf at all as your Magic Elf. Two years ago, I has a tiny one that I found at Target. I also found this huge one at a grocery store last year and he was so darn cute too...
You can even do this project without any stuffed Magic Elf at all, and simply use the provided clip art elf that I included in my Activity Pack! 
But, here are a couple of links to AMAZON if you would like to purchase a stuffed Magic Elf (they have both boy and girl varieties-sooo cute!!)...

Would you like some Magic Elf FREEBIES?? Click on the Magic Elf poster above to download your own poster via Google Docs!

Also, here is a Magic Elf Sentence Scramble FREEBIE on TPT (click picture to head over to TPT)...

and to complete your Magic Elf collection, you can also check out my newest Magic Elf creation, combining Christmassy math and literacy centers, available now at my TPT shop...

Have a wonderful week friends and a beautiful Thanksgiving!!

XOXO Kerri B

Monday, November 18, 2013

Welcoming Baby and Prepping for Maternity Leave With A Plethora of Post-Its

Hi friends! Lindsay here . . .

Tonight's post will be short and sweet.  Ya know, since I am having a baby tomorrow and all . . .

What??!! Tomorrow??!!  How can that be??  I swear November seemed sooooo far away when I found out my due date . . . like I was going to have sooooo much time before baby made his grand arrival.

And now the day is here. Like tomorrow.

Sooooo . . . needless to say, I have been nesting.  Not so much at home, because let's face it, the second-born basically doesn't get anything new and exciting.  Nope. We plan to basically have diapers ready and stick him in a dresser drawer.  Well, almost.  Baby DOES have a bassinet in our room, but that's about it.

So where, you may ask, have I been nesting?  At school.  I've been organizing, planning centers weeks into the future (even into the new year!), making copies and putting a neon post-it note on just about anything in the classroom that doesn't move. 

{Sidenote: Does anyone out there use the Wunderlist app?  I swear it has saved my life. I cannot remember a thing with my pregnancy brain, and I use it to organize my whole life these days . . . I have a shopping list. A mommy-do list. A daddy-do list. A Christmas shopping list.  A school to-do list.  The listing just goes on and on and on . . . and I love it.  If you don't have it, I HIGHLY recommend that you check it out.  You'll thank me later.}

That's the problem with being a little bit of a control freak, ya see . . . Its. Hard. To. Let. Go.

Sigh.  So as I was readying things at school, I copied and prepped all of my holiday centers for my kiddos . . . and I am so sad I will be missing out on all of these fun activities!  They are my absolute favorites!!

(You can check out my Merry and Bright Math & Literacy Centers on TPT here)

But Friday was my last day at school...  I resisted the urge to put ANY more post-its ANYWHERE in the room (so that my poor sub wouldn't totally be overwhelmed with my micromanaging helpful tidbits . . .).

 I hugged my sweet chitlens and told them I would be back in February and assured them that I would visit before Christmas . . .

And so . . . I am logging off for tonight as well.  I will be back with baby pictures to share, and HOPEFULLY as we settle into our new life as a family of four I will be back to blog and share some teachery goodness with y'all.

But until then . . . Happy Teaching! Happy Holidays! Happy everything!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Activities Like...LINKY!! with FREEBIES bonus!

Happy Hump Day, friends!! Kerri here...

Does anyone else get all discombobulated when you only have a 4 day week? It seems weird that its already hump day, but I'm not complaining!! And then the weather here is all wonky! Cold yesterday and blazing hot today. WEIRD!!

I am linking up with my girlys over at Blog Hoppin' for our "We Are Thankful" week long linky party!

Today's topic is "Activities like..." and I will fill in the blank with the words "THINKING MAPS"!

I love thinking maps and we use them ALL.THE.TIME. for every subject, but especially Social Studies and Science! Here are some examples...
Flow map for sequencing

Double Bubble map for comparing 2 things

bubble map for describing

Circle map for listing facts/ideas about a topic

Tree map-my favorite!

And here they are some of them put together for my Open House unit on the Rainforest!!

Thinking maps are so useful because they really get the kids THINKING, and they help them organize their thought and ideas. We use these to help the kids write, and the kids LOVE them!

I have included a couple of tree maps on the Pilgrims and Wampanoags that you can use in the next 2 weeks before Thanksgiving (click captioned link of the Pilgrim tree map above to access these via Google Docs!)

Hope this was helpful to you! Do you use thinking maps??
Kerri B

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Halloween review and a Thanksgiving Preview!!

Happy Saturday, Peeps! Kerri here...

Did y'all survive Halloween?? I did, but barely! What is it about Halloween that makes kids soooo crazy?? Must be the prospect of all that candy! 

Here are a couple of highlights from our Crazy Halloween day...
I just think these cupcakes are SHEER GENIUS!!

Ghosty paper plates!! I especially love the hair bows and bow ties! #bedazzled

Isn't this too cute! Mandarin orange cup jack-o-lanterns!

My kids went bananas over these skeleton hands!

They were perfect forks for stabbing popcorn!

When in doubt, bust out the Halloween books and the kids are in heaven...

Looking forward, here's what we'll be doing for the next month...

I can't wait to see the juicy sentences my kids come up with using the writing mats in my Thanksgiving Writing Pack...

We will also be doing all kinds of fun math and literacy stations, using my Pass the Turkey Thanksgiving Centers Pack...

Here's a little look at what's included in this pack...
Well, I'm off to finish my report cards (GAG!) and do laundry (BARF!), and then get a pedicure (YIPPEE!!)

Happy Saturday, friends!!
XOXO Kerri B