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 Right before Winter Break I shared my B-I-G Baby secret with my class that I was expecting a baby and due on the last day of school.
pregnancy Ballon Announcement
All of the boys in my class were shocked but somehow *magically* all of the girls "already knew since Monday".  Apparently one of my girls overheard me talking to another teacher about an "ultrasound appointment" and put two and two together.  She then told all of the girls in the class :insert crying emoji here: In hind sight I now realize that I did get a lot of extra belly looks and odd questions throughout the week.  So when I let the cat out of the bag, it was less exciting than I had expected. I did however get a lot of funny questions like, "Does Mr. Henry know?" #kids
     I recently found out what the gender of baby #3 and thought of a special way to break the news to the class and have that element of surprise that was lacking from my first secret reveal.

Gender Reveal in the Classroom using Hershey bars and relating it to fractions
     I got these little Hershey bars thanks to Amazon Now delivered to my house 2 hours after ordering them.  As my students were working on their Ketchup Work from centers, I called them back and had them vote by coloring just the HE if they thought the baby was a boy or SHE if they thought it was a girl.  We then connected this to fractions because that was what our new unit of study was going to be in Math starting the following week.  PERFECT! Here is what they thought:

Gender Reveal in the Classroom using Hershey bars and relating it to fractions
 A majority of the class predicted that it was going to be a boy...

AND.....

they.....

were.....
Gender Reveal using ballons
RIGHT!  Baby boy #2 is a brewing and in the mean time I am growing! Perhaps our next activity will be similes and metaphors comparing how big my belly is getting.
Maternity Fashion, an Anthropologie Maxi does wonders to dress the bump



February is a short yet jam packed month.  Almost immediately we dive right into Presidents' Day lessons.
Presidents' Day Activities- Close reading, writing, thinking maps and DIY crafts. This unit will be a perfect addition to your classroom this February! Perfect for Presidents' Day holiday.

I usually do a two week unit for Presidents' Day, focusing on Washington and Lincoln. Then, I let the students choose a president to research on their own or in small groups.  Here are some ideas you can use for Presidents' Day lessons.
   A few years ago I got a bunch of leveled non-fiction readers from Donors Choose.  I use those in my ELA Centers, pairing the students to partner read and gather facts on their own.  As a class we do a Close Read on both presidents.
Presidents' Day Activities- Close reading, writing, thinking maps and DIY crafts. This unit will be a perfect addition to your classroom this February! Perfect for Presidents' Day holiday.
These are all available in my Presidents' Day Set These are all available in my Presidents' Day Set
With all the information they gather, I have them fill out several graphic organizers- Comparing and Contrasting the presidents, Chronological and Cause and Effect relationships analysis. At the end of the week they have to choose which president they think was the most influential to American History and compose a persuasive essay sharing their rationale.
Presidents' Day Activities- Close reading, writing, thinking maps and DIY crafts. This unit will be a perfect addition to your classroom this February! Perfect for Presidents' Day holiday.
  These are all available in my Presidents' Day Set
To accompany their writing we do this fun and mathematically precise presidential profile craft. Talk about a craft that tests their listening and following directions skills!
Presidents' Day Activities- Close reading, writing, thinking maps and DIY crafts. This unit will be a perfect addition to your classroom this February! Perfect for Presidents' Day holiday.

Check these DVDs out here on Amazon!
In the past I have done Jennie K.'s amazing President's Day Collaborative posters for our door. You can read more about this amazing product here.
I love showing 2 Liberty Kids episodes! If you teach anything about early American History you need to go and buy this DVD set on Amazon! It is a PBS series that shares a lot of amazing stories from our country's history. When I taught 5th grade, these were an especially great accompaniment to our social studies lessons.
Presidents' Day Activities- Close reading, writing, thinking maps and DIY crafts. This unit will be a perfect addition to your classroom this February! Perfect for Presidents' Day holiday.
Read more about this product here.
This year I am going to incorporate my dear friend Michelle from Apples and ABCs new President Craftivity/Writing. I am going to assign it as an exit ticket where they can showcase different facts that they learned about each president.
   There are really endless possibilities to celebrate this holiday in your classroom. Whether you do one activity or a two week unit, your students will benefit from this cross curriculum unit, bridging reading, writing and social studies. 
Presidents' Day Activities- Close reading, writing, thinking maps and DIY crafts. This unit will be a perfect addition to your classroom this February! Perfect for Presidents' Day holiday.
My Presidents' Day set is full of reading, writing, synthesizing and an art craftivity that will be a beautiful accompaniment for your February. Snag it here at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Happy Winter Break everyone! I am so glad to have this time for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. Last week was a wild one, with parent-teacher conferences and report cards coinciding with the week before break. We had a student free day on Monday and the rest of the week was modified.  To kick off coming back from break we are going to share the top things we did over the break by making our own Instagram Bulletin Board feed and they turned out beautifully!
Winter Grams are a little Instagram like art project for your class where they get to share the fun activities they did over their Winter Break Writing and art make this an adorable Winter bulletin board.

The students brainstormed their memories over the holiday of top memories and chose 4 out of the to draw and write about.
Winter Grams are a little Instagram like art project for your class where they get to share the fun activities they did over their Winter Break Writing and art make this an adorable Winter bulletin board.

They got to create a silly hashtag to go with each of their photos.  This is one my coworker did with her class.  I love the yoga drawings!  The kids got really creative too.  We talked about how you didn't need to do anything super exciting over break in order to have something to share.  For example sleeping in is a great treat that we've all enjoyed over the break- so if they didn't go on a great vacation or Santa didn't bring them what they wanted for Christmas, everyone has 4 things they can come up with.
Winter Grams are a little Instagram like art project for your class where they get to share the fun activities they did over their Winter Break Writing and art make this an adorable Winter bulletin board.
Mrs. Molly Brown shared this adorable picture of her class' Winter Grams and her sweet daughter hung her bulletin board for her! #adorbs! I love this activity because it got them back into the scool grove slowly but surely. They were all able to come out of writer's hibernation to share about what they did over break.  Plus, since we did this in the very beginning of the year, with my Summer Grams, they were all experts!
Winter Grams are a little Instagram like art project for your class where they get to share the fun activities they did over their Winter Break Writing and art make this an adorable Winter bulletin board.
Check them out in closer detail here, and Spring Break Grams are just around the bend! Here's to an awesome 2016 friends!



     Keep calm dear teacher friends... It is almost time for Winter Break. Today I am teaming up with the fabulous We Teach 3-4-5 bloggers to share some Tips to keep you Merry and your kiddos Bright for this last push before Winter Break.  There is also a fantastic Winter Prize Bundle that one lucky reader will win, so keep on reading!

     The last week of school before Winter Break is also Parent- Teacher Conference Week. Monday is a non-student day where we conference all day and the rest of the week we are out early and hold conferences in the afternoon. It is nice in one sense but it also adds an extra layer of chaos to the mix.  To stay Merry and Bright during this week I like to have our  have the class focus on giving back to our school community in different ways throughout the week. Here are three ways I do this in December!
   Giving Back to the school library of a lower grade class:  Have a Booky Christmas Giving Tree in your classroom. #saywhat 
     Simply, have your students look through their gently used books and bring a few to class. Have a wrapping party in class. You can reinforce measurement, are and perimeter! Deliver the books to your school library or a lower grade class!  It is a free and wonderful way to spread cheer to your school!
    Giving back to a buddy class: My second tip is to pair up with a lower grade classroom for something fun and festive. I have a first grade teacher friend at my school site, and at the beginning of the school year we decided to collaborate and have "Little Buddies" our classes.  Each week we go to her classroom for 10 minutes to do fluency reads, decodables, sight words work, read library books or study their math facts. 
           
Parents donate all the supplies, and no we aren't talking those expensive kits, just graham crackers, frosting and candy. We hand out all of the materials and as a team, they have to figure it out. 
    If you can throw this together next week, I highly recommend it because it is a great time to see them work together, problem solve and collaborate.  If you want something simpler to do, pair up with a lower grade class and have your kiddos read to their class any of those fantastic winter books out there or do a festive craftivity.  This shows your class the value of working with others who are not their peers and hopefully inspires them to do this in other ways. Many of my students love to help these lower grade teachers during their lunch breaks too. It sets a tone of giving is better than receiving and that sometimes the best gifts aren't things.
    Giving back to your coworkers: Lastly, I love to share the holiday cheer with my coworkers by giving them a little something to say Happy Holidays!  As teachers, need that support from one another during this time of year! This year I made these cute yogurt pretzel snowman jars.
   It was inexpensive, took no time at all to put together AND they turned out sooo cute!
    All you need are pretzels, buttons, felt, Mason jars and a hot glue gun and bam. Instant Christmas cuteness!
    Now, one lucky reader has the chance to win this awesome Winter Prize Bundle put together by these amazing upper grade bloggers.  
 There are so many fantastic prizes in this bundle to help your class stay bright this Winter! From Close Reads to math activities all set for when you come back in January, you won't want to miss your chance to win this bundle. I am giving away my beloved Winter Grams!

These are going to not only make an awesomely, cute Back from Winter Break bulletin board BUT it will give my class the opportunity to share all the fun things they did over their break. I am going to have them present it in groups for a little extra oral presentation practice because my class this year like to chit chat but not in an organized fashion, if you know what I mean!
     Make sure to peruse through all of these blogs to see their tips and tricks too.  We'd love to have you link up with us to share how you are planning on staying Merry and Bright for this last week before break!





Today I am linking up with the talented Jen from Teaching in the Tongass to share the top 3 wishlisted things in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store because of the sitewide TpT sale starting MONDAY!!!! Everything in my store will be 20% off and use the checkout code SMILE to get an extra 8% off!

 Today I am sharing the top wishlisted Winter items that people have been adding to their wishlists, so check them out:

Teaching Prime Factorization is a Winter skill in my classroom. We are trudging along through double digit multiplication and long division when factoring comes up. I love having my kids show what they know with this fun and festive math craftivity, Christmas Factor Trees. Included in this set are posters, a foldable and other activities that teach, and reteach this skill. There is also a game that is great for center work. I plan on using these during my sub day this coming week! 

The second most wishlisted item is my newest product, Winter Grams!
 This past summer, I made Summer Grams and this is the sequel to that! This is a great activity for your kiddos to share all of the fun activities, family traditions and their most special memories from what they did over their Winter Break.  It is in an Instagram format, which your students will go gaga over, and it makes an adorable bulletin board! It combines drawing and writing and I even have my kids present it to get a little public speaking standards covered as well.

Last but not least is one of my most favorite persuasive writing activities, Not my Gumdrop Buttons.  This is a fun writing activity that teaches the art of persuasion as well as perspective. 

This prompt and the resources ask the class to write from the perspective of the a gingerbread cookie who is persuasively asking Santa (or a kid) to not eat them as a midnight snack. The students will eat this persuasive writing activity up. There is a lot of ELL and hesitant writer support embedded in this pack.  The class always comes up with hilarious ways to save themselves. Your hesitant writers will be supported and your gifted writers will have freedom to spin their creative wheels.

Join in the fun and link up with us all to share what shines in your store! 


      Happy November! I don't know about you, but this month doesn't get a lot of credit.  I mean, I went into Target the day BEFORE Halloween and all of the Christmas decorations were out already.  Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE Christmastime, but what about the loveliness that is November? Can we take a moment to enjoy this middle child of a month?
    So in the spirit of honoring November, let me share with you one of my all time favorite writing activities... and I am not talking about those personal narratives about your student's Favorite "Thanksgiving Day Memories" or having them write about what they are "Thankful For".
     Well, this writing prompt is tried and true! It moves past the tired personal narratives and into persuasive writing. Your students will gobble this up because it puts a fun spin on typical Thanksgiving Day writing assignments. 
 Wait, Wait! Don't Shoot is a persuasive writing assignment that where the students write from the point of view of a turkey on Thanksgiving day. As the turkey, they are trying to persuade the farmer to not eat/hunt them for Thanksgiving dinner.  The students come up with hilarious reasons as to why the farmer should forgo a Turkey Feast this year. They also offer up some interesting alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving meal! I have created a lot of resources to accompany the prompt and help the students understand the art of persuasion that are perfect for your more hesitant writers or English Language Learners!
  Want to win a set? Simply leave a comment, and your email, sharing your favorite Thanksgiving Day treat and I will email 2 lucky winners this fantastic product!



      Are you looking to add more inquiry into your science lessons? What to teach the Scientific Method in a fun and festive way? Well, if so, than you have got to take a look at my newest product, The Great Candy Corn Experiment!   This activity will help your students work through the Scientific Method in a fun and festive way. It will go over solutions and solvents by trying to dissolve a fall favorite, Candy Corns.  
The Great Candy Corn Experiment is a fun way for students to practice the scientific method. An easy DIY experiment perfect that incorporates writing along with science.
Thank you to my beautiful Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics for sending me this snapshot of the experiment in action!
This activity will help your students work through the Scientific Method in a fun and festive way. It will go over solutions and solvents by trying to dissolve a fall favorite, Candy Corns.  
This set includes:
• Scientific Method Posters 
• 6 solvent signs
     Laminate to use each year and stock up on those Candy Corns, cheap and useful for lots of fun things in the fall. This experiment might make the students rethink whether or not to eat these festive fall treats!
The Great Candy Corn Experiment is a fun way for students to practice the scientific method. An easy DIY experiment perfect that incorporates writing along with science.

• A direction page and  4 observation, recording sheets with a Final observations/conclusions report page

• Candy Corn exit tickets and a summary writing extension piece. Both are PERFECT for a festive fall bulletin board!

I love anything that gets my students more excited about science and that includes writing in the process. You can pick up one of these sets here at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 
The Great Candy Corn Experiment is a fun way for students to practice the scientific method. An easy DIY experiment perfect that incorporates writing along with science.
It is a great pre-Fall break activity, and can be done anytime in October or November!  I would love to give one of these away!  Just leave me a comment telling me something you are currently teaching along with your email and I will pick a winner tomorrow evening!
 

If you love this fall experiment check out this similar activity using candy canes for the Winter and Marshmallow Peeps for the Spring.  Fun all year round!


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