All About January (and a few freebies!)

Happy (ALMOST) New Year, friends!  2017....really?!?!

Have you made any resolutions?  Me...notsomuch.  Of course, I always want to be a better version of who I was the year before, but resolutions never quite "stick" if you know what I mean.  Sure...I want to eat healthier.  Work out more.  Get more organized.  Keep the house clean.  Do the laundry...regularly ;)  Yes...I want all those things.  And to eat all the things and still be able to fit into my jeans.  But really...I just want to have a great year filled with lots of laughter and more memories than I can count.

I'm still trying to narrow down my ONE LITTLE WORD for the New Year.  Here's what I have so far...

Do you see a theme here?!  

I'm *hoping* to take this blog in a different direction after the new year as well.  We'll see how that pans out.  Ha!

Before we look ahead to the new year, let's take a look back at a few things we did going into the new year in years past.   Maybe there are some activities and freebies that will help you with your planning these next few weeks!!  

This is typically how I start the new year with my cuties.  These were our goals in 2011...


In 2011, I blogged all about these snowman activities.  

I got this cutie snowman painting idea from What the Teacher Wants and then paired that with a reading response for Snowmen at Night.  You can read all about our fun that day HERE.

The following year, I was inspired by The Elementary Art Room with this cute snowman craftivity.
I decided to have the kids create this with their response to the story.  LOVE the way they turned out!!!  You can check out our writing HERE.



At the time we were also working on expository writing.  I had my kids build their own snowman out of construction paper...create a little scene...and then write about HOW to build a snowman.  


Here's what we did when I taught Kindergarten in 2013.  I made these little snowman parts in power point (sorry...I don't have the file!!! :() and then had the kids build the snowman and then write about how they built it.  In these parts of Texas, my kids will probably never have a chance to build a snowman, so this was a way to make the writing a bit more tangible and relevant.


We were also working on blends, so I created this simple little activity.  You can grab it for FREE!!!


Speaking of FREE...and who doesn't love free?!?!....here's a little freebie I blogged about that same year.  A little something fun for the writing center. 


And of course, a few little math freebies, too!

This little math craftivity was inspired by Joanna Davis at We Heart Art.  I used her cutie snowman for  problem solving. They used their thumprints to create the snowflakes and then made patterns on the snowman's scarf.  You can read all about it HERE.


I love introducing the concept of symmetry in January.  Really, any time of the year is appropriate, but I love the activities I can do this time of the year with this concept.

Here we are making a symmetrical snowman.  This really helped the kids to "get" the concept.


And we've made these symmetrical snowflakes as long as I've been teaching!  13 years!  Say what?!


This was such a FUN whole group math game!!!!  My kids LOVED it!  A great way 
to reinforce making 10 while keeping with the whole snowman theme.  #targetsnowflakesforthewin


Speaking of games, this was another class favorite!!!  Aaaahhh!!!  This was SUCH a blast for the kids...they asked to play it almost every day after that!  Great way to reinforce the concept of comparing numbers.


Speaking of games...here's another "making 10" game we loved.  Only with this one, we practiced using the number line.  You can read more about it HERE.


Here was a little patterning activity we got from Julie Lee at Mrs. Lee's Kinder Kids.  I absolutely LOVED these!!  So did my kids!


This was a game we played a TON last year.  It really works with ANY skill.  You can find out how we played it in this post.


Another favorite was this great sight word activity we kept out almost all winter long.  My kids had to dig for sight words and build them with "snowballs".  You can grab the FREEBIE HERE.


We did SO much more in January in the years past, but this post would be a mile long if I included everything.  So I'll save that for another post...maybe tomorrow or the day after that.  Hopefully these activities will help you with your planning the next few weeks!!!

Here's a little something I'm THRILLED about going into the new school year...this  Place Value Intervention packet of activities!!!

Does that sound silly?? #teachernerd

I'm really passionate about teaching math and place value is one of my most favorite concepts to teach.  Here is a little sneak peek at just a few of the activities in the packet...

Climb the ladder is a fun small group game where kids have to correctly answer several different questions about a number and the value of it's digits to win the game.  


The pyramid place value tray is a different twist on building numbers and I absolutely love anything I can put a twist on.   I really believe in taking one concept and finding lots of different ways to practice the skill so that the novelty doesn't wear off.


Not only does this intervention packet include lots of whole group & small group games & activities, but it also provides opportunities for independent practice and reinforcement.  That's something our kids can NEVER do enough!!!


I like using independent acivities for whole group lessons as well.  It's a great way to introduce a concept.  And when the kids are familiar with a game/activity, that's less reteaching you have to do later on and less interruption you'll get when it comes time for that independent practice.


Speaking of independent practice, I included 15 different print & practice activity sheets.  These would be great for morning work, homework, or anything you can think of.


And if you have interactive journals in your classroom, I also included a few supplemental (editable) journaling pages for additional practice and reinforcement opportunities.



And the most exciting thing we're doing in January...in my opinion of course, is SCIENCE!!!  Our babies LOVE anything and everything science related and unfortunately, we often toss this subject to the side and don't give it the attention it deserves because we have too much to do!

Abby and I have made it easy for you with our cross curricular science resources!!!   Here's how the month of January looks at a glance....


Lots of vocabulary...



We made sure to include a list of suggested books for each week, although ANY book to which you have access that covers SNOW, ICE, WINTER, & ANIMALS IN WINTER will work beautifully for these activities.  We even included three non-fiction books in this resource that you can print out and bind or project and read.


TONS of science activities!!!


ELA Extensions...


Lots of math...


And my personal favorite...hands-on craftivities!!!!


If you're interested in implementing these activities and plans into your classroom, just click on the pic below.  We are SO excited about this resource and can't wait to see how you incorporate it into your plans!!!  This was a labor of love and we hope you love it as much as we do!!!!!



And if you're looking for a few things to help your planning go a little smoother while transitioning into the 2nd semeseter of the school year (WOO HOO!!!!), here are a few things that might be able to help!!!









You can grab EVERYTHING mentioned here...AND MORE!!!!...for 20% through New Year's Day!  No code needed!!! 


Have a FABULOUS weekend before the crazy starts up again!!!!  
And have a 
VERY 
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Classroom Elf Freebies & Ideas

It's almost time for our family elf, Elfabet, to visit us from the North Pole.  He is one of my favorite family traditions because his silly hijinx always make my boys laugh.  There is just no sweeter sound to wake up to in the morning, I swear.  Not only are the elves flying back to homes everywhere across the country, but according to my calendar, they're flying back to classrooms everywhere, too.


Here's a peek back at our visit from our classroom elf a few years ago.  A special delivery straight from the North Pole with a letter, a gift tag, and everything!

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I read the letter to the kids and they flipped.  I mean, they seriously had a conniption.  They could barely stifle their screams.  We somehow managed to get through the letter without anyone going too crazy, but when it came time for me to open Santa’s special delivery, we just couldn’t contain ourselves anymore.  It got a little wild.  But it was precious because their little hearts are SO innocent and they just couldn’t hold in their excitement at all.  I just LOVE the magic of Christmas!!!! 
As we were opening up the package, the kids were BEGGING me to be careful so that I wouldn’t touch her.  Luckily, Santa’s little burlap sack and all that North Pole snow made it super easy for her to stay put as I opened her up.  I put her under the document camera for everyone to see.

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Almost immediately after opening our special package, one of my babies said, “I’m going to write about our elf today in Writer’s Workshop!”  Score.  But first, it was time to name her.  I was really hoping for someone to come up with a fun name like “Elfis” or something equally as cool.  Here’s what the kids chose and then voted on…

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I got this great bubble map idea from Cheryl at Primary Grafitti.  Love.  Take a look at those names.  Elfabet is the name of my boys’ elf and one of my kids DESPERATELY wanted that to be a serious contender, but no such luck. We ended up with “Frozen” and I’m sure that was inspired by Disney’s recent Blockbuster!

After we named her, we filled out one of the printables from my Classroom Elf Freebie so that the kids would have something to take home to share with their parents.

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We took a little break and played “Where’s the Elf?” from that same little freebie and the kids had a BLAST!  You should’ve heard the cheers when they found the hiding elves!!  It was even better watching the “elf finders” do their little elf dances at the end of the game.  HA!

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We went out to recess and when we came back inside, our elf had flown out of her resting place and landed above one of our tables.  I guess she didn’t think anyone would be able to see up her skirt. Bless.  #thankgoodnessforstockings

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They were seriously flabbergasted.  Could not BELIEVE she was flying around the classroom while they were outside!!  This was the *perfect* time to introduce their little elf writing journals.  They couldn’t wait to get started.

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elf10  elf11


We even made these little elves for a special writing project all about our North Pole visitor.  I don't have a template, but as you can see, it was pretty easy to make.

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If your elf is coming to visit, grab these freebies to welcome him or her to your classroom.
You can grab the freebie HERE.



And if you're in search of some elf ideas (for home OR for school...easy to modify for the classroom), you can find them on my domestic blog here...




And have you heard the news yet?!  


Teachers Pay Teachers will be hosting their annual cyber sale on Monday and Tuesday, so get ready to shop and stock up for this busy holiday season.  Always such a fun time of the year in the classroom and it's so much easier to make it through the next few weeks when you're prepared!
This is when I like to stock up!!  If you're in need of a few more seasonal resources, here's what I have available...


















I have lots of phonics and alphabet resources....math activities and content...and MORE!  You can visit my little store and click on the custom tabs on the left hand side of the screen to find exactly what you're looking for!  Until next time, happy cyber shopping!!!!