The Elf on the Shelf

The Elf on the Shelf has BLOWN UP in the past few years, but I can proudly say that I’ve been elfing it in my classroom for quite some time – way before it was Pinterest-worthy.  Just sayin’ – no Johnny-come-lately here.   If the elf had been around when my now-21 year old was little, YOU KNOW I would have had one.  But since she missed it, my students now benefit.

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Our classroom elf is named Eddie, after my brother.  No, I haven’t told him that.  He arrives on the first school day of December, when I read the story.  I don’t make such a big deal out of the “he’s watching so you better be good or he’ll tell Santa” aspect of the book, although I do know that is a saving grace in many families this time of year!  In our class, it’s more like a daily scavenger hunt.  Eddie will be in a different hiding place each day, and the students have to find him (and NOT tell the others, but who am I kidding????!!!) and then record his hiding place on a special form.  When I taught first grade, they could write a phrase, but in second grade they must write a full and descriptive sentence, with proper punctuation and capitalization.  We teachers can even made holiday fun educational!!

So starting on Monday, I’ll have 20 students running in the door each day, vying to be the first to discover his spot.  There will be squealing.  All in a day.

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Long Time, No Blog

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‘Tis the season.  The season of report cards and parent-teacher conferences.  The season of this veteran teacher staying at school until 5:00 most evenings just to keep afloat.  Of hurrying to get those holiday bulletin boards up because the season will be over in the blink of an eye.

‘Tis also the season of holiday miracles.  Like the first snow day of the year on Thanksgiving Eve.  Certainly thankful for that.  What follows is a random collection of a few of the many things I am thankful for…

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The generosity of the families at school.  We had our first service project of the year, and we collected warm weather accessories for the Salvation Army.  #warmthiswinter

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Talented friends.  Local author and dear friend Cynthia Dreeman Meyer visited and shared her book, “Merry Stirring Mice.”  She wanted to see it read by yours truly…she even took notes!  #proudandhonored

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Creative kids.  Our second grade collaborated on a tree based on the classic book “Owl Moon.”  It will be part of the Morris Museum’s Storybook Forest display from December 18 to January 18.  #wemadetheowl

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Involved parents.  For American Education Week, families were invited to their child’s classroom for a variety of activities.  In our class, they were taken on a tour of the classroom, led by their second grader. #verybusy

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Then they settled down to listen to their child’s personal narrative, and assisted in the editing process. #thanksforthehelp

Enough with the hashtags.  Lots to be grateful for, and I am.

Here’s Something You Don’t See Every Day….

….or on every Halloween either.   Kids actually doing work.  That’s tied into the current curriculum.

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Yes, it was Halloween alright.  Some are even wearing remnants of their costumes from the day’s morning parade.  But what’s really going on in this photo is an activity I call “Cups of Coins.”  Yes, the cups are orange and have jack-o-lantern faces on them, but that’s just for show.  Inside each of the 23 numbered cups is a set of coins.  Children take a cup, spill out (carefully, please!!) the coins, total up their value, and record it in the correct space on their sheet.  Then the cup is returned to the table, and they choose a cup they haven’t done before.    So, even though it was the high holy day of all holidays, there was learning going on.  Money is our current math unit, and we didn’t skip a beat.

Here’s what we looked like pre-parade.

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On to November.  And the holidays.  And the ensuing madness.  But learning too.  Always learning.