It’s Nearly Here….

Winter vacation, that is.  And with it comes the end of the holiday madness that begins in October.  Because in the classroom you go from Halloween, to Thanksgiving (if you’re lucky – it seems to get passed by nowadays) to the December holidays.  Sometimes it feels as though I haven’t taken a deep breath since September!  But with the 10+ day stretch ahead of me, I can breathe a little easier….once I get there, that is!

Before I say goodbye to 2014, here’s how we ended it in second grade:

10689776_10203929578494706_6401253652472806619_nDollar Tree stockings – today they’ll open them up and take them home.  They’ve been DYING since I’ve hung them up.  Part of the fun of opening presents is looking forward to them.  A quote from Little House on the Prairie.  Ma was a sage.

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Holiday party.  Something about kids dressed in red and green, topped off by a holiday hat, puts an instant smile on my face.

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This year’s party looked a bit different.  We had the usual craft, snack and game, but I tacked a family sing along to the end of it.  Fewer party activities to plan, and just so darn cute.

ry%3D400-2I love how seriously some parents are taking this!!

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2014’s nearly over.  Here’s hoping ’15 will be all we need it to be.

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Holiday Hodge Podge

Sometimes this blog is simply a record of things that have happened.  No big message, no teacher tips.  Just photos that provide evidence of some holiday happenings in and around second grade.

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After finishing our personal narrative unit, we read the published pieces to first graders.  I’d forgotten how little they are!

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Back when I did teach first grade, I always used parent volunteers during reading centers.  It took me three years, but I finally figured out how to incorporate them in second grade.  I missed having a second pair of hands!

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And while we’re on the topic of the past, I sorely miss the pioneer unit that we did at this time of year in first grade.  We do touch upon westward expansion in second grade social studies, so Laura and friends made an appearance during indoor recess.

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My completed Festival of Trees….trees.  The theme was “Christmas Then and Now,” and my trees represent the year 1939.  On the left is Gone with the Wind: Christmas at Tara and on the right is The Wizard of Oz: Christmas in the Poppy Field.

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Embarrassing photo from my read aloud at last night’s Story Time and Sing Along at the Festival of Trees.  Whatever I was doing with my face must’ve worked, because the kids loved the story and the rest of the activities.

1594298390798756 Hoping this is everyone’s best Christmas ever.

This is My Once-a-Year-Day

I just posted on a friend’s Facebook page that I “have a show tune for every situation.”  I will also add that I’m proud of that fact.  This post’s title is from “The Pajama Game.”  (lest you’re not up on Broadway shows from the  1950s…or movies with Doris Day.)

The “Day” refers to the annual decorating day at our town’s Festival of Trees.  It’s the unofficial start to my holiday season.  I save my one personal day without reason for this day alone, so the kids will have a substitute at school.   Some things are just that important. With a dear friend acting as my elf, I’ll spend the day decorating my themed trees.  There will be more on those trees later, after they’re complete.

For now, I’ll post some holiday classroom photos, which include bulletin boards and displays.  They make my season bright.

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Mini Christmas tree – yes, it has lights.  Colored for the classroom – I’m not a Grinch!

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Holiday display – there’s even a kinara there to represent Kwanzaa.  And yes, I do light the candles on the menorah!

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Decorated dreidels – facts and opinions on written on each.  Ever educational!

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Holiday packages.  Children cut. sorted and glued on words – common nouns, proper nouns and pronouns.  Adding a real bow made all the difference!

Off to the Festival.  I’ve got a big job ahead of me today, but somebody’s gotta do it.

Slightly Obsessed

The title of this post is misleading.  Actually, it’s grossly under representative of the feeling I have for gingerbread.

Unlike my love of  my girl Shirley Temple, I cannot pinpoint when gingerbread-themed ANYTHING became a full-fledged obsession with me.  I do know that it’s been going on for years.   Below is my gingerbread village – an eclectic group of gingerbread items that I add to every year.

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Fun fact:  it’s the only place that I allow colored lights – I’m an all-white lights kind of gal.

My love of any thing gingerbread-ish spilled over into my classroom many, many years ago.  In the days of yore, when I taught kindergarten, we did an entire gingerbread unit – the hunt throughout the school, the baking and decorating and eating of those spicy cookies – a full-out THEME.  Ahhhhh…those were the days.  When I taught first grade, we always read and compared as many gingerbread stories as we possibly could in the month of December, and then wrote our own versions.  I still continue to add to my book collection, even though it’s not a curriculum focus in second grade.

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I’ll read quite a few this month, and the children will ready many more on their own.  And gingerbread kids were the perfect first holiday craft (of many!) today.  We followed a simple glyph legend and created adorable lil guys and gals.

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We broke out the collection of “special crayons” for this project, which includes glitter, metallic, twistables and construction paper crayons.  Sometimes it’s the littlest things….

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I’ve gotta learn how to take straight photos!!!

Check out the embellishments – candy canes, superhero capes, aprons, hats, candy – there’s even a Luigi (or Mario?) gingerbread cookie.

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Even Shirley thinks gingerbread is sweet.  And she should know.