December 2013 - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom
Let's get real. It is really hard not having a room-mom. I hope you are lucky enough to have one, because lemme tell ya, I was spoiled at my old school with great room-moms every year. But I had to do the holiday party on my own this year. I tried to make it pretty simple- a Polar Express Party, but it still turned out kinda complicated. :-P I guess that's just me!! LOL
This was the hot chocolate "bar" to fix their hot chocolate with toppings! (This was after they had already started making their hot chocolate- I forgot to take a pic ahead of time!)
They also decorated sugar cookies- that's ALWAYS a hit. They think it's so much fun. The "tablecloth" was butcher paper I pulled this morning and let them decorate it. They had a blast doing it, and it saved me a little money! :)

While they drank their hot cocoa and ate their cookies, they watched the Polar Express movie, and I pulled them to my table to make an ornament!

I found this idea on Pinterest:
And decided it was way too cute not to do! I hunted down clear glass ornaments (yes, hunted down. Three stores were sold out. I totally blame Pinterest for this!!!!!) and got all the materials: fake snow, pom poms, and pipe cleaners.
I was in charge of the gluing, of course, but they stuffed the ornament with snow and drew on the face- except for the eyes... we used googly eyes! They were TOO CUTE!!!!!
All of my kiddos were excited to take it home and put it on their tree! :)

Last, but not least, I got my kiddos a Christmas present... I always do the same thing: a $1 book from Scholastic and crayons. I get the crayons in August when they are on sale for a quarter (gotta plan ahead)! They always need crayons about this time of year because theirs are worn and lost. :)
I wrap them all so they have something to open (because, let's face it, we all love opening presents, don't we?!) which is a lot of work, but worth it because they love it!

I also gave them a Polar Express bell:

And yes, I was ACTUALLY scraping these kids off the ceiling this afternoon to get them home. ACK! But now............. I'm officially on break!! :) :)

Time to share our seasonal writing ideas! :)

I love, love, love teaching figurative language! I seriously find ways to teach it all year long. There are just so many fun things to do with it! Here is an activity I created (FREEBIE!!) for similes, personification, and onomatopoeia:
My kiddos are doing this activity today, so no pictures yet, but it's pretty self-explanatory. Grab it for a last minute activity idea this week if you need one! :)

I also told you about the Grinch Song activity I do with my kids last week- here are some pictures of the "taking it literally" figurative language:

These two kiddos aren't quite done with the coloring- but their drawings were too good not to share!

And of course, I LOVE reading The Polar Express. We are actually having a "Polar Express Winter Party" on Friday, so we are doing a lot with The Polar Express this week. My Mentor Sentence for the week comes from the book (of course) and there is also an activity in my Language Arts Interactive Notebook for similes from the book!
I also found this little gem a couple weeks ago:
Which is PERFECT because we are working on Opinion Writing right now! Some of my favorite reasons of theirs so far are: "I do all my chores... I get all A's... I was nice to my brother..." But my favorite of all is: "Who could resist this face?!" Ha!!!!!

PS: Workshop Wednesday will be going on Winter Break, too! It'll be back in January! :)

Ack! I have been a horrible blogger! Goodness gracious. The holiday season has taken over, for sure!!

I wanted to share something I've "tried" the last couple of years with my class, and of course link up to my BBB, Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper!

We all know how FABULOUS {insert sarcasm} students' behavior can be before Winter Break... filled with excitement and SUGAR, it seems self-control can be lacking those last couple weeks... so I give my students a little incentive. I send a letter home to parents right around Thanksgiving asking for contributions of SMALL items (think dollar store, Target Dollar Spot, etc). Then, the last 12 days before Winter Break (I call it the Twelve Days of Good Behavior LOL), if they have been "good" that day (meaning, they aren't on anything below green for the day), they get a treat in their treat bag! I have done little stockings for each child before, but this year, I just had them decorate a paper lunch bag (which I think they liked better anyway!).
The kids really get into it, and then they love being able to take home a bag full of treats on the last day, too! And I can tell you, I can see an improvement in behavior... it makes me want to do treat bags at other times of the year- like before Spring Break!! Maybe I'll try it! :)

Don't forget to come link up tomorrow with your seasonal writing ideas for Workshop Wednesday!! :)
It's Wednesday again!! Time to share our seasonal reading activities! How do you make this time of year less stressful and fun during reading time?

On Monday, I shared some fun Grinchy activities I am using this week...

I also read Trouble with Trolls for Mentor Sentences this week- we're working on quotation marks, adjectives, and adverbs with this book.
But then, of course, Jan Brett has the Christmas "sequel" to this book, Christmas Trolls. Had to squeeze that one in!!
We used one of my BBB Joanne's fun Christmas Reading Graphic Organizers to go with it- it was especially great because we talked about how the naughty list isn't forever- you can always turn your behavior around and make it to the nice list, just like Tig and Mig in the book!
See the arrows moving them to the "NICE" list? :o)

And of course, if you are in the mood for some fun Interactive Notebook activities, you can also check out my other BBB's, Collaboration Cuties, Christmas Interactive Notebook Activities!

There are so many more books that are my favorite, I could go on and on...

I shared with you some ideas for this one last week:
And then some of my all-time favorites:
And I have a super fun Santa unit on TPT for these two books:

Make sure to come back next week to share your seasonal writing activities!! But in the meantime...

Are you filling your days with fun seasonal activities like I am? We only have NINE days left of school before Winter Break (but who's counting??) so I am really taking advantage of the holidays approaching!

One of my favorite stories (and the kids' favorites too!) is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I will be using it this week to cover adjectives, and I will use the song You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch to review figurative language!

We'll review adjectives first- and I'm hoping to have them cut their own Grinch face and Santa hat- we can practice symmetry! They'll glue them in their notebooks and list any adjectives that describe the Grinch...
In fourth grade, the students have to not only understand what adjectives ARE, but also how to order them in a sentence. Here is an activity I whipped up to cover this standard:
You can grab it for free by clicking above!! :o)
I also give the students a copy of the lyrics to You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch, and I play the video:
They highlight the similes and metaphors in the lyrics, and then choose one to draw literally. That is always the best part to them, and they come up with some of the funniest drawings- like the Grinch as a banana with a greasy black peel. :o)

I also want to encourage students to be NICE to each other this time of year, so we are going to "fill the Grinch with love!" When students show an act of kindness, the person who received the kindness will write it on a heart and hang it on the Grinch.

Since these are activities I will be doing this week, I want to link up to Mrs. Laffin's Laughings!
Do you have any other ideas for me to use this week with the Grinch? I'd love to hear some new ideas! :o) Maybe you can even share them in this week's Workshop Wednesday: all about seasonal reading ideas!
Welcome to Workshop Wednesday in DECEMBER. Holy cow! How did it get to be the end of the year already? Today, we are linking up the ways we make our Math Workshop fit in with the season and/or the holidays. I have quite a few ideas up my sleeve for the next two and a half weeks in math! :o)

PS- Next week for Workshop Wednesday, we'll share seasonal reading ideas, and then the NEXT week will be seasonal writing ideas! Get ready to link up every week!! :)

Before I share about math though, I have to share some SUPER exciting news!! The 2013 Winter Holidays Tips and Freebies book is LIVE- and it's FREE!! :) It is full of awesome tips and freebies that I know you will love- including one from me! ;-)

Now, back to Workshop Wednesday... :o) (Of course, there are a bunch of seasonal fun math activities in the e-book!)

Check out this fun freebie from Mr. Peterson!
This will be going in my multiplication review station... they are going to love it!!

I am also excited to try some activities in the Math and Literacy Pack from Mandy Neal:
At this point in the year, we've learned so many skills that need to be reviewed to keep them "fresh" that this pack will be great for doing just that in my stations. (And shhhh! There are literacy goodies in there, too!!!)

And of course, we've already started on my Let It Snow Pack!

My kids literally CHEERED when I told them they were going to get to create a snowman yesterday to review fractions. LOL! And look how adorably creative they got!


I'm linking up with Holly today to share something we've been trying this year at my school! :)

DBQs... Document-Based Questions! These are questions asked about a primary source- a photo, a map, a graph, a video... the list goes on and on. All grade levels in our school are required to do them every morning to improve our writing... and I have seen not only an improvement in their writing abilities, but also a higher level of thinking going on with my students. I like to use questions where students have to infer or think from a different point of view... my students actually really enjoy doing them!

I integrate our science and social studies content into the DBQs, which helps expose my students just a bit more to what we are learning anyway. I find most of the images I use on Google Images honestly, but there are great sites, like the Library of Congress, full of primary source documents! Sadly, I can't share any of the ones I've created using images I've found doing a Google search because those images are most likely copyrighted, BUT I was able to create some using images that are all considered "public domain" because they are government documents, or the copyright on them has ended because they are so old! :) They are in my Road to the Revolution DBQ unit!
I created these for my fourth graders, but these could easily be used in 5th grade or middle school, depending on your curriculum! Here is a preview of one of the DBQs:
American Revolution Linky
Also, don't forget!! Erin at I'm Lovin Lit is having one of her amazing scavenger hunts again!!! The best part is... EVERYONE WINS! If you are visiting my blog first, visit this post for more info!

Finally, Workshop Wednesday will be back tomorrow! Let's share how we incorporate winter and holiday activities into Math Workshop!
I am so excited to share a book with you that I just found on Amazon! (How do they know that I need all of these books??? LOL) I'm linking it up with Collaboration Cuties for their Mentor Text Linky!

This book is called The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree.
Here is the description from Publisher's Weekly:

The Armistice has been declared, but still there is no sign of Ruthie's father in their little Appalachian town. So, in accordance with the traditions of Pine Grove, it falls to Ruthie and her mother to bring home the perfect Christmas tree to donate to the town. Ruthie had accompanied her father to the rocky cliff where he marked a tree in the spring, so she and her mother set out to find it again, and haul it home. Their trip becomes the basis -- overnight -- of a new town legend; Ruthie, chosen for the role of the heavenly angel in the the church Christmas play, finds herself outfitted in a made-over wedding dress of the finest silk -- another "miracle" wrought by her hardworking mother. An accomplished, fluid telling garnishes this simple story, as do Cooney's moonlit paintings of wintry evenings and the welcoming glow of fire and lanterns. Ruthie is more or less an observer; her mother is the real heroine. But the way they work together to keep their family's duty is rendered in a harmonious blending of text and pictures.
This is such a sweet story of tradition and family. It takes place during World War I, so it's not exactly aligned with my Social Studies, but it's such a great story I couldn't pass up using it. Here is an activity my students will complete with the book:
Click to download this freebie!
Aaaaaand I also created a Mentor Sentence for this one, too!
Click here to download this freebie from my TPT store!
Oh! Almost forgot! Here are the winners of my Let It Snow Math Activities for Upper Elementary Kids! :o)

Aaaaaand also, Workshop Wednesday will be back this week! Let's share how we incorporate winter and holiday activities into Math Workshop!
Back to Top