Saturday, December 29, 2012

Snowflakes for Sandy Hook

After reading a blog post on: A Teacher's Treasure, I will be  adding this activity to my New Year's activities.  My second graders were so worried when after the news of the devastating tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook.  The PTA at Sandy Hook is collecting student snowflakes to welcome back their students in January.  Their Winter Wonderland theme will brighten students' hallways and display areas.  They will collect the snowflakes through January 12th.  The address for mailing is: 

 Connecticut PTSA 
60 Connolly Parkway
Building 12, Suit 103
Hamden, CT 06514

Friday, December 28, 2012

7 New Year's Classroom Ideas

I have been thinking a lot about my students and how we are going to begin New Year 2013 once our Christmas vacation is over.  I want students to begin the New Year excited. So, I have come up with 7 ideas to celebrate in second grade once we return.  So, here they are: 7 New Year's Ideas for Your Classroom

1)  A Snowy New Year -   I will use a little snowy science experiment to bring in the new year.  It's actually going to snow in our classroom.  I will add a picture of video once I locate the snow that I so carefully put away in a place so secret that I forgot where I put it. Teacher amnesia!

2) Snowmen - Students will create a snowman snack to eat with marshmallows, pretzels, a Hershey's kiss, and other candies for a special treat at snack.  I used icing to get the candies to stick

Students will add little pom poms to the top of their hats.

3) Students will create party hats showcasing the new date 2013.  They will enjoy showcasing these by wearing these to lunch.
New Year's Hat: Students will decorate the blank space in the middle with  colored paper and other materials.

Thanks to my trusty Cricut, I have 2013 ready for students to grab and add to their hats.
4) Pass it On - Students will do random acts of kindness throughout the day to celebrate the new year and bring about good cheer and excitement within their classmates and school.  Students will write on die-cut hearts and leave them by classroom doors for teachers and students and give them to random strangers and loved ones.

Heart Die Cuts are cut and ready to go for our first day back.
Random Acts of Kindness Hearts
5) Students will continue the wintry SNOW theme by listening to The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

6) Pop - Everyone knows you have to have some sound when the clock strikes midnight and the new year begins.  Students will Blow bubble gum bubbles (with permission from the principal of course) to create some popping sound.  They will then use balloons to begin their writing for the New Year's goals.
Leader in Me School - 7 Habits - 7 Goals
I created the 5" blurb with my  Cricut using Plantin SchoolBook.

I picked these up at Wal Mart on the Christmas clearance aisle for 50 cents each.

I also found these balloons to use at Wal Mart - 7 cents a pack for 12.
Goals for 2013 - We cannot forget goals!  Students will write their goals for the last part of the school year.  We will connect it Leader in Me style using the 7 habits.  Trying to make the terminology concrete in my students' minds this year is a concentration with this being our school's first year as a Leader in Me School.  Click here for Leader in Me 7 Habits - 7 Goals writing paper.

I am fully aware that all of you out there are not Leader in Me schools, so I created 2 more variations that you could use with this same idea.  Students could write a how to instructional paragraph on how they blew a bubble.  Click here for How to Blow a Bubble writing paper.  Once they experiment for a few minutes, they will begin making a class chart verbalizing their first hand information.  They will then write their paragraph.  Once the final copy is completed, students will blow up balloons to accompany a face to post with their writing.  They will also properly dispose of their gum prior to leaving the classroom.

Variation 3 would be to use the writing form New Year's Goals and do it similar to my example in the first picture.  Click here for the writing paper to accompany your New Year's Goals lesson.

7) It's time to study time: Students will create a New Year's clock and discuss a.m. and p.m. (real world connection) and create it on a clock.

I did an example and made 4" die cut circles for my students to use. 

At the end of the day, there will be one tired teacher and 18 excited students!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

This morning we finished our Christmas Around the World study.  We had to catch up in order to finish on time, so we did 3 countries and managed to finish our little booklet up. 

Green was the definitely color today.  We enjoyed some Grinch fun today after lunch.  The kids are so excited that I can hardly get a word in edge-ways (don't know if that's a word or not, but you know what I mean).  After reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas, students compared how the Grinch was at the beginning of the story and how he was at the end.   Students used their 7 Habits language to tell how the Grinch changed.  Students then made an origami Grinch and enjoyed some Grinch punch.  It was the quietest they were all day!

Just grab some lime sherbet and Sprite, Twist Up, or 7 Up and you have yourself some good grinch punch!
Don't you just love these little Santa hats!  My teacher friend made them up on the spur of the moment this afternoon so they kids would be decked out for the assembly.
We ended the day with a little 7 Habits pep rally with our entire elementary school present.  It is so fun to see the students taking such great leadership roles at these early ages.  Today was second grade's turn to lead the program and we did 2 Christmas songs - Away in a Manger and Jingle Bells.  The kids did great and there is just something special about hearing kids sing Christmas carols.  It brings the Christmas spirit right to ya!
My Little Santa Babies!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Candy Cane Math

Can we say hyper!  Boy going to school up until 4 days before Christmas can be wild!  The students are so excited they can hardly stand themselves. I have been doing my best to keep them entertained and actively engaged.  They could hardly wait for math time to complete their candy cane tasting activity.  Students were given 4 different kinds of candy canes to sample.  They then decided which candy cane was their favorite. It was hard for some to pick just one, but they managed to decide.  Students chose from peppermint, blueberry, cherry, and strawberry.  We ended up with a tie between blueberry and strawberry.  Students recorded each vote and then graphed the results.  Hands-on/mouths-on learning was a total hit!  

Tomorrow will be Grinch punch and Grinch writing using the 7 Habits!

Christmas in Mexico

Students were all hands on for our Christmas in Mexico craft.  We used our hands, green and red construction paper, yellow markers or crayons, and thin round paper plates to create these Poinsettia.  I got the idea from Enchanted  This was our Day 2 of our Christmas Around the World tour.  They loved the activity!  

In the background of the 3rd picture you also see Santa legs.  Students told how they would get Santa unstuck using the 7 Habits after listening to Santa's Stuck

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Around the World

Cinnamon Ornaments
     Well, we started our study today of 9 places around the world and how they study about Christmas.  This cinnamon and applesauce ornament craft is a favorite every year with my students.  We tied it in to America's Christmas celebration today on Day 1 of our unit.  Boy did the room smell scrumptious!   
     Some students asked about eating their ornaments, but I told them that it would totally make them sick!!  Too much of a good thing would make bellies hurt!  

     By the way, most of my ideas from this unit came from a teacher I found on the Internet several years back.  Her name is Christina Bainbridge.  She has some really awesome ideas!
     Our math lesson was sooo much fun.  We used a ruler and construction paper to make a tree.  We measured by two's counting backward with 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, and 2 inches each to make different strips of green.  Then I showed my students how to cut and arrange the strips of paper into a tree on larger paper.  They then decorated their trees with presents and ornaments American style to go with our Christmas Around the World tradition.

This is how I showed the students how to make their strips.

This student topped his tree with a star.


Rudolph is an oldie but goodie.  I enjoy this reindeer writing craft each year.  This year students told how Santa would get the presents delivered after the reindeer got a stomachache following a chocolate binge.  They came up with some really cute ideas from giving them medicine, letting some more reindeer help with the special night.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary

My thoughts and prayers have been with this school and community since Friday.  I pray for healing and comfort during this terrible tragedy. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Elf from Santa Teaches Leader in Me: 7 Habits Elf Style


Well, my sweet second graders received a special delivery today all the way from the North Pole.  You should have seen their eyes when our office lady walked in with a package just for them.  Santa's special package included non other than an elf from the North Pole.  Now the kids have heard of Elf on the Shelf, but they had never heard of a school elf.  Inside the box Santa sent was a letter from Santa himself.  It explained to the students that he had heard that they were learning about the Leader in Me and the 7 Habits. He sent his best elf to help us out learning how live the 7 habits way...even after Christmas.  Let's hope!! HeHe!

At the end of hte day, I had the students reflect on their behavior and tell me how they had shown one of the seven habits.  Each student was excited to get a chance to dip into the box filled with Christmas goodies from candy to card sets, note pads, etc.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Migration and Hibernation

Animal Survival: Migration and Hibernation
Migration Poster I prepared for Table Groups
This past week, students enjoyed working in groups and learning about animals and how they survive when winter comes.  My second graders worked in cooperative groups.  Each member of the group had jobs: writer, text reader, animal reader, and speaker.  The writer wrote down information on the group poster.  Students had to answer 2 questions either about migration or hibernation and list animals that either migrate or hibernate.  The whole group stood with their poster at the end of their work time and the speaker told the findings.  After all groups had a turn presenting, students completed a chart together with me on the SMART Board telling the differences and similarities of migration and hibernation.  The next day, students enjoyed choosing their own animal and researching their science book, other informational text, and the computer to find out information about their animal of choice. This was a huge hit!!  They especially loved the computer research time!
Hibernation Poster I prepared for Table Groups