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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday Gifts for Students

I finally finished my little holiday gifts to my students!  I have had people ask why I feel like I should give them something, but the fact of the matter is that these are "my kids!"

I am actually going to be giving these goody bags to my students on Monday.  We can't send home treats with our students this year, and I don't give out much in the way of candy or food treats throughout the year, so I like to do a little something extra around the holidays.  I used to give each of my students a book, but then I started doing my Winter Wonderland Reading Incentive.

I wrote a fun little letter and stuffed the bags with different goodies that go along with my note.  I am most excited about each student receiving a Scento marker!

  I have mentioned before that my students notice the colorful markers I use on anchor charts and always try to get a little whiff of their scents (I use Mr. Sketch), so I'm sure they will love to get their own markers.  As for the candy, on Monday, I am going to let the students decide how they will earn a piece of candy each day for the week.  That way I'm not totally sugar loading them all at once!  This group of students is exceptional, and I have had many of them for three years, so I'm looking forward to seeing what ideas they come up with.

 Do you do student gifts!?  I'd love to hear what you do.  Post your ideas in the comments section of this post!

Here are a few more ideas for student gifts!

Compliment Ornaments

Each student writes what they like about the others. Cut them up and fill each ornament. Then use a paint pen to write their name on it for them.  I love, love, love this!

Water Bottles
You can get water bottles from the dollar store.  Love this!  You could even use a sharpie to write each child's name on a bottle.  

Reindeer Noses

Santa Hand Sanitizer

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

{EASY} Holiday Food for Bigger Kids

I have big ambitions when it comes to Christmas food and baking.  I have ideas out the wazoo (well, okay, I have pinned ideas like crazy), and I used to bake dozens upon dozens of treats for my husband's corporate Christmas events.  My house is decked with holiday cheer, and like I mentioned in my last post, I try as hard as I can to encourage a little holiday fun at school.  But, here's the thing...I have two 2-year olds running around, and Christmas with toddlers may be the best experience I have ever had.  I don't want to miss a second of it.  So, as I have been looking for great holiday treats to make for my class and kids, I have been seeking out inexpensive, easy (read: not time consuming), and appealing to big kids.  Okay, all food is appealing to big kids, but I tried to find goodies that they wouldn't pretend to scoff at. Here's are some of the treats I compiled over the last few weeks while searching on Pinterest.  I can't wait to assemble some and bring them to school!

Snowman Popcorn Cups from Creative Kids Snacks

(The kid in me REALLY wants to eat some of that powdery goodness!)


What kid wouldn't love this?!

Oreo Snowmen
They even make chocolate covered Oreos these days, which increases the ease by one thousand.

If only my high altitude brownies would come out of a pan so nicely...

Grinch Kabobs
SO cute!

Before you go, don't forget to check out my original Holidays for Upper Grades post.  Several fabulous bloggers have linked up with great ideas and freebies!  And, stop by tomorrow to see the gifts I have put together for my sweet students as well as some of my favorite ideas!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Time Is Here!

It always seems like the months before Christmas are such a whirwind.  Add in the fact that my twins turned 2 on Thanksgiving day, and I have no idea where the last 2 months have gone!  I have tons of pictures and activities from my classroom over the last couple of months, but I wanted to share a few holiday goodies while they still might be useful to you and your planning!

I have always loved Christmas, and I can still feel the excitement bubbling in my chest when I think about heading out for recess and walking back into a classroom transformed into a magical Christmas party.  We would craft, eat yummy treats that parents had made, and it seems like there was always Christmas music involved. I remember the pencils and erasers my teachers would give us as gifts, and the excitement I felt after Christmas break, wanting to share all about my adventures and new toys with my beloved teachers and friends!  Even though we have some restrictions now about how we can celebrate the holidays (including some pretty hefty food restrictions), I am determined to make it as special and memorable as I can...But, the learning must go on! (Especially when we have already had 3 snow days this year).

I have been busy creating products and finding fun snacks and activities that won't break the bank!  I am so excited to share the next two weeks with my students.  I only have time to show a few little things we are beginning this week, but you can pick up a freebie or two (or three if you really dig deep) while you are at it!  Come back every day to check out my week-long holiday feature: Holidays in the Upper Grades.  Also, check out the other bloggers who have linked up at the end of the post for more great holiday ideas!

With my third grade enrichment group, we are finishing up 2 digit by 2 digit multiplication.  I only get to see this group once a week, so it has been slow going.  I really wanted to do something festive, so I pulled together a quick set of task cards.  I keep trying to think of new ways to use task cards, and so I created 5 different answer sheets that students can play like bingo.

I am going to put these up around the hallway and have each student start at a different card.  As they find the answers to each of the cards, they will write the answer on the answer sheet and then shade in the answer on the answer grid (see example above).  The first person to get 4 in a row will win a little prize.  You can grab these for FREE at my Facebook page.  Just become a fan, and they are YOURS! :)

With my older groups, we are going to be working on a project called "To Grandmother's House We Go."  I am so, so excited about this little creation of mine, and I am thrilled to show it to my kids.  They are all copied, stapled, and ready to go.  We will be spending the last 3 days before break on the project, which covers tons of different upper grades topics, including elapsed time, multiplication and division, fractions, graphing and data, problem solving, and more.  It is the perfect thing to review so many different concepts before they do a brain dump over the winter break!

You can purchase To Grandmother's House We go HERE!

I am planning on having special treats for my students each day that we work on the project.  I have been busy pinning ideas on Pinterest for those treats.  Before I do a great, big food post tomorrow, you can sneak a peek at my ideas on my Holiday Pinterest Board!

One last treat before I get started on putting together my student's holiday treats (look for that post soon)!  I made a little Christmas Around the World set of Task Cards to use with my groups.  Each table is going to get their own set of cards and tasks.  I don't have a lot of time to devote to Christmas Around the World, but I still wanted to cover it, so this is what I came up with.  It's only 4 pages, but I certainly hope you can use it!  It's FREE at my TpT store!

Christmas Around the World Task Cards

While you're in the Christmas spirit, check out my post over at Task Card Corner that features MORE holiday freebies and more Winter and Holiday Goodies!  I love my Winter Task Card Display so much that I was bummed when I took it out of my home office and brought it home. ;-)

Click HERE to see the post!

Happy Holidays!  Come back soon for more holiday inspiration.