Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Parties and Pinterest Surprise

Christmas vacation is FINALLY here!! Everyone has been looking forward to this for a little while since we have not had as many breaks as in years past since the state changed our school calendar requirements. We had our class parties on Thursday which made for a little bit of a crazy day; however, it was all worth it. My kids had such a great time and were so excited about how the party turned out.

My room mother got everyone their own holiday bowl to take home after they were able to create their own ice cream sundae's!! Whoot whoot! She had every topping that a kid might dream of. After we at our ice cream, we drew numbers to see what gifts we would get. I had never seen my students so excited about being able to play and be children at school. Many of them talked about how it was the best party they ever had. That made me feel wonderful. My students surprised me with a gift card to get some things for my backpacking trip to Spain.

Many of them started their vacation after that, but there were a couple of people that come to school today to finish out the week. We spent the day watching movies and playing games. One of my students came just to give me a gift after they saw something on my Pinterest board! What?!?!?! I was floored!!!

They put it one an old cabinet door with string to hang it. This went in my classroom fast!

I do have to say that even though there are hard days mixed with the good, I wouldn't trade this class for ANYTHING! They really are lovely children that make me smile. It was a great way to start my vacation where I am going to just read my books.

What did you do for your Christmas parties?? What do you plan over the Christmas break?? 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gingerbread Mania and Surprises

First of all, my heart goes out to those at Sandy Hook Elementary!

Wow, it's been a while since I have posted anything here! Now that I am done with my classes for the semester, I think that it's time to share what I have been doing in my classroom. First thing is that I have the most wonderful 3rd grade team!! They secretly went around the school to campaign for me for "The Teacher of the Year". My principal gave me the papers saying that I won the award without saying a word. I asked him if it was a joke then tried to give him the papers back, ha ha. He said that it wasn't a joke. I was floored!! My team told me what they did and I just about cried. They are the sweetest bunch of ladies that I have ever had the opportunity to work with!!

My principal has finally decided to allow my team to use REAL BOOKS for reading instruction instead of our awful basal!! Yay!!! We started with  The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. It's been a long time since I have seen children enjoy reading class. It warmed my heart to see my students having such lively discussions about what was happening and actually paying attention to instruction. We still had reading tests and assignments, but they were more meaningful to my students. The kiddos were able to make real life connections to the characters and what was happening during the Christmas pageant.

The first thing that I did was have my students look at the copy right date in the front of the book. We began comparing the cost of living in 1972 to today. We also talked about what was going on in the world and the types of things that were popular at that time. They LOVED it!!

As we read each chapter, I had my students name each chapter to help them start thinking about main ideas. Some of the names were: "Meet the bad Herdmans", "Herdmans Go to Church", and "The Evil is Stealing the Show". If I forgot to let them name the chapter, they were quick to remind me.

There was a lot of character comparisons being made along the book. Also we analyzed how some of the characters changed throughout the book. That was neat to see them pick up on those things even before we started talking about it.

Every Friday was our "FUNctional Friday". This was where we took a piece of functional text and looked at the components. The last piece that we did was directions to making a gingerbread house. Yes, we actually made the houses using graham crackers. It was SO much fun. I think that this will be what the kids remember the most. Doesn't the "Teacher of the Year" have to come up with awesome activities??? I think so!!! Ha ha ha!!
Here are some pictures from our wonderful day.....