Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas Favorites

I know I might have said this before, but Christmas is my FAVORITE time of the year!!  Here are a few of the things I love doing during this time of year in our classroom.

This Fireplace
Classroom Fireplace, www.JustTeachy.com
This cardboard fireplace was passed down to me from one of my favorite coworkers before she retired.  I have no idea how old it is, but I'm just glad it still holds up year after year!  I love the ambiance it adds to our room!

Felt Candy Cane Mice
Candy Cane Mice, www.JustTeachy.com
My mom gave me the pattern for these adorable mice many years ago, and I've been making them for my students ever since.

Christmas Tree Counting Cards
Christmas Tree Counting Cards: Number Recognition, Counting, One-to-One Correspondence, www.JustTeachy.com
We've been working on number recognition, counting, and one-to-one correspondence with our Christmas Tree Counting Cards.  (You can grab these in my TpT store.) Students can use mini erasers, beads, pom poms, buttons, or any other small manipulatives to place on the trees.

 Gingerbread Men (or Women) Ornaments
Gingerbread Men Ornaments, www.JustTeachy.com Gingerbread Men Ornaments, www.JustTeachy.com
Each year we make these gingerbread men ornaments as part of our parent gifts.  I, or a lovely assistant, cuts the gingerbread man shapes out of poster board.  If we have brown poster board we'll use that, but if not, we use white and the students color them brown.  Then they add googly eyes, beans, and ric rac for all the details.

Christmas Themed Pictures for the Light Table 
Light Table Activities:Numbers, Shapes, Seasons, Letters, CVC Words, www.JustTeachy.com

Light Table Activities:Numbers, Shapes, Seasons, Letters, CVC Words, www.JustTeachy.com
This year, I added some themed pictures to my Light Table Activities Packet.  These are a couple of the Christmas themed pictures that I added.  The students use the glass stones to fill in the pictures.
Light Table Activities:Numbers, Shapes, Seasons, Letters, CVC Words, www.JustTeachy.com

Christmas Lightbulb Letters 
Christmas Lightbulb letters: alphabetical order, sight words, www.JustTeachy.com
The kiddos have been having so much fun putting the alphabet in order with these lightbulbs!  They can also make sight words or spell their names.  
I hung some green yarn on the whiteboard to act like the wire for the lightbulbs and each lightbulb has a magnet on the back so it will stick to the whiteboard.  If you don't have a magnetic board, you can always hang some yarn or string anywhere else and use small clothespins to clip the lightbulbs to it.
(These lightbulb letters can be found in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.)
Christmas Lightbulb letters: alphabetical order, sight words, www.JustTeachy.com

Christmas Sensory Tub
Christmas Sensory Tub, www.JustTeachy.com
Each month I add a new sensory tub to our Fine Motor Center. So of course this month's tub has a Christmas theme! (I have these tubs in the fine motor center because I always add tweezers, tongs, and scoopers to manipulate the items.)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Favorite Christmas Books in our Classroom

It's my favorite time of the year!!!!  


With so many fun activities, crafts, and books to read, I find myself wanting to do it ALL!  It can be hard to narrow it all down, but I've come up with my top 10 books to read aloud to my class.
Favorite Christmas Read Alouds,  www.JustTeachy.com

1. The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg
I think I love this book so much because I remember reading it when I was younger.  The pictures are just so magical and really draw you into the story.

2. Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree, by Robert Barry
I was introduced to this book only a few years ago, but knew right away that I had to have it!  Such a cute story and the rhyming text makes it easy to read.

3. Santa Mouse, by Michael Brown
This cute mouse quickly became a favorite in my classroom and my own home!

4. Snowmen at Christmas, by Caralyn Buehner
We can't get enough of these silly snowmen and my class loves looking for the hidden pictures in each picture.

5. Pete the Cat Saves Christmas, by James Dean
Any book that comes with a free song to sing along with the book is a winner to me!  And of course my Kinders can't get enough Pete the Cat.

6. Mooseltoe, by Margie Palatini 
A funny story that will have your kids laughing!

7. Merry Christmas, Big Hungry Bear! by Don & Audrey Wood
What a brave and generous little mouse!

8. Bear Stays Up for Christmas, by Karma Wilson
A sweet story about Bear and his friends.

9. Llama Llama Holiday Drama, by Anna Dewdney
Who doesn't love Llama Llama!?!

10. It's Christmas!, by Jack Prelutsky
We love these fun, short poems!

What other Christmas books do you enjoy reading to your kids?

Here are some Christmas Activities you might be interested in that are available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Christmas Tree Counting Cards, Number Recognition, Counting, One-to-One Correspondence, www.JustTeachy.comChristmas Lightbulb Letters, ABC Order, build sight words, www.JustTeachy.com
Christmas Vocabulary Match and Write,  www.JustTeachy.comChristmas ABC Order,  www.JustTeachy.com

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Giveaway and a Sale!

Alright!!  It's time for another giveaway!!  I've got a $10 Teachers pay Teachers gift card, cactus sticky notes, pens, and notecards for you!  If you want to enter the giveaway, just head on over to my Instagram page at www.instagram.com/just_teachy. The winner will be announced on Monday, November 27th at 7:00pm cst. on my Instagram post.  Good Luck!
Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card Giveaway

And don't forget about the Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Monday Sale starting tomorrow!  When you use the code CYBER17, you can get up to 25% off sitewide.  The sale will run from Monday, Nov. 27th-Tuesday, Nov. 28th.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The One Tool That Will Save Your Sanity!

Teaching can be a very stressful job.  I have discovered the one item that can save a teacher's sanity!(Or at least it saved mine!) If you aren't a teacher, but have a teacher in your life, then this is the one item that should be on your list this gift giving season! (Or really any time of the year!) 
The One Classroom Tool That Will Save Your Sanity, best pencil sharpener
After 15 years in the classroom and hearing complaints and grumbles from coworkers, I speak from experience when I say that sharpening pencils is one of the main stresses in the classroom.  Whether the students are sharpening their own pencils, or the teacher does all the sharpening, having a good sharpener is one thing that can keep a teacher from loosing his/her mind!

I used to dread having to sharpen pencils.  No matter which type of sharpener I bought, it would never get the job done. (Manual or electric, hand-held or mounted)  Either the sharpener would jam, or it wouldn't sharpen evenly, if at all.  But now, I'm in pencil sharpening heaven!  I no longer dread sharpening pencils and actually kind of enjoy it now that each time I take a pencil out of this sharpener, I'm granted the satisfaction of seeing a perfectly sharp pencil!  A few years ago, a fellow teacher introduced me to this amazing sharpener.

The most amazing pencil sharpener ever
Not only does this sharpener sharpen pencils perfectly every time, it is quick also!  I've clocked it at about 2 seconds for a dull pencil, and about 5 seconds for a brand new pencil.

I've had mine for about 2 years and it is working just as well as it did the first day I got it.  I don't let my Kinder students use it, but I think it will still hold up well if you teach older kids and they use it responsibly.

In my classroom, we have two canisters for pencils.  One is for sharp pencils and the other is for pencils that need to be sharpened.  Each student keeps two pencils in their school box, and when they need a pencil sharpened, they put it in the "not sharp" cup, and take one out of the "sharp" cup.  This way I'm not sharpening pencils all day long.  I can just sharpen after school.
Sharp & Not Sharp Pencils

Good quality pencils are also the best way to keep your sanity.  I love using Ticonderoga pencils.  The lead doesn't break as easily as other brands, and the wood sharpens the best no matter what type of sharpener you have.  (And when parents send in the PRESHARPENED Ticonderoga pencils, it's an amazing bonus!)
Ticonderoga Pencils

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Happy Fall Y'all!

The weather is starting to cool down a little here, so it's time to get things in the room ready for fall!
Here's what we've been up to and some things we will be doing later on this month!

We made Directed Drawings of pumpkins that turned out so adorably cute!
Pumpkin Directed Drawings

We also made turkeys out of construction paper.  I showed the students my example, and then just gave them brown, red, yellow, and orange paper to create their own turkeys. Each one is so unique!
Turkey Art

We cut letters out of magazines and matched them to the letters on our posters.
Magazine Letter Hunt, www.JustTeachy.blogspot.com

Magazine Letter Hunt, www.JustTeachy.blogspot.com

Our Fall Sensory Tub is full of leaves, sunflowers, acorns, mini pumpkins, gourds, and corn. (Most of these items came from Hobby Lobby.)  I also always include tongs, tweezers and spoons to scoop with to work on fine motor skills.
Fall Sensory Tub, www.JustTeachy.blogspot.com

We are working on knowing the difference between letters, words, and sentences, so we are using this packet to practice sorting them.

Let's Sort: Letters, Words & Sentences,  www.JustTeachy.blogspot.com

Pocket Chart Sort
Let's Sort: Letters, Words & Sentences,  www.JustTeachy.blogspot.com

Write Around the Room
Let's Sort: Letters, Words & Sentences,  www.JustTeachy.blogspot.com

Here's a preview of what is in this packet.
Let's Sort: Letters, Words & Sentences,  www.JustTeachy.blogspot.com

 Non-standard Measurement using turkeys to measure how tall everyone is.  The paper on the door says, "_________ is ____ turkeys tall."
Non-Standard Measurement with Turkeys,  www.JustTeachy.blogspot.com

I made this subitizing game to play at our school's Family Math and Reading Night, but it will also be in a center in our classroom.
Thanksgiving Subitizing, www.JustTeachy.blogspot.com

Here are some other Thanksgiving items you might be interested in!
 Thanksgiving Write Around the Room: Simple Sight Word Sentences, www.JustTeachy.blogspot.com    Thanksgiving Vocabulary Match & Write, www.JustTeachy.blospot.com    Thanksgiving ABC Order, www.JustTeachy.blospot.com

Curling up with a good book seems to epitomize what fall is all about.  So get comfy and settle in with one of my classroom's favorite fall picture books!
(affiliate links included)
Fall Favorites Book List, Great picture books to read aloud to your students or your own children this fall

1. The Night Before Thanksgiving, by Natasha Wing This is a sweet, rhyming story about preparing for the big day!

2.10 Fat Turkeys, by Tony Johnston My students love counting backwards along with these silly turkeys!

3.Leaves, by David Ezra Stein This is a simple story of a young bear's first fall.  Very sweet!

4.It's Thanksgiving! by Jack Prelutsky  My class loves all of Jack Prelutsky's poetry books!!

5.This is the Turkey, by Abby Levine Cute rhyming book about Thanksgiving Day with family.

6. Leaves! Leaves! Leaves! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace This informative picture book follows Mama and Buddy Bear as they discover trees throughout the seasons.

7.Colorful Leaves, by Maria Fleming This is a great nonfiction book about why leaves change color.

8. Let It Fall, by Maryann Cocca-Leffler Adorably simple rhyming book all about fall.

9.The Very First Thanksgiving Day, by Rhonda Gowler Greene A sweet story about the first Thanksgiving.

10.Fall Leaf Project, by Margaret McNamara When these students hear that in some states the leaves don't change color, they come up with a plan to share fall with other first-graders.

11. Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks, by Margaret Sutherland This is a great read aloud to accompany the children's writing about what they are thankful for.

12. Bear Says Thanks, by Karma Wilson Another "Bear" favorite!  We can't get enough of this bear and love this book about thankfulness and friendship.

13. A Plump and Perky Turkey, by Teresa Bateman Very funny read aloud about a turkey themed arts and crafts fair created to lure a turkey into town.  I like to read this one before we disguise turkeys.

14.There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves! by Lucille Colandro Our favorite "Old Lady" swallows all kinds of fall items and ends up making a scarecrow!

16.We're Going on a Leaf Hunt, by Steve Metzger Three friends go on a leaf-finding adventure.  This book can be sang to the tune, "We're Going on a Bear Hunt".  I like to read this book to my class before we go outside on a leaf hunt for leaves to observe in the classroom.