Sunday, December 9, 2012

Merry & Bright

I can't believe how fast December is flying by. It always seems to move the quickest && it always, always makes me feel sad to see it go so fast. At my house the tree is up and decorated, the stockings are hung, Christmas baking has begun, and the dogs have succesfully found every.single.last.toy that Santa was bringing them (clearly I need a better hiding spot). My favorite part of decorating for Christmas is adding the ornaments to the tree. They all have a story behind them and they remind me of how much love surrounds us on a daily basis. My favorite ornament is my Poppa ornament. When I was little, my mom would always try to hide this "older" ornmanet in the back. I always moved it back to the front because it reminded me of my Poppa (he had a long white beard && kids thought he was Santa). A few years ago my mom gave me this ornament to hang on my own tree. Of course it's front and center on my tree every year. It might be old and raggy, but it is my favorite one on the tree.

While things are nice and calm at my house. . .my classroom is a completely different story. My kids are all kinds of excited && jacked up on the magic of the season. We're coming up on the end of the nine weeks which means tons of reviewing and benchmark testing. Since I don't want to sit in our PLC meeting with 50 shades of red on my score chart, I'm packing my lesson plans with craftivities, Christmas inspired units, and tons of just dance videos (praise the lord for youtube).

Last week we started our Christmas Around the World unit in social studies. Each of the wonderful ladies I have the privledge of working with adopt a country and create activities to teach about their country's holiday customs. It's always a blast and is something that the kids learning about. Our first stop Norway. We learned about Julenissen (Santa Claus), Advent wreaths, and of course reindeer! Our school district is making the change to Common Core Standards in reading this year (we made the change to the Common Core math standards last year). A huge component of the common core ELA strands is the use of non-fictional texts and researching. . .yes researching. Of course researching reindeer was something that was too good to pass up, so we got busy. First we talked about what we already knew about reindeer. Then we read several different nonfiction books and passages about reindeer to check our original thoughts and of course to add new knowledge. My little researchers were then assigned the task to write down three reindeer facts on their recording sheets. They did amazing and they took it so seriously. The conversations that went on as they were writing down their facts were precious. "Reindeer can't fly. . .well not wild reindeer. . .just Santa's reindeer. They're trained or something!" After the writing came the craft portion of the lesson. I didn't give the kids any patterns to trace. . .they had to draw and cut out all of the reindeer parts on their own. I'll be the first one to say that it was a little stressful convincing all 17 of my reindeer makers that they could do this on their own. However, eventually they all had a completed reindeer and they are absolutely the cutest things ever!

Since the kids created these without patterns, I have nothing to share in that department. However, you can hop on over to my TPT store (or click on the picture) to pick a copy of the recording sheet for free. Now it's time to finish this heap of laundry so I can get my sanity sleep. . .I'll be needing it for the next 10 crazy days ahead of me before Christmas break. Happy Sunday y'all!

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