Sunday, December 8, 2013

Elf in the Classroom {{Week 1}}

Grocery shopping is done, all of my papers are graded, lesson plans have been submitted, I found chevron wrapping paper && I have a cup of coffee with a brand new creamer (Hot for Cookie...I couldn't resist). Life is good friends, life is good. There are 10 days left before Christmas Break. Yes, yes I know the P.C. term would be Winter Break, but I'm tired of being P.C. all the time so I'm letting my Christmas light shine and I'm jingling bells all the way through the 10 day mark. This is truly my favorite time of year both in and out of the classroom. Buuuut Christmas at home is completely different than Christmas at school. One is definitely more relaxing than the other...I'll give you one guess as to which side the relaxation meter points to. If I had to pick a song to describe Christmas at Home...Silent Night. Everything's peaceful (unless the doorbell rings...release the hounds!), it's cozy, and there are plenty of comfy blankets to curl up in with a cup of coffee.  Christmas at school...well that would be more like Rocking Around the Christmas Tree. Holy sugar cookies my kids are all jacked up on the Christmas spirit and they're barely holding on to reality.

I can't be the only one with a few tricks up their sleeve to help contain the madness from boiling over. &&&& I'm definitely not the only one out there to send for help from the Elf Squad. If you've never heard of the Elf on the Shelf I'm not sure what rock you've been living under, but you need to google it. Pure genius I tell you! Once upon a blog ago I posted my schedule for the elf antics that are hitting my classroom this year. You can find that {{here}}. Since then I've discovered through Instagram that there's an entire hash tag devoted to elves in the classroom and I love hash tags almost as much as I love chevron. I also love that I'm not the only one that puts in extra work to conduct under cover elf operations...I was starting to worry that I was a complete whackadoodle party of one so thanks a million Instagram. Through my Insta-hash tag browsing, I found a blog link up featuring classroom elves from all over the place. My heart fluttered because 1. I'm a dork (clearly) and 2. I'm nosey and like to see what other people are doing with their elves (honesty is the best policy). Naturally I'm joining the Elf in the Classroom link up because I think Layla the elf is pretty amazing and making new friends is pretty swell too!

 Layla arrived nameless on Monday morning like a wrecking ball...seriously chaos erupted when they came back from special area && found her. Before I had the chance to read the book && explain some ground rules for keeping her around curiosity got the best of one of my loves and he touched her. You would have thought the Grinch himself had arrived in B-104 to snatch all of our Christmas spirit away. It was a border line riot. Kids were angry. Some were close to tears. My curious friend was crushed that she lost her magic because of him. Things were about to get ugly so I set my phone to a Santa-ish chime alert tone, announced that I just texted Santa to ask him to fix her, and made my phone go off. I "read" Santa's response "Ho! Ho! Ho! My sweet friends. I'll let this one slide, but if it happens again back to the North Pole your elf must ride!" I held my breath praying that they would fall for it...and they did. Bless you Apple for that magical ring tone. After I narrowly escaped from having to crush a full blown 6 year old riot, I quickly read the book that comes with the elf and all was well. Everyone knew not to touch her...everyone knew she was watching them...and everyone knew that she needed a name. Compared to last year they rocked the name brainstorming activity. I only had to explain that she couldn't have a boy name and that we weren't going to name her after anyone in the classroom once (no, not even Mrs. Owen could make the cut for the naming ballot...they tried). On the ballot: Snow, Sophie, Sophia, Layla, Bella, Emily, Emma, Belle, and Elfa. To narrow it down to the top 2 names I did a quick raise your hand to vote session. The top 2 contenders: Bella and Layla. For the final vote, each friend got a sticky note that they wrote their name choice on. All of the ballots were counted and the winning name was...Layla. Day 1 was in the books. Easy as pie.

Day 2 Layla climbed up our mini Christmas tree. Day 3 she got into the glitter...I left an apology letter to the custodians because glitter is an ugly, ugly thing to clean up.

Day 4 Layla got into the jewels and used them to build her name. Their faces were priceless and hearing them talk to their friends about it...even better.  One of my friends thinks the world revolves around him so naturally "Oh she definitely did that because of me...because I love diamonds. This elf is awesome!!!!"

Things were good in B-104 and I should have known things were too good to be it it naive, but by the end of Thursday I'm surprised I had any hair left on my head. The tattling had to stop (or at least get bumped down a few hundred notches) so Layla cranked up the magic factor && moved twice in one day on Friday. I had her set up on the lamp with a snowman book for the beginning of Day 5. After special area they came in to find her with lights strung around our "We Can" objective board and a special snowman snack for all the friends who were not currently on the naughty-ish list. Worked like a charm and I guarantee you the kids running around like mountain dew was spewing from the water fountain won't be letting all shades of their craziness loose again. FYI assemble snowmen at school because they DON'T travel all...true story. Week 2 of Layla's observations start tomorrow.

Layla watching works well in managing the Christmas craziness, but extra reinforcement never hurts. Enter: The Holly Jolly Basket. In my room we use the clip chart model. I know everyone has their differing opinions on the use of clip charts, but I happen to really like it as I  focus more on the positive aspect of it rather than the negative. Anyway, in a nut shell, everyone has a clip that they clip up or down to different colors based on their behavior. Green, blue, purple and pink are good colors to end the day on because you earn a sticker. Most days everyone earns their sticker and they're smart enough to figure out you only need to stay on green to get one. MOST of my kids strive to get on a higher color than green, but some of mine are fine with just doing the minimum required to earn a sticker. To encourage all of my friends to aim a little higher than "average behavior" I brought in a "Boo Bucket" in October. It was filled with Halloween treats: pencils, erasers, candy, the whole nine yards. If they were already on "pink" (our highest color) and still behaving perfectly they got to take their clip off the chart and clip it onto the bucket. At the end of the day if their clip was still there they got to pick a treat from the bucket. They begged for a Gobble Gobble bucket, but I was slack and it didn't happen. The last 2 days before Thanksgiving break made me realize that I was going to need a little something extra to make it through December. The Holly Jolly bucket was my "something extra." They're in love and that makes me a happy/less stressed teacher. After all, hair is a good thing to have and hopefully the basket combined with Layla will help me keep it.

I have a lot left on my list of things to conquer today (yes, I hear you mountain of laundry screaming my name), so for now I need to shut down this faithful laptop of mine. Until next time, live, love && enjoy the magic of the season!


  1. Loved reading about Layla! The edible snowmen are so cute! I've seen them on pinterest and wondered how easily the hold up. Good to know they don't travel well! I love the Holly Jolly basket too! Have a great week!
    A Tall Drink of Water

    1. Thanks! Here's hoping for a calm final count down! :)

  2. I agree with calling it Christmas break as well. Great save with the text from Santa!
    Teaching, Love, Cupcakes

    1. Thanks! I loved your zip lining idea! Mine would go absolutely bananas for that adventure! :)

  3. Mt. Dew in the water it! I think we have that problem at my school, too!