Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I Get to Have So Much FUN!!

Hi Friends,

When Teachers Pay Teachers had their sale the other week, I was so excited go to my ever-growing wishlist and get some of the things I couldn't wait to use in my classroom! I also found a lot of FREE Christmas/Holiday stuff that I was waiting until December to use. This week, a lot of it came together. I combined some of the purchases I made to create really fun and exciting projects, and I started a long-term(ish) project as well.

I am starting to really LOVE Interactive Notebooks! They just make for such fun, engaging lessons. This week, I used Creative Critters Percentages activity to teach students how to turn a fraction or a decimal into a percentage. After the "direct instruction" we had a discussion as to when or where we see percentages in our everyday lives. Then, the students colored in a hundred-square box with 6 different colors and wrote the decimal, fraction, and percentage.

What do the Holidays Mean to You? 
This was a question I posted as the morning reflection for students' Personal Journals, and at Morning Meeting we discussed it. I introduced the Stocking Stuffer activity from Susan Moran Jones which is the BEST (and don't let me forget free) holiday activity around! The students traced, cut out, and decorated a stocking. This stocking is meant to hold all of the notes each friend writes to them for the next week and a half. (Next year I hope to start this earlier, but I just found it and didn't want to pass it up)

To make sure that each student gets a note from everyone, I provided each student with a class list. They have been checking off as they write a note for a friend. As the teacher, I have to remember to write my notes! I made a stocking for myself, and like the students, I am looking forward to reading them on December 20, the day before we leave for break. I set up 2 baskets, one with blank notes and one for the completed notes. I was so excited that I already hung them up, and figure it would be a bit of a struggle if I had 5th graders try to reach the top of the windows to stuff each friend's stocking!

Here are some of the notes that put a smile on MY face (can't wait to see their reactions on the 20th!!)

Today was our Pajama Day/Polar Express Party which is why you might have noticed students in their pajamas in earlier pictures! After our Stocking Stuffers, we read The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. I got an entire Polar Express unit from One Stop Teacher Shop, and I also purchased a craftivity from Runde's Room. Then, I combined them both! From the Polar Express unit, we talked about figurative language and used a great resource that asks the students to identify the type of figurative language being used. From Runde's Room, I used the snow globe craftivity to have the students write and draw 2 figurative language examples from the book, and one of their own that they made up. This was a great and fun way to assess their understanding! You know you are doing something right when a students stops, looks at his friend, and says "Isn't it cool how we are learning AND having fun?!" That felt really good to over hear!!

Finished Projects!

After the Movie and Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows
Groups completed the Venn Diagram and The Book and Movie Elements activities. Besides just generally comparing the two, students delved even deeper by discussing the rising actions, climax, and falling actions and how each differ between the book and movie. I was able to listen in on conversations and was pleasantly surprised with what they were able to pick up on. The Polar Express unit also came with discussion questions which I will use as Personal Journal reflections throughout the rest of the week.

What awesome and engaging activities did you do with your class to celebrate the holiday season? I love to hear about new ideas!


  1. I'm so happy to see you using the Polar Express Unit you purchased from my Teachers Pay Teachers store (One Stop Teacher Shop). I always love feedback, but it is really nice to actually see it being utilized! Thanks for the opportunity!

    1. Of course! I love that we get to connect through teaching! So many fun things we are able to share with each other. Thank you again for such a thorough and complete unit! The kids and I really enjoyed it :)


09 10