Friday, December 28, 2012

New Year Freebie!

I'm honestly looking forward to making realistic goals this year.  I'm already starting to generate a list today. Yep- I'm a list person, are you? I don't necessarily FOLLOW them but, least I make them!

But better than that, I'm going to visit a brand new baby today! Is there anything better?  And I'm getting my hair a much needed cut!  Double yippee skippy!

If you haven't done Make-a-Word activities to practice letter/sound combinations with your kids, make that one of your resolutions!  The kids really crank out the words and it's great when you see them APPLYING the letter combos that they've learned.

My firsties loved them so much that I decided I had to make a whole bunch for my store. I don't think I'll ever have enough for them!

Enjoy the freebies above.  Click on pics!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

End of Day Rockin' Routine! (Freebie, too!)

For years, I've had a closing circle (when time permitted!) at the end of the day.  Honestly, it never knocked my socks off.  Same old, same know what I mean?

So this year, I wanted to make it more meaningful.  I thought and thought and thought some more and I do believe I've found one of the best, most focused, activities to do at the end of the day.  You know what?  With my idea of Personal Daily Goals, I make the time.  I NEVER have to fit it in.  It's a must.
What's so great about it?  It really allows the kids to be reflective of THEIR day.  I don't set the goals for them...they come up with them all by themselves and take it very seriously. 
Their goals range from, "I will try hard tomorrow to raise my hand" or "I won't pick my nose" or "I am going to push is my chair so no one trips and falls over it."  It tickles me to hear their goals each day and how well targeted they are for the following day.
Sometimes a child will keep the same goal because it wasn't reached.  They decide. It's very insightful what they choose to do.  In the beginning, some kids would simply make up a goal- any goal- even if it didn't apply to them.
Example: one kid said, "I won't run in the hallway."  But this child NEVER did that so we spent the first two weeks practicing naming our personal goals and telling WHY it was chosen.  I explained that they had to think about their own day and think hard about what they could improve upon tomorrow.  That really helped a lot to see the connection. It took about 20 minutes in September at the end of day.  Now?  A breezy 6-7 minutes for whole class. They get SO EXCITED the next day if they can report to the class that they reached their goal.  Ownership of the task is so important. 
It also allows ME to be reflective because I often hear MY WORDS coming back to me when someone states goal like,  "I need to remember to bring back my homework so I can be more responsible."
Up until now, I've been writing the goals to save time.  Starting in January, they will take their sticky off the door, fill it in, and it will be their exit ticket as they hang it back up and share their goals with us.  On Friday, kids always take paper home with them.  Seriously, if you are looking to change up your last miutes of the day, try it!  Let me know how it goes.
Click on the picture to get the printout.
 Edited post by using my answer below...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday Gifts To Parents from Kids

Aren't these As Cute As A Button?  They were so easy to make and if you still need a gift for a grandparent, aunt, etc., for the holidays, you can make one in a snap.

I wish I didn't have to blur the kiddo's faces so you could see what cuties they are.  Here is one up close without a pic.

One of the reasons I loved this craft was because I didn't have to get the paint out!  Now I love a good painting project but my classroom doesn't have a sink so it's a pain in the neck.  Instead, the kids used markers to color in one side of each stick.  Worked great!  Kids picked out buttons and I glue gunned them on.  From start to finish- ENTIRE time for 21 kids...about 45 minutes!  I printed pics out on printer (4x6) glued on back.  Kids trimmed themselves. Then the kids wrote names and 2012 on back.  Easy peasy!

And I don't wrap for my kiddos.  Why would I when they can make these cute giftbags?

Green and White yarn, colored reinforcements, markers, lunch bags

I think I've finally found the gift I'll be making each year!