Gettin' Gingy With It, Classroom Kindness & Freebies Galore!

Happy holidays, teacher friends!  
It's Linda from Around the Kampfire with some
easy, last minute ideas for that crazy week before the break!

Here's a peek at some of the things I do in my classroom....

Every year we do Secret Santa of Kind Words.  
It warms my heart so much to watch my kiddos
read the kind words their Secret Santa wrote to them!

These would be fun to attach to any parent gifts your students make!

Have a holiday book exchange!

If you follow my home blog you know that 
I *LOVE* all things gingerbread! I still have lots of assessing left to 
do in between all of our holiday events so I'll be using some of
these fun little activities to keep my kiddos engaged and learning!
Just click on the pictures to grab your freebies!

You can find LOTS more gingerbread ideas and activities 
on my home blog {HERE}  {HERE} and yes, {HERE}!!

These gingerbread story problem pop-up cards are super simple 
for kiddos to make! Simply reduce the gingerbread man template
from Read! Read! As Much As You Can, fold paper in half,
make two cuts and pop out the box! Students write story problems 
then illustrate them!

I love the first one!  That dang dog!

I hope this makes your last week a little less crazy!  

Head over to Around the Kampfire to see all of our
gingerbread fun & find more FREEBIES! 

Happiest holidays to you and yours!



As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School.  We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children.  We honor their memory with our service.  Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook.


It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Hi there!  It's Jamie from 2nd Grade Stuff and I wanted to share a few fun activities we have been doing this week to add some seasonal, Christmas fun into our learning!

2nd Grade Stuff

So, it really is beginning to look a LOT like Christmas in my classroom!  But don't worry, we are still learning, it's just with a fun Christmas theme.  Take a look at my collection of Christmas books.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Scholastic book orders.  I have acquired most of these books through Scholastic!  Love them!

Now, what in the world do I do with all of these picture books?!  Well, here are some good ideas:

1. Put them in a center with a response sheet (see example below).
2. Have them sitting out on student desks for independent reading time.
3. Have the students record themselves reading the books on an iPod or iPad, then listen back to practice fluency.
4. The students LOVE to buddy read with these seasonal books.
5. Let the students create a reader's theater to go along with their favorite book.
6. Students can watch the video or movie version of the story and compare/contrast.
7. ** My Favorite ** Throw the basal to the side and have an entire week of Christmas related reading block fun!

This last option is one that, luckily, our admin is perfectly okay with.  The week before Christmas break, we throw the basal to the side and are allowed to use Christmas or seasonal books to teach our reading block!  I love it, because the kids are excited and pumped about the upcoming holiday and winter break, so this is the perfect way to keep their attention, while still having tons of learning going on!

Below is one of the activities that my students do after reading The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.  If you don't have a copy of this book, it is a MUST READ for any elementary classroom!  It is a story that goes deep and makes the students really think about the true meaning of Christmas and the illustrations in this book are absolutely beautiful.  Take a look at what we do after reading this incredible story.  Both of these activities can be found in my Christmas ELA Printables in my TeachersPayTeachers Store.  We respond to the reading using a printable where the students must draw and write about the lesson the character learns in the story.  The students are required to think deeply about the meaning of the story and I love the lessons that they conclude from the characters.  They will also write a narrative writing where they use their imagination to tell about their very own Trip to the North Pole.  These always turn out SO CUTE!  :)

Another one of my favorites (found below) is an activity that we finished at the beginning of this week.  It is truly an authentic piece of writing where the students are stating their opinion and must convince or persuade their parents to agree in a letter that they write and I send home.  As a class, we decide to come together and help a needy family in our area.  The students must write a letter to their parents telling them about our idea, why we want to help, what we can do to help, and all the other details.  The letter must be convincing and express their opinion that this is something that we should all do and contribute to.  The letters this year were, by far, the sweetest ever and I have to say that one letter actually brought tears to my eyes.  I think you will be surprised at how much your students will put their heart into this piece of writing!  I am always so surprised at how easy this is for my 2nd graders, because it means something to them and they "own it".  This piece can be found in my December Common Core Writing Activities, also found in my TeachersPayTeachers Store.  You can check it out below.

Our next week is packed FULL of more fun holiday activities that I will blog about over at my blog 2nd Grade Stuff and some that I have already blogged about {HERE}, but hopefully these will give you a few ideas of some activities that you can include in your classroom as well.  Oh, and I almost forgot!  I am sending home this cute as a button gift for my students next week - SNOWMAN SOUP!  This is a FREEBIE from Stephanie over at 3rd Grade Thoughts (also a contributor to this fun blog).  You can find it {HERE} or by clicking on the picture.  So cute and I just know my kiddos are going to love it!

Happy Holidays and thanks for stopping by!  :)

Jamie @ 2nd Grade Stuff

2nd Grade Stuff
Graphics/Fonts by: Ashley Hughes, Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs, Scrappin Doodles, and KG Fonts

Just a Bit of Christmas Cheer!

Happy Wednesday!
It's Tracy from Creekside Teacher Tales!
I just wanted to share some fabulous holiday freebies with you that could be very useful over the next week or so!!
Enjoy friends!
(Click on the images to download!)

Fern's Christmas Ornament and a Freebie for You!

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Fern Smith's Directions and Freebie for a Christmas Joy Picture Ornament!
I've made a little freebie for you to use in your classroom, home school or Sunday School class. 
Directions are included in the download.
Please visit my blog for different Christmas ornament directions all month!
Fern Smith's Directions and Freebie for a Christmas Joy Picture Ornament!
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Fern's Writing Centers and a Freebie for You!

 Photo of Fern Smith's Pout-Pout Writing Workshop Center
Setting Up a Writing Center in a Small Space
This works well with 2nd and 3rd graders who can get their supplies and then stretch out on the floor with clipboards. I also buy a colorful tablecloth at the Dollar Store to make the center more inviting/seasonal.
1. My writing center has the vocabulary words on the wall, either in a pocket chart or just stapled to the wall.
2. The books that relate to the center are on display so they can reread a certain passage or use the pictures for illustration ideas.
3. The long white box is for a variety of writing paper, assignment paper, colored paper and just plain white copy paper so the advance students that like to draw may illustrate more of their story.
4. The small white box has pens, crayons, markers, stapler, paper clips, etc.
5. Pencils and erasers are in the cup.
6. The stuffed animals are to make it more inviting. These animals were only $5 each at Kohl's when they had the books for sale for $5 as well!
Behavior Management
When you have extra books, stuffed animals and fun at your writing center, not only is it inviting, it can be distracting. One of the best things I like to do when someone is misbehaving is say, "Sit next to me." While I'm doing small group, if someone can't handle the extra fun that comes with certain centers, I make them bring their clipboard and sit either next to me at the table or on the floor. They may pout, but it is all in the technique of being sympathetic and kind. 
Later in the day I will talk with them and say, "I could have moved your clip, I could have yelled at you, I could have written in your agenda, but I chose to have you come sit with me and focus on your writing. Do you think tomorrow will be a better day at the writing center?" Even the hard-core behavior problems will say yes to go back to a center with their friends the next day!
It gives them a chance to learn from their mistakes and develop some maturity.
This is one of my many writing centers.
Photo of Fern Smith's Pout-Pout Fish Great Big Giveaway!
If you don't have the book, you can go to my blog and let other teachers read it to your class with my YouTube videos.
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