Christmas Fun with Elves

Time to get into the holiday spirit! What better way than with elves, Santa's little helpers?!!! I'm always looking for new books to add to my collection. I discovered a new book call, Elfis. To bring in a multiple intelligence slant, I am going to play Elvis music after listening to story. Elvis can touch another generation with his music.

We're going to compare the stories: “The Elves and the Shoemaker” to “The Shoemaker and Santa's Elves”. To introduce venn diagrams, I am going to make a venn diagram with two hula hoops on the floor. Then my class will sit in a circle around it. First, I will have the girls take off one shoe. We will put the shoes into two groups. These two groups will be put in the outer ring of the hoops to show they are different. Then we will see if any of the shoes are alike. If one girl's shoe is like another girl's shoe, the 2 girls will take off their 2nd shoe and put their shoes side-by-side in the inner circle. We will do the same thing with the boys' shoes. 

Activities for these books and more elf fun can be found:

Elf Antics can be found at TPT - $3

A.D.H.D. Tips

Drops pencil on the floor, gets a tissue, gets a drink of water, sharpens pencil, twirls pencil, fall out of seat . . . everything BUT working on assigned work! Does this sound familiar? Do you have a student who gets distracted with everything under the sun, so he or she never completes schoolwork? Here are a few things to try:

Bumpy seat: textured seat provides plenty of texture and will even let your wiggler move from side to side without falling out of his/her seat. You can buy this at your local Wal-mart, Target, or sporting good store.

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Bouncy seat: Sitting on an exercise or balance ball helps your wiggler get the wiggles out. There are different type of balls. If you have a tile floor, I recommend that you invest in the balls with sand in them so the balls don't roll away. You can buy these at your local Wal-mart, Target, or sporting good store. You might also check with your gym to see if they would give you their old exercise balls.
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Fidgets: Give your wigglers something to do with their hands. There are many commercially made fidgets like the long, skinny erasers. I like to make homemade ones out of a balloon and lentils. You can also put other things such as flour or sand in the balloon. Use a funnel to put the lentils in the balloon. Don't buy cheap balloons, or they will break quickly!

You'll get more ideas here:

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No time for handwriting!

Do you feel like you never have enough time to teach handwriting?  Do you look at your students' assignments and feel they need handwriting lessons? Try this!  Once a week during reading group, my students practice their word wall words/spelling words. I use dry erase boards that has lines with the dotted middle line. Each time I say the word all the students write the word on their board. The person who writes it using the lines and spaces correctly, uses correct letter formation, and spelled correctly earns a B.U.G. (my incentive program). So, if all 6 students write the word neatly and spelled correctly, all the them earn a B.U.G. I think because it's not a contest to see who can write it the fastest and they have to write the word using correct letter formation, it has improved their handwriting, spelling, and reading.  It is like killing three birds with one stone!

B.U.G.  stands for Being Unusually Good.  From time to time I pass out these tickets when students are B.U.G.  They never know when I will be watching to pass out a B.U.G. for work habits and behavior so they need to do their best ALL the time.

Click HERE to download your free copy of the B.U.G. packet.


Friday Fun Day
Is this the year that you got "that" class?  The thing I've found with difficult classes is you have to change your management system & incentives fairly often. The systems lose their effectiveness quickly with a class with this type of chemistry. 

One of my favorite incentives is Friday Fun Day (F.F.D.)!  It doesn't cost any money and it can be academic as well as fun.

First of all, you need to be a really good saleman . . . make your first Friday Fun Day seem like it's going to be the best thing since sliced bread. Plan something extra special . . . can you borrow special games/computers/ipod touches from other teachers to use this week? If not, think of something high interest that your challenging students would really want to do: heads up 7-up, chalkboard races, around the world, flashcard relay races, or watercolor painting to music your students bring in.

Once you've sold Friday Fun Day, you explain that in order to EARN F.F.D., you can not get more than X number of behavior marks this week. In the beginning, students can have a high number of behavior marks and still earn their way to F.F.D. But, as you train them in your behavior expectations, you will lower your tally marks one a week until you get to a reasonable amount (3 or 4 per week).

Students who don't earn F.F.D. will write a note to their parents telling their parents why they didn't go to F.F.D. and their plan of action so they'll improve their behavior the next week. The parents have to sign the note and the note has to be returned by Tuesday or it is one behavior mark. After they finish writing the note, they put their head down for the rest of the time.

My F.F.D. usually last 20-30 minutes at the end of the day. I try to do different things each week. Sometimes I give my class a choice and they vote for the one we do that week. 

If you want to add a class-wide incentive to F.F.D., write 30 on your white board on Monday.  Thirty means that as of Monday morning everyone will enjoy 30 minutes of F.F.D. When you have transitions throughout the week (cleanup for lunch, turning in homework, etc.) you tell your class that they have X amount of minutes to complete the transition.  If the class finishes early, those minutes are added to F.F.D.  But, if a transition is too long, F.F.D. minutes are subtracted.  You can also subtract minutes for talking during lessons.  You will be amazed at what positive peer pressure can do!

Here's the form I have my students who don't earn F.F.D. fill out:

A Little Magic

B.U.G. - Being Unusually Good

It's that time of year, when you begin to feel like your "bag of tricks" is running a little low!  Here's a new idea to try:
    The program is called B.u.G.!  First, I bought small pictures of insects and frogs - they are usually near the calendar numbers at the teacher supply store. I punched a hole at the top of them. On a bulletin board I put each child's name with a pushpin beside their name. When I caught him/her showing B.U.G. (Being Unusually Good) behavior they earned a bug. The students could not tell me they were being "buggy".  I had to "catch" them. After so many bugs they earned a prize. Prizes could be anything - write one assignment with special gel pens, use my glitter crayons on one assignment, eat snack beside a friend, etc. Notice: prizes do not cost much after you buy special school supplies. Usually parents will donate these if you ask.
    If they do something REALLY, REALLY bad (physical aggressive, lying, stealing) they get a frog.  What do frogs do?  They eat bugs!!!!  If a student gets a frog, they lose ALL of the bugs they earned.  It a very sad day when that happens which is why they try to be buggy!

Click HERE to get your free copy.


Stone Soup . . . imagine that!

The story of the first story Thanksgiving feast is such a great example of what can happen if everyone lends a helping hand and we all cooperate with each other.  One of my favorite activities to do this month is read the book "stone Soup" and then make "Stone Soup" with my class.  Here is the sign up sheet I send home to parents:



Thanksgiving is just around the corner so it's time to dig through the files. There are so many great books out there about Thanksgiving. Two of my favorites are:

Attached are a couple of activities that you can do with your class during your study of Thanksgiving. 

You can find more activities here:


Morning Message

Morning message is one of my favorite ways to start the day! It is a great way to review skills and answer the inevitable “what are we doing today?” I try to change mine from time-to-time to keep my students on their toes. Here are a few things I do to change how we do it:

  • Circle the first letter of the sentence with a green crayon or marker.
  • Circle the punctuation mark at the end of the sentence with a red crayon or marker.
  • Put a orange box around spelling words or word wall words.
  • Highlight vowels
  • Underline blends with a purple crayon or marker.
  • Draw a line between the syllables of a word. Circle the word with the most syllable with a brown crayon or marker.

    Click HERE to check out this packet.