Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December Rewind: How to Accept a Gift

This is a rewind of a post I did last December (2011).  It is one of my favorite lessons to teach this time of year.

  How to Accept a Gift.   

I first saw a version of this lesson taught by an awesome counselor a few years ago and have since modified it (a little) to work with my teaching style.  Here it is:
1.  I open a previously wrapped present in front of my class (I wrap up an ugly sock).  I tear the wrapping paper off without looking to see who it's from, I say mean things about it once it's open and then I go throw it away.  Reactions to this are priceless...some stare at me in shock and some laugh like crazy...that alone will tell you a lot. 
2.  Next comes the discussion.  I ask the kids, "What do you think was wrong with the way Mrs. Rist opened that package?"   Hopefully I will get a few clever kids who come up with the words "rude" and "mean."
3.  Then I open another previously wrapped package (it's the other ugly sock).  This time I model the "correct" way by using the High Five Rules:

 #1 Check to see who it's from (I say it's from one of my students and ask them to play along.)
#2 Show gratitude  (Thank you SO much for buying me a gift.  It was so kind of you to think of me!)
  #3 Open it nicely!
#4 Say thank you and mean it!  (I model again a "thank you" that looks like I mean it and a "thank you" that looks like I'm just saying it because I have to!)
  #5 Tell the person why you like it or how you will use it. (I think up all the fun ways I can use 1 sock: puppet, dusting mitt, etc.)

 4.  After my demonstration I will let a few kids try it also (I put random things into a Christmas bag b/c I just don't have time to wrap 24 fake presents!)  I'll use paperclips, scraps of paper, a single pencil, etc. and the kids have to use the "High Five" method to accept the present.

5.  Then we each get a "High Five" paper to color and take home so Moms and Dads can help their child practice.

6.  Each day I'll pick a few more kids to model for us so we keep it fresh in our minds right up to Christmas.

7.  If any of my kids bring me a Christmas  present I make sure I do all 5 steps b/c they will watch and check!  We also exchange coloring books at our Christmas party and we walk through the 5 steps when opening our presents.

That's it.  Hope you find it useful.  The handout is not cute but it gets the job done!  Click on the picture if you'd like a copy.

Monday, December 17, 2012


The horrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary has every teacher and parent around the word heartbroken and silent in their grief.

Explaining the events to my own children was, to say the least, heart wrenching.
I struggled with whether or not I should tell them but they saw me crying constantly so how could I not?

My first grader took it as most 6 year olds would   asking the question, "Do bad people like that live here too?"  My husband answered best (because I was too choked up to) and said, "Good and bad people live everywhere but the good out number the bad."

My fourth grader covered her ears.  Too much to take in for a 9 year old.  We kept the conversation simple and said that someone had gone in to a school to hurt kids and that some did not make it.  She wanted to know if he'd been arrested.  She covered her ears when we told her he'd killed himself.  Grief and horror, even for him.

They both wanted to know if the school did lockdown drills like ours does.  I was finally able to talk and told her yes and the lockdown saved hundreds of little lives.  

It makes me sad to live in a world where we have to train our teachers to hide the children and to train our children to hide.

It makes me angry that funding for education is a low priority and bonus pay is dangled in our faces.  

Sadness and anger aside, I am proud to be a teacher.  When my husband said the good out number the bad he was right.  In that building 100% of the staff protected and cherished those children, some at the cost of their own lives.

I know my coworkers would do the same.  Without hesitation, without regret.  We are not motivated by bonus pay or summers off but something much more priceless. . . the children.

Thank you Erica Bohrer for sharing this with all of us!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pete loves Christmas

The kids listened to Pete the Cat Saves Christmas and they have been singing the song all week!  It is catchy!  If you haven't listened to author's sing it click here.  

Big Pete and all his little buddies are hanging out in our hallway.

Sorry. . . I don't have a pattern for project.  I just give them rectangles (1 half sheet of blue for face, 2 small blue for paws and 2 small yellow for eyes) and they "get rid of all the sharp pieces" and make ovals.  They are TLC  art experts so this is a piece of cake for them!  The Santa hat was a pattern from an old project that fit perfectly.
I do have the writing page to share (and a few other pages like the one below) you can get by clicking HERE.



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December This and That

Countdown Chains:
Might as well count it down. . . all they can think about is CHRISTMAS!

Trying to get SOMETHING academic in:
Notice how many of things we "know" about reindeer has to do with CHRISTMAS!

After a week of explaining that wild reindeer are different than Santa's reindeer we finally understand the difference (I think):

Wish I could take credit for these cuties.  I just draw them how my coworker Jill tells me to!

And still trying to get something academic in:
I got the shape posters FREE from the blog Guided Math.  Lots of great math stuff!  Check it out HERE!

More updates soon. . . if I survive CHRISTMAS!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday FREEBIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm so excited!  The 2012 Winter Holiday Tips and Freebies is available now!  Click the pics to go to TPT and download these FABULOUS books.  They are filled with pages of freebies from fantastic bloggers!

BIG thanks to Krissy Miner from Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business for organizing both these books!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gingerbread Unit

Here's the whole week in a nutshell!

*Watched story Gingerbread Man

*Discussed main parts of Gingerbread Man story and completed our Story Map

*Discussed verbs from the story and brainstormed a list of other verbs on our gingerbread man

*Used verbs in our pocket chart poem

*Listened to story Gingerbread Man again
*Sequenced the story whole group

*Sequenced the story individually

*Read emergent reader

*Listened to the Gingerbread Man again
*Read story the Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
*completed a Venn Diagram, whole group, comparing the two stories

*Completed an individual Venn Diagram comparing the 2 stories:

*Reread Gingerbread Baby
*Graphed which story we liked best

*Recorded our information on our own graphs and discussed the results of our data. 
(Forgot to get a picture of one but it looks like this:)

Friday (plans for tomorrow):
*Writing:  My favorite story
No pictures of course since it's only Thursday now, but you get the idea!  

If you're interested in any of these activities you can check the pack out here:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holiday Shopping!!!!!!!!!!! It's a love/hate thing!

I LOVE the deals!  I HATE the lines, crowds, rushing around and not EVER finding the right thing!
(Thanks Michelle @ 3am Teacher blog for creating this adorable graphic!)

I'm sure we all know by now that TPT is having their FABULOUS Cyber Monday (and Tuesday!) sale but couldn't help but shout it out and celebrate!  My shopping cart if full, I'm ready to buy LOTS of stuff and I don't have to wait in line!

Check out all the great deals!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Color Celebration!

A few weeks ago we celebrated learning our final color word! (And I just now downloaded the pictures!  Can you say procrastinator??)
  We learn one color word a week (along with other words) and now that we're done we did a few fun activities to celebrate.

Color read the room:

Roll, Count and Color:

 Read the color words & color picture to match.

All these activities came from Becky's Crazy for Color Words packet.  

I showcased the packet back in August, during the Magical Product Swap, and was super excited to actually get to use the activities with my kinders!
Becky has lots of other great ideas!  
Check out her blog:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Numbers 1-10. . . the next step

October and November where full over activities that focused on numbers 1-10. 
We read books, sang songs, wrote the numbers, introduced collection boxes, played games, and on and on and on. . . .
(Click HERE  to see introduction to numbers.)

After all that hard work on introducing numbers I was ready to branch out and see what the kids where thinking about numbers.

We created whole group collection boxes: 

The kids were sent out into the room to find anything they could that reminded them of the number we were working on. 

 Most kids are still thinking of counting objects when they do this.  I would think these are the "typically developing kinders" who are exposed to numbers but are still very concrete thinkers.
From this group of kids we got a lot of groups of 5 objects (books, food, cubes, pictures of friends, etc.)

There were a handful of kids who where "thinking outside the box."  These are my higher level thinkers who have been exposed to numbers and the world in general more than the average 5 or 6 year old.  They brought us:
*the #5 from our calendar
*our Dottie Domino Card with 5 dots
*dice showing the number 5
*schedule cards (snack & lunch) because each of those words had 5 letters in them
*a picture of a friend from the class who is 5
*one kid used herself as her example because she was 5

The third group of kids where still wandering around the room even after 5 minutes wondering what they could bring to the floor.  They were the kids who have not been as exposed to numbers as the typically developing student or kids who just don't see the world in numbers. . . yet.

After spending several days on our whole group collection boxes we paired off into groups of 2 and made collection box number posters. 
I supplied them with a variety of supplies (magazines, stickers, empty tens frames, old craft supplies, etc.) and they came up with a poster representing their number.

On day one we gathered our ideas and either glued them to index cards that where cut in half or put them into our number baggies.
Day two we shared our ideas with the class, created a few more ideas for our posters (inspiration struck some after their friends shared ideas) and then the last day we glued all our ideas onto our posters and decorated them.

Now we're going to take a little break from numbers and work on shapes.  

Then we'll be back for numbers 11-20!