The elf. The Elf. THE ELF!!!!!!!

Okay. Let's be honest. I had ZERO intentions of bringing the Elf on the Shelf into our classroom. Zero. I know so many of you out there find him/her adorable. I don't. His/Her eyes are creepy to me. And, so because I am a scaredy, I did not want this elf staring at me all day. My mind was made up.

Then, I saw this post by The First Grade Parade!
I was already feeling a little guilty that I had not joined in on the fun of the Elf on the Shelf...so with that guilt and her post (sharing a CUTE elf)...I decided to take the plunge! So, I ordered the elf. But, I also ordered enough for each student! *More on that at the end of this post! 

It's actually a VERY good thing that I decided to bring this elf into our classroom. You see, my students had a sub (my very good friend) and they had a VERY TOUGH DAY. I have a chatty, sometimes tough class and they took advantage of having a sub. Well, I took this and turned it into a lesson. 

I had my students write a letter to Santa, asking him to forgive them for their behavior. I also suggested they ask him to send an elf to help them ensure they would be on the "Nice" List! They loved this idea. So, the next day...an elf appeared in our classroom!

Isn't she just adorable?! I think so!!! 
She came with a letter from Santa explaining the rules and that she would be watching them each day. Because their behavior was the reason she appeared, I did not make her a naughty elf! She was just there to watch them and report to Santa about THEIR behavior. She did like to move about the classroom!

The first thing we did was brainstorm and vote on a name. This is where I knew my students were learning from this. One of my sweet, sweet girls chose the name McKenzie...She said, "I think we should name her McKenzie." Of course my heart just melted. Melted. You see, that is my friend's (their sub's) last name!!!! The other students said, "Yeah, yeah!" Of course, we had to vote, but I could tell their hearts were already in the right place.



The first spot McKenzie moved after getting her name!
This is after a day that my class had a lot of energy! I told them they must have tired her out! She slept all day!  
If I were an elf student...I would be a quiet worker. I would listen and move my clip up. I would always be respectful. Wuv, McKenzie

I added McKenzie to our bulletin board! This little note and this elf craftivity is from A Cupcake for the Teacher!
I just adore her stuff! 

The next day was my birthday!!! Yep, #42! Yikes!!! I decided to wear this shirt...and it worked! 
 McKenzie recognized my students' wonderful behavior and rewarded them with this!
They were oh, so excited!!! I brought in little cupcakes and ice cream for the day..so we watched this movie and had yummy treats! My class also made and secretly (or not so secretly, but I pretended not to see!!) passed around a card for everyone to sign! I have some pretty amazing students! So sweet! It was a good day!

On our Polar Express Day, Santa sent my students bells! He also sent this letter! Oh, the excitement!!!

 My students were beyond excited by this letter! And, even more excited because it said something special was on its way!
My class decided that McKenzie wanted us to read this book to her! So, we did! 
I found this adorable tin and notepad at the Dollar Tree! You know this was a BIG hit!

The closer we got to the end of the week, the more my students made McKenzie work! She spent this whole day on the clip chart! It worked!

The special delivery tag is a freebie from The First Grade Parade!
   Look what showed up in our classroom the last day before break! Remember, Santa said if they made good choices there would be a surprise?! So, so exciting!!! 
 I am sorry the letter is out of focus! Basically, it says that Santa was glad that they decided to turn their behavior around. He said they are all on the "Nice" List and he brought them all their very own elf! BUT, these elves do not have magic, so they can play with and hug them all they want! He said that McKenzie will be back in the North Pole when they come back from break, but she will be back next year and they can come and visit! 
OH, THE EXCITEMENT!!! WOWIE! WOW! WOW! I knew they would be excited for these little elves, but this was probably the BEST gift and reaction ever! So much fun!

What I learned from our elf:
*She was a fun addition to our classroom
*Did our behavior improve because she was there? I'm not really sure. It's hard to tell. 
*I *think* our elf might have made my students even more excited
*You have to be a really great liar actress to host an elf in your classroom
*You have to think of answers on the fly! Especially if you have non-believers or investigators
*Non-believers became believers because of our little elf!
*She brought a lot of magic and the spirit of Christmas into our classroom
*She will *probably* return again next year. She's just too cute not to!!!

Did an elf join your class? I would love to hear about her shenanigans and/or excitement!
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A Few Easy Peasy Christmas Presents!

Where has the time gone? I love the month of December, but it seems to just fly by. Which can sometimes be a great thing and sometimes not so great! I don't know about you, but I always have so, so many projects happening in the classroom, that blogging, making products, and pretty much everything else gets put on pause during November and December.

So, after a little bit of recovery time, I am ready to share! This post is going to be about the easy peasy Christmas present that my students made for their parents...with a few other added projects that we turned into gifts, as well! See? Too many projects. But, lots of fun! :)

I first made this ornament 5? years ago...when my co-worker (and wonderful friend) shared it! 

What you need:
*clear ornaments-I've used glass, but plastic is best. I got mine at Michaels for 29 cents! Yep. They were originally 99 cents, but I went when everything was 70% off. Plus, I then got my teacher discount, so actually they were less than 29 cents. You can't beat that! 
 
*Christmas confetti and glitter-I already had the glitter, but I got the Christmas confetti at Michaels...also 70% off, plus the teacher discount! I put the confetti in these little cups I found at Target. They are perfect because they have lids! So, it will be so easy to store the extra confetti!
Christmas trees, santa, stars, circles, and sparkles that look like snow, oh and of course, glitter! 
 *Stretch Magic (bead and jewelry cord)- reminds me of stretchy fish wire!
*Ribbon-red, green, or any color would work
 
*Glue gun and glue sticks
*Picture-I used their school picture...We are given small school pics of each students that are stickers. Hmmm..not sure if all school districts use these?? Even if you don't get this pic, you can take a picture, make two copies, glue them together, and then laminate. I have to do this for any new students that I have and it still works. 

This activity is done best when you just call 2-3 students over at a time. 
Step 1: Give each student an ornament and let them add the confetti to their ornament. I let them pick what they want and have them fill the bottom. Of course, many want to add A LOT! I limit the amount so I don't run out! 
Step 2: Add glitter (I do this) to the ornament. Cover the top and shake. A lot of the glitter will stick to the sides. So fun! The students LOVE that the glitter sticks to the ornament!
Step 3: Add picture to the lid/top. In order to do this, you must attach the picture to the lid, using the stretchy magic string. Put a piece of string between the two pics. Then, cut to size. Glue the string to the lid. *I did this ahead of time. When I called the students over, their lid was ready to add to their ornament. 



 Step 4: After the glue dries, you can add the top to the ornament. This is probably the trickiest part. You have to bend the picture to get it inside the ornament..it straightens out, once inside. You might have to play around with the top to get the placement that you want. 
Step 5: Have the students pick their ribbon color! Tie it to the top. 
I used my picture for the sample! It's always good to have a sample for this type of project. 
I have made this ornament with grades K, 1, 2, and 3! They all LOVE it! :)

While I was going through my own Christmas bins at home, I discovered some old photo cards that I had extras of. Not one to let anything go to waste...another gift idea was born! 

I had already taken a picture of all of my students standing in front of our Christmas tree on our pajama Polar Express Day! Go me! So, all I did was print out the pics and then laminate them. I slipped the picture into the card, and ta-da! It was ready for them to add what they wanted on the inside...They also LOVED getting an envelope to decorate. See. Easy Peasy.
The ornaments on the tree are crafts we made from Michaels. Oh, because it was Polar Express day when I took the picture...each student is holding their ticket and their bell!
The last activity that we made into a gift..was AWESOME! This is a directed drawing activity from ARTventurous!
  
After they followed my drawing directions, using our ELMO, we outlined in black crayon..I think she said to use black chalk, but that wasn't going to happen for us. After outlining, we water colored! So fun!!! Until the spill! But, it was okay. The water didn't get on any paintings, just all over my student's pants!!!!! But, she is a trooper and went with it, especially since she wasn't the one who spilled the water!!! She didn't even want to go to the nurse. Just took some paper towels and dried herself off. Now, that's a mature first grader! :)



 
So, I forgot to take a picture of the final product! We made these the last week before break, so I didn't put them up on the wall. I turned them into a gift by letting the students choose a red, blue, or green piece of construction paper. Then, I had them glue the painting to the construction paper. I had a parent add glue to any picture that needed it. Then, we laminated it! Again, easy peasy. The students were super excited to give this as a gift, as well! I LOVE how they turned out! So unique, even though it was a directed drawing! :)

I hope some of these activities can make their way into your classroom, next year! What did your students make as their parent gift? You can never have too many ideas!
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December Currently and another SALE!!!

Yay! It's December! And, that means it's time for Oh' Boy 4th Grade's Currently Linky!


 So, I haven't ever done a Linky Party, but I am really thinking about trying it! Have you ever set one up? Is it hard? I researched a little bit, and can sometimes be technology challenged...I usually figure it out, but it often takes me awhile! HA! So...stay tuned! I am going to try it! If you have any tips, I would love to hear them! :)

Have you gotten your WISHLIST ready for the BIG TpT SALE?! My wishlist is ready....and I spent over an hour the other night, giving feedback! I know...remember, above? Procrastinator? Yep. That's me. Anyways...I finally gave feedback on EVERY product I have purchased! So, I have lots of TpT credits to use for this SALE! Yay!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/A-Kindergarten-Life-For-Me
  

Thank you Krista Walden for your adorable button!

Everything in my little shop is 20% off! Use the code CYBER and get an additional sale from TpT, for a total of 28% off! Yay! 
Here are a some Winter favorites of mine!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Math-and-Literacy-Centers-Christmas-Style-999613

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Winter-Animals-576758

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/HOT-HOT-HOT-CHOCOLATE-494007

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Hot-Chocolate-Graph-495358
This Hot Chocolate Graph is a FREEBIE in my little shop! SO MUCH FUN!!! 

Happy, Happy Shopping! 
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Black Friday (and Saturday) SALE!


Who doesn't love shopping? I don't join in the crowds and shop on Black Friday...BUT, I do LOVE shopping online, sitting on my cozy couch...drinking lots and lots of coffee. That's my favorite way to shop! 
So....I have joined in on the fun and put my little shop on sale...EARLY! 

Thank you to KylieHealeyDesigns, kpmdoodles, and TheFirstGradeParade for their adorable graphics and font!
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Happy Halloween!

WOW! Today, was a BUSY, treat filled day...squished in with our regular schedule! But, we got it done and my firsties LOVED it! 

We started our day with our morning work and while they were busy working away, I called students over to make SPIDER WEBS! This adorable activity is from A Day in First Grade!

I found these fun spiders at Target and my little ones were beyond excited to add a spider to their web! We definitely DID NOT eat these early in the morning!!! We didn't even finish making them in the morning! Recess came. The Candy Corn Bandit came. RTI came. Lunch came. Yep. That's my schedule. Soooooo...while my AMAZING parent volunteers worked on our next craftivity...I finished the spider webs!

Have you seen the Candy Corn Bandit Activity by The Inspired Apple? This is just soooo much fun! If you didn't get a chance to try this one out, you MUST get her Sweetheart Snatcher Packet! 
The moment my little ones walked into our classroom after recess and saw candy corn scattered around our classroom, they KNEW something was up!!! They instantly remembered the Sweetheart Snatcher from last year...and..so..the hunt was on!

Next, it was TREAT TIME! A wonderful parent brought in these yummy goodies!
 
 
Here are the Pinterest inspired ones we made as a class, last year!
 
 
The last activity of our day is from The Teacher Wife! I have been talking about this game all week! We played this game last Halloween and oh, my! They were SO HAPPY when I told them we were playing again! It was so much fun to hear my students from last year tell the rest of our class about this game! It's one of those games/activities they talk about all.year.long. Really. For reals.


"DON'T EAT PETE!!!"

Well, I had NO idea how wonderful they would turn out!!! My students LOVED this! 
 
 
 Soooo many cute ones! Do you see the Cinderella carriage?! Franklin? Sam I Am? There's even a bear! I am having the students share tomorrow...We just ran out of time today! I can't wait to hear my little firsties tell us all about these characters! Definitely check out this cute Pumpkin Book Report Craftivity!!!
You'll LOVE it!
 
I can't believe how quickly October flewwwww by! I will be back this weekend with the November Currently! What?! How is it already November?!!!!!
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Five for Friday

I am joining Doodle Bugs for her Five for Friday Linky!
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On Monday, we celebrated all things apple by tasting some yummy treats! I wanted my students to try some new apple goodies...maybe something they had never tried before!?

Apple Butter on toast! Most of my students had never tried apple butter before! All but two LOVED it! They wanted seconds! Have you tried apple butter? It is so delicious...I love it on pancakes!
So sorry about this horrible pic! This was at the start of our morning and the sun was shining in! 


I also brought in an Apple Cake to try! This was, as you can probably guess, a BIG HIT! They wanted more, more, more! 

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 To continue with our Apple Theme, we made these adorable Apple Friends! The apple pattern is a Freebie from The Bubbly Blonde! So cute!!! We added arms and legs to our friends! 

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I added two new products to my little TpT Store.

I am loving this Black Chevron Alphabet Line so much! I used the same pictures I used in my very colorful, chevron Alphabet Line. But, I also wanted to give another option! Last year, I had a pirate themed classroom and my colorful, chevron alphabet would not have matched, but this black chevron alphabet would have been perfect!

 
I also added this Black Polka Dot Number Line to my TpT Store. My very colorful, polka dot Number Line has become my most popular item, so I wanted to also create another option for those classrooms where black is the main color or an accent color!

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As many of you already know, I have an owl themed classroom...so I was super excited when I found this adorable picture last night at Target!!! I can't wait to add it to my classroom! LoVe! 
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So, I have a new Friday night ritual...FIVE GUYS!!!!
Yep. I pretty much go there E.V.E.R.Y. Friday night! I know. So bad. But, oh so yummy! I am very limited in what restaurants I can go to and this is one of my favorites! 

 I hope you will link up with Doodle Bugs and her weekly linky!
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