Saturday, December 22, 2012

Snowflakes for Sandy Hook

We did not really have a discussion of the sad events in Connecticut at my school this past week.  Luckily my students came in on Monday morning in a twitter about Sunday's exciting Atlanta Falcons game rather than discussing any other current events. 

And although we did not talk about what had occurred, I knew my students knew.  They did not need to ask why we now had a new uniformed police officer patrolling inside and outside the school building.  They wanted more hugs, and I was eager to give them.  They mentioned Connecticut or a shooting, and all I could say was it was very sad, but we are safe.  I also kind of knew that my kind and sweet class wanted to do more.

So on Wednesday morning, during my morning lollygag time where I check Faceboook while I get ready for school, I was so grateful to see a message amidst the prayers and pictures about a little something that we could do.  I did quick research to verify and found out about Snowflakes for Sandy Hook.

Snowflakes for Sandy Hook is a project being put together by the Connecticut PTSA.  Since students will be returning a new school and not to Sandy Hook Elementary in January, they wanted create a happier atmosphere for these student who have been through so much by creating a Winter Wonderland at their new school.  And they need snowflakes...oodles and oodles of paper snowflakes.

Since Wednesday was our last day before our Winter Break, I knew this would be a perfect activity for my students to complete.  I also knew others at my school would want to help as well, so I spread the word.

I set out a 24 inch by 18 inch by 10 inch box outside my classroom door to collect the snowflakes.  Snowflakes came from all over the school...kindergarten through fifth grade and even our office staff had created beautiful snowflakes.  By the end of the day, the box was overflowing!  After some quick rearranging, I was able to get the box shut but not before adding a short message of love and prayer from our school.
If you want to help, there is still plenty of time to make and send your snowflakes.  Please go to the Connecticut PTSA website for more information and other ideas of how you can help.
 
 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Joy of Giving

I love giving gifts!  The joy of finding just the right gift for the people on my list has got to be my favorite part of this time of year.  So let me share with you about my two big gift-ing opportunities...

I enjoy giving my students treats!  And Christmas time is no exception!  Thank goodness for Scholastic Book Clubs and bonus points...I was able to find two activity books...a Kakooma puzzle book and a Mad Libs book.  Then I had enough bonus points left (don't worry I earned all the bonus points buying books myself...not parent orders!) to also get each child a free book pick gift certificate!

Then I also ordered my students personalized pencils from For Teachers Only.  These are a fantasic deal...99 cents for a set of three personalized pencils!  My students with less traditional names that have difficulty finding their name on pre-printed items LOVE these!

As you can see, I wrap each child's gifts.  Presentation is a big part of gift giving for me...and what child doesn't enjoy tearing into wrapping paper!  My sweet peas were so grateful for their gifts, and I got lots of big "thank you" hugs!
 
 
I also recently had my grade level gift exchange.  The tradition in 4th grade at my school for many years has been a Favorite Things exchange.  The idea has spread to other grade levels at my school too.  
 
Here is how it works...You know Oprah's Favorite Things???  Well, pretty much the same concept!  Except no one is giving away new cars!  Each teacher brings a $5-$10 item that they enjoy.  Last year, I gave a Tervis Tumbler with our school mascot on it.  The year before I gave personalized note cards from my favorite stationary site, A Touch of Whimsy.  The year before an ornament decorated with the recipient's first initial and polka dots.
 
This year I had an awful time trying to decide on what my Favorite Thing would be!  Luckily my mom gave me some inspiration...and luckily I had enough time to get it all together and ready!
 
So after school, we met up at Olive Garden for dinner.  After a very yummy meal, we each presented our favorite things...
  • an adorable scarf with tiny pompoms in our school colors
  • gift cards to Starbucks (great minds think a like!)
  • inspirational saying note cards and EOS Lip Balm (now my new fav!)
  • adorable Christmas plates from Crate and Barrell
  • a straw tumbler with our initials
  • a big bottle of Bath and Body Work hand sanitizer (We just recently survived a flu epidemic...only hit 4th grade!)
  • a warm, fleece Christmas blanket
  • and from me...
a big magnetic calendar.
I designed the "4th Grade Teachers Rock!" graphic and uploaded it to VistaPrint as a poster calendar.  Then I had it printed on magnetic paper.  They turned out really cute!  And my grade level buddies loved them!
 
Share with me your school gift giving ideas!   Do you give your students a Christmas gift?  Do you have an exchange on your grade level?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Short Thought on the CT Tragegy

I didn't hear of the happenings in Connecticut yesterday until well after my students were gone for the day.  My heart has ached since as I watch the coverage and see the postings on Facebook...the families of all affected are in my prayers as they grieve and try to find a way to heal from this tragedy.

I have never been so eager for a Monday to come, so I can hug each of my precious students.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A "Miraculous" New Book...and a Giveaway!

I was recently asked to read an exciting, new book,
The Miracle Dogs of Portugal by Tracy Aiello.
 

The Miracle Dogs of Portugal is an almost-true story of Henry the Navigator and the history of the Portuguese Water Dog.  Never heard of Henry the Navigator?  Well, he was a prince of Portugal in the 1400's who established a navigation school that brought about many new technologies in navigation.
 
 
This story tells about Prince Henry's love for the sea.


It also tells a little history about the Portugese Water Dog and how they helped fisherman.  What else is special about this breed of dog?  Well, first dog Beau Obama is a Portugese Water Dog!

This book has a little of everything for all students to enjoy.  There is the story of friendship.  There is action and adventure.  There is a smart and brave dog.

 
I wish I had this book earlier as an introduction to our study of explorers and Prince Henry the Navigator!  It would be wonderful to integrate social studies into my Reading Workshop.
 
My students did enjoyed hearing this book even if it wasn't at exactly the right time.
(See the little nose in the top corner?  Can you tell my dog, Digger,  enjoyed The Miracle Dogs of Portugal  as well!)
 
I can't wait for the other books in the series to come out...Tracy Aiello is planning a series of books...coming soon is The Miracles Dogs of Missouri about Seaman, the dog that accompanied Lewis and Clark.
 
Guess what the best part is...because I agree to review this book I have a fantastic bit of good news!  The author, Tracy Aiello is going to donate books to the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, Tunnel to Towers, to give kids hit hardest by the storm a little holiday cheer. 
 
Check out more about The Miracle Dogs of Portugal by clicking on the picture below.
Oh wait!!! More good news!  Tracy Aiello also gave me 5 copies of this book to giveaway to five of you!  How cool is that???  Enter in to win your copy using the Rafflecopter below!
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to help out with Hurricane Relief?  Check out information from TunnelToTowers below!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Currently...where has the time gone!

I can't believe it is already the beginning of another month.  So now to join up with Currently from...
So here goes my Currently for the month...


 As I write this, there is a fabulous game going on...SEC Championship...Georgia vs. Alabama...
I tend to get a little physical during a football game if I don't have papers to grade while I'm watching...my laptop has gotten thrown to the side once for some celebration.

My principal came into observe me this week.  It is so funny how the demeanor of students change when the principal walks in the room.  My students sat up straighter and got quieter...but were so on their game!  We showed off using our Mimeo Board and totally impressed her by finding equivalent fractions by multiplying.  It was a short observation but all in all a fabulous observation!

My Random Act of Kindness this week was for one of my students.  End of the month can be tight for some of my families.  This month was particularly tight for one student...he had many charges on his lunch account...no breakfast...snack of a long pretzel stick from me...but still hungry.  I asked if he had anything from lunch he could nibble...he said he had a doughnut...but come to find out that one doughnut was his WHOLE lunch!  No way could I let that be his lunch...so I went to my purse where I happened to have two dollar bills (a rarity!) and slipped it to him.  He got to have a full lunch and was a much happier camper for the rest of the day.

I have other Random Acts of Kindness planned...and I can't wait to see what the other Currently linkers have planned too!
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