I know I haven't blogged in a few days. Everyone's being so busy-busy and I've done nothing. Every time I look at my laptop, I think, "Nooo....I don't want to go there." Opening my laptop starts a whole series of events that includes compulsively checking my email (which I already check on my phone anyway!) reading the latest Yahoo! news stories (or looking at the pictures anyway) and checking out hundreds of blogs.
This takes a lot of time, and I've been on cloud nine, so I didn't want to. Why am I on cloud nine? Cause...
What's that? It's wedding bells! For me!
Yes, my hunnybun popped the big question on Christmas Eve. Here's the bling:
The smarty-pants checked my pinterest board to see what kind of a ring I wanted.
That whole day, I knew he was going to do it (he has issues with subtlety) and I was so excited to get home already and exchange gifts (expecting one of those gifts to be a ring). I had spent the whole day nagging him. "HUNNY! Let's go home! Hurry up! Presents presents presents!"
We went to church first and I could tell his hands were cold during the Lord's prayer. Mmm-HMM! I knew it! Nerves!
We got home and he handed me my stocking.
That sounds weird. Let me clarify: I demand a stocking full of things. Special things for me. I also fill up one for him. You're supposed to do stockings on Christmas Day (everybody knows) but he is so excited every year, that we can't wait. So he handed me my stocking and I hurriedly pulled out all the special things he gave me. Creamer for my coffee, a package of rolos, and some mini Oreos and a bottle of wine.
Okay, so it covered both my favorite beverages and some sweet stuff, besides, but no ring? I was sure it would be in there!
I shoved my hand all the way in and felt around the toe. There was something small down there.
I grabbed it and pulled it out. It was a Rolo. The package had opened and there were Rolos rolling around down there.
I shoved one in my face.
Then he handed me a large red box.
YES! A big box with a little box in it, I thought. I tore open the paper and saw
He got me the sneakers I asked for.
I was very confused. I shoved another Rolo in my face.
At that point, of course, is when he laughed, got down on a knee, asked me to marry him. With a mouthful of Rolo, I said yes!
So you'll forgive me for being post-less and comment-less since before Christmas. My head is in another place, full of pearls and flowers, pinterest boards with adorable dresses and favors. I'm excited. I'll let you know how these wedding shenanigans go. And I'll be pinning away for our wedding on my Someday I'll Get Married pin board.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, Ms. B gave to me... a silly song and a great freebie!
It's the last day of the 12 Days of Christmas! I hope you've grabbed some great freebies!
It is officially Christmas break. I say that it's official today because normally I'd be at work, and today, I'm sitting. I wet to make cookies at my moms, and I ate about 10% of the cookies myself. And then I came home and sat.
As I've sat here, I thought a little bit about what my plans are for this break. I decided to share these plans with you. In the form of a song.
Twelve Days of Christmas Break
On the twelfth day of Christmas break, I will have ...
drank 12 cups of coffee (with whipped cream all over)
eaten 11 (different types of) cookies
watched 10 episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
listened to Charlie Brown Christmas 9 times
worn 8 different pairs of pajama bottoms... as pants
consumed 7 alcoholic beverages (that number 7 is arbitrary and does not actually represent my alcoholic consumption.
visited 6 family households
finished wrapping the last 5 presents
mailed 4 boxes (of gifts that won't arrive until after Christmas, so I'm a horrible friend)
taken 3 walks (because I feel guilty about the eleven types of cookies)
On the eleventh day of Christmas, Ms. B gave to me... a story and a freebie!
Today I was putting together a silly little post, but then I saw this great linky party from Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge and decided it would be a better use of my time :)
Lots of BESTS happened this year. Here are a few:
My BEST (most visited post) from the last year was
Dun, Dun, Dunn! Fractions! It had a bazillion hits. Apparently, people have issues with fractions and liked the foldable that I shared there!
My BEST product from the last year was my Community & Citizenship Pack. I was kind of surprised by this. I think my favorite part of the pack is the brochure for different types of communities. I just really get a kick out of that stuff!
My BEST news that I shared on my blog was also kind of the saddest news.
I was offered a position as a Literacy Lead on a different campus and decided to leave my beloved school (and kids, and colleagues) to work somewhere else. It was a good decision, and I believe I'm doing what God has asked me to do, but I do still miss my babies and buddies. I get kind of depressed, not having kids of my own. So occasionally, I have to go borrow someone else's and model some lessons. In a way, it's nice. But I miss having babies of my own.
My BEST freebie, the one that was downloaded the most with over 5600 downloads was
It kind of makes me wonder. How many of scour the internet, looking for ways to involve food in our jobs? Do we search and search for hours, using keyword phrases like "cinnamon rolls + poetry" or "Oreo cookies + phases of the moon". I think we're on to something here. Definitely.
On the tenth day of Christmas, Ms. B gave to me... a story and a penguin suffix activity!
Thursday was an interesting day. I was stationed out in hallway
to monitor and make sure students were never by themselves and all doors
remained locked. There were several monitors in other places, too, to make sure
that visitors didn’t go past the office.
It was going to be a long day. I was prepared with my fully
charged walkie-talkie, laptop, bag o’ teacher stuff, cup of coffee, and cookies
from our lovely custodian.
I sat on the corner at my table and worked in-between
walking students to the restroom and running errands when teachers needed
Mid-day, there was a little presentation in the gym. The kids, excited to perform, sashayed
down the hallway wearing antlers, red noses, and big goofy grins. They passed
my table and waved crazily.
“Are you going to sing?” I asked.
“Yes! We sing Must Be Santa Claus!”
“Yeah. You’re pretty.”
I was surprised by this sudden compliment.
“Thank you!” I said.
“Yeah,” another kid said. “I like your voice.”
“Wow!” I said. “What a great day for compliments!”
“Yeah. Can I have a cookie?”
Mm-humph! Cookie wranglers. Should’ve known.
South Pole Suffixes! Grab it free at TPT until midnight.
Christmas movies are probably the best movies out of all of the movies in the world. I don't think I am being biased when I say this. It's verifiable fact. How do I know? Well, after you finish watching some movies, you might think, "Wow. That was meaningful. I'm a little depressed." After watching a Christmas movie, you might think, "Wow. That was heartwarming. Let's drink hot chocolate an buy presents."
The choice is clear.
I do have one confession, though. I really like Christmas movies that give a naughty twist. So you may be very upset with me to realize that
It's a Wonderful Life isn't on this list.
WHAT?! The outrage! The unforgiveableness! The blatant disregard for George and Mary and Angel's Wings!!
But alas, it just doesn't make my cut. A little too deep for me.
These are my favorite Christmas movies, in reverse order of favoritism.
#7 Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Why it's my favorite: Claymation is fantastico! And every time Rudolph's nose lights up, it makes this obnoxious and addicting noise. "WHOOOOO"
One problem: The island of misfit toys reminds me of a bunch of Debbie Downers. If you're already a little depressed, Charlie in the Box can send you right over the edge.
Favorite parts: Clearly, it's when Herbie says, "I want to be.... a dentist!" Great voice acting.
#6 The California Raisins Christmas Special
I don't know if this counts, but I'm the one writing the blog post, so it's going in.
Why it's my favorite: Um, do you remember the California Raisins?! Do you remember how cool they were?! I think it's pretty obvious why it's my favorite. The awesome factor is very high.
One problem: They were singing raisins, after all.
Favorite parts: Most definitely, my absolute most favoritest part was when the camels sang We Three Kings. All-time Christmas song high.
Isn't that lovely and weird?
#5 How the Grinch Stole Christmas: the real one. Sorry, Jim Carrey. Not doing it for me.
Why it's my favorite: Whos! And the general weird-ness of Seusstastic stuff.
One problem: Max makes me a little sad. He's kind of depressed and has to run around with a giant horn stuck to his head. He can't be enjoying it.
Favorite part: When the Grinch is slinking around the houses, gathering up all the decorations. It's exactly how I feel after Christmas, when I'm taking everything down and stuffing it into tubs in the garage.
#4 A Christmas Story
Why it's my favorite: I know I wasn't even born during the time this movie depicts, but somehow, (grouchy father) this movie (mouth washed out with soap) seems to really resonate with me (gifts from family members that are completely age inappropriate).
One problem: The kid has yellow eyes. I mean really? Also, Santa is absolutely terrifying.
Why it's my favorite: The kids' voices are charming and Vince Guiraldi really knows how to rock a soundtrack.
One problem: This film can cause depression in those susceptible to it.
Favorite parts: I would say Linus' monologue, but that's understood. So I think my other favorite part would be when Lucy is trying to get Linus to play Jingle Bells. "No! Jingle Bells! You know, deck the halls and all that jazz?"
Why it's my favorite: Ummm...cause it's hilarious? Will Farrell reminds me of myself around this time of year.
One problem: Weirdly, every time I get to the part at the end where everyone's singing in Central Park, I cry. I don't think that's normal.
#1 National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
Why it's my favorite: Highly quotable. When in doubt, quote Clark Griswald. Or better yet, cousin Eddie! And I think it makes me happy to see a family in action that is more dysfunctional than mine.
This is exactly what my outlets look like.
One problem: Every family has a cousin Eddie. If you don't know who YOUR cousin Eddie is... maybe it's you.
He's been holding out for a management position.
Favorite parts: We're gonna have the hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny f*&#ing Kay! (been there)
On the seventh day of Christmas, Ms. B gave to me... a short silly story, and a Christmas number line activity!
So yesterday's post happened with only a freebie and no bonus writing from me. I didn't hear anyone complain, exactly, but you know, I noticed it.
This is a short and current story.
Today, my hunnybun was doing a photo shoot for a Christmas card. The family posed in front of a Christmas tree and the little boy, about three years old, smiled as children do when told to smile. After several minutes of trying to get everyone's eyes open, while looking in the same direction and displaying some sort of smile, a suitable picture was obtained.
While his parents waited for the pictures to be edited (read: photoshopped), the little boy went over to the candy bowl. It was full of little Hershey's chocolates. He asked his mother if he could have one.
"Yes," she said, "but say thank you first."
He turned quickly, shouted out, "THANK YOU FIRST!" and grabbed a chocolate from the bowl.
On the fifth day of Christmas, Ms. B gave to me... a cute Christmas song and a fact family math freebie!
When I was a kid, we had a tape player and a little white tape called Christmas on Sesame Street, or something similar. I listened to this tape over and over. One of my favorite stories was the one where Ernie and Bert realize they have to buy each other something for Christmas. Ernie trades his rubber duckie for a cigar box for Bert's paperclip collection. Bert trades his paperclip collection for a soap dish for Ernie's rubber duckie. In the end, Mr. Hooper saves the day by giving them both their things back, as presents. It's pretty sweet.
Oscar sings a song about hating Christmas, Snuffleupagus forgets what his true love gave to him on the 12th day of Christmas, and the all the Count wants for Christmas is his two front teeth. Very cute.
This year, I became nostalgic for that music. I hunted on spotify and I thought I found it. Until I realized that many of the parts previously sung by Grover or Ernie had been replaced by Elmo, and the story of Ernie & Bert's gifts was completely substituted for a song by Elmo as well. Nothing against Elmo, but I wanted my original Sesame Street Christmas.
Fortunately, I found it. The original album, pink soapdish and all, is also on Spotify, if you know what to look for. And to share with you, here is a little video of the Sesame Street Christmas Pageant. Cracks me up every time.
On the third day of Christmas, Ms. B gave to me...another embarrassing story!
It was my first Christmas in my own house, and I had invited my friends over for a Christmas party! I had bunches of people over - mostly my teacher-friends, and I was excited to have covered my house from top to bottom with garland. We had a nice evening and, upon teacher-request, I made a pot of coffee.
I am a big coffee drinker. I like my coffee a la Marilyn. Blonde and Sweet. But I use sweet'n'low. So to serve such a demanding coffee population, I had gathered up a few options from my mom's house. I had a little baggie of sugar and a little baggie of splenda.
I poured a cup of coffee for me, and one for my friend's husband, Mike and dressed them up with creamer and splenda. As I walked back to the den, Mike said, "Uh, Chrissy. This coffee is...bad." What do you mean? I asked. "It just tastes...bad." I took a sip. Yup. Bad. Very bad. Bad like acrid bitter coffee. It had a flat, yucky flavor.
My brain went nuts. Can coffee go bad? Can splenda go bad? Was it my coffee maker? It was kind of old. What if there was something in the bottom of the mug? What if I poisoned Mike?!
I tasted my coffee. Gross. I tasted coffee directly from the pot. Ok. I tasted the creamer. Fine. I tasted the splenda.
I turned out, I had made myself three little baggies. One of sugar, one of splenda, and one of kosher salt, and I'd been 'sweetening' everyone's coffee with the latter!
Mystery solved. Coffee re-poured. Party ensued.
Winter-themed writing paper! Grab it free at TPT until midnight!
On the second day of Christmas, Ms. B gave to me... a useful list, and a cute winter themed freebie!
It's Day Two of the Twelve Days of Christmas! I suppose I could give you two turtledoves, but I don't think anyone really has much use for two turtledoves. That's a lot of poop, no matter how careful you are.
The internet is abuzz with clever ways to make your elf on the shelf do naughty and clever things every night while your darling children are asleep dreaming of sugarplums. Everything is muy adorable, involving marshmallow snowballs and miniature scissors made of paperclips or something.
However, I don't have my own personal children, and in the classroom (no offense to those of you who have an elf on a classroom shelf) I couldn't see myself dedicating the time necessary to move him around, place him in incriminating positions, and do all the naughty stuff that he supposedly did, all just to manipulate my kids into being good. I can find waaaay easier ways to do that.
But if I did have an elf, in case I ever find it necessary to terrify my kids into behaving, I have put together a couple of ideas that might just work with naughty children.
7. Melt him in the oven a bit. Leave him on the floor, surrounded with matches. "That's why you don't play with fire."
6. Leave little pieces of Elf clothes in the dog's food bowl. "It's important to be nice to animals."
5. Glue his palms and face to the inside of the oven door so he stares out in terror. "Hot in there, Crumpet?"
4. X out his eyes and lay him next to a half-empty glass of egg nog. "Gluttony is a sin."
3. Wrap him up in Christmas lights and tape his mouth shut. "Nobody likes a snitch."
2. Bury him neck-deep in marshmallow fluff. "That's what happens when you cross Santa."
1. Float him facedown in the toilet. "Santa doesn't like liars, kids."
Today's Christmas-y freebie is my Winter Themed Roll and Color Math Boards from TPT. Grab them for free (in honor of two turtledoves) until midnight tonight!
On the first day of Christmas, Ms. B gave to me... an embarrassing family story!
It's the Twelve Days of Christmas!
My family absolutely loves Christmas. We have a lot of traditions, and if we were to somehow have to 'do' Christmas without them, I'm not sure if we could deal. This year, I'm starting my own blog tradition. The last twelve days before Christmas, I'm going to share things with you. I will share a story and a thing.
Today's story is an embarrassing family story. This is easy to do because I have an embarrassing family.
Embarrassing Family Story:
My youngest brother, Matthew, is a nice boy. The story I am about to tell you is not going to make him look like a nice boy. But he mostly is. We all make mistakes when we're hopped up on sugar.
When Matthew was little, he was a typical little boy. Except that he loved fudge. Absolutely loved it. He could eat entire trays of it (if he were allowed). And he was pretty much a fan of sugar altogether.
One special Christmas day, when Matt was four years old, we had a house full of people. There were bowls/plates/trays of sugar in all of its forms: candy, cookies, and other tasty green and red colored items.
Matthew, while we were otherwise engaged, spent the morning going from tray to tray and consuming large quantities of any Christmas-ish items.
So by the time we were ready to open gifts, he was really just a clothes-wearing sugar boy. If you'd licked him, you would probably taste frosting.
Now, this was the extended family Christmas. We had already exchanged family presents, and now we were really only giving gifts to the people we hadn't seen yet. Matthew had one gift to open. A foamy football. He took it and went into his bedroom, we hoped, to nap. Or at least sit and watch cartoons. Or do almost anything other than what he actually did next.
My mother and I were out in the den with the large group of family. Everyone was talking and shouting over each other, until a moment of lull in the conversation. At the same moment the conversation died down, I heard a distant shout, bordering on a scream. My eyes darted across the room and met my mother's, who had clearly heard the same thing. She nodded at me, and I raced down the hallway to my brother's room.
I found Matthew sitting in the middle of his floor, surrounded by little green bite-shaped pieces of foam. I watched in horror as he raised the football to his mouth, took a bite out of it, spit the bite out onto the floor, and shouted, "I WANT PRESENTS!"
What a nice little boy he was.
Needless to say, we cleaned up the football bites, force-fed Matthew some protein in the form of a hot dog or some such nutritious foodsource, and never, ever, ever told my father.
As penance for Matthew's horrific behavior, I am sharing for free, until midnight tonight, my Word Work at Santa's Workshop centers from TPT! Grab it free until tomorrow, at which time it will return to 3.00!
My principal is a sweet and wonderful woman who seems to love celebrations. At our school, each grade level and special team is designated a special day when they are responsible for bringing in something to share with the rest of the school.
One of the teachers remarked that, instead of the 12 Days of Christmas, it should be called The 12 Pounds of Christmas. So far, I've had donuts, cakes, bagels, hot chocolate, candy, and several other tasty treats sure to add on the poundage.
One special grade level gave us calendars instead of food. While I very much appreciated the thoughtfulness towards my waistline and closet, I must admit..... I like food.
Don't forget: tomorrow, it begins! That makes today the 12 Days of Buzzing with Ms. B's Christmas Eve! Exciting!
I <3 Christmas. Like, a lot. And I've spent a lot of time the last several days getting ready for the big day.
To help me (and you) celebrate I am happy to announce my upcoming 12 Days of Christmas!
Starting on December 12, I will be sharing a freebie and another Christmas-y tidbit with you every day until December 24th! Stop by my blog to grab the freebie every day, because they'll only last until midnight, at which time they'll turn into a pumpkin!
In fifth grade, the teachers are introducing expository text structures. The TEKS call for these text structures in fifth grade: cause-effect, compare-contrast, sequence, logical order, and classification theme. The teachers are reading different articles with the kids and searching for the 'signal words' that indicate the relationships between ideas. They'll build this chart as they go!
At the end, we planned for them to distribute shorts texts to the kids and have them sort them by organizational pattern, and complete the graphic organizer for each one.
Wish us luck!
On an unrelated note, my Word Work at the Santa's Workshop is up at TPT and Teacher's Notebook! Go take a look for fun Christmas-themed activities in syllables, sight words, word families, rhyming words, and parts of speech.
Today my hunny and I went to Corner Bakery to do a little work on our laptops and enjoy some tasty stuff. I worked away (blogging, creating. You know the business) and he worked as well. He is the photographer for our district, so he was working on editing some pictures of the cute little guys we go to work for every day! At one point, he flipped his laptop around and showed me the most beautiful picture. A little pre-K boy with his tiny little fingers clenched in glee, laughing like he'd never seen anything so funny. I immediately cracked up. This little guy just looked so joyful.
Then I asked, "When did you take this? Why is he laughing so much?" and my hunny said, "It was the first day of pre-K and they were doing Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes during PE as fast as they could."
And this is when I became a smushy puddle of jelly. I started cry! Right there, in the Corner Bakery, I had tears spilling down my face and onto the napkins made of recycled material. Something about the sweetness of a little boy being so excited to do Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes on his first day of school was so moving that I fell apart like a person with a chemical imbalance.
Which I may well be.
Anyway, this is what I intended to blog about: (Don't you love my skill-less transition?)
Actual Blog Content:
One of the more difficult texts for kids to navigate is expository. This is unfortunate, because kids love to read about information and it's such an invaluable skill! I think it's largely due to the lack of experience kids have with informational text. The less exposure they have, the more difficult it is for them to glean information and identify how ideas are related.
My school has begun teaching about expository text this month. For the next several days, I'd like to share with you some of the things that we've planned to do in the expository genre.
To get started, we're helping kids do some basic text navigation by creating this anchor chart. Students often have experience identifying the text features. However, using them is a different story.
Ask a kid, "Where's the caption?" and he can probably point to a caption. Ask the same kid, "How does that help you? Why did the author include it?" and the kid stares blankly. (This is what I call the dead fish look.)
To me, this is a slight flag-raiser. Everything we do is to help our kids understand text and become better readers. If what we're doing doesn't do that... why do it? So to assist in this, we made sure we added a column on our chart entitled "Why was this feature included?"
Once students have learned to identify (and appreciate) the features text has to offer, they need to do these two things with them:
1. Use the features to make good predictions about the text
2. Gather information from the features
To help out with this, I'm sharing a couple of documents that you can use to help kids make and record their predictions and record facts they have learned from features of nonfiction.
Saturday was our last day of English Saturday Camp for our ELL students. They had so much fun. Our fifth graders read Too Many Tamales (love that book) and made ornaments. Our fourth graders read Braids and made bunuelos! And our third graders made adorable gingerbread men from salt dough.
I must admit, though. I spent a lot of time with second grade. They made gingerbread men, too. Out of gingerbread. These are just a few pictures of the fun things they did:
They made the gingerbread from a mix and rolled it out.
Then they oh-so-carefully decorated with m&ms.
And then, they baked in toaster ovens!
Tasty. I'd recommend it.
And, what you've all been waiting for...
the BIG WINNERS!
These winners have each won the corresponding prize from my giveaway! Congratulations and thanks to everyone who entered!