Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ugly Sweaters, Gingerbread Houses, and Warm Fuzzies!

Evidently December is the busiest time ever! I haven't been able to blog in SO LONG!
I'm excited to link up with my first Five for Friday in awhile!

1. Check out this little gem that I wore on ugly sweater day at work. It was $4.95 at the thrift store up the street from my school. The lady who works there glues random Christmas crap to the front of the sweaters that come in to make them even tackier. My kids thought it was hilarious. My two year old daughter thought it was the most stylish thing I had ever worn!

2. Here's a comic from last year- this student has visited me a couple of times this week from middle school and I was reminded of his comment when we discussed renewable and nonrenewable resources last year. :)

3. We worked on Greatest Common Factor and Least Common Multiple with my fifth graders this week. I was trying to find a good visual for notebooking- because it seems like the vocabulary is what trips them up on the test with these skills.  I found this image on Pinterest- I'm not sure who it came from. (If it's yours, let me know and I'll link to you!) It was really helpful for helping them remember which was which!
If this is your idea- let me know!

Everything needed to make it happen!

4. We don't have a Christmas party at our school, but we still have some holiday traditions. Every year, 5th and 6th graders at our school build gingerbread houses. We don't want to spend $10 per kid- so we do it the cheap way. We ask a local milk company for free, unused empty milk cartons- which our paras tape together in groups of two. The paras also put foil over cardboard squares and cut cardstock into 5x6 rectangles.The kids bring graham crackers, frosting, and any decorations they want to use and they go crazy for the last two hours of the day before Christmas break! They turn out really cute and the kids love it!

5. My FAVORITE tradition of all was one that I started last year in my own classroom. My holiday gift to my students:

My para and I team up to make Wordle magnets for every student using kind words other students said about them. The whole project costs $1.94- for two packs of 18-count magnet strips from Wal Mart- but the kids love to read the positive words other students said. I love hearing the beaming kids discuss the words others said about them: "Someone called me GOLDEN-HEARTED?! Awww!" " My teammates think I'm funny?? Really? Yay!"  It just warms my heart!

If you like this idea and are thinking about using it, here are some management tips:

1. I only have students who were in the same table team as the kids list adjectives about each student- not everyone in the class- and not random students. It helps the answers to be more genuine. They list the words right before they get a new seating arrangement so they really know the students they're writing about. The kids are not allowed to see their own words.

2. My AMAZING para types all of the adjectives up on after typing the student's name several times to make it bigger than the other words. Make sure you type the repeated adjectives on the list- because words that show up more than once are bigger than the other words. She also adds extra adjectives when needed: ex: everyone's magnet says smart.

3. Take a screenshot of each Wordle (command control shift 4) and save it to a word document. Double click each picture and add a border to it. They looked sloppy last year without borders.

4. When printing, change the layout to two pages per sheet. We had the magnets take up 1/2 page each last year- but they looked much fancier when they were 1/4 of a page.

5. Laminate, stick the magnets on, and you're done.

Watch the kids' faces light up when they receive your cheap, but meaningful gift!


  1. My son received a wordle last year from his teacher, I thought it was so sweet.

    I used the M for LCM this year, but hadn't seen the F for factors. I will be adding that to my lesson for next year.

    Thanks for sharing
    Hodges Herald

  2. Cute blog here. Found you on Doodlebugs (even though I didn't post this time). Your gingerbread house looks great!

    FYI I’m having a giveaway at my blog for my 32-pg place value book (PDF version)--if there are enough entries everyone will be a winner! Feel free to share about it and enter.

    Lucy Kids Math Teacher

  3. I found you from Doodle bugs as well. I LOVE LOVE those Wordles. What a great way to make the children feel good about themselves and to practice describing words with the kids. I'm not teaching yet but when I am I would love to use this!