What I'm Reading

Christmas break has been wonderful so far! I've loved having so much extra time to be with family, clean the house, and work on fun projects. Another thing I've been doing a lot of is reading. I always enjoy reading a good book and my very favorite thing to do is to take a warm bubble bath while reading! And that's exactly how I've been spending a lot of my nights this break. In the tub, with a good book!! :)

So, what have I been reading? First up, is The Happiness Project
I got the book for Christmas and haven't been able to put it down. It's getting me all geared up for the new year and is helping me analyze my own life and figure out some changes I'd like to make. I'm only half-way done, but so far I give it two thumbs up!

I've also been reading I Wish I Knew That: Geography.
This is a great book, and one that I plan on using with my students for sure. As I started reading, I quickly realized how much it ties in with my science core. Let me just share a list of the topics that are covered in this book:
  • layers of the earth
  • plate tectonics
  • seasons and climates
  • earthquakes and volcanoes
  • oceans (and ocean life)
  • maps
  • the 7 continents
  • how islands are formed
  • how mountains are formed
  • rivers and lakes
  • biomes 
  • deserts and rain forests
I'm not done reading this one yet either, but my head is swarming with ways to use this in my classroom. I'm thinking of making it a literature circle book and creating a graphic organizer for students to fill out with information as they read. It would also include some sort of fun project to do at the end. Not exactly sure yet, but I'll try to keep you all posted on my progress. :)

So, now I NEED to know. What have you been reading over the break? What should I put on my to-read list next??

January Activities

As gloomy as January sometimes seems to be {the after Christmas blues}, I really love teaching this time of year. My students seem to come back from Christmas break as new, independent learners!

I posted about some *free* January themed activities that you can check out {here}.

I also have this fun word search that I made for January that you can download free {here}.
Clipart copyright Diane J Hood and use with permission by djinkers.com

Here's what we're doing in our classroom next:
This cute board is from Really Roper. She's got a free mini-unit! Go get it (here)!

Then, we've got this amazing unit that we'll do the second week of January:
I love this unit! You can get this one from Deanna Jump {here}.

And lastly for January, we'll be learning about bears. This is from my Bear Unit.
You can find it {here} on sale today and tomorrow only!

Have a great break! :)

Brag Tag Winners!

Congrats to our winners! We'll be contacting you shortly. (If you didn't leave your email, please message us at whattheteacherwants@gmail.com to claim your prize!)

Merry Christmas to ALL our wonderful readers!! We LOVE you!! :)

Christmas Giveaway! {BragTags!}

We are excited to announce a super fun giveaway that's just in time for Christmas!!

We were contacted by the girls at imagestuff.com  about hosting a fun giveaway! Have you seen their awesome BragTags™ {I first saw them on Cara's blog}?? I am in L.O.V.E with these things - they are absolutely perfect for classroom motivation and such a fun way to reward students who go above and beyond in the classroom! 
Click here to preview all their different designs and shapes!

FIVE lucky winners will receive a personalized class set of BragTags™ (40 total!!) in the design of their choice, plus free 24" neck chains!!! HOW FUN!!!

I am so excited to try these out in my classroom, I'm not sure if I want to choose a design for overall academic excellence or to reward my students for good reading... SO MANY FUN DESIGNS TO CHOOSE FROM!!

Giveaway details:


Good luck and merry Christmas!!

Now Introducing... Doodle Borders!!

Ladies and Gentlemen....

I am now happy to introduce you to my husband's very first set of doodle borders!

5 designs, in 8 different colors = 40 borders for you to enjoy!
As a special Christmas break deal, I will be offering these babies for $1 off the original sale price!

Visit my TeachersPayTeachers Store to purchase:

Parent Volunteer Christmas Gifts

Listen up! I have 4 more days of school. Are you feeling sorry for me? Here's my management tip of the week...tell your students that SANTA IS WATCHING THEM! Ok, I'm only kidding!

You might remember my end of the year gifts {thanks Jess} that I give to my parent volunteers.... I posted about those {here}. Well this year, I decided to do a variation of one of them for their Christmas gifts.

Inside of this are some of these {they have them 2 for $2.00 at Target}:


And one of these {they are on sale for $1.00 each}:

I had ribbon at home {FREE} 

I used these bags from Walmart {a 20 pack for $1.93}:

And this tag {Merry Christmas}:

Or maybe you need this one {Happy Holidays}:

Click {here} for the tags! Maybe you're already out of school...save it for next year! :)

Management Monday: The Grinch

I found the CUTEST idea on my friends blog {youcanmakethesunshineanytime.blogspot.com}!  Look at this cute Grinch she made {inspired by Pinterest}.

You can find out how she made it {here}.

Malarie is aware that she has a typo! You know...teachers are humans and we do make mistakes! I've done the same thing on my parent volunteer gifts from last year! I had to go hand write an "o" on each "too" :).

She has her students catch each other doing kind things, write them on a heart, and pin it to the Grinch! ADORABLE!!!!!! 

Please check her blog out {here} and become a follower! :)

Snow Globe Art Project

This past year our art specialist was cut from our school. Which means this is the first year that I've had to teach art in my classroom by myself. Luckily, I have a super cute room mom (who majored in art in college) who volunteers to come in my room twice a month to lead my students through a fun art project.

Here are some of the cute snow globes my students made yesterday!
Materials Needed:
-White card stock paper for each student
-1/2 sheet of black construction paper for each student
-Silver and/or white glitter
-Watercolors (you'll only use the blue)
-White tempura paint
-Cups of water for each group
-Cups/plates for white paint for each group. 

Step 1: Using white cardstock, have students use the circle pattern to trace a circle. 

Step 2: Have students draw a cute Christmas/Winter picture inside their circle. Color with crayon. (Tip: If students want something to be white, they must use a white crayon.)

Step 3: Mix the blue water color paint and water to create a wash. Color the entire circle with the blue wash. Let dry. Cut out circle. 

Step 3: Use the white tempura paint to create dots over the entire picture.

Step 4: Cover in silver and/or white glitter. 

Step 5: Cut out the snow globe base from black construction paper using the template. Let dry.

Step 6: Add a Christmas message to the base using white crayon or a scrap of white paper. Glue base to circle.

TADA! A beautiful and fun Christmas art project!

(Thanks you, Mrs. Pendleton, for sharing your talents with our class!)

For a more kinder/1st version, check out Mrs. Jump's Website

Elves wanted!

Every writing activity we do has to align with the Common Core and I  want my Christmas writing to be no different.

Last year, I saw the cutest Elf Application, printed it and USED IT as my example for my students. Which means I didn't have a black line.  So, I made my own {the Common Core part is the opinion...why would you make a good elf}:

Long story short...I remade it because I couldn't find it. Low and behold, I FOUND IT ON PINTEREST!!!  It was originally made by the lovely Cara at The First Grade Parade.  So, thanks Cara, for the wonderful idea and inspiration!!

Here's my bulletin board! :) I included the letters that I used with DJ Inkers fonts and Pixel Papers background.


I'm having a flash sale at my TpT store right now! Do you want to know why they call it a flash sale? It comes and goes in a FLASH!!!! Hurry over and grab one of these:

Also, everything in Natalie's store is on sale too! Check it out!!

Christmas Readers' Theatre

The other day I had a thought that it would be fun to do a Christmas-y readers' theatre with my students before we go on break. Thanks to good 'ol Google, I was able to find a couple good ones in just a couple clicks. 

Here's the 1st one I found called: 

There are 15 characters total, so I'll be able to split my class up into two groups. 

I made some character tags that you can give to each character. Just punch some holes in the top and add some string and you're students can wear their tags around their necks.

I'm thinking that after a week or so of rehearsals we will "perform" our little show to a 1st grade class in our school. 
(Our class has a 1st grade class that we do reading buddies with. Each week for about 20 min, my 5th graders go down and read with the 1st graders. We LOVE it! Shout out to my friend, Misty, who is my reading buddy partner and has a really cool 12 Days of Christmas unit for sale at TPT)

I was also able to find another link to a fun Grinch readers' theatre.
(I have not yet made character tags for this one yet... but I might try to get them done tomorrow...)

Do you know of any other free links to readers' theatre? I'd love to know if I'm missing any good ones!

Reindeer Graphic Organizers

I had a fabulous response from you AND my students when we did the turkey graphic organizers.  So, I thought I'd give it another try! :)

Do you call them reindeer or caribou? I don't know...there's probably a difference but I'm too lazy I just haven't pulled out my encyclopedia today {aka Google}. I just made ya both!\

I think I'll use these as a pre-write for an informative writing {you know, common core stuff}.

p.s. Have you purchased my Holidays Around the World Unit?  I made a slight change to one of the information pages so PLEASE go re-download for free under "My Purchases" on teacherspayteachers.com

Oh and you've GOT to check out these cute maps that Sarah made to go along with my Holidays Around the World Unit. She's got them on her blog for free {here}.

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