Friday, December 9, 2011

A Little Q&A, Christmas in My Classroom, & GRINCH DAY!!!

I’ve recently had A LOT of people email me asking a couple of things. Just incase y’all are wondering too, I thought I’d write about it here!

Q:  “What kind of camera do you use?” 

A:  I shoot with a Nikon D700 {IN.LOVE} and also have a Nikon D90 {also in love}.  The D700 is a full frame camera and the D90 is a crop sensor.  If you’re just looking for a DSLR to take better pictures than your regular ol’ point & shoot, you’ll want a crop sensor…you won’t need to go full frame.  I’m 100% a Nikon girl, but both Canon & Nikon make EXCELLENT cameras.  I would HIGHLY suggest you visit your local camera shop and hold BOTH in your hands.  Sometimes one just *feels* better than another. Most DSLRs come with a kit lens {typically an 18-55mm lens}.  I would suggest adding a prime{fixed} lens to your shopping cart OR just buying the camera body{no kit lens} and a lens.  I LOVE my 50mm 1.4 {amazing prime lens!!!}.  The 35mm 1.8 {prime} is also amazing and if you want something that zooms, go for the Tamron 28-75mm…super versatile & produces some pretty fantastic images.  Instead of pulling your camera out of the box and just turning it on Auto, I *HIGHLY* recommend learning how to shoot in manual!!!!  It’s a definite learning curve, but I’ve been shooting manual for 2 years now and the quality of my pictures are SO much better!!!  I can’t imagine going back to auto!

Q:  “Where did you get those plates that you used for ‘There’s Snow Place Like Home’ Christmas gifts?”

A:  If you’re wondering what this question is all about, read about it HERE.  Y’all.  These plates came from the DOLLAR TREE!!!!!!!!!!  TRUE story!!!!  Talk about inexpensive!!!  We painted the plates with regular ol’ acrylic paints, wrote the words in sharpie markers, and then sealed it with a clear, acrylic sealant.  Cheap, easy, and CUTE!!!!!

Now I’ll go ahead and leave the comments open for more questions.  If you’ve got anything you wanna ask…ANYTHING at all…just leave it in the comments and I’ll answer them in a post on Sunday :)

 

Christmas is in FULL swing in my classroom, so I thought I’d give y’all a little peek.  It’s nothing spectacular, but it’s really beginning to look a lot like *Christmas* {cue the music}.  We’re only in school for 3 weeks between Thanksgiving break and Christmas break, so it’s hard for us to do *too much*.  Sweet Rachelle over at What the Teacher Wants was telling me she’s in school up until the week before Christmas.  How many of y’all do the same thing!?!?!  CRAZY!!!

You might remember these mice from the activity I made last year.  I’ve been doing a “If You Take a Mouse to the Movies” unit since I taught Kindergarten and I love it more and more every year!

The writing prompt was, “If you take me to the movies, I will ask you for some…”

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I made the template for the mice last year, but I haven’t scanned them, so I don’t have them for you!!!  Sorry!!!  If you want to read more about the activities I do for this little unit, you can check it out HERE.  I didn’t take any pictures of our mouse day this year…I left my dang camera at home!  You can also find more printables and activity ideas!!

You might remember these little Santas from last year.  We made them again, only this time we switched out the color page of bricks for some brick themed scrapbook paper!  MUCH cuter ;)  I actually saw this idea in my TL’s classroom and thought it was super cute and I wanted to add a little flair to ours, too!  We did this little craftivity as an extension to reading the book, “Santa’s Stuck”.  The writing prompt was, “If Santa got stuck in my chimney, I would…”  We brainstormed lots of ideas and some of them were downright clever.  LOVE the way their little minds work!!

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As soon as we got back from Thanksgiving break, we made these little scrapbook Santas {similar to last years}.  I basically just set out a ton of Christmas themed scrapbook paper, my own sample, and then they went to town creating their own. LOVE how different they all turned out!!!

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I also had the kids fill out an elf application. I told them I was sending it straight to the North Pole.  You should’ve seen their faces.   Ohmiword.  I’ll tell you what, though…they sure did take their time and do their BEST work!!  HA!!!  We did this activity last year and this year I tweaked the elf just a bit. They came out A LOT bigger than I was anticipating, but they still turned out pretty darn cute ;)  If you want to download the elf application, you can find it HERE

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We had a “Mooseltoe” day this past week and it was SO much fun!!!  The kids adored the book and we were engaged in some pretty fun activities all day.  We even made “Moose Munch”!! {Chex cereal, chocolate chips, and pretzels}  FUN!!!  All of the activities we did came from my little Mooseltoe unit.  The kids LOVED it!! 

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We celebrated *Grinch Day* yesterday and had a blast!  The kids were SO excited!!  Most of our firsties came to school dressed in green and wearing Santa hats.  Kinda precious.  The teachers joined in the fun, too!

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{Just incase you’re wondering, the shirts came from Wal Mart…$7.50!!!!}

We had our first annual Grinch Day last year {you can read about it HERE}.  I really didn’t do much different this year, just added a *few* new things.  I found the idea for this next little writing craftivity HERE.  LOVED the style of the Grinch, so I went ahead and made my own template. {I used a little paper punch for the white on the hat.}  The writing prompt for this craftivity was, “I feel like a Grinch when…”  The writing on the right says, “when I’m sassy to my sister.”  HA!!  LOVE that!!! 

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We made Grinch Punch/Seuss Juice {sprite & lime sherbet} and the kids LOVED it.  Another idea that my TL had was to make Who Pudding {vanilla pudding with green food coloring}.  We didn’t get around to that though…it was a BUSY day!!!! 

We brainstormed some *Grinchy Adjectives* to describe the Grinch and then followed it up with a little simile writing.

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We finished up the day watching the classic, cartoon version of The Grinch and then passed out Grinch licked candy canes!  HA!!  One of my sweeties was VERY concerned that they were really licked, so I spent the better part of dismissal trying to convince him that they weren’t!  Bless his heart!! 

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If you want to download the tag, you can find it HERE.  I found the candy canes at Target, but I know most places carry them.  They’re the Starburst brand….they come 12 to a pack…6 red/6 green. 

Okay…that was a massive update.  Kudos to you if you’ve made it this far!  HA!

23 comments:

  1. Love, love, love your post!!! I have been a loyal follower since your second post. : ) Come on over and check out my Christmas fun!!!

    Love from Michigan,
    Jaime
    http://whatsthebuzzinfirst.blogspot.com

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  2. LOVE it all! You continously make me jealous that I do not teach little ones! I love my fifth graders but they're kind of over Santa by the time they come to me. :( My class is a young group this year and quite creative so I may snag the Santa in the chimney activity and hope they're not too cool for it. We have plenty of time because we still have two FULL weeks of school!! We're here until 3:30 on Dec. 23rd. Bah Humbug!

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  3. Can you link the things you do for the mice unit? The link isn't there yet. Thanks so much!

    I LOVE all of your Christmas ideas!! Thanks so much for sharing them!

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  5. Thanks for all of your fun ideas! I am going to try and adapt some of them for my class of 5th graders :) Teaching at a Christian school, I try not to focus too much on Santa and elves, since several families don't even introduce Santa to their kids, but I think these would be a lot of fun to do!!

    We have lots of time to do these activities, as school goes until Dec. 22nd for us. Crazy! Time is FLYING by!

    http://fantasticfifthgrade.wordpress.com/

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  6. CUTENESS! Just fyi... in response to your question... we go to school through the 22nd. So, I am officially jealous of you. For realz, as Abby would say. Ha.

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  7. I posted already on your FB site but I have to tell you again I LOVE YOUR BLOG and truthfully think you and Abby have made me better teachers! On to my questions:
    Could you post your weekly schedule?
    When do you grade?
    How do you stay organized?
    How do you make your great TPT packets? I have trouble just inserting a purchased boarder,(LOL).
    Again you're AWESOME!!!

    Gracie
    www.livinglargeinfirst.blogspot.com

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  8. I love this post! I am a new follower and so glad I found your blog. I am a first grade teacher and love it!! I will probably spend the rest of the night catching up on your blog!

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  10. Cute! Cute! Cute! I'm so jealous of you...my vacations don't start until Wednesday, December 21, at 3:30...booo!

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  11. Darling ideas! You're seriously the best!

    My question for you:
    How do you organize all your units/TPT stuff?
    How/where do you store everything?
    I'd LOVE to see more of how your room is organized. :)

    My Christmas break starts Wednesday the 21st at 12 noon.

    Thanks for everything!!!!

    Sara Beth

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  12. You are my absolute favorite friend that I really don't know ; ) Make sense? I love looking at all of your creative ideas and incorporating them into my kindergarten class. I usually teach first grade and this is my first time teaching K. I can't wait to have my very first " Grinch Day" next week. Thanks for sharing all of your hard work!

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  13. As always, love everything you do! I do have to ask when do you take the time to make your anchor charts? Week before? Night before? Laminate and save? I'd love some of your secrets as far as that goes! Thanks so much! :0)

    www.missknightskhronicles.blogspot.com

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  14. Hi Cara! We are on break after this coming Friday:) Thank goodness we get 17 days off for break...so ready for that!

    I was curious how you balance school and work? Do you go in early or stay late any nights? I'm sure with kiddos, that isn't possible much. I find myself going in on weekends to get everything ready, but still seem to be running around like crazy some days.

    You mentioned you cut things out for your kids to make the actual project go more quickly...when are you cutting these things out?

    I love your projects, your TPT units and I'm so glad to have found your blog last year!!

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  15. I love your ideas!! A few questions for you:
    1. How did you revamp your daily 5 block? I am struggling with this in my own 1st grade classroom.
    2. Can / are there any more monthly math tub ideas you can put on tpt or post on the blog?
    3. How many parent volunteers do you have helping during daily 5 and what do they do?

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  16. LOVE your blog and all of your fun, creative ideas! I also love that you have a "Grinch" day. I went out and bought myself a Grinch shirt, in hopes to do the same thing with my firsties!

    Where did you get that cute red and white striped shirt that you wore underneath the Grinch shirt? It is ADORABLE!

    Have a GREAT weekend!

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  17. We have Grinch Day at our school this week too! Like you, I only have 5 days left until break! Woohoo! I am so excited about Christmas week and your blog makes me even more thrilled!

    My number 1 question for you is: When do you find the time? c: I am constantly wishing there were just 5 more hours in the day (or 7 or 10). Another question: What is your schedule for your reading block like? I know you do daily five, but how much time do you usually give them and take to teach in between?

    Thanks SO much for all of the amazing ideas and inspiration!

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  18. Oh & P.S. Come check out my blog @ teachingfuninthesun.blogspot.com

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  19. Hi! I love your blog and all of your ideas! My question is, do you cut a lot of your crafts by hand, or do you have a cricut or silhouette that you use? It seems like so many of your cute crafts are cut so neatly (like your moose antlers)!

    Thanks!

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  20. Cara...I am a Texas girl myself, just temporarily misplaced in Arizona...Everytime I read your blog I get homesick! I can't wait to get to Texas over the break!

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  21. We had our first Grinch day today inspired by you and a few others!! Thanks for the ideas:) I blogged about it:) I linked to here because you were my inspiration:)

    4th Grade Frolics

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  22. Grinch Day is such an awesome idea! I really want to try it!

    Becky
    http://compassionate-teacher.blogspot.com/

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