Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dear Winter Break...Please slow DOWN!

I borrowed this title from my friend Mrs. Wood!  She posted it on her Facebook page and once I read it I was thrust back into reality.  Break is going way too FAST!  All my sleeping in, snuggling my kiddos, shopping, seeing family and friends will be a memory of the past soon.  I will be back to the craziness that is my life.  Am I dreading it?  Sure a little but I do love my job and miss my classroom♥

My mind is now thinking S C H O O L!  I have to get my thoughts in order so that I can enjoy the rest of my break.  So while my sweet kiddos are tapping away on their DS like presents I am going write and organize my month of January.  Or as much I as can before I run out of steam:)

Starting with...New Years! 
I always begin my month of January by blowing in the new year with my January interactive smartboard calendar.  I simply pass out basic party blowers and we gather around our smartboard.  We add the days that we were on break and blow our horns for each day.  This year we will add January 3 for our first day back from break and honor it with a final BLOW of our party blowers to start our new year off right!  The kiddos love it and randomly during the day we blow our blowers to celebrate lots of things like correct answers, random acts of kindness, rule following and lots more.  It is a great way to get students focused again on how our classroom runs and our routine.  (Remember...they have been on break too!)  JUST BE SURE THEY KNOW THE PROCEDURE OF 1 BLOW ONLY!)  I always warn them that if anyone breaks the rule they will have to put their blower away in their book~bag. I sent the blowers home at the end of the day.  

You can grab a set pretty cheap at Birthday in a Box.  Just click the image above or run to your local $ store to stock up.  I promise you will have your students attention right away!

Next we make our New Year's resolutions for each month.  This is another fun way to use your blowers. Below is the sheet that I use to get started. It is from my Happy Chinese New Year unit.  

I also have my students create a snow globe and present it like a crystal ball.  I have the class create their own image of what will happen in 2012.  They love looking into the future and making predictions. 
My little friend here just wanted some snow in the New Year.  

I also piggy back this New Year activity by introducing the story Daisy Comes Home by Jan Brett and begin our study of Chinese New Year.  It is celebrated in January 23rd this year.  Christmas Around the World is always a great way to make connections to how other countries celebrate holidays.  Why not New Years around the world! (Hello...Social Studies through Literacy!  Can you say COMMON CORE!)

You can grab a copy of my Chinese New Year unit by clicking on the image below.  It is filled with ways to introduce the holiday, connect to Daisy Comes Home, a little dragon fun and more.  Your students will be totally engaged the moment they plop into their seats!  

Last, I start my weather unit and begin studying the Water Cycle and SNOW!  My southern students love this because we see so little of it in NC.  Many of them have never seen snow like the snow we have in OHIO.  I always bring in pictures from when I was little with snow drifts taller than me!  This year I ordered instant snow!  I am so excited to see how it works.  I also have added ice cubes to a blender and made a snow like substance.  Maybe this year I will do both so that we can compare the 2 substances.  Below is the link to the snow I ordered.  
I like to use snow to teach the water cycle because I can use MATTER MAN!  Which is just a snowman that we put together with white trash bags and a snowman kit.  Like a hat, scarf, and sticks.  We label the parts of the snowman as it changes into a puddle by the sun.  
It is a fun cooperative learning activity.  I break the class up into groups and each group builds and labels a part of the snowman.  It is so much fun when we put him together and label the water cycle.  You can see our little sun in the background. My snow unit has more fun activities including some with Snow Flake Bentley. 
Well now I feel a bit better!  I guess I am ready for the New Year!  I hope this post did not get your thoughts too far from break.  We still have some time left!  So snuggle up with your family and enjoy some down time! 
(BUT, If you are a bit compulsive like me and still need to surf the net...I would love it if you would give this post a PIN on!) THANKS!