I treasure the Christmas gifts I get from my own kiddos each year, and I know that many of my students have no resources to give their parents a gift on their own.  I make sure that my students always get the opportunity to make a gift for someone special.
Graphics:  Miss Russell's Room, Creative Clips, and Print Candee
Here's a quick round-up of fabulous easy-peasy gifts for your students to make this year:

The Christmas Calendar - I did this for 3 years in a row and had the biggest response from parents.  Love, love, love this!!  It's free, too.  Go to Christina Bainbridge's free files page, and look under "C" for Christmas Gifts for families.  It's all kinds of awesome.  (Print, copy, then bind or staple.  Kiddos decorate for several stretches of time during the week we need a project to work on - the week before Christmas!!)  Parents love it, and it's worth my copy quota to know that my kiddos have something they are proud to give their parents.

The trivet - I did this for many years, and it never got old.  Moms cry over this sort of thing, you know.  (I have 2 from my daughter - sniff!)  Go to your local home improvement store and get a bunch of cheap white ceramic tiles.  Buy extras, in case someone drops theirs.  Then, pull out the stash of colored permanent markers, give the standard lecture about not drawing on yourself or others, and let them decorate.  I always require the name and year to be a part of the decoration - it makes it more special when mom can remember exactly which child gave it to her, and when.  Spray lightly with a sealant (find at any local craft store, or use this one), let them dry, and send it home.  Remember that kiddos shouldn't smell the fumes from the sealant, so do it after school and let them dry overnight.  Wrap it and send it home.  :)

Snowflakes - OK - this isn't really a parent gift, but it sure is fun!  Create huge 3-dimensional snowflakes (using the tutorial here),
or these cuties, made from doilies, pipe cleaners, beads, and glue:
From Hello Mrs Sykes
Fold three doilies in half, and glue all but 2 of the halves back to back.  Slide 4 beads on the pipe cleaner, place the pipe cleaner in the center of the doilies and glue the remaining halves together.  Add 4 more beads and  twist the top into a hook.  For extra holiday sparkle, add glitter!  This idea originally was published in the 2013 Winter Holidays Tips and Freebies: Grades 3-6 Edition. Click the picture to download more tips from the Teacher-Authors of TpT!

What do you do for your Christmas gifts from students?
Good morning, teacher friends!  I am super excited to share that the 2013 TpT Holiday eBook is out!  Click the image below to check it out...  {By the way, I'm in it!!  Happy dance!}

Download this resource for free at Teachers Pay Teachers.  Don't forget to leave feedback!
Want my freebie from the eBook?  Click the picture below to go straight to my Winter Holiday freebie.  Happy Holidays!!

A Winter Holiday Freebie - Mystery Word of the Week!
If you are on the path to National Board Certification, you're on a crazy journey!  I certified EMC-Literacy in 2010, and it was a huge undertaking.  Here's a bit of advice that was super helpful to me when I was working on my portfolio.  (Disclaimer:  I'm not an expert, just giving friendly advice.)
Click to visit the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards
Set yourself a schedule.  Enlist support from family/friends to stick to that schedule.  My kids were 2 and 7 when I took NBs, and it was difficult.  One day each weekend, my kids would visit grandparents for the day or my husband would take them out and about for the day.  I spent at least one full day every weekend working on this from Jan-March.  April and May were spent studying for the Assessment Center.  I had a fabulous study group, and we would meet, have coffee, commiserate, and make flashcards together.

Make sure you are collecting work samples from several children (I work with kids who move a lot during the year, so I chose between 5-10 to keep samples on).  If you think you might forget what the assignment was, jot it on a sticky note and attach or take a picture with your phone to help you remember.  Also, get all parent permission forms signed early, so you know which kids can be in your videos.  That way, you have plenty of options about which student(s) to highlight in your portfolio.

Videotape often!  Even if you just keep the camera set up without using it, you'll be able to get your class (and yourself) more comfortable about being videotaped.  It also lets you try different camera positions/locations to minimize anyone accidentally knocking into your camera while you are videotaping.  If you can, enlist help with videotaping.  When I was a Technology Specialist, I helped several teachers with using the equipment, setting it up, troubleshooting, and burning DVDs for submissions.  A tech-savvy friend can be extraordinarily helpful.  Sure, you could spend the time figuring it all out yourself, but time is a luxury.

If possible, try to have some videos recorded before Christmas break.  This allows you a bit of time to watch the videos and reflect on them while you are a bit more relaxed.  You can always go back and record new ones, if you want!

Try to have your videos completed by Jan/Feb, so you can go back and write.  Enlist the help of at least 5 people to help with editing.  Be sure to include someone who is not in your field and a Grammar Geek, since they will help you sound clear and precise.

There are also many resources online to help.  Angela Watson's tips from The Cornerstone For Teachers is amazing, and she answered so many questions I didn't even realize I had!

If you want to see pictures of my portfolio getting packed, click on the picture below to see a post about it...

Best of luck!!  Happy weekend, y'all!  :)

The title kinda says it all...  Here's a quick and fun Thanksgiving word search freebie:
Click Here for TpT, Click Here for TN
If you like it, feel free to share this with other teachers by leaving feedback, blogging about it, or pinning the freebie!  Thanks!!!  Want more Thanksgiving Freebies?  Visit the Linky at Tales from Outside the Classroom for others!
We had a winner in the Pick Your Chevron giveaway!  Karen, check your inbox and let me know where to mail your scarf!!  :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you're looking for some really fabulous ELA resources for grades 3-4, check out this Educents deal that I am a part of...
Click here for the post I wrote about this deal, including a freebie from my CCSS RL packet for grades 3-5 (included in the bundle, and pictured below.)  There's still one more day to enter the Giveaway, too!!

Have a wonderful weekend!!  Here's a little chuckle for you...

Whoo-woo!  I'm so super excited to share this with y'all - I have been bursting to tell you for weeks, but it had to be kept very hush, hush.  You know... I can keep a secret.  :)  Anywhoo... I've been working (again) on these Comprehension Strategy Sheets for Literature Standards, Grades 3-5!  I keep coming up with more ideas that I just. have. to. add.  I began this project because it was such a challenge to find targeted informal assessments to use for remediation and enrichment options, as well as to inform parents of the standards covered in Common Core.  This pack includes graphic organizers and response sheets for all grades 3-5 RL standards.
Here's a peek inside!

Now more than 100 pages!!

What teachers are saying:
"Excellent bundle of resources, thanks!"
"Great resource for literature response aligned to each standard. Thank you!"
"A very practical resource that can be used to implement the common core."
"So wonderful!! I will be buying the RI set as well!"

Here's a free sample from TpT:

Follow the link below for a quick printable word search and create a word for Veteran's Day!  Enjoy, and thank a veteran for their service!  :)

Download for free from TpT

For real... my kiddos need to work on fluency.  Many of my students are ELLs, and need help in understanding figurative language.  Enter the Knock, Knock jokes!  Particularly in grades 2 and 3, the ability to effectively deliver a knock knock joke (or speak up in class discussions!) is a skill to hone.

Teacher Tip: You can establish an instant connection with a student usingKnock Knock jokes.  Here's a few to add to your bag of tricks:

Knock, Knock!
Who's there?
Boo, Who?
Don't cry.  It's just a joke.

Knock, Knock!
Who's there?
Interrupting cow.

For maximum annoying-ness with your Knock Knock jokes, which usually gets the best response from 2nd and 3rd graders, start over-explaining the answers.  (Get it!?!  Boo, Who sounds like crying.)  Then, they'll start trying to tell you jokes, which will help you smile, since it's really pretty funny when they make up their own...  Here's a freebie to help your mental health, and your kiddos increased fluency.  Print, copy double-sided, and viola!  Instant joke book.  There's even space on the back for them to write some of their favorites...  Enjoy!!

Free Knock Knock Jokes book

Wow!  Have y'all been enjoying the transition to fall weather as much as I have?  For reals, I've been getting out my sweaters, leggings, and boots!  Love it!!  :)  I was in the Target Dollar Spot today, and found these amazing resources for my intervention classroom!! (Here's a freebie to use with the fun erasers!!)

((Psst... for a free Phonemic Awareness printable to use with the seasonal eraser manipulatives, click the free tab on my Facebook page!!))
 Check them out!
Cute erasers for Phonemic Awareness manipulatives - for the Kindergartners!

Pencil bucket

Fall themed pencils - because my kiddos dig office supplies!

This little owl - perfect as a cheerful fall decoration - I smile when I look at him!!  :) 
What do you think?  What is your favorite Dollar Spot find?

Many teachers work at least 2 jobs, particularly if you are trying to send someone to college, pay bills, etc.  If you've ever thought of running your own tutoring business, you need to read this book:

Visit the Novice Tutor online by clicking here
The amazing Adrianne Meldrum of The-Tutor-House.com has compiled this resource, which is easy to read and dead-on accurate regarding what tutors need to consider before starting, when the phone begins ringing, and during the tutoring lessons.  Here's a quick peek at the inside:
The Novice Tutor
Stop by, visit Adrianne's blog, and pick up a goldmine of information and resources!

Thought I'd share something I've been working on with my fifth graders!  I wanted to have a way for them to record all of their vocabulary work when we use the Mystery Word of the Week each day, but I only have them for such a short amount of time that I needed this to be fast, fast, fast.
Click to download the free poster :)
 I created a fast and interactive way to keep track of them in our notebooks...  Behold!  The Interactive Mystery Word of the Week!!
Download the template here
We have been having so much fun with this!!!  They are so excited when it's time for a new word because I let them write the first day's clues in pen.  (((Gasp!!)))  Yep, a ball-point pen.  Whatever color they want.  They get to write the first letter and blanks in pen, so they can try out their guesses in pencil without worrying about erasing the blanks.  This combines their obsession for office supplies and my passion for vocabulary development - it's a win-win!!  :)  Click on the picture above to download the template here. You can use it with any of the Mystery Word of the Week poster sets.  Eventually, I'll be updating the MW of the W to include this template... but that will be when I have enough energy time caffeine chocolate to bribe myself into sitting at the computer long enough to update those files.  Don't have any MW of the W sets yet?  Click here to download a free week from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Before I go, here's a shout out to Megan from A Bird in Hand Designs!  I'm loving the new bloggy look!!  She is awesome to work with, too!  What do you think?

A Bird in Hand Designs

Omigoodness!!  My buddy Casey pointed out to me that one of my fav NC bloggers That's So Second Grade posted this picture on her Facebook page:
I added the text/arrows.  :)  Background: 3AM Teacher, Font: KG Fonts
Click here to visit That's So Second Grade's Facebook fan page!
If you're interested in learning more about the Mystery Word of the Week and the Mystery Number of the Week, check them out on Teachers Pay Teachers:

I admit... I did a happy dance when I saw the picture...  :)  Weekend Happiness!!!!

Congrats to Charlene, winner of the Pin it to Win it!  Charlene - check your email!!  :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I was checking out a few blogs blog stalking a few of my teacher friends, and I came across this post from my teaching buddy Stephanie.  She is The Sassy Teacher, and she gave me a huge shout-out on her blog!!  :)

Click on the picture below to see her review of my Phonics Intervention Pack for grades 3-5.
Click to visit The Sassy Teacher and how she plans to use this bundle.

Also, I found such an amazing resource for my 3rd graders who are learning about text features.  I just needed to share with y'all...
From Where the Wild Things Learn

To see the blog post where she shares info about how she uses this set, click here!
Since October has started, here's my Currently!!  To see what people are Currently up to, go check out Farley's link up.

Here's a treat for all of you who love Foldables as a way to create interactive notebooks with students!  This site has tons of templates to follow to use Foldables!  Enjoy!!


I hope you've had a great week, too!
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