Happy Holidays!!!

Well if you're like me, today is your last teaching day of 2012.
I thought I'd post up some art from the hallways of my school.
I found these amazing, patterned Santas in front of the Grade 6 classroom, and knew I needed to share them.  Enjoy!


Quick and easy wreath

Here's a super easy and really effective Christmas wreath.
You will need green construction paper in a variety of green colours.

You can die cut them in leaf shapes like I did, but if you don't have access to a die cutter, you can use leaf tracers, or punches, whatever you have around.
Sometimes I get the children to cut holly shaped leaves out of strips of green cardstock.
The you can cut a donut shape out of green cardstock.  I used a dinner plate for the outside ring and a smaller ring on the inside.  I also sometimes use a paper plate and cut out the inside.  It doesn't have to be a perfect circle, the whole thing will be covered up with leaves. 
slowly cover the ring with leaves.  Make sure the children layer them and cover up the green 'donut' shape.  Some of my students decided to pattern the leaves as in the ring below.

Add a bow of red ribbon and some Chrismtas foam shapes and voila!
Here are a few of my favourites.



Silence for Sandy Hook

As I said yesterday...


I am so sad...

I am so sad . . .


I try to be so upbeat in my daily life, especially around my class and my own children.  (That's a photo of my daughter above).  Twenty years ago, I was a student teacher who was desperately trying to establish control over an unruly class, and failing miserably, and my school advisor said to me, “What’s wrong with the sound of children laughing?”  And I stopped, took a breath, and considered what she said.


“What’s wrong with the sound of children laughing?”


There’s nothing wrong with the sound of children laughing.  Children WANT to laugh.  They WANT to have fun and enjoy life.  They are little people, designed to learn and absorb knowledge, and they want to have FUN while they do this.


My personal quote on Teachers Pay Teachers is “There’s nothing more special than the sound of children laughing.”   And I hold this statement close to my heart.


When I’m having a terrible day,  when  I’m exhausted and my class is goofing around when I want to teach, I try to take a big  breath and slow down my thinking.  What’s the point of getting all stressed out about something you can’t control?   So the kids are a bit squirrelly today, go with the flow.  Think of the laughter.  As long as the laughter is not mocking, it must be genuine.  It must be worth something.  It must be precious.


I am so sad because . . . 


Twenty children died yesterday.   


In their school


In their classroom


In the place they feel safe


They DIED!




They will never laugh again.


I know that there are probably  terrible things happening to children all over the world right now.

And I know that more than 20 children probably died today in other countries, all over the world.


But our children are supposed to be safe at school.


I remember school massacre in Dunblaine Scotland.  I was a young teacher, with only a few years of experience, and I was teaching kindergarten in a tough, inner-city area in an isolated portable classroom.  And then I heard about the shootings in Dunblane, and I was shocked.   A gunman went into a kindergarten class in Scotland and killed 15 children and their teacher.  That day I sat, whenever I had a free moment, and I watched my students.  Everything in their lives revolved around learning and laughter.  They wanted to have fun, and innately they were driven to learn.  School was a safe haven in their lives.


We spend so much time planning, and organizing our classrooms to make them safe places for children.  If you work with needy children, like I sometimes do, then you truly understand that school can be the only organized and happy place that they experience in a day.


So when I hear about something like the tragedy yesterday, I need to stop




and cry.


Those children will never laugh again.


For a brief period of time, those souls were on this earth.  It was too brief. . .


Do you remember your own kindergarten?  


When I started teaching kindergarten, I spent a lot of time trying to remember what happened in my own childhood Kindergarten.  Early on in my career I was substituting and got called to my old elementary school, and spent a day in my old Kindergarten classroom.  


My first thought was, “wow, it’s so much smaller than I remember.”


My second thought was more organic.  It was more of a feeling, than a thought.  I remember being thrown back in time and remembering the room from my 5 year old perspective, and got a warm feeling in my belly.  I felt comfort, and I felt safe.


At the school I teach at,  we practice Lockdown drills a few times a year, and during the drill I spend most of the time trying to stop my children from giggling because they just LOVE to laugh.


And why shouldn’t they want to laugh?


They should feel safe.


School should be a safe place.


Why do these tragedies happen?


And how can we prevent them from happening again, and again, and again?


I’ll think about this in the next while, when I hear my students laugh.

I’ll try to remember those who will never laugh again. . .

Post Card from Santa Freebie

 I'm super excited to share this new creation of mine with you.  After having so much success with my Falling Leaves little books, I have decided to start a new series called SUCCESS AT THEIR OWN LEVEL.  It's my approach to differentiated learning. 
This is a letter to Santa activity which is good for children of many levels of development from K to 2.  I've broken it up into 3 levels.  The beginning level is good for Kindergarten, Level 2 for grade one, and level 3 for grade 2.  But of course we always have those struggling readers who need a bit of extra support and those more advanced readers who could use an extra challenge. This program would allow a primary class to all write a post card to Santa at their own ability level. 

If you'd like your own copy, hop on over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store, or click on the link below to get your own copy.  Remember that I love feedback and would love to hear from you.
And after all of that, I have finally found the time to link up with Farley's Currently over at Oh Boy 4th grade.  Click here to check out the other links.  Don't get me started on how C-R-A-Z-Y this week will be for me.  I'll fill you all in later. 
Thanks for stopping by.