Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's Time for Time Off!

Well, my lovely readers, I made it through the first part of the year at my new school, and it was A-MAH-ZING!

Yes, there were some stressful times, but overall I feel very lucky. Part of that has to do with my awesome assistant teacher! We both drink tea on the reg, so I wanted to give her a tea-themed gift for the holidays! I decided to make a tea-wreath:

 First, take a cardboard box and trace a circle (I used the rim of a mixing bowl) and use a box cutter to cut it out. Cut a smaller hole in the center of the larger circle.

Cover the cardboard in colored paper.        Hot glue clothespins and decorate!

               Pinch the gift recipient's favorite teas onto the clothespins! 

To celebrate the end of 2013 (and the holiday season), I felt it was fitting to throw my students a fabulous party! Of course, I couldn't just give them a party...

A month or so ago, one of my students asked me if the class could "earn" a party. I thought about it. And thought about it some more. At first, I thought maybe they could earn a party by making sure everyone returned their homework, or collecting compliments from other teachers. But then I thought, those are things they should just be plain DOING without needing a reward for it!

Finally, it hit me! I wanted to reinforce some sort of academic skill. Something that we are practicing A LOT this year in math is showing our work and explaining our thinking. So that brought me to:


Students have the opportunity to earn a total number of points by the end of the month. If they get to that number, at the end of the month: PARTY TIME!

We began by saying they needed to get 60 points by the end of December (right before break) to have a party. Two mornings a week, we set out a "Problem of the Day" for students to solve, making sure that they followed the points guidelines to get the maximum amount of points.

Glad to say, WE DID IT! The kids voted on a movie/pajama party. I decided that because it was right before break, I would pump up the party vibe:

Of course, I wore my PJ's and fun fuzzy socks!
We made hot chocolate with marshmallows and added mini candy cane stirrers!
 I love popcorn, but I wanted to give them something extra-fun to snack on during the movie, so I made Apple Cinnamon and Caramel Chocolate Chex mix.

I bet you are wondering what movie we watched? I'll give you a hint:

Yup. Elf. BEST HOLIDAY MOVIE EVER. And it's rated PG, so totally appropriate for the kiddos!

I am proud of my students for accomplishing this goal, and so much else, during these past months at school. I am looking forward to what lies ahead in the coming year...

But let's be in the moment. I am REALLY looking forward to a relaxing vacay! My fiance and I are spending a few days at an inn on Maryland's Eastern Shore, followed by visiting friends and family in D.C. and NYC.  

Have a relaxing winter break, everyone! Happy New Year, and see you all in 2014!!!!

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