Monday, December 17, 2012


Who doesn't love a great tasting snack that's chocked full of sugar on the last day of school before Winter Break? I know I DO!!! And it's even better to give it to them RIGHT BEFORE THEY GO HOME!!! (Teacher's secret revenge, right?)

This year's snactivity was a build-your-own snowman treat! 


  • graham crackers (half of one for each student)
  • large marshmallows (NOT the huge ones)
  • pretzel sticks (two for each student)
  • white frosting (two jars is more than enough)
  • chocolate chips (the smaller the better*)
  • paper plates (I had one plate for each pair of students)
  • spoons 

How To:

PREP: I put on a quick movie for the kids to be occupied while I loaded up the plates with the ingredients. I know, I know, parent helpers should've helped...however, they ALL seemed to have something else to do!

Spread a layer of frosting on top of the graham cracker. Place one marshmallow on top of the frosting in the middle of the graham cracker. Spread a small amount of frosting on top of the marshmallow to act as a glue. Place another marshmallow on top of that one. Place more frosting on the front of the marshmallows and place the chocolate chips as buttons, eyes, nose and mouth. Put pretzel sticks in between the two marshmallows for the arms of the snowman.

Super easy, fast, fun, and delicious!!!

* The store didn't have the tiny chocolate chips

Hope everyone has a safe and happy week!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

5 Finger Rule

This past week a parent, with whom I have a great rapport, approached me to talk about how her student was doing. She was worried because while reading at home, her student becomes very frustrated and throws tantrums. She said, "I catch her cheating and looking at the pictures! Then we get into an argument and I punish her."


I immediately felt bad for my student. Reading should never be an argument, and I know my student is fully capable of reading. She is a "bubble kid" know, a kid on the cusp of being at grade level. She can do it, but just needs a little more practice.

Like a doctor or a car mechanic, I began asking questions to further understand the situation:

  • What does she read at home?
  • Who reads with her?
  • Do you read to her?
  • What does she like to read?
  • How often is she reading?
  • Do you have a homework routine?
Turns out, the books she has been reading are books that she enjoys. However, they may be too hard for her. I was not familiar with the titles, but gave mom a suggestion for finding out if a book is too difficult or too easy for her student. It's called, "The 5 Finger Rule."

Have the student pick a book they like, and read a page (preferably the first page, but really, any page will do). On your fingers, where the student can't see, keep track of their mistakes. If the student makes 5 mistakes within that page (or paragraph, depending on the length of the book), the book is too hard. If the student makes zero mistakes, the book is too easy. If the student makes 2-3 mistakes, the book is "just right". 

I also let mom know that we do "picture walks" before we read a story. Looking at a picture is not "cheating". It is a sign that the student wants to comprehend the story. It is there for clues to words she may not know. 

I also showed mom how to do "window fingers" before reading the page. Mom can then point out any vocabulary or sight words that her student is unfamiliar with and have the student use her window fingers to find the words.

I took Mom through an actual reading lesson using a book her daughter will be starting on Monday so she can see it in action. We talked about high frequency (sight) words and the importance of memorizing them. I reminded her that reading to her will help. I gave her my website with many different resources to use.

Reading should not be a stressful topic at home. I asked mom if she felt better now that she has some tools to pull out at home. She said she felt bad that she wasn't doing things right and stressing out her daughter, but she will try them and see how it goes.

I wish her the best! Hopefully this will put her daughter over the top to be successful!
The Constant Kindergartner is celebrating selling 400 items on TPT and is having a linky party for Christmas stuff!
Come check it out!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Felf the Elf on the Shelf

Here's what Felf the Elf on the Shelf has been up to while I was in a training today...

Can you see him? 
If not, I took a closer pic...

I also caught him hiding in the ocean diorama of one of my students. This sneaky elf really enjoys his job!

Monday, December 3, 2012


I like going to trainings. Is it just natural for a teacher to want to learn? This week I'm in a three day training for our reading curriculum (Treasures). When I first heard I was going, I thought, "FINALLY! I've only been teaching this curriculum for four months now!"

When we would get something new at my last school, it was common to sift sort through everything and commiserate collaborate with your team about the "to do" list. It made life a lot easier. But at this school, that sort of time isn't scheduled into the daily schedule, so I was relying on my savvy "sort now, ask questions later" routine.

Although this training is meant for someone who has never even cracked open the spine of the teacher's manual, the trainer is well aware we're not total newbies, and she's doing a pretty good job of adjusting accordingly. I'm enjoying having the time to look at the website and see new and exciting tools to use in my classroom! I thought I'd share a few (in case you have Treasures, or just looking for new tools).

The first thing I have to warn you, is that I've clicked on my state (CA), so all the links are from there. Now that you have that info, you may want to start at the beginning with your state (click on the Treasures link above).

When you click on the tab for teachers, there is a link that says "Links for Professionals" if you scroll down. This is a great source of many nationally recognized sites for literacy. Most of the links work, I've noticed.

Under "Building Reading & Writing", there is a link called "Alphabet Songs". This has audio of alphabet songs in both English and Spanish.

On the left of the page "Teachers" tab, there is a sub tab labeled "Student Activities". The "Spelling and Vocabulary Activities" has online activities not only by grade level, but by the topic of study. VERY helpful! 

These resources are free and have re-inspired me. Now to find the time!

Speaking of free, make sure you check out Mercedes from Surfing to Success' HUGE Giveaway. It closes in 4 days. You can find my Christmas clip art along with 37 other freebies from other teachers! Several winners, so go check it out!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A HUGE Giveaway!!!

Whew! It's Saturday! FINALLY!

Anyone else feel like this past week has been one of the craziest yet? Between holiday program practice, birthday celebrations, a change in schedule, an elf appearing in my classroom, and rain all week, I feel like I've been picked up in a whirlwind and set down with a thump!

I changed my calendar yesterday after school. Sigh. Come Monday, I know that the Christmas excitement will take over and there's no turning back. Hopefully Felf will report back to me any upsetting news...I won't be there on Monday!!! *insert evil laugh here* 

 Hooray for curriculum training!

And hooray for giveaways! My friend Mercedes at Surfing To Success is have a HUGE giveaway to honor reaching 200 followers on her blog. That's quite an accomplishment, since she's only been blogging since the summer months!

She is offering quite a spread of freebies from her store and her followers (myself included)! I just counted and there are 38 different items to be won!!! Please stop by her blog and check it out!

Surfing to Success