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New Year, New Resolutions!

Linking up with "The Third Wheel," on this last day of 2014 to share goals for the new year.  I'm really excited to spend quality time with my own kids, watch my kinders grow this spring, and add to my professional repertoire this year!
Aside from all this I am SO EXCITED to announce that I will be a part of a NEW collaborative blog with teachers from across the country AND abroad! 
Our new blog, The Literacy Ladder, will focus on all things literacy with a emphasis on ELA Common Core connections in the elementary grades.
Check out The Literacy Ladder HERE:
To celebrate our launch we are hosting a BIG TPT Giveaway with $24 in our own products and 5X$10 in TPT Gift Cards! 
Be sure to follow us and enter to win!


Happy Holidays!

Before I wrap up the 2014 holiday season and pack away the Christmas trees I thought I'd take a little time to reflect on some of the holiday activities I shared with my Kinders.  I wish I had made more time to blog while it was happening because we had so much fun while learning 21st Century concepts and applying the Common Core!
Our Gingerbread Unit on engineering involved designing new houses for the Gingerbread family and decorating our child-sized house! 
To culminate the unit, students decorated their own small house to take home!
Our second holiday unit was on Santa's Economics.  Students learned all about wants, needs, consumers, producers, goods, and services in the context of Christmas.  Each Kindergarten class on my team worked to develop a stand and we sold reindeer food to the first graders at our "Reindeer Food Marketplace" in the cafeteria. 
All our students learned so much about consumerism and economics and, most of all, it was fun! 
And it wasn't just fun for the kids, either!   It gave me chills when one teammate told me, "You know, I thought this project was way over the top at first, but these kids get this stuff.  This is the most fun I've had teaching all year!"
I can't wait to work on this unit over the coming year to have it ready for other teachers next Christmas! 
For now, here are a few shots of our project...
The advertising team made posters...
...and hung them in the first grade hall.
The production team formed an assembly line and produced 80 bags of reindeer food in under one hour!
No assembly line is complete without quality control!
Our sales team set up shop in the marketplace!
The sales team worked hard to sell as many bags as possible using our school-wide rewards as currency.
"Team N" sold out of reindeer food after issuing coupons!
Why didn't we think of that?!?

 I hope you and those you hold dearest have had the happiest of holiday seasons!


December Currently

It's hard to believe that December is here!  We have assessments, field trips, culminating experiences and after school activities scheduled to fill almost everyday.  I'm excited to try out some of my own new units on engineering and economics in the midst of this busy season!
To give a glimpse of what I'm up to this week, I'm joining with Farley at "Oh' Boy 4th Grade," for her "December Currently" linky party.
I'm always working to provide my kinders with opportunities for meaningful, student-centered play that is also tied to our themes and standards.  This week we are kicking off our holiday centers with a new class project - a gingerbread house!  I salvaged a large appliance box from a local store and used it to partition off our dramatic play area.  For today the center included some copies of large candy clip art and a roll of white wrapping paper.  As the weeks progress I plan to add more with which to decorate!

My students were the quietest during play and explore centers today!  (This is normally NOT the case!)  They were so focused on their project and intently worked on decorations for a solid 30 minutes with relatively few problems.  I truly believe this is a testament to the fact we make time for social learning and play as often as possible... these kids may be of the 21st Century, but they still need to play!  :)
Check back later this week for more gingerbread play ideas AND to see how our house is evolving!