Helper Elf

Are YOU an ELF? A Christmas “HELPER” ELF?

Not, an ELF ON THE SHELF!

A REAL HELPER ELF!

It’s the MOST, WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!

SANTA  CLAUS is COMIN’ TO TOWN!

Santa Claus Is Coming to TOWN!

First of all…
I work at a low socioeconomic, Title 1 school.

This time of year can be very hard for some kids.

Some families DON’T celebrate Christmas.

Some families can’t afford gifts.

Some are VERY proud and won’t accept donations.

This means…Santa & his elves don’t come to EVERY house.

So today..we had  THE TALK.


THE talk about what December, Christmas, and Santa

are REALLY  about.


GIVING & HELPING!

Then…
Today, we became HELPER  ELVES!

We talked about 

HOW we can HELP at HOME, 

at SCHOOL, 

and help our FRIENDS!

The kids talked about giving from the “heart”.

Our class meeting was SO enlightening!

My kids were SO engaged.

The conversation was NOT about “ME..ME..ME”.

They were SO excited to brainstorm  “What can I do for OTHERS?”

Sniff..sniff..made tears of joy come to my eyes!

IT WAS AWESOME!

And so..

Santa, you can come to ROOM 3.

(I have a feeling…he will)

Here are  some suggestions for YOU!

But for now..

WE WILL BE HELPING YOU, SANTA!

WE ARE HELPER ELVES!

To help YOU out in this BUSY month..

 Here are some 

CHRISTMAS Goodies

from  my TPT store.

1stgradefireworks

Here is a FREEBIE

from my store!

  MERRY CHRISTMAS, 

 Helper ELVES!

I am a COOKIE MONSTER!

Yes. I admit it. 

I LOVE COOKIES!

I count points. Weight Watcher, here!

BUT… they are NOT good for my hips & thighs.

SO WHAT IS A COOKIE MONSTER TO DO?

BAKE cookies for OTHERS!

The giving plate for COOKIES!
The Giving Plate for COOKIES!

Yes. I will taste a few. And then walk on my treadmill… a LOT! 

But life is about LIVING!  MODERATION in everything! EAT THE COOKIES!

And life goes on.

I stalk Pinterest. I know there must be a 12-step program somewhere.

But for now, Pinterest has my heart. I can find ANYTHING there!

I am sharing my BEST cookie pins from my COOKIE board.

Cookies for the COOKIE MONSTER in YOU!

My CHALLENGE to you. 

Make the cookies.  Some for you… some to share.

I take a plate to the neighbors, leave a box at the fire dept., police dept., hospital, for my mail lady, and the garbage collector. 

My school does a cookie exchange & our family has a HUGE one!

Finally… freeze some for later.  The COOKIE MONSTER in you will be VERY happy AFTER the holidays!  

Enjoy my friends!

Merry Christmas, my friends. And HAPPY BAKING!

Don’t BLINK!

Family

Leave me a comment…  what is YOUR FAVORITE COOKIE?

Mine?   ANY!  🙂  

How to Survive WINTER in the Classroom (with KIDS!)

It’s Here. Ready or Not.

WINTER IS HERE!

It’s ALL about SURVIVAL. Think JUNGLE. Think SWAMP! THINK SNOWSTORM!  EEEKKKKK!!!!

Our of bed
Yes you must get out of bed…YOU are the TEACHER!

You can do it. You are the teacher. 

Now, we here in NORCAL have rain, fog, some snow (in the Sierra mountains)…but YOU ALL have

WINTER SNOW DAYS!

And YOU get a SNOW DAY..and YOU get a SNOW DAY
And YOU get a Snow day!

NOT EVERYONE.

We get to go to school. No recess ( rain ). Short lunch.  BOUNCY KIDS!

So to help out with the teachers who are INDOORS in WINTER with a class full of students who want to be OUTDOORS…

I have put together a WINTER SURVIVAL Guide for YOU!

First and foremost, GET IT READY NOW!

DON’T WAIT!  ( You won’t have time to prep ALL of it the WINTER Day you NEED it! )

Have it ready to pull out and VOILA!  SUPER TEACHER!

Here are a few samples to help:

Baby It's COLD OUTSIDE Winter Centers
Baby It’s COLD OUTSIDE Winter Reading, writing, & word work centers

BABY It’s COLD Outside! Winter Language Arts Centers

WINTER Place Value Snowman
Do You WANT to build a SNOWMAN? Place Value FUN! Winter math craftivity for first and second grade!

Do YOU Want to Build a SNOWMAN? Place Value FUN!

Here are a few more Winter Survival Products  to check out!

The ELVES are Working OVERTIME!

Word Trees for Reading Fluency
Word Tree BUNDLE for Fall, WInter, & Spring. Reading Fluency for ALL!

Need some WINTER “HOW-TO?” 🙂  Here you go!

BALANCED LITERACY

Winter BUNDLE
5 Packet Winter BUNDLE!

5 Packet WINTER BUNDLE

Winter PINTEREST BOARDS 

So..Get READY, Get Set, GO!  

Get Ready for the WINTER SURVIVAL in the classroom!  HURRY! 

Get Ready for WINTER
WINTER Snowman

Breathe. Relax. and Remember…

The sun will come out…EVENTUALLY!  HAHA

January..are YOU ready?

Zoodle?

What’s a ZOODLE?

I bought myself  an early Christmas present. Yes. I said CHRISTMAS!

I know..QUIRKY! Teachers are Quirky!

I opened it early! ( Don’t JUDGE..)

 a PRESTO SPIRAL VEGETABLE SLICER!

Here is the one I got…3 blades is enough for this chef!

Paderno World Cuisine A4982799

 Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer

 from AMAZON.So…gotta try it!

I AM NOT A COOK!

Ok..I said it…I do not “enjoy” cooking.

BUT…This looks fun!

I have heard of ZOODLES ,

but I admit…

I had to google & then pinterest it to find out WHAT THEY WERE!

Zuchinni Noodles!

I LOVE zuchinni.

I love noodles!

YES!

Here we go! Zoodles? Weird..

Yes. I took it out of the box. 

Directions for potatoes are on the box.

I started there.

Idaho potatoes and sweet potatoes.

YUMMY!

Baking these as we speak!
They smell like french fries!
Yummy!

Next up…ZOODLES!

Hook up a zucchini & turn the handle! VOILA!

Yellow and green squash!

I did a little research… “sweat” the NOODLES? 

WHAT?

CRAZY!

I learned I need to “sweat” the zoodles and then stir fry them “al dente”.

( WOW…new vocabulary!)

And voila!

My new favorite pasta “ish”…

A little homemade spaghetti sauce…

HUBBY makes it..not me! 100% from our gardens!

DO you GARDEN?

AND  I am in HEAVEN!

Check out my SKINNY FOOD pinterest board!

I LOVE ZOODLES!

I may cook this way more often!

Happy Holidays!

Here’s to eating HEALTHY!

Charlie Brown Christmas

When Do YOU put up YOUR Christmas TREE?

Happy Holidays, my friends!

I just spent 2 1/2 HOURS…yes, hours…

putting up our

CHRISTMAS  TREE!

Crank up the Christmas MUSIC!

 

Wendy…

WHY SO LONG?

Because.  

My Christmas tree is NOT a 

MARTHA STEWART tree.

It doesn’t match.

It doesn’t have a “theme”.

It is MY  family’s legacy.

It is a timeline of our life.

AND I CHERISH EVERY MOMENT!

I cried.

I giggled.

I remembered moments from years past.

My hubby kept coming into the living room

wondering what was taking so long.

Then…he would look at an ornament and say..

“Do you remember…?”

Yes!  I DO!

As I look through the ornament box,

my heart swells with happiness.

THAT, my friends, is what 

CHRISTMAS is ALL about.

I collect ornaments! 

I search them out EVERYWHERE we go!

I buy them for MY kids and MY grandkids!

ALWAYS…date the back! 

Doesn’t seem important now…IT WILL BE LATER!

If you can’t find ornaments…key chains work fantastic!

Scavenge the “AFTER CHRISTMAS” sales!

Christmas boutiques, & craft sales!

It’s about a memory.

I never want to FORGET!

IN  LIFE…there is NO “DO OVER”.

There are “second chances”…but they are

DIFFERENT!

Here is a little “smattering” of my 

Christmas Tree!

A cruise hubby & I took to the Caribbean.

The first ship I had ever been on!

After 10 months on fertility drugs…BABY on the way!

This was the first ornament I ever bought with a baby on it!

We didn’t know if it was a boy or girl.

Ended up being twin boys! 

32 years ago & still cry at this one!

Happy tears!

Yes…I have the first 5 years for ALL of my kids!

We are blessed with 4 kids & 5 grandchildren.

Hubby’s FAVORITE!

JAWS FAN!

A trip to EUROPE with my mom & sisters!

4 California girls to England, Ireland, & Scotland!

We found our ancestor’s farm!

My auntie ( now 90 ) made this for me

when I was 5. ( 49 yrs ago ).

Very precious.

At the TOP of our tree.

The last remaining ornament HANDMADE by my grandmother.

My parents’ house burned to the ground 30 years ago.

In the attic were ALL of my MOM’s Christmas ornaments!

GONE!  Luckily, I had one from MY grandma.

Sniff…sniff…memories!

You think those little strings of popcorn won’t last?

Hubby’s from PRESCHOOL!

1965!

(It used to be much longer…I wrap it in tissue every year!)

For your kids…

If they play sports…get them a sports ornament

EVERY  YEAR!

There will come a day…when they won’t play!

Remember all the fun times!

KEY  CHAINS   MAKE  ORNAMENTS!

My little sis got remarried on the beach in HAWAII!  

The WHOLE family went!

We went snorkeling and saw the SEA TURTLES!

FUN TIMES!

My son’s favorite sport ( He wrote this when he was 10 ).

He is now in the US NAVY!

I wonder if ALL the practices & games helped him get ready for LIFE?

YES!

My first trip to the EAST COAST!

We toured from NEW YORK to NEW HAMPSHIRE.

Stayed at the BEST B&B in Plymouth BAY!

TEACHERS!!!!

Yes…those  “SILLY”  classroom ornaments 

DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

AND…GLITTER  MATTERS!

A plastic lid…some glitter…and  a picture!

Circa  1992.

So here is a “SMATTERING”

of 

MY LIFE!

It’s  PERFECT for ME!

I  just had to update with my 

NEWEST  LOVES!!!

KEYCHAINS!

I would collect Christmas ornaments on our travels.

BUT…they are HARD TO FIND IN JULY!

So…I  started collecting

KEYCHAINS!

They are the newest additions to my Christmas tree.

After our recent trip to VIRGINIA…

I came home with 8 new keychains!

I  write the date & any “memories” I can on the back!

When I hung them on the tree…

those wonderful memories came back…with tears.

 Happy Tears. 

Remember…

IN LIFE…there is NO “DO OVER!”

Live, LAUGH, Love!

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

from

1stgradefireworks 

Making Memories

Change Your MINDSET

How to get ready for Christmas without the STRESS!

I know…BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!

Folks..LIFE IS BUSY! Christmas time is BUSY!

Sorry to be the one to tell you that.

BUT…

30 days …from TODAY  (11.25.18)   4  SUNDAYS!   YES,  4 SUNDAYS…

Christmas will be here!

I  LOVE CHRISTMAS!

So??  

 How  to  get  ready??

PACE YOURSELF!

Think 

MARATHON…NOT  SPRINT!

 Where to start?

#1…..Make LISTS!

(I  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE   LISTS! )

List ALL ( YES ALL ) of the people you 

WOULD LIKE to give gifts to.

Now…

PUT A STAR next to the people you MUST give a gift to.

(I know that sounds weird..but..I would LOVE to give gifts to

EVERYONE…but…my bank account says I must prioritize).

It doesn’t mean I won’t give a gift…

just might be a “thoughtful”… not-as-costly gift.

Reality people!

If money grew on trees…

#2…..DO NOT PUT YOURSELF IN DEBT FOR THE NEW YEAR!

 So…there is officially  1 more PAYCHECK until Christmas.

( Or figure out HOW many PAYCHECKS YOU have until DEC. 24 )

Take the number of gifts YOU MUST purchase 

and divide by EXTRA $$.

***If you have been SAVING for Christmas,  which you WILL DO for NEXT year,  add that too!

That tells you HOW many GIFTS you MUST purchase and the amount you have to spend.

That’s important because

 now you can begin looking for a gift

for the PERSON…not just a checkoff on a list.

SLOW DOWN! Not ready to buy yet!

Now….start talking, texting, asking others…

#3…..DO YOUR RESEARCH PEOPLE!

ASK!!!!  

 What items do the people on your list WANT…NEED…LOVE?????

Add this to your LIST!

( If for kids…ASK THEIR PARENTS…sizes, likes, ages,etc )

Now…start looking…

online? Look for FREE shipping! 

(AMAZON PRIME ..I am speed dial!)

Friends & Family …FAR AWAY???  ( Sorry )

SHIP TO THEM!

Don’t ship to YOU & then pay to ship to them!

SHIP  DIRECTLY! FREE!

STOP!

YOU HAVE NOT MADE A BUDGET YET!

#4…..Figure out what you can spend..

AFTER PAYING YOUR BILLS & feeding your family.

They always come first…don’t forget to add them to your MUST list!

Your kids COME FIRST!

And NOT going into SEVERE debt!

Only charge what YOU can pay off the next month!

NO DEBT AFTER JANUARY!

OK..then..start listing whom you will purchase for.

After you purchase…keep the receipt! 

I write the name of the person I purchased it for on the back..

RETURNS?  Easy Peasy!

After you purchase…

or  it arrives from SANTA’S HELPER

 IN THE BROWN UPS TRUCK… 🙂

WRAP IT  AND   ATTACH  A  NAME  TAG!

( This from a Santa’s Helper…who has forgotten and was wrapping WAY TOO LATE INTO CHRISTMAS EVE! )

After Thanksgiving..

#5…..I begin to look at my 

LIST of ” WANT to purchase for”

but NOT necessarily, 

 “Must Purchase For”

on my list!

 ( Yes I keep it in a little book in my purse! )

Now I have a better idea of “extras”…

Do I need to do “homemade”….giftcards…..”I thought of you- but have no $$ left” card? 

What kinds of gifts can you give for NO MONEY?

How about a picnic at the park?   A  TEA PARTY for kids?  A trip to the library to read books?  Take a young child to the ZOO???

Gifts of “ONE TO ONE” time…ARE THE BEST!  

And you can schedule them AFTER the holidays. 

The gift that keeps on giving!

Whatever fits YOU! 

RELAX!   

NO  GUILT!  

Christmas is NOT about who can GUILT YOU the MOST!

It’s about telling the people you care about..

THEY ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU!

Enjoy the season.

Spend time with friends & family!

TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES!

Make Memories!

And when JANUARY comes around..

SMILE!

(And maybe  a mani / pedi  for  yourself?)

But…remember…

Christmas is from the HEART..not the WALLET!

Have FUN!  

Elf on the Shelf… FAILURE!

Do OVER!

What do YOU do to get ready for CHRISTMAS????

Elf on the Shelf- FAIL!

ELF on the SHELF…FAILURE!

I admit it…I failed..

I tried the ELF thing…FAILED!

I forgot to move it.

I didn’t want to spend the time moving it to who knows where.

My kiddos didn’t find it!

OH…exhausting!

I went to PINTEREST and saw ALL of these AMAZING ELF activities.

I GIVE UP! 

And so…I QUIT!  I am NOT  “ELFABLE!”  

Change..inevitable
THINK POSITIVE!

Change my mindset.  Change is good. Change is necessary!

So maybe I don’t ELF this year. Maybe I focus on a DIFFERENT type of KINDNESS. I think I might look at…

Sharing ORNAMENTS!  Or presents, or smiles!  Or handshakes, or time. 

Maybe my “LESSON” to my students isn’t about THINGS…    

So I think I will focus on content.

I will share the GOODWILL of the ELF ideals,  through lesson content.

I hope my students’ families will give them the “warm fuzzies” they deserve. I do EVERY DAY. 

But for now, we will focus on learning.

Are YOU a HELPER ELF?

( BORING I KNOW…BUT NECESSARY!)

So…next in my list…MATH!

UGH! I know. HOW CAN THE ELF HELP US IN MATH?

THIS ELF IS NOT ON THE SHELF

1 more..1 less…10 more..10 less

So…to help with my “ELF FAILURE”

AND

to maximize my math time…

This ELF is NOT on the SHELF!
This Elf is NOT on the SHELF

This can be made into a booklet, used as math centers, individual practice, assessments…

ENDLESS possibilities!

It may NOT be as EXCITING as finding the ELF each day.

BUT…my students won’t be confused or saddened because they think the ELF doesn’t care.

They know I care. And that’s better than ANY ELF!

And so my friends, I admit it. I am an ELF on the Shelf failure. 

But…my student’s did REALLY WELL on their math assessments and we 

giggled, grinned, hugged, & gave high-fives all through the year.

Now…where did I leave that ELF?   🙂  

Elf on the Shelf taped to classroom clock.
HELP ME!

Holiday HELPERS for YOU! 🙂

Classroom Literacy

Data Collecting

Guided Reading

Leave me a comment…help me be an “ELF” convert. How do YOU use the “ELF”???   There must be a support group SOMEWHERE! 🙂  Happy Holidays!

No More “HOW DO YOU SPELL???”

Spelling.

( I know..I cringe at that word.)
Kids want to SPELL perfectly…every time!

My fear is…students who STOP writing a wonderful story, because they can’t remember HOW to spell a word.

Just one word. And then..they stop writing! UGH! They ask themselves, “What does it start with?” Oh..I dunno…so where do they look? What do they do? Ask a friend…look on your word list…check the word wall…ASK THE TEACHER! NO!!!   I want INDEPENDENT readers & writers! Those DREADED words…

“HOW DO YOU SPELL…????”

Ugh! What to do FIRST? We have gone over letter sounds, word families, vocabulary, picture prompts, word walls, word lists, dictionaries, pictionaries, and so on..and so on. And still they ask. “How do you SPELL???” So what is a teacher to do?? Then what?
PINTEREST! ( The place where ALL questions CAN be answered!) And so I search…
Spelling Practice
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/5911043239308984/
Spelling Practice from Samantha Almaguer  FREE!
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/515802963551850222/
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/42784265188753752/

SO MANY SPELLING CHOICES!

So many Spelling WORD LISTS! ( And don’t EVEN get me started on WORD WORK!) Balanced Literacy Word Work And so…what’s a teacher to do? Head to YOUTUBE! Here is a great video from Angie @ Center Station
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZhkKImvI4g
Still, no answers! AND SO?  What to do? What to do? Create MY OWN! My district has adopted a curriculum. I have 18 boxes waiting for me to unpack! My PD for this new curriculum is 5 days before I have students! I probably won’t have time to REALLY dig into the program. Surface teaching for a few weeks! BUT… My kiddos are ready… BEFORE I AM! And so.. I create! Bookmarks for Sight Word PRACTICE

Here are a few of my newest

SPELLING   creations!

The spelling word lists in this program can be used anywhere, anytime, with ANY program!

Homeschools, interventions, homework, practice pages! Here is KINDERGARTEN
Here is  FIRST  GRADE
And  Grade  2
All of the lists are printed in black and white. SAVES  ON  COLORED  INK! ( I print mine on colored paper!) I print one copy of SPELLING word list for the student’s desk. A little tape on top..and voila! Instant word wall for writing! (NO MORE …HOW DO YOU SPELL…) The other word list I send home for homework each MONDAY! They have to read & practice each night. Spelling tests on FRIDAY! I give “rewards” for 80% correct or higher! I don’t expect perfection…just effort in their work. I add these word lists to SPELLING CITY on our computers. (If  you don’t have SPELLING CITY….GET IT!) 🙂
They practice EVERY DAY!

They also must use the week’s spelling words in their journals.

They read their journals to a partner. WOW! Spelling, reading, writing, word lists, &  homework! I think we’ve got this! I have also added BLENDING LINES for READING FLUENCY PRACTICE!
Blending Lines
Blending Lines for Reading Fluency
BLENDING  LINES….View Preview VIDEO Here

I hope you can use my new SPELLING Packets!

This may help, too!    For more thoughts and talk for November, please visit these great posts. Like what you see, and want to join us? Before posting your link, please email RETTA at retta.london@gmail.com.
Teacher Talk
Leave me a comment !!! Good Luck!
Te

Teacher Tips! Look What I FOUND!

Sometimes I find something ( or do something )

that I think..

“DUH!!! 

 WHY HAVEN’T I BEEN DOING THIS FOREVER???”

This is one of those teacher tips…

Teacher Tip:  Spelling Words Template

Teacher Tips: Vinyl Letters for objectives!

Have you ever used 

REPOSITIONAL VINYL LETTERS??


OMG!  I LOVE THEM!

I got mine…at STAPLES

BEFORE…last 23 YEARS…

I would write the numbers & Content areas

EVERY WEEK..  

( Work SMARTER NOT HARDER!)

NOW…I can just add the words / skills

& the kids ALWAYS know where to look!

You can erase over the letters

AND

when you remove them..

NOT sticky ucky  GLUE stuff!

I use multiple sizes for interest… 

MY NAME is GIGANTIC!

(Don’t ask me how to spell…MRS. McCARTY!)

Love Love Love this!

Teacher Tips…

WORK SMARTER…NOT HARDER!

So remember… time is IMPORTANT!

Do what YOU need to do to streamline YOUR day! 

For more TEACHER TIPS…

Routines Help Us Get Out the Door!

10 Teacher Items YOU NEED TODAY!

Balanced Literacy HOW TO?

Don't Blink. Thank You Kenny Chesney.

NOVEMBER? Don’t BLINK!

I just LOVE

Kenny Chesney…

Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney

I think he is speaking to ME!

As I  am singing…no…  BELTING OUT.. his song

( in my car of course…windows up..no one wants to hear this voice) 🙂

“DON’T BLINK”

Don’t blink!

Just like that, you’re six years old and you take a nap and you

Wake up and you’re twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife

Don’t blink

You just might miss your babies growing like mine did

Turning into moms and dads next thing you know your better half

Of fifty years is there in bed

And you’re praying God takes you instead

Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think

So don’t blink

I can TOTALLY RELATE!

I swear..I just looked at the calendar & it was OCTOBER!

Early OCTOBER!

THEN…WHAM!

Halloween is here..NO..GONE!

and now it is NOVEMBER! 

WHERE DID OCTOBER GO??

As I turn the calendar, I realize 

I need to slow down

and appreciate ALL that I have in the HERE & NOW!

So, my friends..

BEFORE the Holidays come…55 days to be exact!

Christmas Carols EVERYWHERE!

and then BAM! Christmas Carols EVERYWHERE!

Take a few moments to 

STOP! Look around! Remember this MOMENT!

It will be gone in a BLINK!

Enjoy the..

LULL

( Before the RUSH!)

Take a minute, relish in the moment, and ENJOY!

BECAUSE…tomorrow will be here soon enough..

I wonder where I can get a 2019 CALENDAR?

(I better hurry…it will be here SOON!)

HAHAHA

Here are a few 

“helpers” to get you through the

 Nov./Dec.  rush!

DON’T  BLINK!

Let's Talk TURKEY ( TpT 1stgradefireworks)

Let’s Talk TURKEY ( TpT 1stgradefireworks)

Let’s Talk Turkey

November Fact Family Booklets from TpT 1stgradefireworks

November Fact Family Booklets from TpT 1stgradefireworks

Fact  Family

November Adding 3 numbers MATH Booklets from TpT 1stgradefireworks

November Adding 3 numbers MATH Booklets from TpT 1stgradefireworks

Adding 3 numbers

November Vocabulary BANNERS from TpT 1stgradefireworks

November Vocabulary BANNERS from TpT 1stgradefireworks

November Vocabulary Banners

The Elves are Working OVERTIME from TpT 1stgradefireworks

The Elves are Working OVERTIME from TpT 1stgradefireworks

The Elves are Working OVERTIME!

WINTER Vocabulary BANNERS from TpT 1stgradefireworks

WINTER Vocabulary BANNERS from TpT 1stgradefireworks

Winter Vocabulary Banners

So remember:

1. Don’t BLINK!

2. Enjoy each and every moment

3. Tell those you care about, what they mean to YOU!         Kind WORDS COUNT!

4. Take care of yourself. 

5. Live, Laugh, Love!

Primary Teachers are Quirky!

Close Reading

How important is READING?

Enjoy!