Holiday Gift Ideas!

Gift giving is something I truly enjoy. I LOVE the challenge of finding the perfect gift for someone I care about. The thing I HATE, is the pressure of finding 900 perfect gifts for everyone I care about in a one month period. It stresses me out! 

To help everyone's stress levels go down this holiday season, I thought I would share some of my gift giving ideas. Some I have already used and a few are on my list for this year!

Family Gift Ideas:
I am always looking for memorable gifts my students can give to their families for the holidays. These adorable salt and flour snowman ornament were loved by all my families. I had a school volunteer come in and help the students form the noses and round faces. I took the snowman home and baked them to dry them quicker. The next day, the kids painted them and we added ribbon.

Paint Stick Snowman Ornaments:
All you need are paint sticks, google eyes, scraps of material, black and orange paint, raffia, and ribbon.

Student Gift Ideas:

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And of course, use your bonus points to get a Scholastic Book for each student.

Co-Worker Gift Ideas:

Teacher Gift Ideas:
Let's face it, gift cards rock! Who doesn't like to get a gift card? It's a win-win situation for all. I'm all for gift cards...especially from students.
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However, sometimes a personalized gift for your child's teachers is simply awesome. Last year, I ordered these wooden pencil signs for my own children's teachers and my student teacher. They were a hit! I just placed my order for this year too!

Gobblin' Up Main Ideas and Details

 Today, I am sharing a fun and festive way to review main idea and details in your classroom.

 I am always teaching and reteaching main idea and details to my kiddos throughout the year. Seems like they can never get enough practice with this skill. Any way I can change it up and make it seem like a fun thing to learn, then I am "all over it!" Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I decided to merge turkeys and main idea together for this review lesson. 
The kids worked in partners with a short passage. Some were informational text. Some were fictional text. On their white boards, they wrote what they thought the main idea and details from the story were. Next, they shared their ideas out to the other partners at their table. Finally, they made their turkeys.

The kids wrote the main idea on the body of the turkey. Then, they chose 4 important details to write on each of the feathers and assembled their turkeys. I displayed them with the common core standards for my grade level .

If you would like a festive way to review main idea and details with your kiddos, you can grab this activity for FREE by clicking on  the link below.

Parent Conference Tips & Tricks

I survived! Yes, I did! I just finished two weeks of parent/teacher conferences! Yes, you read that correctly...two weeks. BUT... let me tell you why AND why I have now come to look forward to conference time.

I used to dread parent/conferences. Not only did I have to complete all my students' report cards (which as we all know, takes HOURS/DAYS), but then I had to sit with each family and reread the report card to them. HATED IT! Something needed to change.

My school decided to meet with parents BEFORE report cards come out, so there are NO SURPRISES! I schedule my conferences over a two week period. Each conference is 15 minutes long. YEP...15 minutes! It is possible to get it all in, make it personalized, and inform the parents how to help their kids moving forward.

I choose to schedule them over two weeks, so I don't have to have 10 conferences in one day and feel rushed. Only having 2-3 conferences a day is manageable for me and I am not so overwhelmed. Don't get me wrong, some days there are more, some days there are no conferences at all, but it is spread out, which helps. 

In order to streamline my conferences, I created a binder tailor made for it! Everything I need is right at my fingertips. No more searching, last minute note creating...waste of time conference 

This form, RIGHT HERE, is the best thing that happened to my parent/teacher conferences. It is a simple checklist with room for short comments or notes. It takes about 5 minutes to complete and says a whole lot about what is going on in and out of classroom with each student. I make a copy for each parent, so they can take notes. I also keep a copy for myself. This is what we go over at our conference.

I use these forms to inform parents when their conference is scheduled. I also try to send home a reminder note the day before the conference to cut down on any missed appointments.  I keep all my masters and copies in my conference binder in plastic sleeves. Again, easy access...all at my fingertips.

 I also document each conference with a sign in sheet. I keep a copy for myself and I turn in one to my administration. 

If a parent signs up for a conference and doesn't show up, I send home this note with their child. I don't use this form often, but I like having it ready to go if necessary.

Grab your editable conference binder pages HERE:

Get your conferences started off in the right direction with this sign up form. Click on the picture below to grab your FREE copy. 

Now that you have everything organized and in one place, I hope you will feel confident and ready to tackle those parent conferences head on! Good luck!