Some of us second grade bloggers decided it would be fun to be Secret Santa's this year. I love shopping for other teachers, and getting a surprise package in the mail is the best!! It's even more fun when you make a new friend and find a new blog to follow!! So I was super excited for this exchange. First let me tell you who ...
Mrs. Palmer was so thoughtful! She did a wonderful job picking gifts that were so me! She wrapped each one with a special little note, such a nice personal touch!!

I was like a little kid opening each one! I love all of it!

The playing cards are awesome, coming from Mrs. Palmer's home state. My students are going to love playing games with them. The canvas is so perfect, she even personalized it with buttons and ribbon in my favorite color!
 I already have plans for the super cute table cover, and that cup is going to get a lot of use too!

The glade plug is will keep our classroom smelling yummy this winter! I already have it up and love it!! The little notebook is for jotting down TPT ideas :)
Leaf sticky notes, right up my alley! I use these things all the time, already thinking of how we can use them next year! You can never have enough cute tape around these two rolls are adorable and have already been put to good use!

This snowman and snowflakes will keep our classroom cute and sparkly all winter!
Thanks you so much Mrs. Palmer! I loved everything and can't wait to use it all!

If you haven't seen Mrs. Palmer's blog Teachin' Thrifty you should head on over and check it out, she's got some great ideas for you!!

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I have a canvas art of a snow family at my house that says "Families are Forever, Love never Melts" I love it so much. I have had it for 18 years and every year I love getting it out and hanging it up. When I saw an idea on Pinterest for making a snow-family canvas ornament I knew exactly what I wanted my students to make for their parents this years.

I went to Michaels looking for canvas, I was thinking we would make them small because I didn't know how much 14 canvases would cost, but I was surprised to find a pack of 10 - 8 X 10 canvases were only $20 and I had a 50% off coupon. I could get them for a dollar a piece, that just as good at getting a frame from the dollar store!! I was so excited. We already had paint at school so this was my only cost this year.

We started by choosing one color to color the entire canvas. We painted them and let them dry for a couple of days before adding our snow family.

To add the snow family we painted our fingers and pressed them onto the canvas. I know this is a popular idea there are all kinds of ornaments made this way. We made sure we had one snowman for each person in their family.

Then they took toothpicks and q-tips, dipped them in paint and added details to their snowmen as well as snow flakes to the sky.

Once the entire canvas had dried for a couple of days we used a oil based sharpie pen to write the saying "Families are Forever, Love Never Melts" on them. We practiced our handwriting on paper first, and sketched it with pencil before tracing it with the markers.They turned out absolutely adorable!! I think their families are going to love them, I know I do!!

I also made adorable picture ornaments for them. I purchased a cute chalk board from Hobby Lobby, wrote Merry Christmas 2014 on it and had the kids hold it up in front of the tree. I took a picture of each kid and had a wallet size print made at Wal-mart. I bought small pieces of wood (they came in packs of 10), sharpie paint markers, and spray adhesive.

I put the pieces of wood in a cardboard box to spray them so that the adhesive would not get on anything else. Sprayed the wood, and stuck the pictures on. I used the paint markers to color the edges of the wood that were still visible.

I used this sealer to cover the photos and make them more durable.

Then I added a bow (got the ribbon from Dollar tree) and there you go! Adorable little keepsakes for them!

All the presents are wrapped up and put them under the tree!

I have enjoyed making these projects with my students this year and can't wait for their families to receive them! I hope they become treasured keepsakes for many years to come!

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I'm Sharing Doodlebug's Teaching style this week! Five for Friday!! It's all about Christmas in our classroom, and we've been getting our craft on! Take a look at what we've been up too!

1.) We are continuing to pass out "encouragement jars" and candy grams around the school for our random acts of kindness! It has been so sweet to see my students making connections with others students they would never have talked to before, and many adults have been blessed by the kind notes we've sent in their jars! I have really enjoyed this project!!

 2.) We've been getting crafty this week! When I saw this freebie on TPT I knew I wanted to make these ornaments. I went the easiest route possible. Gave them some rolls of washi tape and some dot markers and let them decorate away. I hung them from the curtains over the windows. LOVE!

3.)When art was cancelled due to the lack of a sub I decided to do this stained glass nativity craft with my students during their art time. I got the idea HERE!
It was a lot of work to cut out all those nativity scenes but I love how they look in the window! totally worth it!

4.) We made our own stockings! Yep, we sewed!! I can't tell you how excited my students were to use an actual needle (blunt tipped of course) and yarn to sew together their felt stockings. They were so proud of their accomplishment. One little boy said he was going to go home and sew up the hole in his coat and surprise his mom with his new sewing talent!! They crack me up!!

Doesn't this just make our classroom look so festive!! I love walking into this each morning!
5.) We are learning about verbs and we made these adorable pictures. Thanks Christina Bainbridge for this idea, check out her blog for all the details on how we did this! 
I got my winter scenes from Kari Bolt. Saving these to put on the bulletin board for after break.

We've had a busy week, and one more to go before break! I love the holidays but they can be exhausting!! I have a few more fun things planned for next week so come back and check it out!

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I have been using the format I read about from Hedi and Emily at Second Story Window for my writing center this year. I love how it's organized and students have four choices of work they can do. They can write a list, do research, write a letter, or a story. They have been doing such a wonderful job all year, but I've noticed that they really like writing letters, and not much else. I do assign certain tasks some times just to make sure they are working on a variety of writing samples, but I really wanted to spruce things up for Christmas. Here's a look at what I've put into my writing center for December.....

 First, I covered the table with a festive table cover. You can see the candy canes in the snow man tub - those are writing prompts. Snowman bucket with Christmas pencils. Mailbox for putting letters in. I also have a small nativity scene out - I teach in a Christian school so our focus with be on Jesus birthday this month and this visual helped with a sticker story we wrote! You can see it below.

I got these little candy cane notebooks from Oriental Trading, I toot the paper out of them and wrote a writing prompt inside. They love the novelty of these!

For lists I wrote out different things they could make lists of on Christmas Tree shapes from Shapes Etc. and put them on a ring. They choose one and write a list on one of the fun list pads I got from Dollar Tree and the Target Dollar Spot. They have so much fun trying to create the longest list. We have sort of a competition going to see who can come up with the most things for each one.

 Letters can be written on this fun stationary. I have collected this over the years after Christmas when it goes on sale. My kids LOVE writing letters! I have had to limit them to one letter a day or they would go through all this stationary in a week. They send me cute notes everyday! I love that they love to encourage others with sweet notes!

I added some fun stickers in these little drawers, they can use them to seal their letter envelopes or write a sticker story. Again these are so much fun they would be gone in a day if they weren't limited. I only let them use one sticker sheet a day! I cut them so that there are three to four stickers per sheet that they can use for sticker stories and only one seal per sheet if they choose to write a letter.

I also got these sets of Nativity stickers at Hobby Lobby when they were 1/2 off. They used them to create a nativity scene like the small one I displayed up above and write about what happened on the first Christmas.

They did a great job. I LOVE them, they are now hanging above the writing center! It is fun to see what each one had to say about the first Christmas.

Finally we have new research cards! I picked up these trivia game cards at Dollar Tree, they have Christmas ones that I've used in the past that ask questions about different Christmas songs and movies that most kids are familiar with and this year I found these Bible ones that are perfect for us.

They get to choose a card and ask the questions to a friend. The answers are there so they can check them. Then they write about what they learned from their card. They have been doing such a great job with this. They love using their bible to look up the answers and read more about each question and they come up with new questions that I allow them to ask the class while we are having snack.

This center is one of my favorite. I love how it is set up and that I get to change things up every month to keep the kids engaged, yet it's not an overwhelming amount of work to do so. I LOVE that my students LOVE working here. Do you have a writing center? How do you organize it? I'd love to see what others are doing!

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Hey everyone, I'm over at Blog Hoppin today sharing what I did for my student gifts this year! Here's a sneak peek...

Come on over to read all about them!

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I know I've blogged about my favorite Christmas books before, and this one has been a favorite for me since my son was in Kindergarten and I bought it for him.
I love that it gets kids thinking about others and what Christmas really means. So I read it to my class every year and we have done different projects to go along with it. This year I came up with something new!

After I read the book we brainstormed what Christmas makes us think about.  We revised our lists and wrote a complete sentence that started with Christmas makes me think of..., they filled in the blank.I printed off a simple thought bubble for them to write their final thoughts in.
Then they cut the bubbles out.

I used Krista's Character Doodle-A-Face Clipart  and printed off a head for each student. I let them chose which one they thought looked most like them. Some of them weren't close, but I just went with it. They loved picking out the perfect match for themselves!

They colored the heads to look like them and cut them out.
Then glued them to a piece of red or green construction paper with the thought bubble above it.
I love that Christmas makes her think of  Me!

I think they turned out great! I put them up on the bulletin board in the hall outside our classroom and I love seeing them every time I walk by! This was such a simple and fun writing project that they can keep and look back at year after year!

I will be blogging about all the other great things going on in our writing center soon! Come back and see all the Christmas fun we are having working on writing this month and grab some freebies! Thanks for reading.
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