Monday, December 23, 2013

'Twas the Day Before Christmas Break and All Through the Classroom...

My break is officially here! Well, it actually arrived at 12:30 on Friday, but I'm a tad late in posting. I thought that the last week before break was going to be rough, with students jumping out of their skin knowing that break was just a few short days away, but I worked very hard to make sure that we stayed busy, and I kept them engaged by being more entertaining than usual. My biggest concern was the last day, as it was a half day and we had a sing-along mid-morning. I gathered an arsenal of activities thanks to my own creations, TpT, and a couple of great finds via Pinterest.

The first thing that we worked on was my Christmas Wish Assignment. Students enjoyed acknowledging special friends, teachers, and staff and of course, the fact that they were able to decorate their Christmas wishes didn't hurt either, since we don't do a whole lot of coloring in fifth grade.


After we finished these up, we had fun with Rachel Lynette's Christmas Would You Rather Questions. These always make for great discussions and I pretty much love anything that Rachel creates! 

I also found a super fun game at Happy Home Fairy. The link to the game can be reached by clicking here: A Super Fun Christmas Game. The students put a paper plate on top of their heads and follow directions (don't we always need practice with that?) to create a holiday picture. It was hilarious and so fun. In fact, my students asked if we could please do it again, so I'll be thinking of some ways to incorporate this in for a brain break. I'll be sure to share when I come up with some different descriptions. I am also thinking that we could tie it in to visualizing somehow. I've got lots of ideas now that I've seen how much fun this was for my class! 

To wrap things up right before our holiday sing-along, we played Christmas I Have, Who Has. What I love about this set from Jason's Online Classroom is that it has great descriptions so students really had to pay attention to determine what the clue was talking about. I love all I Have, Who Has games, and this was the perfect activity to wrap up our time together before the break.

So now I'm on break. I've got a to-do list a mile long but a lot of it simply includes relaxing. It's been a fantastic, but long first four months, and I have been in need of a break for awhile so while there's 1,000 things I could be doing for the classroom, I'm actually going to be sure to enjoy some me time too. I've already started my first read of the break and it's not even a book for the classroom, it's a John Grisham just for me! 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a relaxing break filled with fantastic memories. My biggest wish has already come true. My husband is home for Christmas. Last year he was deployed to Afghanistan, so I'm thrilled to have him home with me for the holidays. That is surely the greatest gift of all. 

Merry Christmas and thanks for following! 



Monday, December 2, 2013

December Currently

November was so busy that I actually missed a Currently! That NEVER happens! Ugh! In an attempt to start December out on the right foot, I am on the ball and getting my December Currently up in a timely manner before all of the real holiday bustle begins! I love linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for these! 



Listening: I dislike Sundays because they are filled with lesson planning. I sit on the floor amongst papers in our office/spare bedroom #2 and tackle grading papers, planning, data, etc., etc. Meanwhile, my husband LOVES Sundays because it's his time with the television. It's a football game marathon and also all that I can hear no matter what room of our condo I park myself in!

Loving: I was pretty crabby about having such a late Thanksgiving. Then I realized something wonderful: we only have three weeks of school until the next break! I can totally handle that! 14 1/2 school days…let's get this countdown started!

Thinking: After 9 years of teaching, I thought I'd have come up with a grandiose plan for reading groups. But three groups in one day for 20 minutes a piece? Ugh, I can't wrap my head around it! Each time we get going with something great, it's like "Time's up! Next group!" It's making me a little insane.

Wanting: I collect nutcrackers and display them on on our fireplace mantle. My husband thinks that they are creepy, but I went to the Nutcracker Ballet for every year of childhood and so, I adore all things related to nutcrackers! Right now, we have an uneven balance on the mantle and its driving me cuckoo! I need just one more…who care if that makes 14?

I also have to make cupcakes for my students and I'm running low on steam thanks to my decision to run at least one mile for each day of December. It would be great if I had more than one cupcake pan so I could actually get them all done at the same time.

Favorite Tradition: My husband and I spend Christmas Eve alone together. We open one gift, eat lasagna, and spend quality time together. Last year, my husband was in Afghanistan and we weren't able to enjoy this tradition together. Needless to say, I appreciate it even more having missed out on it last year!

Woohooo for December! I'm hoping Mother Nature will send a little snow Virginia's way!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

It's TPT SALE Time..and Time for a Best Seller Giveaway!



I know, I know! Two posts in one day…but I'm super excited to announce Teachers Pay Teachers next big sale! I am participating in this sale, offering 20% off starting today, which means that starting tomorrow, with the promo code CYBER, you will save 28% off all products in my store. I've recently added some fantastic items. 

I spent the weekend giving my independent reading log set a makeover. One of my first items to be added, it looks a million times better. Everything will print in black and white, there is more space for students to write, and I've revised the logs and even added two more on synthesizing. 

Grab them here: 16 Independent Reading Logs






Want to check out a sample? Grab my summarizing freebie from this pack at:



This also means that my best seller, Readers Response Sentence Starters & Tic-Tac-Toe-Boards, will be on sale! 


If you aren't already following me on Facebook, you can follow me at Mrs. O Knows. Right now, I have a $10 TpT gift certificate giveaway and $10 to my store giveaway listed for Facebook fans. I also do a lot of flash freebies for followers, so be sure to like my page. 

You can also follow my store and be notified of great products that I add to my store by following at Mrs. O TpT

Would you like to win the Independent Reading Logs and Reader's Response Packet? I'll select two winners!


a Rafflecopter giveaway



I'm planning another giveaway on this blog very soon! Be sure to follow my blog by gmail or Bloglovin' so that you can enter soon! 

As always, thanks for your support of Mrs. O "Knows" :-)


Undercover Santa

Well, it's official! I've created another fun inference resource! Since my Turkey in Disguise was a HUGE hit with over 2,000 downloads in less than a month, I decided to keep the fun going with Undercover Santa. I could not have created this resource without the help of Michael Rawls, over at
Monster Wrangler Mike on TpT. I have had a ton of pleasant experiences with him and I just adore his clip art! I've requested two items from him, including these Santas in Disguise and he not only created them, but did it in less than 8 hours! The man is awesome! He's also got a blog over at Crunchy With Ketchup.




This activity was created to support a focus on making inferences in the intermediate grades. If you were to do a web search for "inference riddles", you would see that there are many resources available. One of my favorite ways to teach making an inference is to use riddles to model connecting text to background knowledge or schema. This holiday-themed activity will be a great  reinforcement after a lesson using this riddles.

This activity includes a background story on the "Undercover Santa", which includes the assignment to create a disguise for Santa, who needs to save Christmas from an evil impersonator. There is a brainstorm page, a Santa disguise page (one in boxers and one in long johns, in case you have a preference), and a page to create a letter with clues so that students in the class will be able to read their classmates riddles and infer what Santa's disguise will be BEFORE they see it. An example is included for students who need a visual. I've also included suggestions for use for this resource. 

I'm super excited to do another one of these with my students. As I talked about in my last post, making inferences is a great challenge for my students, and anytime I can make it fun, I'm thrilled! Maybe I should start thinking about other holiday characters that I can disguise! I see more of these in my future.