Saturday, November 28, 2015

10 Christmas Songs to Play at your School Holiday Party

Reading and Writing Redhead- 10 Christmas Songs to Play at Your School Holiday Party
I was listening to Christmas Music in the car and wondered which songs I might play if I played music at my class holiday party ( I teach second grade)... then I thought if I came up with some ideas, other teachers might benefit from a list and it could save someone time listening to holiday songs and deciding themselves! 

Now, I know not every school allows holiday parties or holiday music anymore. At my school, we still have a party the day before vacation and I know a lot of you do too. Some of you teach in Catholic Schools, some private schools and some are public school teachers like me and there is a huge variety of what is allowed. This post is not a commentary on any of that, it's just to share ideas. 

Here's the rationale behind the songs I chose:
  1. They had to be kid friendly songs (ie no iffy language etc., which would be weird on a Christmas song but Baby It's Cold Outside didn't make the cut... )
  2. These are more secular songs and not traditional Christmas Carols. I figured that would help some of you in public schools with stricter rules about what you could do regarding Christmas. 
  3. And of course, an important consideration-I had to love them! Haha!

Here we go! The list is in order from 1-10, in order of what I think would be best for an elementary school party but I suppose you could play them at a staff party too ( I included video links below, but I am NOT recommending any of the videos - just the songs themselves)!

1) Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band version

2) Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry Version

3) Frosty the Snowman - Gene Autry Version (there are other good ones, but I just love his versions)

4) Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms
By the way if you show kids the Hall and Oates video version of this, be prepared for confused facial expressions and laughter!

5) Rockin' around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee

6) White Christmas -  Bing Crosby

7) Sleigh Ride - I couldn't decide - I love both the Boston Pops Orchestra version (no lyrics) and the Ronnettes so here is a link to both; however a version with words might be better for younger kids.
Boston Pops Orchestra
Ronnettes


8) Holly Jolly Christmas - Burl Ives 
9) The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole of course!

10) Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra (had to get him on this list!)



Honorable Mentions: Didn't Make it because they are a bit focused on love instead of Christmas but might work for upper elementary parties. I LOVE these by the way!

All I Want for Christmas - Mariah Carey

Last Christmas - Wham! But I also love the Taylor Swift version and it might be a bigger hit with the kids


What holiday music do you play at school? Or what did I miss that you'd recommend? Please comment and let us know!


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Reading in a Winter Wonderland Freebie Hop

The temperature is colder and some of you have had snow! It's time for a winter-themed blog hop. I am excited to be joining up with some talented teachers and bloggers for a Mentor Text themed freebie hop! 
Reading in a Winter Wonderland Freebie Hop: Grab mentor text information and resources, freebies, and enter to win copies of all of the books featured!
To enter the giveaway raffle, you need to track a special blue word each blogger will post on their page. Look for those blue words!
We also will be donating copies of each book to two lucky winners- one  for each hop- primary and upper elementary! Check out these great books for the K-2 hop! Reading in a Winter Wonderland Freebie Hop: Grab mentor text information and resources, freebies, and enter to win copies of all of the books featured!
And here are the books for the 3-5 hop!
Reading in a Winter Wonderland Freebie Hop: Grab mentor text information and resources, freebies, and enter to win copies of all of the books featured!
Let's get to it!
What are Mentor Texts?
Mentor Texts are texts that can be used for a wide variety of reading and writing activities and must importantly, are used as an example of terrific writing for students. students can use what they learn to improve their own writing. I also find mentor texts, since they are such high-quality literature, to be terrific tools for working on reading skills such as comprehension, in addition to learning about the grammar and mechanics of writing.
How do I use Mentor Texts to help my students improve their reading and writing skills?
In my freebie, I include a page with suggestions on how to plan out your lessons.  However, you're the expert and with any concepts or skills, and you should use what you know about your students to determine which activities are appropriate for your class. You may need to supplement with some more whole class instruction or small group work.
Reading in a Winter Wonderland Freebie Hop: Grab mentor text information and resources, freebies, and enter to win copies of all of the books featured!
Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Burton
Here's some advice on how to use Katy and the Big Snow and my freebie. I give you some good information here but for all the details you want to download the freebie by clicking here!
Reading in a Winter Wonderland Freebie Hop: Grab mentor text information and resources, freebies, and enter to win copies of all of the books featured!
This is a beautifully illustrated book set in the town of Geopolis. Katy, a red crawler tractor is the main character and she is described as "very big and very strong". She is very helpful to the town but most of the winter she is too strong for the small amounts of snow and stays inside a garage. One day, a blizzard arrives! The illustrations give a clear picture of how much snow there and  you can almost hear the stillness that comes after a huge storm and feel the cold winter air. In the version I own, sparkles on the book actually make some of the illustrations sparkle and glisten. Townfolk call for help as every road gets blocks and every service gets shut down. Katy goes to work and the illustrations and text show her clearing a path through the towns, CHUG CHUGGING away until the hard work is done and she can rest.
Reading in a Winter Wonderland Freebie Hop: Grab mentor text information and resources, freebies, and enter to win copies of all of the books featured!
 When getting into a book like this, you always want to find out what kind of  background knowledge your students have. Have they experienced a blizzard? Or are they from Florida and have never seen snow? 
Also, since part of the way I suggest you use the book is by looking at word choice, there is a snowball themed "Word Splash" type activity in the packet. 
Reading in a Winter Wonderland Freebie Hop: Grab mentor text information and resources, freebies, and enter to win copies of all of the books featured!
The day you read the text, I recommend you help guide your students by thinking through the text. The guide included will help you! I even provided an answer key of sorts to help you determine how to discuss the points.
Reading in a Winter Wonderland Freebie Hop: Grab mentor text information and resources, freebies, and enter to win copies of all of the books featured!
I like to call this kind of activity being a "word detective" and send the students back in the text to find examples of dialogue. You also can incorporate some teaching about the use of quotation marks. A lot of young students (I teach second grade) will have a narrative writing piece or fiction story but with no dialogue at all. They benefit from guidance that a balance of dialogue and narrative sentences can make their writing much more interesting and engaging!
Reading in a Winter Wonderland Freebie Hop: Grab mentor text information and resources, freebies, and enter to win copies of all of the books featured!
After you work through some of the other activities, I recommend your students start to brainstorm what they could write about. I like to also ask students, after they choose their final topic, to explain why the topic they chose would be best for them (in writing or verbally). Sometimes, if they don't have any reason, I look at their brainstorm list and talk about their other ideas and we find out one of them would be better. Then it is time to make a story map to plan their writing!

Now that you have learned about Mentor Texts and how to use Katy and the Big Snow,  you can download my freebie by clicking here or on the image below!
Reading in a Winter Wonderland Freebie Hop: Grab mentor text information and resources, freebies, and enter to win copies of all of the books featured!
Over on Pinterest, if you are looking for other teaching ideas for ELA, you may want to follow my board, "Bex's Teaching Ideas". It has a little of everything!
a Rafflecopter giveaway






My mystery word: BLIZZARD






Sunday, November 8, 2015

November Resources


I was redoing some of my fall product covers and realized that  it might be helpful to have all of my products relevant to November in one place! So let me share with you what is available for you and your class, and yes, I have a bunch of freebies! For any item, click on any image to see it at Teachers Pay Teachers.

First up is a free product that has compound word practice with a Thanksgiving theme! Thanksgiving Compound Words Practice has a cut and glue activity and a compound word game too!

Next is a turkey themed place value practice pack for your students to practice working with ones, tens, hundreds, place value blocks (base ten blocks) and more to get them comfortable with all things place value!
Thanksgiving Themed Place Value Practice includes print and go NO PREP pages you can do in class, as bell ringers/morning work or for home. 
               
 

It also  includes fun cut and glue activities for children to practice different CCSS place value standards.

 
 Click here to get the FREEBIE sample of the Place Value Practice pack and see if it will work for you and your class!
 
The Thanksgiving Story Problem Pack FREEBIE is a sample of story problem practice pages you will find in the Thanksgiving Math and Literacy Pack.
It has a cut and glue format where kids match up the story problems with their answers and glue on a record sheet.
Try my FREE Thanksgiving Thankful Turkey craft! Pretty self explanatory from the image below. Click here to take a closer look!
My Thanksgiving Math and Literacy Pack has tons of great activities for November. It contains odd/even Riddles, compound word practice, place value practice, addition and subtraction story problems, math task cards, Thanksgiving themed morning work, and ABC order practice.
Here are just a few samples!
  
 Finally,  Fall Frames and Arrows is a fun fall themed practice for students who need to work on those Everyday Math frames and arrows problems a little more! This bargain priced product allows kids to work on one rule frames and arrows problems.

Thanks so much and let me know if you have tried any of these fun fall products or have your own favorite!


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Social Media Tuesday, Nov. 3

It's  Tuesday already?! Here are my top 3 Social Media Posts of the week! Click on any images to see the original post! First:
INSTAGRAM
You guys loved this simple quote  on IG. Inspirational-type quotes are so helpful to me personally. I love it when others appreciate them too and can benefit from them. Thanks to the IG account @phuckyoquote who has a lot of great ones I repost!
Next: FACEBOOK
This was my top Facebook post. It's thought provoking and relevant to anyone who works with dyslexic students (which is  pretty much all teachers) and parents.
And finally,
PINTEREST
This Pin is a link to a short article that might give you some tools in dealing with those students who are not honest.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Currently November 2015

It's Currently Time! I am linking up with the fun Farley for her Currently linky! Click on her logo below to check out her blog and see who else linked up
Listening: I used to listen to this Boston radio station called WFNX in junior high, high school and when I was back in the area after college. It went off the air quite a few years ago (it was alternative rock) and I was sad. THEN last spring I discovered WERS, "Boston's Modern Rock"! I am in love! They play stuff I listened to back then like Squeeze, Social Distortion, Pixies, and more, and cool modern artists like Walk the Moon, Jamie XX, Django Django and so on. They're terrific! Except I occasionally can tell when their student DJs don't know the old artists. I have heard about "Todd and Wet Sprocket" and "The old 1970s". Hee hee!

Thinking, Wanting and Needing: I had a small cold last week and it has dragged on and on and now today I woke up with a sore throat. YUCK. And interfering with my productivity!

Loving: On a positive note who did not LOVE x 100 the extra hour of sleep?! YAY!
YUMMY: I am a sucker for candy corn! Hello leftovers!

Thanks for stopping by! Hope your month gets started on the right foot!