Happy Weekend! Even though it's Saturday, I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday... I'm such a rebel!
Can you believe it is December?! It is hard for me to process that... Mostly because it feels like time is flying by recently... but the fact that I had my air conditioning on this week doesn't help!
Last weekend I put up my Christmas tree and finished 98% of my holiday shopping. I can't even believe it. I have never, ever been "ready" for the holidays this early!
Last night we went downtown to look at Christmas lights and see the "tree lighting" in our town... Which is kind of amazing because on Friday nights we are usually too tired to do anything. We went with great friends of ours and had a really, really good time. We are all dragging today though! Being out late after a long week isn't really our forte.
I'm not going to lie... it was a little hard going back to school after being off last week! However, I keep reminding myself how much I love this time of year with the kids. They are all so happy and excited. We have some big, fun school events coming up... and we have another vacation coming up in just a couple of weeks!
So, a lot of this week was spent trying to get back on schedule... getting my own kids to bed, trying to get them up in the morning and trying to get them to focus on homework and "real life" when all they want to think about is Christmas, our elf, and what kind of treat will be in the Advent calendar in the morning!
We got a HUGE shipment from Amazon this week! The materials I ordered from a grant I wrote recently came in and it felt like Christmas unpacking everything!
Among all of the wonderful new things we received, were 4 more "ball chairs" to complete our new flexible seating. I have been anxious to try out flexible seating for awhile now and I have to tell you... I just LOVE it! I knew that I would like giving the kids more opportunities to move... I have never been a "sit at your desk" kind of teacher... but I had no idea just how fabulous it would be!
I was a little concerned because I like to keep a lot of structure and routine in my classroom. I wasn't sure how the logistics of the new seating were going to work. I read lots of blog posts and pored over Pinterest looking for ideas. I found lots of great "choose your seat for the day" or "rotating seat" options. However, I haven't used any of them! So far, I haven't needed to. I explained to the kids that the different kinds of seats were going to "help their brains learn and bodies move in different ways" and so they should switch their seat with each new activity.
I was also very strict in the beginning and sent anyone who was "playing around" in their new seat back to a regular chair immediately. After the second day it was not an issue at all. (No one wants to sit in those plain old chairs anymore!)
I really feel like it has changed the energy of the room. Everyone is a little calmer and a little happier. I can't imagine ever going back to traditional seating.
I wrote THESE differentiated passages on 10 different holidays a couple of years ago. They are going to be perfect to use with the kiddos I have this year! I am also excited that I have (finally) finished a huge update to the unit! I added an entire "passport" section.
Inside the passport there is a short summary of the country and 2 pages for students to review/record their learning. There are also cute passport "stamps" for each country a student information sheet and a few "extras". I think they are going to be a lot of fun to use and will be perfect to keep my kids engaged during centers and in small groups. (You can also purchase just the passport portion of the unit HERE.)
I also have a very detailed version of this resource written on a simpler text and vocabulary complexity level (perfect for kindergarten and first grade!) HERE.
Have a great week!!