Throw Back Thursday Post: Gingerbread Fred

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This is an old post but is so perfect for the season.  I think you will love Gingerbread Fred!


I have to share the adorable-ness (is that even a real word?) of an activity shared with me by a colleague.  She showed me this two years ago and it has been a HUGE hit with my students.

Meet Gingerbread Fred.

Students get to take him home for one night, read the books in his bag, write about his day, and then return the bag the next day to school and share their fun with the class.  I know the idea is not new, or even novel.  However, my kids are THRILLED to get him!

The bag contains two books (The Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers and the Gingerbread Baby), a composition notebook, and Gingerbread Fred.
Gingerbread Fred is actually a dog squeaky toy from CVS.  Who knew it would be so hard to find a stuffed gingerbread man??!? I think he was under $10.

Inside the front cover of the composition notebook is this little note:

Here is an adorable example from one of my past students:

I have two bags that go home with two different students each night,  Students read their responses at the end of the day.  Then, the bag is packed up and sent home with the next student.  I simply go in student number order- it makes it an easy battle! 

I tried my hand at hand painting a bag but it got all messed up while drying.  I am too lazy to make a new one.  I bought the printer iron on transfer paper and when I have a chance I am going to iron on a new pretty bag picture! My kids are so thrilled they don't notice the ghetto bag.  Lucky me!

Here is a cover for the composition  book that can also be used as an iron transfer picture for the bag and the sheet to glue inside the front cover.

The fonts are from Kevin and Amanda and the adorable gingerbread clip art is from KPM Doodles!
How many more days left?  Too many!


Party Planning Part 2

Yesterday I shared how I get organized for our party.  I thought today I would share the actual activities we do for the celebration.

After we eat breakfast we break out the fun.  Generally, we divide the class into groups of 4 or 5 students each.  Then we set out one center per table.  Groups rotate through each of the activities. When possible, we assigned one parent to each center to monitor and help kids.  We also made sure that the parents had a book to read if the students finished the craft before the time was over.

In the past, some of the activities are ordered from Oriental Trading Company.  The BIGGEST hit of the party were these necklaces. They were loved equally by the boys AND girls!

They were a bit pricey at $6.50 a dozen, but we decide to order these instead of a gift for the kids.  They were thrilled! Seriously worth EVERY penny.

The gingerbread man frame was also fun and were super simple.

Looking for CHEAP ideas that don't require ordering? Here are a few:

Another activity was to create a sugar cone Christmas tree. Kids loved these.

We added the materials to our parent letter (from yesterday) so we did requested it all at them same time.  It saved our pockets. It was easy- plates, knives, icing, sprinkles, and mini M & M's. We also made kids wait to eat these until the end of the day to avoid sugar overload.  If you want to make these a bit more academic you can always have them write a how to paragraph about creating these. This can even be done after the party! Here are some templates:

Another variation of this is letting students decorate gingerbread men cookies.

My kids also made a reindeer card to give to someone special.  My original tracers are buried in my boxes of Christmas stuff and are a million years old.  I decided to dress up this old idea and created this freebie.

This would be cheap and only uses classroom materials (copies and construction paper!).

We did not make this at our party, butI saw this adorable freebie on TpT and thought it would be a great center for a party!

Making reindeer food would be a fun and easy activity for a parent to manage. Students could make the food.  After they make the food they could create the craft (with or without writing).  The little craft is super cute, too! If you decide to use it, make sure to add oatmeal to your parent letter ;).

I just posted another Facebook exclusive freebie.  Did you get it? ;)

I hope this gives you some fresh ideas!  Only a few more days!  You can do it!



It's That Time of Year..Are You Prepared???

I will answer that for myself...


I was never prepared.  I was always SHOCKED that it was time for the holiday party!  With collecting the last bit of grades, filling out report cards, making parent gifts, I was always behind.

So let's share do you

Luckily, about 3-4 years ago my co-teacher and I stumbled across the best kind of party.  Easy to enough organize and  made the parents, kids, and ourselves happy! So today, I am sharing all that goodness!

First trick:  we did our party first thing in the morning.  I know this sounds counter productive.  Normally you wait to the end of the day and send them on the bus to be all crazy and sugared up.  See, we did it FIRST thing and let parents check them out afterwards. I can't believe I just typed that. Should I delete it?  We usually did a breakfast and then some years we also did gingerbread houses at another time.

But seriously, we did a breakfast party and were able to incorporate more healthy treats and a bit less sugar.  Sausage and bacon don't usually hype kids up and we threw in some fruit to make it a bit more healthy.

I have sent home parent letters two different ways in our class (depending on the class).  We either assigned items to bring OR we asked parents what they wanted to send in.  Both ways worked.  Here is a sample letter of how we assigned and WHAT we assigned for breakfast and gingerbread houses:

Click here to download the letter. The letter is editable, but the graphics are locked per the artists' terms.

Other years parents volunteered to send in items.  First we sent them a list of all the items, the parents then circled and let us know what they wanted to send in and then we sent a final letter letting them know the item to actually send in (to avoid doubles and triples).

Click here to download the letters. The letter is editable, but the graphics are locked per the artists' terms.

We  also asked for parent volunteers.  The perfect amount was about five- one parent to make pancakes and then four parents to man the centers. We usually did four to five centers.

Tomorrow I will share some activity ideas for the party on the cheap!

So, are you ready?!?!



Snowman Gift Craftivity FREEBIE

Have you guys seen the new ebook book filled with wonderful freebies?

TONS of winter themed freebies were collected and organized into book format by the wonderful Hilary Lewis of  Rockin' Teacher Materials.

I was thrilled when my Snowman Gift Wrap Craftivity  FREEBIE was picked for the ebook.

This pack has all the printables needed to create this adorable snowman just using two paper plates and paper.

Print and copy all the masters for the snowman.  Then have students color them and cut the pieces out.

Then using a ruler cut of about 1/4 off the top of ONE of the paper plates.

Glue the face onto the full size paper plate.

Staple the two plates together so that the insides of the plates are facing each other. Make sure the hole is at the top!

Wrap a small gift in tissue paper and stuff it into the hole!

And it is DONE!

I also included tips for making cinnamon applesauce ornaments as gifts.  They fit perfectly in the snowman gift wrap and are super easy to make!

Here is the recipe:
•1 1/2 cups ground cinnamon
•1 cup applesauce
•1/4 cup white school

Mix cinnamon, applesauce, and glue together in a bowl. The dough should be as thick as cookie dough. Add a bit of water if the dough is too stiff.

I will say that you will need to at least triple this recipe for a class of 20. 

When I did this with my students I gave each student a paper plate and had them write their name on it.  This was their work mat.  The dough had to stay on the paper plate.  It kept the desks from becoming too messy and it labeled their work- double win!

I gave Kinley a huge ball- you wouldn't give students this much! Students then flatten the ball out with their hands. Then students used cheap, plastic cookie cutters from Wal-Mart to cut a shape out.

Then use a small, cut up piece of plastic drinking straw to make a hole for the string.

Then let the ornaments dry before wrapping!

A few hints:
* Let students add details using a pencil tip and "carving" into the dough.  I did find that if they used small pieces of dough to add details, they often fell off when it dried. :( Sadsville.

* Allow a few days (2-3) for drying time.  I found that HUMIDITY in the air could affect how long it took to dry.  I got lazy when I made the one above with Kinley and put it in the oven to bake at 200 degrees for awhile.  It dried and did not crack (but I watched it carefully).

I was all nuts and just embraced the crazy and we did this whole group.  It was fine and the kids loved it.  I really didn't have any behavior problems.  NOW, if I had to go back and do it, I would have small groups to do the ornaments while the rest of the class worked on the craft above. :)

Are you a Facebook follower?  If you aren't, you should be!  I have been sharing EXCLUSIVE Facebook freebies on my page!!

And I have even more up my sleeve to share!! Hop on over to follow and get your freebie!!

Happy crafting!  I hope your week is short and quick!



Santa Sack FREEBIE Available for a LIMITED TIME only!

Hey guys!

I got to make this quick!  It is night-night time at the Gregory's house. It's about to get real.

BAD NEWS: I ran out of time and will not be publishing my December Math Centers on TpT.

GOOD NEWS: I will share the centers I have been making exclusively to Facebook Fans.  The freebies will be available for a LIMITED TIME only before I remove them, so get 'em quick!!! I just posted the first one on my Facebook page.  You must like my page to access it.

Second GOOD NEWS: Although I don't have my formal math centers available I do have December Math Craftivities pack available for just $4.99 that would be perfect to use in place of centers.

Today is Wednesday so make sure to hop over and join my Five Word Wednesday contest on Facebook.  It is a great outlet and the responses are a HOOT! One winner will be chosen to win any item in my store!



It's Beginning to Sound a Lot Like...

Watch out Black Friday, Cyber Monday (and Tuesday at TpT) are almost here!  I actually went all crazy with my husband and braved the crowds on Black Friday.  My parents came over and it was almost like a date night, but a lot more shopping and happened in the morning!  We didn't leave until about 8:30 am and it was PERFECT!  All the wild and crazy shoppers had already come and gone and we were able to get What!?!?  It was actually FUN.

So NOW it is time to get everything on my TpT wish list.  And it may be just a wee-bit long! This Monday and Tuesday TpT is doing the Cyber Monday Sale!  Woot!

Christina Bainbridge is hosting an adorable linky party and I thought I would participate!  Very clever idea!

Here's the playlist!

Let's check out some of those songs!
All these products are available here.

I also want to feature my newest product!  

December Math Craftivities has FOUR different crafts that all practice different math skills.  The pack includes:

Geometric Gifts- Students great geometric riddles.

Pretty Poinsettia Numbers- Students complete a variety of activities based on one number.

Mistletoe Math- A problem solving craft. Students solve one word problem. Different levels of difficulty are included  for differentiation (adding two digits with no regrouping, adding two digits with regrouping in the ones, two digits with regrouping in tens and ones, adding three digits with no regrouping, adding three digits with regrouping in the ones, adding three digits with regrouping in the tens and ones).

Measuring Mr. Penguin- A measuring activity to the nearest inch or centimeter.

Great for the hall and for engaging students in meaningful tasks.

My store will be 20% off, but don't forget to add in the code (CYBER) for the extra 8% that TpT takes off!  I always forget to add it!

Happy shopping!


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