This has been an exciting, fun-filled yet very hectic and exhausting week, however we made it through while at the same time enjoying the magic of the holiday season. Today was my final day to enjoy being with my students until I see them next year in 2015. To keep my students on task and on their very best behavior, I introduced them to the elf on the shelf at the beginning of this month. This was something that I've never tried before in my classroom, but I have to say the students loved it. I explained to the students that our elf would be watching over all of them and he would report to Santa and let him know who has been naughty and who has been nice. Each night, he moved to a new location in our classroom. Students were eager to find his new spot each morning as they arrived. I tried to keep our classroom on a typical schedule with "business as usual" as much as possible throughout the month of December. Thankfully, there were some really good days this month in which the students were very well behaved and surprised me with their very best work. There were also those days where I felt like pulling my hair out, as a few of my challenging students were just too hyped up, unable to sit for even a few minutes and focus in or follow directions. I did have to reflect on some of these difficult moments with these challenging students and implement a couple of new behavior strategies and behavior charts to keep them on track. I do have a behavior chart that I implemented with my entire class that I've used since the beginning of the year, however these students needed something a little more target specific to assist them with their needs. I believe effective teachers never stop reflecting on their student's needs and constantly make changes to help support them. I am hoping that these new changes will help support them when we come back from our holiday break.
Today was such a fun-filled, magical day at school and I just have to share it with you. Our entire school enjoyed "Pajama Day" and students were all invited to see the "Polar Express" movie in the gym. Each student had to earn a "Polar Express" ticket for good behavior throughout the week. Hats off to all our staff members who put together and helped out with this special event. My students met their third grade reading buddy partners before arriving to the gym. We sang holiday songs and I enjoyed reading one of my favorite holiday books to all the students entitled "Dream Snow" by Eric Carle. While watching the movie, students enjoyed an intermission break and drank hot chocolate and sugar cookies as a special treat. At the end of the movie students were surprised by Santa as he passed out Christmas bells to all the students. My students enjoyed taking home the small presents that I gave them along with presents they made to take home to their families. I was pleasantly showered with some gifts from my students and their families. It is amazing to feel so appreciated. Some families are just so incredibly generous, thoughtful and kind. Each year, I let my students know that the greatest gift that they can give me is the gift of being respectful and kind and to always try and do their best. It was truly a magical day and I feel so blessed. This is such a joyous time of year and I am hoping that all my teacher friends enjoy their much deserved holiday break.