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Thursday, December 31, 2009


Happy New Year to Everyone!

Click on this link or copy into your browser to send a New Year's Card!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Stress Busters

Stress Busters

Try getting up at least 15 minutes earlier each morning to have some time to yourself. You can make coffee or stretch before anyone else in the house gets up.

Prepare for your next day the prior evening before you go to bed. Waking up in the morning knowing that you are ready helps make things run more smoothly.

Instead of trying to remember multiple things in your head, write them down. " Practice saying "no" to people. No one expects you to be able to do everything, so don't even try.

Keep a journal. Writing out your feelings is a great way to reduce stress. Seeing your problems on paper often times leaves them there.

Think of ways to practice preventative measures, such as making duplicate keys to avoid being locked out of your car or house, and fixing things around the house or classroom that have the potential to breakdown on you.

Prepare meals on the weekends and freeze them to be used during the week. Simple meals can be just as nutritious as extravagant meals.

Know your goals in life and set priorities. Having direction makes situations more worthwhile.

When given a large task to complete, break it down into smaller steps. It won't look so overwhelming if you try this.

Reduce clutter in your home and classroom. Get rid of things that you know you will never use again, or at least find a way to neatly store them away, if you cannot come to throw them away.

Uplift other people in your life. Say nice things about them. This goes a long way in making you feel distressed, too.

Say positive things about yourself. Believe in what you are doing, and remind yourself that you are making an impact on kids who rely on you. You are pretty important, eh?

Take a warm bubble bath to ease tension. " Develop a hobby that makes you feel good. Some people like to read as a hobby, while others prefer to do something with their hands. Find your niche.

Give your appearance a new makeover. Getting a new hairstyle or treating yourself to a new outfit is okay!

Consider joining a gym or practice meditation. Breathing exercises are also recommended to reduce stress.

As long as you are a teacher you will feel some effects of stress in your life. You have to make a personal decision that you will take measures to reduce your stress. The people around you may not change, so you are the one who has to do the changing. Stress is not only a mental factor, but a physical factor as well. Taking care of your body and mind is paramount. Eating a healthy diet and putting optimistic thoughts into your head is certainly beneficial. It takes practice, but you're worth it!

Remember you matter, educators make the world go around!

Cynthia Hughes & Carol Bailus (Newsletter Editors)

Worksheet Library

Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Year Quotations

New Year Quotations

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~Oprah Winfrey

One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things. ~John Burroughs

Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits. ~Author Unknown

A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. ~Author Unknown

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

Source and More Quotes:

New Year's Theme Resources:

Boxing Day Dec. 26

Boxing Day By: Alecia Dixon

When is it?
December 26th, Boxing Day takes place on December 26th or the following Monday if December 26 falls on a Saturday or Sunday.

Where did it come from?
Boxing Day began in England, in the middle of the nineteenth century, under Queen Victoria. Boxing Day, also known as St. Stephen's Day, was a way for the upper class to give gifts of cash, or other goods, to those of the lower classes.

Where is Boxing Day celebrated?
Boxing Day is celebrated in Australia, Britain, New Zealand, and Canada.

How is Boxing Day celebrated?
There seems to be two theories on the origin
of Boxing Day and why it is celebrated. The first is that centuries ago, on the day after Christmas, members of the merchant class would give boxes containing food and fruit, clothing, and/or money to trades people and servants. The gifts were an expression of gratitude much like when people receive bonuses, from their employer, for a job well done, today. These gifts, given in boxes, gave the holiday it's name, "Boxing Day".

Source and rest of the story

Friday, December 25, 2009

Weather Lesson Plan Ideas

Teaching Tip: Specific Weather Lesson Plan Ideas
By: Teachnology Staff

Here are some great ways to incorporate weather in your class.

1. Look at recent storms and the damage they have caused.
2. Track a storm from start to finish.
3. Using the scientific method, have students make predictions about storms.
4. Have students make precipitation graphs for your area.
5. Make windy things- windsocks, pinwheels, weather vanes.
6. Check out live cloud/weather cams.
7. Create a weather station.
8. Track and graph moods and weather.
9. Learn to use a barometer.
10. Compare the weather in areas of the world that have volcanoes to areas that don't have volcanoes.

Weekly Tips for Teachers
Issue 493: December 21, 2009
This newsletter is brought to you by,
the online teacher resource center.
View it at:

For More Resources:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Card

Merry Christmas Poem


Merry Christmas, my Dear Friend
I wanted you to know
You make my life more complete
And this I hope does show.

My Friend, you are always there
I give to you my trust
Tears and laughter we have shared
Your friendship is a must!

Yes, God has really blessed me
So this I pray for you
"Merry Christmas, my Dear Friend,
And Happy New Year, Too!"

Jean Bowley-Meadows

More Poems and Resources:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

40 Best Christmas Resources: Wallpapers, Themes, Icons, Vectors and More

Best Design Resources for Christmas Around the World
40 Best Christmas Resources: Wallpapers, Themes, Icons, Vectors and More

If there’s any we’ve missed, let us know in a comment, we’ll add it in. Merry Christmas in advance.


More Christmas Around the World Resources at:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tips for Incorporating Christmas Themes in Your Classroom

Top 10 Tips for Incorporating Christmas Themes in Your Classroom

When students come back from their Thanksgiving break, chances are Christmas is quite the topic of conversation. Students who celebrate the holiday may have already started to help with decorating the tree, hanging stockings, or even developed the lists they plan to mail to Santa. Here are some fun ways that you can incorporate Christmas themes into your classroom. If your school does not allow Christmas to be celebrated because of religious connotation, some of these themes can be changed to a winter or holiday celebration.

1. Send a card.

Greeting cards can be used regardless of the religion, whether it is to wish someone a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukah, or just a great New Year. In the classroom, they can help develop grammar and writing skills, spelling, handwriting, foreign languages, art, or even computer skills. Depending on the skills you want to focus on, you can have students draw or use computer art programs for the artwork, as well as practice different writing styles for the message. For instance, they can practice a style of poetry you have been working on, include your winter-themed spelling words, write in a foreign language, or use cursive writing instead of printing. Consider spreading the good cheer by sending the cards to a local hospital, nursing home, or orphanage.

2. Read a book.

Depending on the age level of your students and your core curriculum, there are a variety of Christmas stories available. Older children can read "A Christmas Carol" and discuss the themes behind the three ghosts. Religious classes can delve into the original Christmas story in the Bible. You can even read "The Night Before Christmas" and discuss the poetry and older vocabulary words during that time. For writing assignments, have students write a modern day version of classic tales.

3. Design a budget.

Nearly everyone loves giving and receiving gifts for the holidays, and most children have at least a general concept of money. Use this opportunity to create basic math problems, design budgets for how much they can spend per family member, or come up with computer spreadsheets to track their holiday spending. You can even bring in ads from various stores for children to price compare favorite holiday items.

4. Wrap a gift.

If your students are ready to talk about sizes and shapes or surface area, you can use gift wrapping as an illustration. Give students different-sized pieces of wrapping paper and have them measure the item and paper to see if it will fit.

5. Count the days.

For students that are just learning their numbers, counting can be an excellent way to reinforce the concept. Create a calendar counting down the days until Christmas, the last day of school before vacation, New Year's, or other important winter events. Have students practice counting by 5s, 10s, or backwards. Older students can take this a step further and figure out how many hours or minutes are left.

6. Bake Christmas cookies.

If you have access to an oven, baking can be a great way to talk about measurements and time. Or you can have students bring in a favorite family recipe and talk about how it was passed down through the years. You can even look and see how different flavors came to be used in cookies and where different spices originated from.

7. Deck the halls.

With many houses hanging twinkling lights up for Christmas, or lighting candles for Hanukah, this can be a great way to start a look into basic electricity and how it works. It can also be a jumping off point for safety discussions like how to prevent fires or disaster plans.

8. If the weather outside is frightful…

Then you have an excellent opportunity to talk about weather and climates. You can teach students how to measure precipitation, discuss factors like how cold it has to be to snow, or compare and contrast the climate in different parts of the country.

9. Feed the birds.

If you live in a location that is quite inclement in the winter time, you can use this as an opportunity to discuss wildlife and pet needs. Make bird feeders or treats to hang in the yard. You may also talk about the importance of bringing animals indoors when it gets too cold outside. You can even use this as a discussion how in some areas of the world the farm animals live in the house with their owners.

10. Plan a trip.

For some students, the holidays may be the only chance they get each year to see relatives that live out of state. This can be a great way to introduce map reading skills, discuss different climates, or learn to read airline schedules. Older classes can use the internet to plan imaginary trips to far off countries and discuss flight plans and what to pack for the weather.

The winter holidays can be a great way to incorporate Christmas into your classroom. Beyond the annual Christmas party, these are just some ideas that you can use to make Christmas last the whole month long.

Remember you matter, educators make the world go around!

Cynthia Hughes & Carol Bailus (Newsletter Editors) December 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hanukkah Themes

Top 10 Tips for Incorporating Hanukkah Themes in Your Classroom

When it comes to winter holidays, unless your school or city with a high Jewish population, Hanukkah tends to get pushed into Christmas' shadow. Here is a look at how you can incorporate Hanukkah themes into your classroom.

1. Achieving the impossible

Hanukkah focuses on the story of keeping a burning light lit for eight days, when there was only enough oil to last for one. Sounds like an impossible task! Have students write about a time where they accomplished something that they had previously thought was impossible.

2. Dreidel, dreidel

Spinning the dreidel is a traditional holiday game. You can have a class competition with the dreidel. Split students into teams to compete against each other, and then have winners compete against the winners from other teams for a class champion. Candy, raisins, stickers, or other small items can be used as prizes.

3. Create a holiday scrapbook

Celebrating Hanukkah in your classroom represents an appreciation for diversity and cultural understanding. Encourage your students to share their favorite holiday memories through a creative scrapbook. Each student can create a personalized page, or you can have them research the important symbols, meanings, and stories behind Hanukkah and create a class scrapbook.

4. Stamping the holiday spirit

Living in America, we celebrate diversity. The U.S. Post Office publishes holiday stamps, including ones celebrating Hanukkah. Have your students think about cultural underpinnings - as well as the style of a stamp design - by asking them to create a unique stamp. They can enhance their communication skills by presenting their design and its symbolic meanings.

5. Make your own wrapping paper

Jewish children receive a gift for each night of Hanukkah. You can have students design a different wrapping paper for each night. If you have extra time, have students use the wrapping paper to wrap up a small homemade gift for a loved one.

6. Cook a feast

For classrooms that have access to a kitchen, you can make up your own Hanukkah feast as a way to introduce students to traditional foods. If you are unable to actually cook, have students look up Hanukkah meals and design their own menus of what they would serve.

7. Make a menorah

Each night of Hanukkah, the family will light candles in a special holder, called a menorah. You can have students model their own menorah out of clay. Have them look at pictures for inspiration. You can even place real candles in the menorah for students to light at home.

8. The gift of giving

Students can learn that giving to others is an important part of any holiday. Consider having them bring in canned goods for the local shelter, or host a bake sale to raise money for the less fortunate. Older students can vote on which charity they feel needs the money the most.

9. A look at oil

Since the story of Hanukkah revolves around lamps burning for eight days, this can be a confusing idea for students who are commonly familiar with electricity. Have your students research oil lamps and how they were used. You can also take a look at how olive oil is made, from planting olive trees to the finished product.

10. Compare and contrast the celebrations

Hanukkah is often considered the Jewish "Christmas," but in actuality the two holidays are quite different. Have students research both holidays and their traditions to see how the two compare. Upon closer observation, they may be surprised at how different the two traditions are.

These are just a few ideas on how to incorporate Hanukkah themes into your classroom. With a little creativity, you can have students see the magic behind this holiday as well.

Remember you matter, educators make the world go around!

Source Credits: Cynthia Hughes & Carol Bailus (Newsletter Editors) at

Worksheet Library Newsletter December 9, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Books


Over the River and Through the Woods by Lydia Maria Childs
Rotten Ralph's Rotten Christmas by Jack Gantos
The Christmas Spirit Strikes Rotten Ralph by Jack Gantos
The Nutcracker by Deborah Hautzig
Night Tree by Eve Bunting
The Biggest Most Beautiful Christmas Tree by Amye Rosenberg
Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstain
The Raffi Christmas Treasury illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott
Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh
Shh! by Julie Sykes
The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore, illustrated by Jan Brett
The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore, illustrated by Douglas Gorsline
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Santa's New Sled by Sharon Peters
Wake Up, Bear...... It's Christmas! by Stephen Gammell
Tree of Cranes by Allen Say
Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad by Mercer Mayer
Peter Spier's Christmas!
Hedgehog's Christmas Tree by Kathryn Jackson
The Night Before Christmas In Texas That Is by Leon A. Harris
The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
Santa's Secret Helper by Andrew Clements
ABC Christmas by Ida DeLage
It's Christmas by Jack Prelutsky
Jingle Bells
Who Said Red? by Mary Serfozo
Santa Claus and His Elves by Mauri Kunnas
Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Barbara Shook Hazen
Bialosky's Christmas by Leslie McGuire
The 12 Cats of Christmas by Kandy Radzinski
The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
The 12 Days of Christmas illustrated by Sheilah Beckett
The 12 Days of Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett
On Christmas Eve by Margaret Wise Brown
If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Joffe Numeroff
The 12 Bugs of Christmas : A Pop-Up Christmas Counting Book by David A. Carter
Jingle Bugs/Pop-Up Book With Lights and Music by David A. Carter
175 Easy-To-Do Christmas Crafts by Sharon Dunn Umnik
The Advent Book by Jack Stockman
Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera
Baby's Christmas (Jellybean Books) by Eloise Wilkin
A Bad Start for Santa Claus by Sarah Hayes
The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear by Stan Berenstain
Cajun Night Before Christmas by Trosclair
Cajun Night After Christmas by James Rice
The Chanukkah Guest by Eric A. Kimmel
Christmas Around the World by Emily Kelley
The Christmas Bear by Henrietta Stickland
A Christmas Celebration : Traditions and Customs from Around the World by Pamela Kennedy
The Christmas Crocodile by Bonny Becker
Christmas in Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren
Christmas Lights by Ann Fearrington
Christmas Tree Farm by Sandra Jordan
Claude the Dog : A Christmas Story by Dick Gackenbach
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
Arthur's Perfect Christmasby Marc Brown
A Cobweb Christmas -German Story

Literacy Gift Ideas for Parents

Families often appreciate simple, inexpensive gift ideas
that provide “scope for the imagination”

Here is a list of some gift ideas for your child:

-Magnetic letters – (especially lower-case) to put on the refrigerator
-An art sketch pad and set of thin marking pens
-Magnetic Write/Erase Board
-A large set of Berol Prismacolor pencils (wonderful water color pencils)
-Children’s books (see enclosed lists of favorites) – you can often get real bargains at local second-hand book stores
-CDs of classical music and children’s folk songs – traditional English and Spanish
-Mommy, It’s a Renoir! (art postcards)
-An illustrated children’s cookbook (see sample recipes from Kids in the Kitchen)
-Open-ended building toys: Lego blocks
-Blank journals, notepads, stationery, envelopes, postcards, and stamps
-A disposable camera
-A playdough kit with several colors of playdough, rolling pin, cafeteria tray, cookie cutters, and plastic animals
-Books on how to draw simple animals and objects; a variety of pencils
-Old dress-up clothes (ask Aunties and Grandparents to help gather)
-A collection of different adult hats (shop garage sales and Goodwill)
-A set of Lincoln Logs

Taken from Parents as Partners in Kindergarten and Early Literacy: Family Connections that Multiply our Teaching Effectiveness, by Nellie Edge © 2007. Updated 2009.

This is from the monthly newsletter from the Nellie Edge Excellence in Kindergarten and Early Literacy site. For more information and resources visit .

Party Games for the Holidays

Holiday Party Games
by Judy Miller at

When the family gets together during the holidays, anything
is bound to happen. All in attendance get a healthy dose of
food, fellowship, and fun. If your house is the site for this
year’s family party, don’t forget the games!

Games are great for challenging the mind and getting a little
friendly competition going between family members. Choose

games that will work for kids and some for the adults. Some
games will work for both. Here is a list of potential games that
could liven up your family celebration this year.

1. Santa Exchanges – This game is full of fun. The object is for
everyone to bring a wrapped gift and put it in a designated area
like under the tree or on a table. Then each person draws a
number from a hat. In turn, each person gets to pick a gift from
under the tree. When it is their turn, each participant has the
option to pick a gift from under the tree or take a gift from
someone who has already chosen. The catch is that once a gift is
chosen, the person has to unwrap it and show the group. All gifts
should be in the same price range but some will be nicer than
others. Also, the first person to go is the last person to get a
chance to exchange their gift. They get to choose from all the
gifts in the group. This game works best for adults. Younger
children may not appreciate the "exchanging" part of the game.

2. Timed Guessing Games – This includes naming the gifts on

each of the 12 days of Christmas, naming as many Christmas
carols as you can, taking a word and making as many words as
you can from it, and a Christmas word scramble. Kids and adults
are good for this one. You can find tons of printables at to use for this game.

3. Family Trivia – Who knows the most about their relatives? Let
each relative write down something that happened to them and

give them to the person in charge of the game. Everyone else gets
a piece of paper. After each question is read, all players write
down whom in the room each is referring to. The one with the

most correct answers at the end of the list wins.

4. Charades – This is a tried and true party game. All of the
puzzles have to relate to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or other
winter holidays. Some examples include a cartoon, movie, book,
song, or event. The team with the most correct answers wins.

5. Name that Christmas Carol – This is just like “Name that
Tune.” Sing or play a CD with the first line or two of a
Christmas carol. The family contestant has to come up with the
next line correctly. Start off with easy carols and progress to
harder ones as you go up the ladder.

6. Snowman Scramble - Divide the children into two teams, with
one person from each team as the "snowman". Put the snowmen

at one end of the room, with a box of clothes and other things to
dress the snowman in. You could use hats, scarves, jackets, even
a nose on a string, like a clown nose. Have a relay race to see
which team can completely dress their snowman first.

7. Pin the Tail Variations - there are many variations of "Pin
the Tail on the Donkey" that could be played. Use a picture of
reindeer and play "Pin the Nose on Rudolph". Another way to

play is to put Santa's hat on his head. You could have a package
that needs a bow on top. If you want to make it more complicated,
for older kids, have a picture tree with several decorations that
need to be hung on the tree. Whoever gets the most on the tree

These are but a few of the great games you can come up with to
keep the family in stitches this holiday season. Enjoy the fun,
laughter and memories that will be made!

Source Credit: Judy Miller at

More Christmas and Holiday Resources:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Gift Exchange

From Sandra Brockel, a fifth grade teacher at Grace Miller Elementary School in Bealeton, Virginia:

“This tip will help you plan for the holidays. Many teachers have their students exchange gifts by drawing names. Instead, we ask each fifth grader to bring a gift that can be used by any fifth grader at recess. They bring the gifts wrapped without a tag. At our holiday party, we have the students sit in a circle on the floor. We play holiday music and hand one gift at a time to a student who passes it on around the circle. We continue to add gifts, which are passed around until the music stops. Any student with a gift in hand, when the music stops, opens the gift and shows it all. We continue with additional rounds of the game until all gifts are opened. The students love the gift opening, and even those who aren't able to bring gifts aren't left out. We end up with basketballs, Frisbees, Nerf balls, board games, playground chalk, and even the big plastic tubs in which we store the playground toys. And we use the gifts all year!”

Source Credit: Works4Me December Tips at

More Christmas Resources at