Yesterday was another very fun filled day at school.
Before school started, I got my gift to my Secret Pal ready and delivered and when I returned I found that my Secret Pal had delivered my gift. I had two packages, beautifully wrapped, waiting for me, and that super cute sled made out of candy canes and chocolate. I already knew who my Secret Pal was a couple of weeks ago when she gave out a hint on Facebook that I deciphered. It was the co-teacher that comes to my room everyday. She is such a sweet person, and she has been an amazing Secret Pal. It all made sense when I found out who it was, because I mentioned in a post last month how my Secret Pal always seemed to know the best times to deliver a gift. Well, I hadn't even considered that it was the person I spent every morning with. HA!! If anyone was going to know everything going on with me, it was going to be her.
Inside the packages were an awesome assortment of games. Which is totally fitting, being that I have been wanting some games to use in my classroom with my kids during station times. However, she did such a great job in picking out some games, I'm going to have to use a couple of them at home. Here are the pictures of the gifts unwrapped...
Dominoes, cards, card games, and a wooden puzzle. And I also got an awesome trivia game that I'm not revealing because it may or may not be used as a gift to one of my kids. And another gift I may be regifting to one of my own children is...
Jelly LOVES games like this, and has been wanting some to play at home. She already has Candy Land, Pop the Pig, Break the Ice, and a couple others, but I think she'd really like Chutes and Ladders. It was a favorite of mine when I was her age.
I feel kinda guilty regifting gifts that were given to me, but my Secret Pal has really helped me out. I have been looking for games, and I know I'll be the one that ends up playing the games with my children so it all comes out where I end up getting use out of the games all while saving myself some money. Saving money is a gift my Secret Pal doesn't even realize she's giving me...and that's a HUGE gift to give me this time of year. The rest of the games will stay in my classroom and will be used by my students, as I'm sure they are intended to be used. The best part about that is that my Secret Pal will also get some use out of them while she's with me.
I got to pick out a new Secret Pal for when we come back to school in January. I'm really excited about my new Secret Pal. Not that I wasn't about my last one. My Secret Pal this semester was a new teacher to our building this year, but she's a person that I went to college with. So, I knew her a little better than anyone else would have had they picked her. I love the idea of having someone I don't know very well, or interact with very much, so that way they have absolutely no idea who it is delivering gifts to them.
My hope is that next semester I can have a lot of fun with the Secret Pal thing, and not forget to buy gifts as often as I should. I felt bad for this semester's Secret Pal, because with everything that's happened with my mom and the snow and other stressful stuff that was going on earlier in the year, it was hard for me to be as good a Secret Pal as I should have been.
There are also a lot of gifts piling up under the Christmas tree in my classroom. My students wanted to participate in a "Secret Santa" activity for the class party that takes place today. All week, the thirteen students that opted to participate have been bringing gifts for a person they selected. That person doesn't know who they are, and won't until the unwrapping takes place this afternoon. Being that there was an odd number of students participating, I stepped in to do it as well. I selected a student to buy for and a student selected me.
The kids are getting super excited about it almost being Christmas break, and it's getting just a tiny bit harder to control the noise level in my classroom. I decided to use the Christmas music as their noise control device, yesterday. If I couldn't hear the music, they were too loud. I only had to give them one noise time out all day, so that's not too bad. For ten minutes they had to sit in complete silence while they worked. Being that all of the "work" we did was Christmas themed, it was so hard for them not to talk about it with their friends. But, they got through the ten minutes and then kept it under control for the rest of the day.
Last night was our Christmas concert. We had to practice for over an hour yesterday afternoon, and last night several of my kiddos showed up to perform for parents and grandparents and anyone else that wanted to see a very cute show. The 3rd through 5th grades sang Let it Snow, Jingle Bells, The Twelve Days of Christmas, Christmas Don't be Late, Silent Night, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas. The band also performed a few songs, and there was a song sung by the Jr. high choir.
During rehearsals, I had been given the job to sit in the very back of the bleachers and help direct the students through the words of the song. I had also come up with little actions to perform for the Twelve Days so that I could help the kids remember which one came next. It was quite a sight to see me up there demonstrating geese a-laying, maids milking, swans swimming, ladies dancing, Lords leaping, pipers piping, and drummers drumming. It was apparently so entertaining, that the lady sitting next to me who had been recording the kids singing decided to turn her iPad on me so that she could get a video of my "awesome" performance. I'm sure that'll end up on YouTube at some point. Being that she was less than a foot away from me, I'm sure the camera probably added about 50lbs. As long as I don't end up on one of those TV shows that makes fun of YouTube videos, I don't mind.
At the very end of the concert, a special visitor arrived. Yep, Santa finally came to town. Due to all of the snow, the Christmas Parade was cancelled. I teach in a town called Noel. The Christmas City. To not have Santa make an appearance at some point or another just isn't right, so I'm so happy that he decided to stop in and take some time to see the kids. He stayed until every kid that wanted to take a picture had the chance, and even handed out some candy and pencils. As you can see from the picture up top, Jelly got to see him and Peanut decided she also wanted a photo with Santa. I missed out on Butter, who tried to photobomb everyone else's picture, but wouldn't actually get a picture by himself.
I still can't believe that Santa will actually be coming to town in only four days from now. I have SOOOO much to do before he can deliver gifts on Christmas Eve. I sure wish I had some of his magic or a few of his elves to help make all that wrapping get done.
Today is the last day of school for 2013. The next time I set foot in my classroom, after today, it will be 2014. Weird to think about. But, we are leaving out today after a full day of fun.
This morning, most of my class along with most of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades are going on a very special trip to the movies to watch Frozen. It is a reward for making growth since the start of the semester. The kids that had 90% attendance for the month of December, AND had made growth on their STAR testing are getting this reward for all of their hard work. I didn't have anyone that has to miss out due to attendance, because my class has all been present the whole 8 days in December they had to be there. But, I do unfortunately have five students who don't get to go because their growth performance wasn't on par.
It makes me sad that some kids have to miss out, but I also stand behind my principal for doing incentives like this one. The kids have to work very hard to show their growth. It's a requirement that the kids demonstrate their learning, and show that they are getting what they need. Most of the time, the tests that the kids take to show that are pretty accurate, but if they don't try their best and give it their all it reflects that, too. The kids that are having to stay behind have demonstrated to me that they are learning, but when it came down to demonstrating to others.. knowing full well what the incentive was...they fell short. And I don't see anything wrong with showing that hard work pays off, and that hard work is rewarded.
When we come back from the movies, it will be time for our Christmas parties. The kids voted to watch The Grinch for their party. We'll have the gift exchange, eat goodies, and I'll hand out the small class gifts I got for all of them. It will be fun, food, and relaxation for the entire afternoon. They are even going to bring their pajamas to wear for the movies, as well as blankets and pillows. Might as well be comfy while they are watching, right? I'm going to sit right down there with them and watch the movie. Why not? I deserve one day to act like a kid and take myself out of the role of teacher and have some fun with them.
Speaking of which, I better get to getting if I'm going to get myself ready in time. I still have to stop at the store and pick up goodies for Jelly to take to her class party today, and get to school early enough to prepare 20 small gift packages for my students.
Have a wonderful Friday, everyone! I know I will.