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RACK Sacks and December Freebies

RACK Sacks - An easy idea to bring kindness into your classroom for the holidays PLUS 3 Holiday Freebies to make your life easier this December!
Holiday Classroom Tip - RACK Sacks
One super easy thing you can use in your classroom during the month of December is RACK (Random Acts of Classroom Kindness) Sacks. {Focusing on kindness right now is key and I love that RACK rhymes with SACK!}  On the first day back from Thanksgiving Break students each decorate a paper bag (nothing fancy), which serves as their RACK sack for the month.  You then hang (think staple) them to the wall where they act like brown paper stockings. 
RACK Sacks - An easy idea to bring kindness into your classroom for the holidays PLUS 3 Holiday Freebies to make your life easier this December!
During centers, writing or as a fast finisher students write compliments to one another that are delivered to RACK sacks and waited for with anticipation.  Students get to read the compliments and take their RACK sacks home on the last day before Winter Break and they also serve as a great place to keep, not only compliments, but other presents/treats/random desk items that need to be taken home before the holidays.  The kids love reading their compliments and it's an easy centers activity ALL MONTH LONG!  Keeping a cup of sticks or paper slips with all students' names to draw from helps to spread out the compliment giving more evenly if one or two RACK sacks start becoming way more full than the others.
RACK Sacks - An easy idea to bring kindness into your classroom for the holidays PLUS 3 Holiday Freebies to make your life easier this December!
Word to the wise: I ALWAYS read the compliments before delivering them (or letting a student/parent helper deliver them) to RACK sacks.  Most of them are so sweet and melt your heart (see compliment above), but a small percentage of students think a backhanded compliment counts as a compliment.  As we all know too well - it does not!  You do not want a nasty "compliment" going home and to receive an angry parent e-mail on December 23rd, so just read the compliments!  If you want to use the same compliments I do, you can get them for free with my Simple Student Holiday Gifts.  Easy peasy!
RACK Sacks - An easy idea to bring kindness into your classroom for the holidays PLUS 3 Holiday Freebies to make your life easier this December!
Gifts for You!
Working on your December plans?  Here are some freebies from me that will hopefully make life a little easier for the next few weeks.  Four printables are included in the December Holiday Fun Freebie Pack, and I just posted a brand new December Math Challenge that's ready for your 2nd-3rd grade mathematicians.
RACK Sacks - An easy idea to bring kindness into your classroom for the holidays PLUS 3 Holiday Freebies to make your life easier this December!
RACK Sacks - An easy idea to bring kindness into your classroom for the holidays PLUS 3 Holiday Freebies to make your life easier this December!

Happy Holidays!
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November Mentor Texts and Read Alouds - Themes of friendship, kindness, loyalty, and family

November is such a lovely month with chillier weather, earlier sunsets, and time for family, but it can also be super stressful with parent teacher conferences, elections, and Halloween hangovers.  All of my favorite November read alouds are feel-good books with themes of friendship, caring, and love (Who doesn't need this right now?!), or texts that make you feel warm and safe, thinking about things and people that are meaningful to you.  If you or your students are feeling stressed, sitting down together and reading one of these amazing books would be time well spent.
Two Bobbies is a perfect book to talk about the importance of setting, as it is set just after hurricane Katrina.  This can be a great book to talk about the themes of friendship, loyalty, and kindness.  I used it to talk about the importance and traits of true friends.  My students loved it. I could tell from the wide eyes, the "ooohhhhh"s and "ahhhhh"s and "yay"s!  After we read it we wrote Thank-you-Grams to all our wonderful friends while sitting happy and complete knowing the Two Bobbies are safe and sound.  :)   
I am a sucker for a good animal story!  Nubs is just that and can be used around Veterans Day since it's all about a dog in Iraq and his journey home with Brian, a brave Marine.  Such a fantastic story of friendship, loss, stick-with-it-ness (is that a word?!) and love.  I'm going to read it to the kids focused on things we're thankful for since it's November, but it's an anytime sort of book.  You can read a little more about Nubs, plus see a video of Nubs and Brian at my blog post here.  Love, love, love Nubs! 
The pictures in All The Places to Love are so, so beautiful!  This is also a great read aloud focusing on similes, and can be an excellent mentor text for a quick write about a favorite place.  You can also use it for a mini-lesson on zooming in to a particular place in your writing.
This is my go-to mentor text when we talk about descriptive writing, word choice, five sense writing, or just need a day when we do a no stress quick write.  The kids can always think of a month that they can describe!

Happy November and happy reading,

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Free 2016 Election Math Challenge with Electoral Map - Vote, Vote, Vote

A free 2016 Math Challenge and electoral map perfect for grades 2-4 math groups, homework, fast finisher, or extension.
Get ready for November 8th with this FREE Election Math Challenge!  It includes an electoral map and my Race to 270 Math Challenge which asks students to find two different combinations of states that have a total of 270 electoral votes.  There are also some teacher notes on a simple way to differentiate the project for more advanced students, as well as a link to my favorite site for looking at projected and actual election results with an interactive electoral map.  Just click here or on the picture below to download the freebie from my store!
A free 2016 Math Challenge and electoral map perfect for grades 2-4 math groups, homework, fast finisher, or extension.
If you like the freebie, I have 20 more election based math challenges and brainteasers that were just added to my store!  You can check them out by clicking here or on one of the pictures below.   
A free 2016 Math Challenge and electoral map perfect for grades 2-4 math groups, homework, fast finisher, or extension.
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Election-Math-Challenges-Brainteasers-Fast-Finishers-Homework-Extensions-2838880
A free 2016 Math Challenge and electoral map perfect for grades 2-4 math groups, homework, fast finisher, or extension.

Happy Election Day!
*If you like my blog please consider using the affiliate links above for your online shopping. This means when you click on these links I earn a small percentage of any purchases you make, but the prices stay the same for you. Thanks for helping to support my blog!*
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