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A Merry and Bright Classroom: Coworker Gifts and a GIVEAWAY!

Welcome to Day 5 of A Merry and Bright Classroom series! I'm so glad you're here! If you missed any of this week's posts, the links are at the bottom! Today I have something SO exciting in store! Make sure you read to the end of the post!

Do you exchange gifts with the other teachers at your school? Maybe with your grade level team? Or just your teacher besties? Well, I've got you covered with three handmade, special gifts that are sure to bring joy to your teacher friends! 

The first gift I would suggest is one of the pouches from my Etsy shop! All of the items in my shop are handmade by artisans in Tanzania! Some of the creators are independent, others are a part of an organization who teaches them to sew these beautiful bags. My favorite are the large pouches. They fit all of my favorite pens, post-its, and more, and keep them contained in my teacher bag!

I also love these makeup bags, made by The Binti Project. This project rescues women from trafficking and rehabilitates them- teaching them skills like sewing, farming, cooking, etc. I have several fabric options of these in my shop, and some of them even have a wipeable inside, made with tarp!

My second suggestion comes from the Etsy Shop INKChicago. I found this shop thanks to the #teachergram community! I love that they create beautiful handlettered designs on different items! I especially love this mug:
And their STICKERS are my favorite! I currently have the Create lightbulb on my laptop and this one on my Hydroflask!

Okay, now for the GRAND finale! TEACHER SHIRTS!! Oh my goodness, how we love them all! There are SO many awesome shirts out there, but I have to say, when I saw this design, I knew I had to make them a part of this blog post series! I LOVE these sellers, and their shop has some phenomenal designs! They are called WhimsyandWhiteboards!

Isn't that the most perfect tee for the holidays?! I think you and your team would look AMAZING rocking these the last week before winter break!
 And, it goes so well with my blog series, I asked Kelly, one half of WhimsyandWhiteboards, about partnering up for a giveaway! She is so amazing and is giving one of you awesome teachers one of these beautiful shirts! They have red and green shirts available, and their shirts are super high quality.
The giveaway is super easy and super quick, so make sure you get your entries in! It will close Sunday at 6 pm CST. I will then email the winner to get their information sent to WhimsyandWhiteboards so we can get the shirt to you ASAP! We would LOVE your help to get the word out about our giveaway, and you can share it using this image. Don't forget to link back to this page, so your teacher friends can enter too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you've missed any of the blog posts, here are the links:
Introduction to A Merry and Bright Classroom series
Deck the Halls
A Special Keepsake
Classroom Management Strategies
December Book Recommendations

Thank you for an awesome first week of this series! Come back next week for a whole lot more holiday cheer! Happy weekend, friends!

A Merry and Bright Classroom: Creating #BookNerds with Books for December

I am a #BookNerd and I'm proud to say it! I love reading, and love instilling a love of reading in kids. My one-year-old nephew LOVES books, and I will read his favorites to him 1000x because I love that he loves books!

Today I'm sharing some of my FAVORITES with you all for December! And, don't worry, no matter what you're teaching this month, I have a feeling I have some books for you! I've separated my favorites into categories to hopefully help you find some new reads! I also have some read alouds that I found on YouTube, if you'd rather incorporate those into your lesson plans. 53 links, y'all!! I've got something for EVERYONE!

Just so you know, any Amazon links that I provide in this post are affiliate links, but I would never share anything that I don't love. I just want to share my favorites with you, to give you some fresh ideas for read alouds or books to add to your collection. 

Christmas around the World is one of my FAVORITE holiday units!! I'll be sharing more about this next week, but I have a bundle of resources in my TPT Store that I use too! Here are some books to share with your students about the different ways different countries celebrate Christmas:

There are WAYYYY too many amazing Christmas Read Alouds for me to share, but here are eight that I LOVE!! I've tried to give a good mix for you!

My favorite part of Christmas is celebrating Jesus's birth! I recently read The Christmas Cat with my cousins, and OH MY GOODNESS it has become a FAVE! These are all so sweet though...

It's important to teach our students about other holidays people might celebrate too! And it includes EVERYONE in the conversation! Here are some great read alouds to get the convo started in your classroom.

If you have a Gingerbread Day or include some cookie fun into your plans, these are all such great choices for books! I love to make gingerbread playdough for my students to play with after we read these too!

If you don't celebrate these holidays, don't you worry! I've got you covered with some winter-themed books. Sneezy the Snowman is SO cute and great for retelling, as is the Cold Lady book. 

If you're looking for a fun way to incorporate these books into your classroom or household, Becca @ Foxwell Forest has a great blog post of how she does a Countdown to Christmas! Click the link or the picture below for all the details and a freebie!

I hope you enjoyed Day 4 of my A Merry and Bright Classroom series!! If you want to pin this post to come back to later and share with your Pinterest besties, here's the image! And make sure you pop by tomorrow, because you DON'T want to miss out on an awesome giveaway happening!!!

A Merry and Bright Classroom: Management Strategies

I know these last couple of weeks before winter break can be a trying time for us, as the students get excited for the break and stir-crazy (especially if you throw indoor recess in the mix too!). I always try to bring something new into my Classroom Management system to make things new and interesting. I've got three easy ideas for you today!

I just recently went to Target and snagged these adorable wooden figures from Bullseye's Playground. They are $3 for this set of 6, and I just love the colors! You can use these into January too.

The idea I had for these comes from Simply Kinder. I absolutely LOVE Jennifer's blog, and got so much from it as a Kindergarten teacher, but this is one idea you can use for all grades. She calls this strategy Passing on the Positive. Basically, whenever you see a student meeting/exceeding your standards, you call them out and give them the figure (I would be using these wood figures from Target!). For example, "I love how James got to work right away on his morning work" and then I would go and put the figure for the day on his desk. Then, maybe 10 minutes later, "Lindsay helped our friend who was absent yesterday find all of his work! Pass the penguin to Lindsay," etc. The figure is passed on all day, and whoever's hands it is in at the end of the day, that person gets a reward! 

Jennifer has all the details on her blog (linked above), but I love this because you're focusing on the positive. Everyone wants the figure, and if they hear that someone else was doing something well, they want to do it too! Depending on the age of your students, the penguin or gingerbread kid could jump from desk to desk, or if your seating is more fluid/flexible, they could keep it next to them or in their hands. 

What reward should they get? Well, my first thought is that you buy enough of these figure sets so you have the same amount of figures as days in December! Whoever ends up with the figure at the end of the day gets to take it home! Another option is Free Choice Time, or anything else that works best for you. 

Idea number two also comes from Target! Well, it can actually come from your home too, if you like to hoard flavored lip balms! Sweet Spots are one of my FAVORITE tools for the littles - PreK through 2nd grade is probably what this is best suited towards. 

I picked up these holiday Lip Smackers (again, anytime you can refresh something that you've done before but with THEMED items, DO IT!) from the beauty section in Target. The candy cane was $3, so $1 per lip balm. Again, very inexpensive but has a big impact. 

If you've never heard of Sweet Spots, all you do is carry around a lip balm as you're going through your day, and whenever you see someone going above and beyond, or transitioning really quickly, etc. they get a little "Sweet Spot" on their hand! It's literally just a stamp or a rub of lip balm! They EAT THIS UP.

Jorge showed perfect line behavior even when his friends didn't? Sweet Spot. 
Julia asked if her friend was okay when he tripped and fell and she helped him up? Sweet Spot.
Max didn't get upset when he made a mistake in his math? Sweet Spot. 
Lily made it the whole morning without tattling? Sweet Spot. 

And these lip balms last FOREVER. Easiest system ever!

As you can probably tell by now, I am a FIRM believer in not reinventing the wheel, and sharing things that have worked for me that I've got from other teachers!! #sharingiscaring #wearebettertogether So this last strategy comes from the Peppy Zesty Teacherista! It is called Code Word of the Day. And you can read about this on her blog, as well as get a FREEBIE to get you started. 

However, my twist on this for December is using a holiday word as your code word. For example, MENORAH, FATHER CHRISTMAS, or POINSETTIA would be great words!! 


I hope this breathed some fresh energy into your Classroom Management strategies and gave you something new to try! I'd love to hear how it works out for you, or see it in action on Instagram! Tag me @alliethegypsyteacher! Thanks for stopping by!! 

If you've missed the other posts from this series, click on the links below! Want to get these posts sent directly to your email? Sign up in the intro post!