Currently...January 2015!

I'm joining in on the fun with a Currently post! I haven't done one of these for a while, and, thought it would be fun! I can't believe we're into a new year already! I'll be sharing my word for 2015 on Friday- so get ready for that!

Listening: The Voice is one of my favorite TV shows, so I had to catch up on the season I missed while in Tanzania! I love it!

Loving: time at home has been lovely! I'm getting to see friends and family, and just lay low for a bit, enjoying the American commodities! :)

Thinking: I head back to Tanzania on Friday, and I have a lot to do before then! Shop, pack, get together with friends and family, appointments, and a bridal shower! Let's do this!

Wanting: I brought back some delicious coffee from Tanzania with me, and am still up to my ears in it! If you would like any of this robust goodness, comment or email me at allieelliott@yahoo.com! If you're in the Omaha area, we can make a time to meet. If you're not, I can ship it to you! I'm selling it for $12 for a half-pound or 3 bags for $30! It's a fundraiser for me, since my position teaching in Tanzania is as a volunteer :)

Needing: I have rediscovered all of my college textbooks from my teacher courses! I want to review them and get some ideas how to make myself a better teacher, before I head back to school next week.

YES: My money is limited, and I'm a free spirit in that area. A goal I have for 2014 is to make a budget and stick to it!
MAYBE: If I get the opportunity, I'd love to come back next school year to Hope International School to teach! I hear that the decisions are made within the next month...so we shall see!
I WISH: One of my best friends that I have been BFF's with since we were seven years old is getting married in March! I'm so excited for her, but devastated I won't be able to come to the wedding, since I'll be in Tanzania. We're making the most of it though, having a bridal shower for her while I'm home, and spending some quality time together!

What does your life look like, currently?! I'm linking up with Farley at Oh Boy, Fourth Grade for this fun linky!
Much Love, Allie
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Christmas in my First Grade Classroom

Happy 2015! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas season! I have had the incredible opportunity to come home over Christmas break, and have been wholeheartedly enjoying it! I head back to Tanzania in about a week, to start school again. I've taken a bit of a blogging break to spend time with friends and family, and make the most of my time home. But I'm back today, sharing some of what I did with my first graders to celebrate Christmas in our classroom!

I felt as if Christmas sneaked up on me this year. Part of that was the weather. Coming from Nebraska, where 40 degrees Fahrenheit is warm for this time of year, the sunny skies and 90 degrees just didn't emit the same feelings of the holidays approaching! But we made the most of it, with fun projects and activities! I found some awesome ideas on Pinterest, which got my creative juices flowing!
No power + Hot Classroom= sweaty, cranky students (and teachers!). The last couple weeks before break were getting pretty toasty, and the power went off almost every day. After an hour break for lunch and recess, we would come back into our classroom and no one could focus, everyone was hot when the power went off because there was no airflow. So I decided to have our rest and reading time outside one day! It was so much better, the students could spread out, and calm down. I'll definitely be doing this more during the hot season that's started now!!

One of the fun projects that we did, was make a classroom Christmas tree! The idea came from Kelley from Teacher Idea Factory- she did this her first year of teaching (and every year since) too! It's so cool because each student gets to take part in making the tree. I decorated some triangles to make the tree more equal too.

Each student got a white cardstock triangle, and we started by painting them green. The only requirements are that they have to be equilateral triangles that are the same size! You could totally skip this step by cutting the triangles from green construction paper, but, I didn't have any! So...I improvised, and the kids love to paint...it's a win-win!

Then, I brought out all of the fun crafty stuff! Glitter foam, stickers, sequins, markers (a special treat!), Christmas shapes, etc. And the students all decorated their triangles however they pleased! They were very creative, and made a huge mess had lots of fun!

 Every single one was different- and it wasn't ME who created the tree, we all did! Look at those fun triangles! Also, why do they always want to cover their faces?! Hahaha

So proud of their awesome work! Creativity at its finest

 We've been working hard on our addition facts! This activity was a great way to review the facts along with bringing some Christmas cheer! It came from Heidi at Second Story Window...and it's free!

The students each get a Christmas tree and ornaments with numbers 2-12 on them. They color the ornaments, cut them out, and then take turns rolling two dice, adding the numbers together, and finding the ornament with the correct sum. Then, they glue that ornament onto their tree! The first to have all ornaments on their tree wins!

Of course, the reason for the season is Jesus! I am blessed to teach at a Christ-centered school where we can celebrate and teach about Christ! So we spent some time on the real Christmas story, and made these paintings to go along with it. We finger-painted the stable, the star, the manger, and baby Jesus. My inspiration came from Crafty Morning.
 Each of the nativity scenes were different, and it was great for them to take home something to remind them to celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas.

"I will play with snow and I will have a red nose and I will with Santa" - :)
On the last two days before break, we completed this SUPER fun craftivity by A Cupcake for the Teacher. The pack also comes with some great morning work or transitional activities; it's called Reindeer Games. She gives exact instructions how to create these adorable reindeer, and provides some options for writing papers too!
"my name would be Clarice and my nose would be black."
 I printed all of the templates out and had the students color them, as construction paper is something we don't have a lot of. Then we cut everything out, and I helped them glue it together. The next day we watched Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer, and did our writing. It was so fun to introduce most of them to Rudolph, while keeping them learning and writing!
Merry Christmas from these cool kiddos! :) So blessed to be their teacher! (BTW: why do "silly" pictures always turn out better than the nice ones?! #teacherproblems)

What did you do for Christmas in your classroom? I'd love suggestions for next year!

Much Love, Allie
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