New Years Resolutions with Adjectives

So, first off, I have to say that I stole borrowed this idea from author Martha Beck*. She says, when making goals or resolutions to focus not on the nouns and verbs (I will lose 25 pounds), but rather on the adjectives that describe how you would feel if you achieved the goal (healthy, strong, attractive). She suggests brainstorming a list and choosing the three best ones to focus on. Focusing on the adjectives can help you to refine your goal and to be motivated to achieve it.

I liked the idea and wonder if it might be applicable in some way to kids. Would it be valuable to ask students to first write goals/resolutions (I have asked students to write three goals, one academic, one behavioral, and one personal) and then ask them to write adjectives to describe how they would feel if they were to achieve those goals. Then they could brainstorm activities they can do now that make them feel that way.

*Beck, Martha, "Words to the Wise," O: The Oprah Magazine, January 2011, pgs 37-38 &41.

Teachers Pay Teachers Sale - 15% Off!

Everything in the catalog is on sale (not just my stuff). Use promotion code: C2N5Y to get 15% off of everything you purchase now through January 2!

Gingerbread Man Recipe in Pictures

Here is a great project to do with little kids this holiday season. Each recipe makes a single ginger bread man, so this is great if you don't want to make a bunch. The steps are easy to follow for little people with some adult assistance. If you do this with a group, give the kids margerine tubs or cereal bowls to mix in and teaspoons to mix with.

I have created ten of these single-serving step-by-step picture recipes. You can get all ten here. The free preview provides two more recipes and detailed suggestions on how to use them with groups.

Happy Cooking!

Winter Break Scavenger Hunt

Christmas Break Scavenger Hunt

1. How many letters are in your full name?
2. Who has the longest name in your family?
3. Find something that is 8 inches long
4. What exactly is Wassail?
5. Find something that is red and white
6. Find something that is used to fix something
7. What is the first ingredient in eggnog?
8. Find something with numbers on it
9. On what date does Hanukkah start next year?
10. What was your mother’s favorite holiday memory?
11. How many windows are in your home?
12. How many light bulbs are in your home?
13. How tall are you in inches?
14. Who’s picture is on a $5 bill?
15. How many round ornaments are on your Christmas tree?
16. What was the temperature outside today?
17. What time will the sun rise on January 3?
18. How many pages does the longest book at your house have?
19. Who wrote, 'Twas the Night before Christmas?
20. Are there more plants, people, or animals in your house?
21. How many hours are in your Winter Break?
22. Underline all the words with 3 or more syllables on this paper
23. Circle all the prime numbers on this paper.
24. Draw a snowman  on the back

Some Christmas Fun for all You Doctor Who Fans

Yes, it's true, with marshmallows and  toothpicks, you can make your own adorable Adipose Christmas tree ornaments! Be sure to make a bunch because as you know, there are a lot of them! I think we have about a dozen so far.

If you have no idea what this post is about, and are curious, take a peek at this adipose wiki link.

Christmas Analogy Fun

Here are some fun Christmas Analogies to try with your students. You can get these Christmas Analogies (with answer key) in a Free Worksheet Here

1. Frosty : snowman : : Rudolph : _______________
2. ribbon : present : : ornament : ________________
3. snow : white : : holly : ___________________
4. sing : carols : : decorate : ________________
5. present : gift : : carol : ___________________
6. mall : shop : : table : ___________________
7. mistletoe : doorway : : stockings : ________________
8. Frosty : snowman : : Blitzen : ___________________
9. Christmas : December : : New Year's Day : ___________
10. partridge : pear tree : : elf : __________________
11. Christmas tree : plant: : reindeer : ___________________
12. happy : merry : : silent : __________________
13. crowd : people : : _______________ : reindeer
14. Santa's helpers : elves : : _______________ : Mrs. Claus
15. cold : North Pole : : ________________ : fireside
16. ballet : Nutcracker : : ___________________ : Jingle Bells
17. Christmas tree : beautiful : : _______________ : twinkling
18. wrap : presents : : _____________ : Christmas cookies

Get 18 More Pages of Analogies Here

FREE Twelve Days of Chirstmas Math Word Problems

Today's free offering is a set of 12 story problems based on the song,  The Twelve Days of Christmas. The answer key is included  and there is also a fun creative thinking activity at the end. You can download it here:

Free Twelve Days of Christmas Story Problems

Tsuro Makes a Great Family Game

Tsuro: The Game Of The Path (2009 Release)Every holiday season, I pick out two or three family board games. The clear favorite this year is Tsuro. I would have never found Tsuro on my own. While beautiful, it is not flashy and doesn't scream out how great it is. I would not have even noticed it on the shelf. I only bought it because the guy at the game store said it was a good game. When I checked it out on Amazon, the nearly 5 star reviews confirmed his recommendation.

Tsuro can be played by two to eight people. We played with three. The game is simple to learn: Put down one of your three cards, follow the path, and don't fall off the edge of the board. But the strategy is not so simple and I am still a long ways from figuring it out. Here is what I like about this game:
  • It is one of those rare and wonderful games that works for the whole family. An eight year old and an adult can play and both have fun.
  • It is elegant in its simplicity, but it is not simple. Because each of the path cards are different, and because each card can be placed in four different ways (four sides), each game will be unique.
  • It is easy to set up and put away. A game takes less than 20 minutes, so it is great if you don't have all evening.
  • I also like that it has a definite eastern theme. The makers of this game could have westernized it - putting the board and the pieces in bright colors and giving it an exciting name. Probably it would have sold better. But I am so glad they did not. The authentic design of this game makes it a joy to play. Before the rules there is this paragraph:
"Since time began, the Dragon and the Phoenix have guarded over and guided the intertwining paths of life, maintaining the careful balance between the twin forces of choice and destiny. These tow powerful beings share the noble task of overseeing the many roads that lead to divine wisdom. Through its masterful blend of strategy and chance, Tsuro represents the classic quest for enlightenment."
So, if you are looking for a terrific game to play with your family and friends, Tsuro could be it.

If you are looking for more game recommendations here are three other posts I have written:
Three Great Games
Apples to Apples

Free Christmas Tic-Tac-Toe Journal Prompts

Want to add a little holiday magic to your journal writing program? Try this free journal prompt choice grid. At the start of the week, students choose three of the nine prompts. Since they must choose three in a row, they will have to make some choices, weighing one prompt against another.

You can get the whole set of  Holiday Tic-Tac-Toe Journal Prompts here.

Or you can get enough Journal Prompts for the Whole Year here.

Ten Great Creative Book Report Ideas

There are many, many great ways for students to respond to literature. Students especially enjoy creative book reports. These will work for most any book and are especially good when students are reading independent book selections. A quick web search will reveal that there are many ideas out there for creative book reports, but they are not all good ideas. Here are, in my opinion, the ten of the best creative book report ideas.

Image credit:Whimsy Workshop Teaching and  Lovin' Lit

Book in a Box  Decorate a box to represent the book and fill it with objects that symbolize different aspects of the story (see student handout example below).

Book Timeline  Use words and pictures to make a timeline of important events from the book.

Book Mobile  Create a mobile using the four story elements (setting, character, plot, theme).

Shoe Box Diorama  An oldie, but a goodie, create a diorama of an important scene from the book.

Book Collage  Create a collage using pictures that represent different parts of the book.

Movie Poster  Pretend the book is going to be made into a movie and create a poster to promote the movie.

Main Character  Make a 3-D model of the main character and write an interview with that character.

Setting  Make and label a detailed map of an important setting from your book.

Scrapbook  Make a scrapbok with items and pictures athat are important to the life of the main character and to the story.

PowerPoint Presentation  Create a PowerPoint presentation with slides for the story elements as well as a summary and opinion.

Once your students have completed their projects, be sure to allow them time to share with the class.

This post was inspired by my son's college literature group, who were assigned to dramatize Oedipus Rex and chose to do it with sock puppets.

What is your favorite book project?  Please share with a comment

Teaching Resources

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