Building Classroom Community with Kindness Elves

Hello again!

Know that I am revising this post from last November between a bites of leftover pumpkin pie!  You are allowed to enjoy dessert as a meal while on  holiday break, you know!  May you count the many blessings in your life on this day and always!

As I was perusing Pinterest last year for holiday activity and lesson ideas, I came upon this post from Erica Bohrer over at Erica's Ed-Ventures that struck a strong chord.  Her idea of introducing "Classroom Kindness Elves" instead of the ever-popular Elf on the Shelf  is a good one, for many reasons.  Mainly though, it promotes not only the importance of compassion, tolerance, empathy, and caring, but teaches students the value of doing good deeds for others.  It also promotes a classroom atmosphere of positivity, collaboration and community.


Introduce Kindness Elves to your primary grade students to promote a classroom atmosphere of collaboration and community this holiday season!



There is a FREE resource pack in her TpT store {HERE}  that includes everything you need to introduce Kindness Elves to your own students!  Please be sure to leave thoughtful feedback when you download it!




Anna from over at The Imagination Tree, is the original creator of the Kindness Elves concept.  She is a parent who wanted an alternative to Elf on the Shelf for her family, a daily visitor who was more helpful than mischievous.....more nice than naughty.  Her elves are modeled after tomten, which were gnomes or trolls often featured in Scandinavian folklore. Tomten were seen as caretakers of Swedish households, little elf-like creatures who--when treated with respect--did favors and small chores for farmers during the winter solstice and around Christmas-time.


Introduce Kindness Elves to your primary grade students to promote a classroom atmosphere of collaboration and community this holiday season!


If your group of primary students is anything like mine, the struggle to stay on track with respectful words and actions even after 65+ days of school is real. My plan to improve behavior is to introduce my own pair of Kindness Elves to Room #2 when we get back from Thanksgiving break!

Please understand that I respect and admire all those brave souls who indulge their students in daily Elf on the Shelf antics, but--after  complaints from parents four years ago about students suffering from nightmares, not to mention a huge disruption to learning (and a high volume of screeching) when our elf was found twirling at high speed from the ceiling fan after we returned from an afternoon recess--I "retired" Edward to the North Pole for good!  My students now just enjoy the website whenever we have indoor recess and that is enough!

When I started shopping for my Kindness Elves on  The Imagination Tree  Facebook page I sadly discovered that they are completely sold out of the sets pictured above.  But never fear!  You can still find 25 great "good deeds" suggestions for your students {HERE}.  I was able to find these treasures on Amazon! I expect delivery by next Tuesday, Dec. 1st, along with this beautiful picture book written by Astrid Lindgren, the author of Pippi Longstocking




Introduce Kindness Elves to your primary grade students to promote a classroom atmosphere of collaboration and community this holiday season!




Introduce Kindness Elves to your primary grade students to promote a classroom atmosphere of collaboration and community this holiday season!


I was so excited to order my Kindness Elves, that I went out to my neighborhood Dollar Tree yesterday and found small baskets and other festive accessories that would make their arrival fun and a little bit magical!  Be sure to follow me on Instagram for updates next week!

I also created this set of posters and desk tags so that one boy and one girl in your class can take turns daily being the class "tomtens!" The stuffed elves can perch on their desks with the tag once you've named them, and the pair of students can then take the lead in doing the daily good deed(s) the group has been assigned!  I even included some friendly letter templates the children can use to write letters to the elves if desired!

You'll find the link to this exclusive freebie {HERE}.  The posters can be printed half-page size to save ink!  I just could not resist using the lovely, Nordic hand-knitted textured and colored papers from Scrapster by Melissa Held Designs and Little Stuff as the backgrounds!


Introduce Kindness Elves to your primary grade students to promote a classroom atmosphere of collaboration and community this holiday season!



Introduce Kindness Elves to your primary grade students to promote a classroom atmosphere of collaboration and community this holiday season!



Introduce Kindness Elves to your primary grade students to promote a classroom atmosphere of collaboration and community this holiday season!



Introduce Kindness Elves to your primary grade students to promote a classroom atmosphere of collaboration and community this holiday season!



Jan Brett, one of my favorite author/illustrators and features tomten in many of her books.  Christmas Trolls features the twins, Mig and Tig, who learn an important lesson from their new friend Treva about sharing and caring for each other.  Any of these stories would make wonderful mentor texts for your language arts lessons or multicultural holiday study during the month of December, and help your students better understand the giving spirit that defines the true meaning of the season.




This FREE pack of daily notes and reminders from Jen at Teaching in the Tongass will also hopefully help guide my students as they participate in various "random acts of kindness" around our school, our community, and at home throughout the winter months.  




You can even create notes or letters of your own using this FREE clip art set!  
Thank you in advance for leaving thoughtful feedback on both resources!




I also created these three resources last year to help build a more positive classroom community and compliment my unit on Patricia Polacco's holiday books.  They are perfect activities to extend our "elf experience."  Click {HERE} to see them in my store!


WRITING TASK CARDS AND TEMPLATES!
 LIGHT UP THE HOLIDAYS



TWO FREEBIES!
 HOLIDAY CHARACTER TRAIT POSTERS








Introduce Kindness Elves to your primary grade students to promote a classroom atmosphere of collaboration and community this holiday season!



Be sure to check out my Pinterest board for other ideas on how Kindness Elves can make your classroom a caring and joyful place this winter!  






Invitations by Post, an Etsy shop, also has a great selection of Kindness Elves just waiting to be adopted!

As always, thanks for allowing me to share my ideas and classroom creativity with you!

Warm Regards,





Tis the Season to Solve Holiday Riddles!

Greetings of the season my friends!

It's my second day of  "staying away from the shopping fray" so I thought I'd recycle this blog post from two years ago and share some holiday humor along with one of my favorite December holiday resources!

Students will love using picture clues and riddles to solve the literacy and logic puzzlers in this holiday activity pack! They will also enjoy reading and writing their own festive riddles for friends to solve!


Hopefully this parody of C. Clement Moore's classic 'Twas the Night Before Christmas will help make the teaching days ahead a little easier for you!

Know that I took a LOT of poetic license with some of the rhymes, so just bear with me!   Hopefully, 
Sr. Mary Rose Krupp--my senior high creative writing teacher--will forgive me!  Here goes.....


'Twas a month before Christmas,
when all through the school.
Not too many children
were listening,
which was really not cool.

The teachers were trying,
to make activities fun.
The kids just weren't learning!
They wanted lessons to be done. 

Then along came some riddles,
some with silly pictures and clues.
Thinking skills and highlighters were
encouraged and ready to be used!

Solving the mysteries made reading and writing,
all the more focused and oh so delighting!
Some kids worked together, some worked alone.
No one left their seats or around the room did they roam.

They used inside voices, and laughed at the jokes.
The pictures were of some pretty funny holiday folks!
They colored and drew, and wrote their own riddles too!
Then asked their neighbor to try and solve their new clues!

If you'd like to try these act-i-vi-ties,
then head to my store.....Jennifer Reynolds...on T-p-T!
There's also a FREEBIE tucked in this post,
to show you that I appreciate you, my customers, the most!


Students will love using picture clues and riddles to solve the literacy and logic puzzlers in this holiday activity pack! They will also enjoy reading and writing their own festive riddles for friends to solve!







Students will love using picture clues and riddles to solve the literacy and logic puzzlers in this holiday activity pack! They will also enjoy reading and writing their own festive riddles for friends to solve!



Students will love using picture clues and riddles to solve the literacy and logic puzzlers in this holiday activity pack! They will also enjoy reading and writing their own festive riddles for friends to solve!



Students will love using picture clues and riddles to solve the literacy and logic puzzlers in this holiday activity pack! They will also enjoy reading and writing their own festive riddles for friends to solve!



Students will love using picture clues and riddles to solve the literacy and logic puzzlers in this holiday activity pack! They will also enjoy reading and writing their own festive riddles for friends to solve!



Students will love using picture clues and riddles to solve the literacy and logic puzzlers in this holiday activity pack! They will also enjoy reading and writing their own festive riddles for friends to solve!



Students will love using picture clues and riddles to solve the literacy and logic puzzlers in this holiday activity pack! They will also enjoy reading and writing their own festive riddles for friends to solve!



Students will love using picture clues and riddles to solve the literacy and logic puzzlers in this holiday activity pack! They will also enjoy reading and writing their own festive riddles for friends to solve!



Students will love using picture clues and riddles to solve the literacy and logic puzzlers in this holiday activity pack! They will also enjoy reading and writing their own festive riddles for friends to solve!



Students will love using picture clues and riddles to solve the literacy and logic puzzlers in this holiday activity pack! They will also enjoy reading and writing their own festive riddles for friends to solve!




As always, thank you for sharing my story!  Continue to teach your children well, hold a song in your heart, always find time for a rhyme, wish upon a star, and keep smiling!

Click
{HERE}
to scoop up both riddle packs
as well as this one too! 


Students will love using picture clues and riddles to solve the literacy and logic puzzlers in this holiday activity pack! They will also enjoy reading and writing their own festive riddles for friends to solve!


May your holidays be merry and bright!
~Jennifer

Talking Turkey--Vocabulary Enrichment Ideas for November

Hello Friends!


The countdown to Thanksgiving has begun, and I'm here to share a resource that will help your primary grade students build word power as they get ready to celebrate the holiday!
This literacy pack was one of the first I created, and received a complete update last year.  It's sure to help your young writers expand their vocabulary and successfully sort synonyms and antonyms!


Synonyms and antonym activities are sure to enrich and improve primary grade students' vocabulary skills! They'll love this Thanksgiving-themed resource as a whole group lesson or as independent center practice.

Boo-tiful Word Work

Hello Friends!

It's been THREE MONTHS since I published anything here on my beloved but much-neglected blog! Coursework for my Reading endorsement and "real school" have had to be priorities.  Progress reports for first quarter went home yesterday though, and I am taking a much-needed break from conference prep to stop in and share one of my favorite literacy packs and holiday stories with you!


Imagine a ghost that cannot say "Boo!" Your students will love sorting and writing with words that rhyme like clue, goo, shampoo, and flew with this spook-tacular resource pack!

Best School Year Ever Giveaway and Back-To-School Resources

Hello Friends!

How many more days until you meet your new group of learners?  I have 15!  

I don't know about you, but I still have SO much to do!

Luckily, the TpT Best School Year Ever Sitewide Sale starts tomorrow, so I can move my "must have" resources from my wish list to my shopping cart!  Now is the time to take advantage of the 28% discount that starts tomorrow Aug. 1st and continues through Aug. 2nd!



My Summer Snapshots

Welcome Friends!

I have about two more hours of work in Room 2 on Monday before I can say that I am "officially" on summer break!  My last day with students was May 27th.  My district work day was May 31st.  My quest to clean, purge, and rearrange my classroom has been an arduous one.  One that has stopped, started, and then stopped again due to family, friend, and pet emergencies over the past few weeks.

Life has finally settled down a bit now though, and hopefully the rest of June, July, and part of August will have me...in the words of  Simon & Garfunkel...."slowing down, not moving so fast, looking for fun, and feeling groovy!"

I am not sure how much time I will have to devote to blogging and creating for TpT this summer because of some important commitments, so I wanted to share this picture-filled post and let you know just what I will be up to.....


Summer should be a time of reflection, fun, family, friends, and professional development for teachers.  Read about how to bring balance to your time away from your classroom.



June Pinterest Pick 3 Linky

Hello Friends!

This is the first time in my teaching career that I've not taught through the first two weeks of June! My last day with students was Friday, May 27th, and my work day was May 31st!

I am still slogging through my piles and files in a valiant effort to organize and close down my classroom, but wanted to take time to share ideas that will make your school days a little easier if you are still in the trenches this month!


Check out these easy ideas and activities to make end-of-the-year learning fun and engaging in your primary classroom!


Subscribe