The Twisted Elf?

Do you do Elf on the Shelf in your classroom or at home? We do both!

Most of these pictures are from home but I knew that some teachers would benefit from these Elf on the Shelf ideas in their classroom! In the years past, I have literally moved the Elf from one place to another each night. This year, I decided to be a bit creative and what do you son is actually having fun with the Elf! All that to say, your students in your classroom will notice the creativity too. They also notice when the Elf was too lazy to move. lol!

The hardest part of doing Elf on the Shelf coming up with ideas and of course I get many from Pinterest! Here are a few that I have done this year!

First, I just had the Elves bring the book, a note and some fake snow! :) The kids in your classroom will love this too! I always bring mine out after recess (they come in the room and the Elf has arrived!)

Next, we, of course, did the junk food picture!

A cotton ball bath in the crock pot! Now, one year I did this in the sink in my classroom! So easy and cheap! 

Note: That towel around Snowflake's hair was THE DEVIL. Never again. Okay, maybe again. It is adorable. 

Playing Candy Land! I mean, elves LOVE candy!

This was one of my son's favorites! Snowball Fight!

A sack race with some friends!

Delivering Rex's letter to Santa...since Mom kept forgetting! lol. I have also done this with a classroom letter!

Building a snowman out of toilet paper! :)

Santa asked the elves to wrap Rex's legos...this is not what he meant. :)

Total Pinterest FAIL! lol. It was supposed to be snow angels out of sprinkles. My son said, "I think they are trying to do their body shapes but it didn't work." *whomp whomp*

Santa wanted to say hi!

Green food coloring made for a disgusted 5-year-old in the morning! Rex wouldn't touch this milk! :) My *almost* 2-year-old daughter LOVED it though! 

Elf Cookies! Yum!

My son loves his paper chain we made together, so I had to have the elves make one too!

On tonight's elf shenanigans?? Elf Twister! We are far from being done with all of the fun things the elves will do but so far, so good! I hope these ideas have helped you a bit! Click on the link above to grab the Elf Twister board! Just print and arrange your elves! EASY! 

Also, check out this Elf of the Shelf Freebie for the classroom! Over 12,000 teachers are using this in their classroom this year!

Lastly, you can also snag this Reindeer Food Passage and Activity for the classroom! I used it with my children at home (just the recipe) and they loved it! I also used it with my 3rd and 5th graders and they thought the passage and everything included was so much fun! 

If you want to see how the rest of the month will play out for Buddy and Snowflake (our elves), feel free to follow my on Instagram (@hillarykiser).

I hope you are having a great December and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Break! 

(affiliate links have been provided for your convenience.)

Anchor Chart Frustration

Making anchor charts has always been hard work for me. In fact, I never liked making anchor charts for the classroom. I did it, because it helps the kids, but I am not a fan of my handwriting, my drawing is even worse, and let's not even talk about the time it takes to make nice looking anchor charts.

As teachers, we do not possess much of that thing called, "time." I mean really, I found myself shoving down carrots and ranch dressing (because I want to be healthy) then devouring allll the chocolate (because I really don't care about healthy anymore) while making anchor charts. 30 minutes later, lunch done, anchor chart almost complete...and oops...I misspelled the title. I mean really? Rip it off the chart paper pad, throw it in the trash, and rush out the door. 

Unfortunately I didn't wise up for a long time. 8 years of teaching...and light bulb goes off. Pre-make the anchor charts. In the comfort of my own home...I make the anchor chart...on the computer. Then print, and glue! Done, done...and done. Now...I still eat all the chocolate, but now I get lunch and I am no longer in the need of anger management courses over misspelled words. 

I may sound like a crazy person to you...but I know you have been there too. Honesty is the best policy. :)

Now, I KNOW I am not the first one that has ever pre-made anchor charts, or printed items off of the computer for an anchor chart. I am in NO way claiming to be the first to do this. But, I have been a TpT seller for a few years now and the idea just popped into my head..."if I make all of my centers, lessons plans, etc...why not anchor charts?" And there you have it. 

Below are a few of the anchor charts I have made and so far I love them and other teachers are loving them. I waited to do this post until I knew others found a need for these too! And yes! I was not alone! It was confirmed I was not crazy and other teachers in fact DO have anger problems when it comes to making hand-made anchor charts. 

Many people have asked what products are needed to make these. I purchased my chart paper and Astrobrights paper from Amazon. Those two things (well, with scissors and glue) are all you need!

Each Anchor Chart also comes with a student journal chart as well! The students can glue these in their journals for an easy reference later!

I have also completed my Writing and Grammar Anchor Chart Bundles. 



Making these are fun and easy! More than anything, feel free to share with a friend that they do not have to have anchor chart frustration anymore!

Want these for your classroom? Click Here to grab them in my shop!

(affiliate links are provided for your convenience)

Student Motivation

Student motivation will not only help your students do their best work, but it will also help your job become easier.

When I lost all of my excuses, I found my results. #IINspiration #motivation #wisdom:

I love this quote. I made excuses for a long time about student motivation. I was raised in a home (a great home) where I was taught to do things because they are the right thing to do. Not everyone needs a trophy, not everyone needs a sticker, you do what you do because you are supposed to do it! Now, I will be honest...I still feel this way. I raise my kids this way. You may not agree with me, and I am okay with that. But I have also learned that I did not raise the children in my class. I can instill good values in them, and hope that they learn to do the right thing because it is right...but a little rewarding never hurt anyone. I also know that I am okay with this decision because I am thrilled when my son's Kinder teacher rewards him for doing something great.

Now that I have rambled a bit, I lost my excuses and found my results. Student motivation builds the student's confidence, does not always have to be a reward, and makes learning (and effort) fun!

One thing I love using in my classroom is Brag Tag Student Chains.

My fifth graders felt they were too cool for brag tags, so they loved these student chains. Mine hung them in their cubbies and were so proud of them!

These are easy, just print, cut, and I have the students assemble them!

Another great motivation I use for outside of the classroom is Mystery Student! I did a FACEBOOK LIVE video about this that shows you details about it and is pretty fun to watch! :)

I use this motivation tool in and out of my classroom and it works like a charm with any grade! I hope you will give this a watch and begin to incorporate it in your classroom! There is also a great blog post about it and you can find that here.

mystery walker- a great incentive to motivate students to walk quietly in the halls:

This was a fast and furious post, things are so busy right now for all of us I am sure! I hope you all have a great start to you the year! Thanks for tuning in! :)


5 Benefits of Whole Class Journals

Writing time is crucial for students. Each child needs to be writing multiple times a day. Parts of the day, that writing needs to be teacher directed, so the student is learning a new skill and improving with teacher guidance. Other parts of the day, that writing needs to be student (or self) directed.

I use Whole Class Journals with my students and there are numerous benefits to using these journals but I am going to discuss 5 main benefits from incorporating these journals into your daily routine.

1. Whole Class Journals build CREATIVITY.

Creativity is stifled in classrooms more and more these days. Now, I am a teacher myself so I am in no way faulting the teacher. When we think about it, how do we have time to allow the children to be creative? I mean we have Guided Reading, Guided Math, Read-Alouds, Spelling, Science, Social Studies, Handwriting and let us not *ever* forget...ASSESSMENTS. (audible groan) But we all know as good teachers (okay we are great teachers) that creativity is a MUST!

Whole Class Journals allow the students to grab a journal, and write. Yep, I said it...grab a journal...and write. No rules, no one standing over their should correcting their grammar...they. just. write. My kids are so creative during this time. I absolutely love going through and reading these journals (and so do all of the students.) Which brings me to point #2.

2. Whole Class Journals build COMMUNITY.

Students love to support one another. Now when we are breaking up that fight on the playground, it may not *seem* like they enjoy lifting each other up, but they really do. With Whole Class Journals, children can choose any journal, and any topic in that journal. After writing, the can flip through and read other student's entries in that journal. My students become so much closer because of these journals. Sounds crazy right? I love building community in my classroom anyway...but many times I feel like I am forcing it and it is not coming organically. With these journals though, I might have a student's mouth drop open and say to his friend at his table "I had no idea your Dad played pro football for 3 years." (true story.) Students that might otherwise not ever notice they have anything in common will read these journals and find a common link in the classroom.

3. Whole Class Journals build on WRITING SKILLS.

These Whole Class Journals build on different writing skills. In my classroom I have Letter Writing, Poetry, Procedural, Persuasive, Expository, and Narrative Whole Class Journals. The students get to choose the journal they want; it does not matter to me because I need each of them working on every skill. I love how it just magically works out sometimes that Jimmy wants to do Letter Writing for the 10th time but it isn't available so he tried Procedural and LOVES IT! (true story, made up the name.) :) I also love it when Jimmy gets a reading passage two weeks later that has "steps" in it and he says "Oh, this is like that Procedural Whole Class Journal." (another...true...story.) #win.

4. Whole Class Journals build WRITING FLUENCY.

Well, let's face it...all five of these reasons can't be mushy and gushy. Writing Fluency is a real struggle. I have my students grab a journal any time they are done with work and sitting there making faces across the room at another student (you know it is true.) I pride myself on setting up Choice Boards (which are amazing), and Fast Finisher Activities (which are equally as amazing) but in the end...the Whole Class Journals win. Why? Writing Skills-check, Handwriting-check, Sentence Fluency-check, Reading (other journal entries)-check...the list goes on. I can conquer many skills with one fun activity for the student.

5. Whole Class Journals build PRIDE.

Back to the mushy, gushy I suppose. :) I love seeing the PRIDE in my student's faces when they complete a writing. The students are proud that their peers will see their work, I will see their work, and that they are forever imprinted in the Whole Class Journal. At the end of the year, I draw names and give journals out to the students so they can take them home. These journals become part of our class and daily lives.

I appreciate you reading this post and I hope you will take the opportunity to try a page of these labels for FREE

I am including my instructions from my store on here so you will understand how to use these on Avery Labels! These are cheap and so easy to use!

Whole Class Journals are journals (or composition notebooks) you keep in your classroom for all of the students to use. The students can grab them any time they have extra free time and write in the journals or read what other students have written.

In my classroom, I like to do Whole Class Journals for major skills such as Letter Writing, Persuasive Writing, Poetry, Procedural Writing, Narrative Writing, and Expository (or Informational) Writing.

The cool thing about these though...they are perfectly aligned to be printed on Avery 18163 Labels. You can print and have 30 stickers to use on your journals (see pictures in the preview.) I have also included a cover for your journal, an instruction page for the students (glue this on the first page of the journal), and a back cover where the students can write their name after they finish a prompt. 

The students love these journals because the entire class can take ownership for the writings! The students also love to read other writings from the students in their class. 

NOTE: The PowerPoint is set perfectly with JPEGs of the labels so they will work on ANY PRINTER! Please do not move any of these or it will not print correctly. I have tried these on multiple printers and I assure you they will line up perfectly without changing anything. PLEASE do not adjust margins or try to make the labels bigger.

(affiliate links are provided for your convenience.)


TPT Follower Send Out

Each month I send out a Follower Note to my TPT Followers! I mean...I love each and every one of them!! I send out free items, updates, etc! 

I have been doing Teachers Pay Teachers for almost 3 years now and could not for the life of my ever figure out how to add an image to the send out. I know...kind of ridiculous right? You would be surprised though...I am not alone!

I took some silly screen shots to maybe help you through the process. I hope you find these as helpful as I did! (I cannot take credit for figuring this out...Crystal Wyatt, another TPT seller told me how!) But I wanted to spread the word a bit! lol.

First, go to the product you want to show the image of in your note to your followers. Ignore the bad lighting and pictures, you will still get the point from these! :)

Next, right click and some options will come problem is, I have been clicking on "copy picture," and that does not work. Click on COPY (or COPY IMAGE FROM.)

Go to your Note to Followers, and you will see a tiny picture looking image on the toolbar. Click on that.

 Do CTRL V (or paste) in the IMAGE URL box and click INSERT.

And your new photo will be added to your send out!

Preview it before you send and you are DONE!

Again, I know NOW this seems so simple...but I really haven't been able to figure it out. Now these do not LINK within the picture...that is a whole different deal...maybe 3 years from now I will tackle that one. lol.

Have a great week!

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