Our Fairy Tale Nursery




Exciting news: Two weeks ago we welcomed a beautiful baby girl into our family! World, please welcome our sweet Felicity:

She is quickly proving to be the world's easiest, sweetest baby - and we are so in love! Big Brother is adjusting well - although he's proving to be an over-achiever and seems to be hitting the lovely "terrible twos" a few months early ;)

I wanted to pop in quickly and share some photos of Felicity's nursery - we chose a once-upon-a-time/fairy tale theme!

Most of the decor was either crafted by me (and my handy-dandy Cricut!) or pieced together from several treasure-hunting trips to different stores. If you have a specific question about where I found something, please let me know :)

  

 


Ta-da! While Felicity doesn't exactly appreciate all of my hard work and effort, it was so much fun decorating her fairy tale land - and it brings a smile to my face every time I walk in. It definitely makes the 2am wake-up calls *slightly* more pleasant :)

FREE Ideas for Celebrating OPPOSITE DAY {January 25}

Good-bye teachers!
Sad similar night no one!

While that may read like a bunch of gibberish - it isn't! I'm practicing for National Opposite Day! :)
You see, that's how I greet my kiddos every year on Opposite Day - which happens every year on January 25th. 

So what I'm really saying to them is:
Hello students!
Happy Opposite Day everyone!

Get it? :)

As a 5th grade teacher, one of my goals was to engage my students to such a degree that they wanted to come to school each day. One way of maximizing student engagement without compromising learning time was creating packets that capitalized on their interests and let them have FUN while developing and practicing important skills.

Here is one of those packets:
January 25th is National Opposite Day! Engage your elementary students with these FREE fun-filled learning activities to celebrate this silly holiday! Blog post and resource created by Jessica Lawler at Joy in the Journey
National Opposite Day (yes, it is a real thing) is coming up! This year it's Wednesday, January 25th. Carve out some extra time to have {structured} fun with your students. It will be a day they won't soon forget! 

This *FREE* packet includes a poster to hang on your door as well as some ideas for celebrating Opposite Day in the classroom/home.
January 25th is National Opposite Day! Engage your elementary students with these FREE fun-filled learning activities to celebrate this silly holiday! Blog post and resource created by Jessica Lawler at Joy in the Journey
January 25th is National Opposite Day! Engage your elementary students with these FREE fun-filled learning activities to celebrate this silly holiday! Blog post and resource created by Jessica Lawler at Joy in the Journey


It also includes 5 activity pages that will stretch their imaginations while reviewing important skills.

1."My Opposite Age" asks students to imagine that the numbers in their age have been switched!  They must write a journal entry about what their life is now like – and include a picture!. (For example if they are 06 years old, they pretend that they’re 60! If they’re 12 years old, they pretend they’re now 21.) Note: If they’re 11 years old, they can choose to be 1 or 110 :)
January 25th is National Opposite Day! Engage your elementary students with these FREE fun-filled learning activities to celebrate this silly holiday! Blog post and resource created by Jessica Lawler at Joy in the Journey
2. "Antonyms are Amazing" gives students practical experience with opposites - antonyms!
January 25th is National Opposite Day! Engage your elementary students with these FREE fun-filled learning activities to celebrate this silly holiday! Blog post and resource created by Jessica Lawler at Joy in the JourneyJanuary 25th is National Opposite Day! Engage your elementary students with these FREE fun-filled learning activities to celebrate this silly holiday! Blog post and resource created by Jessica Lawler at Joy in the Journey
3. "An Opposite Adventure" tells a strange story - the students must read it and switch out the underlined words for their opposites - and re-write the story so it makes sense.
January 25th is National Opposite Day! Engage your elementary students with these FREE fun-filled learning activities to celebrate this silly holiday! Blog post and resource created by Jessica Lawler at Joy in the JourneyJanuary 25th is National Opposite Day! Engage your elementary students with these FREE fun-filled learning activities to celebrate this silly holiday! Blog post and resource created by Jessica Lawler at Joy in the Journey
 4. "A Day of Opposites" is a creative writing prompt that asks students to write about a day they have in which EVERYTHING is OPPOSITE
January 25th is National Opposite Day! Engage your elementary students with these FREE fun-filled learning activities to celebrate this silly holiday! Blog post and resource created by Jessica Lawler at Joy in the Journey
And finally, 5. "Opposite Learning" gives kiddos some practice with basic skills - but with an OPPOSITE twist :)
January 25th is National Opposite Day! Engage your elementary students with these FREE fun-filled learning activities to celebrate this silly holiday! Blog post and resource created by Jessica Lawler at Joy in the Journey
This was good practice, even for my 5th graders - they were a little rusty on their alphabet and basic math facts. It's good to brush up every now and again :)

You can download this packet for FREE here:
January 25th is National Opposite Day! Engage your elementary students with these FREE fun-filled learning activities to celebrate this silly holiday! Blog post and resource created by Jessica Lawler at Joy in the Journey
If you download this packet and use it in your classroom, please come back and leave feedback! It helps me to hone my craft and provides helpful information to other shoppers :)

Looking for other activities to use in the classroom in the coming weeks? Check out these student-tested and teacher-approved products to simplify your lesson planning!

Sad similar night no one! :)

DIY Felt Christmas Tree

Happy December, friends!
The Christmas season is upon us - filled with the chaotic wonderfulness of baking, get-togethers, and decorations! Do you have your tree set up yet? We do - and my little man is OBSESSED with it! He even says "twee" :) 
I've been impressed with how gentle he's been with the tree - we had the baby gate, ready to protect the tree, but we haven't needed to pull it out.
I did fill the bottom of the tree with fabric (read: unbreakable) ornaments, just in case.
I wanted my son to have a special tree of his own - one that he could touch and play with, without constant supervision.
Enter: the felt Christmas tree idea!
You've probably seen it on Etsy or in stores - but they can be pretty pricey, ranging from $20-$50. Being on a budget (at Christmastime who isn't?) I knew there had to be a cheaper way - so I decided to make one myself!
I gathered my supplies from the craft store:
Because I already have the cookie cutters, scissors, and sharpie, I only had to buy the felt - which cost me exactly $4.33! Definitely better than the $30 price tag I saw on Etsy.

Once my supplies were bought I got to work!
1. Use the cookie cutters to trace various Christmas shapes on the different pieces of felt. I made 20 shapes.

2. Cut out the felt shapes - these are your "ornaments"
 
3. Cut a tree out of your large piece of green felt. I attached it to the wall with command strips - that way I know it'll stay up all season and will come down without a mess.
4. The felt sticks to felt, so the ornaments stick to the tree without any tape or velcro. You can rearrange the ornaments again and again!
That's it!Easy-peasy, right?So far it's been a big hit!

We even had a playdate and it survived being decorated by three toddlers at once:
I have a feeling that this will be a Christmas tradition we play with year after year! And for less then $5 it can't be beat :)

What are some of your favorite Christmas crafty creations?

Holiday Gift Ideas for Teachers/Day Care Workers/Baby-sitters

Happy December, friends!
The holiday season is upon us - and while Christmas brings with it so many wonderful things (family time, delicious treats, heart-warming Hallmark movies, etc.), it can also be a busy and stressful time as you try to juggle everything that this season entails.

One thing that, though wonderful, can also prove to be time-consuming and stressful is gift-buying. The malls are crowded and the thought of standing in endless lines with a whiny toddler in tow would make even the bravest mom dread this time of year. Sure you can shop online - but if you're just browsing, then Amazon's suggestions of the 13,542 of the world's must-have gift ideas can be overwhelming to say the least.

And what do you do for those on your list who you don't know very well? There are those who you want to show your appreciation for - teachers, day care workers, and/or baby-sitters - but you don't necessarily know their favorite things or their must-have gifts.

Well, fear not, my fellow busy mamas - I have scoured the Internet and found 5 fun, easy, and inexpensive holiday gift ideas that anyone would love to receive:
A Hand-written Note
Never underestimate the power of a hand-written note or thank-you card. More than any monetary gift, teachers love to be appreciated for their hard work and their investment in your children. Write a note expressing your thanks - and have your kids include a note or drawing too! It will mean the world to the teacher.

Thanks a Latte
Who doesn't love coffee? Most of us run on coffee during the busy holiday season, so gift cards to your favorite coffee shop are always a big hit! Plus with a punny tag like "thanks a latte" you can't go wrong!

Hand soap/Lotion
Teachers love hand soaps for the classrooms or home, so this is a gift they won’t turn away. Plus you can find all sorts of fun and festive scents this time of year - and usually on sale! Pair with with a cute ribbon and a cute note to make this a truly festive gift. Be sure to visit MichellePaige for a free printable.

Red Box Movie, Popcorn & Drink

These days, going to the movie is no cheap affair, and most of us would rather watch in the comfort of our own home (and elastic waisted pajama pants) anyways. Red Box movies are the cheapest way to rent a movie, coming in at just $1! You can purchase codes on the Red Box website and pair with a small bottle of soda and a popcorn bag. Your teacher will love the creativity, and movie rentals are never a waste! Visit Over the Big Moon for a free printable
Succulent in a Mason Jar
Mason jars are all the crafting rage right now - why now capitalize on the craze with this cute gift that even someone with the brownest thumb can't kill? Succulents are cute and cheery any time of year - and I love the pun "thanks for helping me grow"...perfect for a hard-working teacher or day care worker! Read the full step-by-step tutorial on Live Randomly Simple

I hope you've found some gift inspiration from this post - if you have any other ideas or gifts you've given to teachers/day care workers/baby-sitters in the past that were a big hit, please leave a comment below! 

Christmas Carols...Grammar-Style!

I love love LOVE Christmas and all of the festivities that come with this special season. In the classroom I love weaving fun and festive activities into our curriculum - but not at the expense of important instructional time. I am a big fan of activities that support what we're learning in the classroom, but also sprinkle a little Christmas magic throughout our day.

Each December I take a week and replace our regularly-scheduled language arts lessons with something fun and festive:

Christmas Carols...Grammar-style!
Christmas Carols are widely-known, easily relatable, and bring Christmas cheer to any classroom. Pair them with some grammar practice and a creative writing outlet - sounds like a win-win to me!

To start off the unit I play three well-known Christmas Carols to jog my students' memories (as if they haven't been playing on the radio non-stop)
Jingle Bells
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Then we spend a few minutes reviewing the basics parts of speech. I don't know about you, but I find that no matter how many times we go over what a verb is, the kids always need a refresher.
We refer back to our Grammar Interactive Notebooks and make sure to keep them on hand for easy reference all week long:
You can check out more about these print-and-go foldable interactive notebook foldables here:
Then, once the parts of speech are fresh in our minds we crank up the tunes! We focus on one Christmas Carol per day - I hand out the activity sheet and let the kiddos go to town, color-coding their pages by the correct parts of speech. Each Christmas Carol has three different versions, so you can differentiate baed on the different ability levels you have in your classroom:
The difference between the three versions is in the directions and the different parts of speech that the students are required to underline. This allows the teacher to give different instructions to different students based on grade level, ability, and academic expectations. Level “A” asks students to identify nouns and verbs. Level “B” asks students to identify nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Level “C” asks students to identify nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, and articles.

You could also progressively increase the challenge level for your entire class - give them all Level "A" on the first day, Level "B" on the second, and Level "C" on the third day.

Also included in the packet are differentiated creative writing prompts that ask the students to write a story in response to a prompt and underline the different parts of speech that they used:
Our your students' grammar knowledge to the test with this FUN and FESTIVE resource - they'll be cheering for language arts each day!
This resource is student-tested and teacher-approved!
Here's what other teachers are saying about it:
"Just what I needed for the week before Winter Break! Thank you." -Mary O.
"This was a really fun for my 4th graders- they enjoyed it for grammar homework instead of boring workbook pages." -Anonymous
"Such a great idea! My students enjoyed this. We can always use practice on parts of speech so this is perfect!" -Education Lahne

Check out the FREE SAMPLER packet for 2 differentiated activities for the Christmas Carol "Jingle Bells"

Ready to purchase?
Click the picture below to visit my TPT store and check out this resource:

Merry (almost!) Christmas everyone!