Teach it Tuesday: Holiday Lessons

Hi everyone!

Are you as burnt out and exhausted as we are? Only a few more days and then we will all get a nice break, but until then, here are some links and fun holiday lessons we’ve either created and used ourselves, or found on the internet (and used in our classrooms).  We hope you enjoy these last few days of 2015 with your students!

Christmas math:  These free, printable worksheets and puzzles are suitable for students grade K-8.  Some of the activities involve counting, and others involve order of operations questions, so there is quite a range of skill available here!  I walked into my grade 8 class room this morning and decided to bail on my math plan for the day.  I opened my computer, Googled “Christmas math” and this is what popped up.  I think a few of these exercises will do the trick for today’s math block.

Also for math, these free Christmas logic puzzles are always a hit! I’ve used them a few years now and they are a great way to get some engagement in those last few days of math class before the break.

Christmas themed “Would You Rather”:  Leah and I write a “would you rather” statement on our board everyday with hopes that our students will use their name tags to check in for the day. If you are looking for ideas there is a list of questions here.  Here is our “would you rather” for today:


Clearly our white board eraser doesn’t work that well…

Mad Libs:  I had a TOC yesterday afternoon and she left me copies of this Christmas Mad Libs.  I have no idea where she found them, but I took a picture this morning to share with you all.  I am sure (again) a quick Google search will solve the problem! I like that this Mad Libs is actually lyrics from the real Christmas carol.


I Have, Who Has: This Christmas spin on a classic game is something I am saving for the last day or two with my grade 6’s. It uses “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” to have students figuring out the clues and it is a perfect way to have students work together and talk to each other while I’m still really working on building up community with the group.

Crafty Times: Last week Leah and I worked on snow globes with our grade 8s and used the crafts as gifts for various teachers at our school who have helped us out throughout the term.  I realize these take a bit of prep and planning, but if you happen to have 30 Mason jars on hand, these make for a fun and cute activity!


We laminated small photos of our students participating in various activities this term, filled the jars with bottled water (tap water did not work well) and added sparkles!

Gingerbread Cookies:  Again, something that takes a bit of prep, planning and money (admittedly) but definitely worth it!  Yesterday for Fika my grade 8s decorated gingerbread cookies.  We have a student in our class who is experiencing her very first Christmas, so all these traditional and adorable activities (setting up and decorating a tree inside, cookies, songs, etc.) are extra fun for her right now!  It was great to start off the day calmly with a group of usually very high energy kids.


Other links and activities:

We hope you have a wonderful (and fast!) last week and a happy holiday!


Better Late Than Never…

You know those times in life when your “to do” list just seems a bit more like a “don’t do” list…

Life has been a bit crazy and a lot tiring lately so my good intentions of getting this post up over a week ago has ended up not happening until now. I’m okay with this though, it happens.

What’s new?

Well I’m home from my 5 weeks in Fiji and New Zealand. I definitely want to do a post on that soon but it will have to wait because…

I got a job! I’m teaching at the same school as last year full time right now. I literally got off the plane at 5:00 pm on a Wednesday and walked into my new classroom Thursday morning, jet lag and all. It’s been a crazy go of things but I guess that’s just how I tend to do things in this life.

My class is an amazingly lovely group of grade 6’s and I am feeling very blessed… and tired… but mainly blessed – ha!  I haven’t taught grade 6 since my first practicum which was only 3 weeks long and 5ish years ago now. I’m surprised by how different it feels than grade 7 but I did want to do something different this year so its a good thing!

So what now?

It’s a bit of a funny time of year to start: most other teachers are dealing with report card stress and burnout, students are gearing up for a break, and I feel a bit lost in a whirlwind of new students and jet lag. I’ve been really trying to get to know this class well because I feel the pressure of time with the holidays coming up so quickly. I’ve been trying to have individual meetings with students, I have a meet and greet with parents this week, and I’ve been using Communication Calendar‘s daily to get to know them better.

Curriculum wise I’m just trying to get a feel where they are at. We are going to be using Greg Tang Math for basics practice and we are doing a Christmas unit in French (now posted to our Teachers Pay Teachers site). I’ve started a read aloud to practice some of the skills and routines that we will use in language arts. We are doing an Hour of Code next week and have lots of holiday events coming up as well.

Karley and I have both been actively planning what we want to blog about – but finding the time to actually do it is a different story. We hope to keep posting as much as we can and we love staying connected with this amazing professional community!

Please let us know what you are doing this year!


The 12 Gifts of MyEd

Disclaimer: To those of you teaching in the private system, or outside of the province of BC, MyEd is our new system that we public school teachers work from.  We take attendance, we store marks and we write report cards with the new program called MyEd.  Elementary schools were introduced to MyEd last year and middle schools are meeting MyEd for the first time this year.  I’m not sure about high school?  In fact, my knowledge of MyEd kind of ends…here.  This post is not intended to mock or make a joke of MyEd.  MyEd has truly afforded me at least 12 gifts this holiday (ahem – report card) season thus far.

I’ve had my own struggles with MyEd.  Up until last week I wasn’t even added as a teacher to one of my classes and; therefore, could not access my students (for attendance or report cards or anything else that is kind of useful within the realm of teaching).  Keep in mind I work .6 between two schools, so my contributions to report cards are quite minimal compared to those of who work more than I do!  Last week I was feeling frustrated with yet another unexpected MyEd outage and a looming report card date (like…the next morning kind of deadline).  I texted a teacher friend, venting and agonizing over the unscheduled outage, to which she so wisely replied, “Thank you, MyEd, for allowing me to go to bed early tonight…GUILT FREE!”  And from that text this post was born.

The 12 (guilt free) Gifts of MyEd

  1. This morning MyEd is down for (scheduled) maintenance, so I had time to securely string up a wreath that keeps falling down.  You are welcome, Canada Post woman, for this beauty that now bestows my heinous looking front door.
  2. Last night I had time to prepare a baked oatmeal dish for breakfast this morning.  The recipe comes from my most favourite cookbook/blog, Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon.  Check her out.
  3. This morning I had time to wrap exactly one Christmas gift before I decided I should get up off the floor and write this post.  At least it was an essential gift for my husband?  You are welcome, Babe.
  4. This week I had two incredible workouts at my beloved gym, BDHQ, and I didn’t worry about writing report cards the entire time!  I did; however, plan my next unit of science while spinning for an hour.
  5. Joel is out buying our Christmas tree right now, so you know what that means!? MyEd outage or not, we are getting fancy up in here tonight!
  6. A dear, long time friend is visiting right now, so I have had time to catch up with her and introduce Charlee to her for the first time.  Merci, MyEd.
  7. Yesterday we celebrated my dad’s birthday by going out for lunch and then catching the latest exhibit at the Royal BC Museum (National Geographic’s Wildlife Photographer of the year).  Absolutely incredible work!
  8. My keen and lovely teaching partner, Leah, and I are planning a Celebration of Learning together with our grade 8s, which will roll out later this week.  Entirely non-academic, but MyEd related because after last week’s scramble our reports are now done for those students.
  9. The other night when MyEd was down (Scheduled? Unscheduled? Does it matter?) I was lamenting a little bit.  Okay, I was full on panicking, but then Joel said, “Hey, you could finish Christmas cards!”  So I did.  See, friends? We do love you! You can honestly thank MyEd though because otherwise these cards would have totally been New Year cards.  Again.
  10. Meal planning and prepping.  I don’t know if that has to do with MyEd, but I will say that I’ve been rocking it for the first time in my entire 28 years.
  11. Pro D.  I have participated in some phenomenal math and social-emotional learning based professional development sessions lately.  I am working on writing posts for both those topics, but having the time to delve into these Pro D sessions and actually learn some valuable information has made me giddy in the way only keener teacher nerds can get.  Check out Nikki Lineham’s site and Lisa Baylis’ Facebook page for more information on both math and SEL, respectively.
  12. Perspective.  When it all comes down, MyEd outages or not, this experience of stressing over and and feeling guilty about having/not having time to do the things I want to do outside of work is hard.  I am learning tons about boundaries this year.  I leave school before 3.30 this year because I have a baby to come home to, which fills me with great joy.  This year I will gladly put away my marking and prep to make dinner for my family.  This season I am relishing in the fact that I literally cannot write report cards when I’ve scheduled myself to do so because the very system said report cards are written on is seemingly offline all the time.  It’s a blessing, teachers.  It’s a sneaky message from the Universe saying, “Hey now, calm down.  Don’t fret.  Put the work away and LIVE”.

So thank you, MyEd, for this lesson.  I have received your teachings and am grateful for them.