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Talking about vacation in a creative way

I am super excited to be linking up with some incredible ladies from the Middle School Mob to share some of our favorite New Year's teaching ideas... and host a giveaway! Check out my New Year's teaching idea below, and don't forget to enter to win some of our best selling products at the end of the post.

Oh, winter break. How I loved and cherished you, and how sad I will be to see you go. But, since it's time to get back to the grind, let's talk about what to do with kiddos that are excited about vacation. Let's be real, they all want to share everything they did on their vacation. I do want to hear about their holidays and times with their families, but there just isn't time smack dab in the middle of the day. In the past, I've had them write about what they did and share with a partner, but it just wasted enough. So, last year I tried something new that worked really well. I took an old game that I used to play in school, and put a fun creative writing twist on it.

The concept is simple. The kids get into small groups (4 or 5 students would be best) and share one quick story about their vacation. The story can be really interesting, or it can be kind of boring. Totally up to the kiddo! After they all share their stories, they all pick one as a group. This is the hard part, as we all know. Getting it narrowed down to one story can be a real challenge! I had a bit of trouble with that last year, and think this year I will ask them not to choose their own story to see if that helps. 

Then, the story that they have picked will be the story they all write, pretending it is their own story. They will have to put themselves in the narrator's shoes and invent some of the creative elements of the story. They should try to describe things as much as they can to make it believable! The kids then each read their version of the story out loud to the class and the class tries to decide who actually told the story to begin with. 

This game is super simple, fun, and has some great academic elements. The kids are using perspective, point of view, and narration skills in their creative writing. They are super motivated to write the story well because of the game aspect of it. I let the kiddos who "win" and trick kids into believing the story is theirs when it is not pick something from my prize bucket. Best of all, they are sharing a story about vacation like they want to do while also staying on track academically. It's an all around win!

Don't forget to head over to the rest blogs and check out their New Year's ideas, and DEFINITELY don't forget to enter the giveaway. There are some seriously great products up for grabs!

Lit with Lyns - Argumentative Writing Process & Task Cards
EB Academic Camps - New Year's Unit & Activities for Middle School
Caffeine and Lesson Plans - PROBE Notebook: A Creative Yearlong ELA Research Project
Just Add Students - Poetry Analysis - "A Day" by Emily Dickinson
Raising Rigor and Readers - Winter Reading and Writing Activities
Anchored in Reading - ELA Text Dependent Analysis Questions - Author's Craft Task Cards
Teach Inspire Change - Student Behavior & Parent Communications Binder
Mrs. Spangler in the Middle - The Giver Reading Comprehension Games - Four in All!
Tori Gorosave: A Middle School English Teacher's Journey - Expository Close Reading: The History of New Year's
Edison Education - Multiplying and Dividing Integers
Koch's Odds 'N Ends - Student Worksheet for Self-Review / Analysis of Test Results
The Marvelous Middle - Looking Back Looking Forward New Year's Activity

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Currently 2016

The first of month and the first day of a new year! Linking up for one my favorite monthly linkys, Currently by Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade.

Oh, the sound of the Roomba is magic to my ears. My hubby spoiled me a couple months ago with the Roomba 980. It's definitely my favorite household appliance, hands down. I used to vacuum every other day to keep the cat hair and dust off the floor. Now, I only have to vacuum once a week... and I could probably skip a week and no one would notice! Did I need the Roomba? No, definitely not. No one needs a Roomba. But, I sure do love it!

Do I even need to explain this one? Christmas, family parties, New Year's Eve, and cuddles with my little guy. It doesn't get any better than this!

Ok, I realize it is strange that I am thinking about new pens at 11:00 on a Friday night. I am a bit odd, but I think most teachers with a love of school supplies can relate! I have always been a Frixion pen lover because they erase SO well. I use them in my planbook and for grading. I love that I can make a mistake, erase it, and try again. I am super pumped because I just bought these new Frixion markers because of their thicker writing point. I can't wait to try them out when we get back to school!

I am so stuck in a rut with my hair style. I need to get to the salon and let my hairdresser do whatever she thinks will refresh my look. Sounds crazy, I know, but I've known her since we were 8 years old and I definitely trust her opinion. Keep an eye on instagram- things might get crazy! :)

I just need more time in my life, in every aspect. No matter what I am doing, I feel like I could do it better if I just had more time. I wish the Time Turner that Hermione had in Harry Potter was real!

One Little Word
I am trying so hard to express my gratitude more. I have always felt it, but I have not been great about expressing it. I have an incredible family, great friends, amazing co-workers, and an all around fantastic life. My goal for 2016 is to show my gratitude more and tell people just how much they mean to me.

Happy New Year, my friends!
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