Saturday, December 28, 2013

Happy New Year Everyone!!
My New Year's Resolution is to update Laugh & Learn with Silly Sam weekly.
I have just re-capped our year in first grade so far.
So, September-December was just entered this week.
Hopefully, I will be able to add a little something each week now.
My reluctance in posting has been that I have not wanted to talk mostly about products, but I have spent this past year posting the projects and programs that are the heart of my first grade program.
Sometimes I will add the specific link to a special product or program that I am referring to.
Some things I will just talk about.
If there is ever anything, a project, program or story or technique that I have referenced, that you are interested in learning more about,
please don't hesitate to contact me here,
or at
I would be so honored to answer any questions.
Wishing all of you Health, Happiness & Laughter for 2014!!

I absolutely love this project!
We do a page a day.
Whenever possible, we have a story and an ornament project to go with each country.

I love how they personalize their cards for families!
We brainstorm a poem for the inside.
They can copy or trace the poem and decorate.
We use hole punch circles for ornaments and decorations on the 3D tree.

 Candy Cane Corner Learning Center :)

 Looking out our "window"

 These are our Holidays Around the World projects for display.  Most of them we made ornament sized so that each country can be hung for a holiday display at home.  They come down and get wrapped up with the Holidays Around the World Keepsake Book that is a gift for the family.  This is probably the project that I am most proud of.  I did most of the research when I was in college and working on a Holidays Around the World Project.  I have enjoyed sharing this keepsake book with all of my students each year.
Our fireplace with stockings carefully hung!
Long before Elf on the Shelf
A little mischievous elf named
has been visiting my classroom every year.
He leaves notes in desks, prizes in stockings, messages on the board and footprints on the floor.
Did you know that you can pick up an Elf''s footprint?
And... if you find one, it is Good Luck!!

We kick off the Holiday Season with the book
On The Way To Christmas by Tanya Shpakow
I love how the children personalize their Walter Bears!

Our Holidays Around the World Classroom Collection

 This is the brainstorm chart for the "kicker ending" of our My First Thanksgiving Book.

My First Thanksgiving Book Language Arts-Social Studies Differentiated Activity

 I saw this brilliant idea for a Mayflower Bulletin Board on Pinterest.
This is a keeper!
I Love It!!

 This Bulletin Board was inspired by Tomie DePaola's retelling of
The Legend of the Bluebonnet
We read the book and watch the movie from our school Library
It is our introduction to the beauty of Native American Culture each year.

I love this Teepee Reading Center!
My first grade colleague had her husband make the wooden pieces.
Each year, she has students decorate paper "hides" with Native American Symbols.
Then they place them around the Teepee and they have a wonderful reading center!

"Wattle" You Read Next?
Love this display.
Students write and draw their favorite part of the story for their Book Share Homework.
They get a construction paper feather to write the Title, Author and Favorite Part.
Book Share Homework is always the night before we have Library.  That is a reminder for them to put their Library Books back in their backpacks.
Each set of Book Share Feathers that come in  each week get added to our Tom Turkey.
By the end of  November Tom has a spectacular plume to show off!
They also love the little play on words with a Turkey Wattle and the contraction, "What'll".

Toy Jail :)

I saw a clever pin on Pinterest for a Phone Prison.  It was a container with black stripes to hold on to those pesky student phones that can be a distraction.
That inspired me to make the


In first grade we talk about bracelets, rings, headbands, necklaces, erasers, pencil sharpeners, etc.
anything that can be worn or used as a school supply is fine, if it is used correctly.
However, a bracelet that comes off of a wrist and twirls on a finger is no longer a bracelet...

it is a TOY.

And, you guessed it...
it goes to TOY JAIL.
If the student remembers at the end of the day, they can ask for the item back.
It goes right into their backpack to go home.
Just having the visual of the TOY JAIL has been very effective this year.
Very few items have actually needed to spend time in jail.
If a student starts to fidget with a shark tooth necklace, or a rubberband bracelet, we just remind them that wearing the item as jewelry is fine, but playing with it makes it a toy.
Usually the reminder is enough.
But... if it continues to be a problem, we have a set course of action to take!
I even shared this with parents on Back to School Night, and they were very receptive!

Friday, December 27, 2013

 Wanda Witch from the Witchful Thinking Learning Center

 Jack-o-Lantern Window Project: Use black paper for the face on one side and yellow for the face on the other side.  It makes a Jack-o-Lantern at night and day!!

 My favorite window project of the year!  Wax paper: Crayon Shavings: Multi-Colored leaves in varying shapes.  Sprinkle the shavings around the leaves, cover with another piece of wax paper.  Then (adults only), lightly iron the paper.  I put it on a towel before ironing.

 October Calendar: Color the tree on the cover to look like a tree outside your window in October.  Draw yourself playing outside on a nice October day.  What are you doing?  What are you wearing? 

(Calendar folders are available at Silly Sam Productions at TpT)

 My example on the board to show an October tree outside our window.

Favorite October Books!!