Firstie Friends Gingerbread Hop

We're joining forces with our Firstie Friends today to bring you another fantastic Facebook Hop full of freebies.
Click {here} to head over to our
Look for the Firstie Friends Gingerbread Hop picture just like the one above hovering up next to our "Likes" on our Facebook page.
Click on it and get hopping. 
You have to like each page to grab their freebie.  
But hurry...The hopping stops on Tuesday. 

In case you're dying to know...And since we were the kids who scoured the house searching for presents in an effort to spoil our own Christmas mornings, here's our gift all unwrapped. 
We're all about the skill reinforcement games right now in class!
Gingerbread Jump is a great introduction to question words and reading comprehension.
Both color and black and white game boards and cards are included, plus 2 follow up worksheets to extend the game and learning. 
Many more of these to come, so let us know what you think!  
Happy Hopping!
We're spending the day putting the finishing touches on one of our favorite collaborative class projects.
Gingerbread House Hoopla
A Gingerbread House Building Project for your Lil' Cookies
should be done tomorrow and added to our TpT Shop.
It has everything you need to set up a Gingerbread Sweet Shop, family notes, teacher tips, and activity extensions. 
It has been our favorite way to celebrate the holidays with our class for going on 18 years.
18 years of gingerbread house making experience all wrapped up into one pretty package.
That's making us feel incredibly old a long time.
We can't wait to share our tricks of the trade with you!

Class Book Exchange Freebie!

Just in case you missed this post last year, we thought we'd do a little weekend rewind...
We run a Class Book Exchange to celebrate the holidays in class each year.
We send this letter early to give them as much time as possible.
We typically give them about 1-2 weeks to get their books wrapped and turned back into class.

 This year, we will be sending this home a little early as we are attaching it to our last Scholastic Book Order of 2013.
Most parents actually appreciate the easy ordering and the low prices. 
Our Bonus Point Bank is happy to help! 
Of course, all orders are optional...

We also print and cut these little gift tags apart and attach one to each parent letter. 
Yes, we make extras and keep them in a basket by our classroom door...
Ya know, those darn dogs eat A LOT of homework!! 
Just in case...

For those who cannot afford to participate, we have a basket of paperback books we allow them to choose from secretly in class ~ Bonus Points do come in handy! 

If their family is unable to help them wrap, we will bring in some wrapping paper from home and spend time helping them at recess.

There are lots of possibilities for the day of the Exchange, but we opt for Musical Chairs!
No, this is not the Blue Man Group...But, you get the idea.
We start with 1 less chair than the number of kids in our class, hit the holiday tunes, 
and become Queens of the Pause Button!
Each time one friend is out, they can pick a book and then sit, unwrap, share and read!

We keep them engaged by relinquishing a little pause button control and calling kids up to help until all chairs are out!
At the very end, we do let those who might be up for a trade an opportunity to ask their friends to swap.
Some do. Some don't. 
We don't beg.

In older grades, you might opt for a traditional type gift exchange, but this one has worked for us!
 No stealing, or crying or anything.
Just fun!

If you're thinking about doing a Class Book Exchange this year, click {here} to grab our parent letter and gift tags! Send it home, then sit back and let the books roll in! 
One step closer to Winter Break. 

The Elf on Our Shelf

Do you elf?
Although we cannot touch it with a ten foot candy cane in our own classroom, we have had a little North Pole friend visit our homes each holiday season for a few years now. It was a brilliant idea when the kids were younger...So innocent and fun. Now, it's stressful. Always wondering IF the elf moved. Waking up in the middle of the night with cold sweats trying to remember IF the elf moved. If you're a parent who began this GLORIOUS tradition, you understand exactly what we're talking about....But, this really isn't about us. It is about the joy and love this little elf brings. 

Meet Holly.
She's a tough little elf.
And, pretty darn clever too.
Last year, all that arrived was her new skirt and a note. 
Wow, Miss Thang drives a hard bargain in our home...
But, it worked.
Most of the time we just hover around Holly wishing we could touch her just once. But, we can't. 
She would lose her magic and the kids would lose their marbles. 
If you're a parent who began this GLORIOUS tradition, you understand exactly what we're talking about....But, this really isn't about us. It is about the joy and love this little elf brings.
 She's from the North Pole, so we've found her freezing in our freezer snuggling with ice cubes.
We've made beds for her, complete with personalized post-it note and bandana rugs.
She's been trapped in an "Elf Globe" a few times with marshmallow snow and dry erase S.O.S. notes on the outside (Yep dry erase marker writes on glass...The elves told us so.)
She's broken her arm at the same time they've broken their arm, and reassured them that they would be okay.
She also let their mom know that there was a stowaway pumpkin from October hiding out in the dollhouse in December. If she could've plugged her nose, she would've, but you know broken arm and all...
 She's been caught messing with our Christmas decor and getting a bear hug from our Santa.
But, probably our most favorite elf trick to date was the morning we awoke to our very own Elves R Us store right on their bedroom floor!
 No matter what she's done, where she's been, or how absolutely exhausted the parents of the home get trying to keep up with this little elf, it has brought more love and joy than we could've ever imagined. 
 If you're a parent who began this GLORIOUS tradition, you understand exactly what we're talking about....
The BIG TpT Cyber Monday Sale Ends tonight.
Our entire shop is 20% off, 
Plus enter coupon code CYBER at checkout to save even more!
 We're off for our second round of shopping ourselves. 
How about you?

Click the cart to shop with Fluttering Through First Grade.
Happy Cyber Shopping!

Happy Shopping.

Hello NOvember!

We're pretty certain that if you make it to the 5th of a month, there's very little chance of it going away.
So, here we are, huh?
Though we continue to find a few straggling spider rings and one slobbery pair of vampire teeth lying around the classroom this week, October is no more. So...
Here's how our short month looks. 
All of these items can be found in our TpT Shop and will keep us busy until the turkey is cooked.
Our class adores playing sight word games.
Unfortunately, the calendar says we cannot play  
Sight Word Spook! any longer.
So, we whipped up a November version that we think they'll really sink their teeth into...preferably not the slobbery vampire ones...

We've been setting up our sight word games with a parent volunteer each day in class. It gets a little loud, but they are having a great time reading and spelling those sight words, so who are we to gobble? 
This one is played in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.
They feel like they're whipping up a Thanksgiving feast of words. Fun!
Want a chance to win 2 of our November units?
We're giving 2 lucky winners 2 November units of your choice with a quick Pin 2 Win 2 Contest!

Click any of the pics below to take a closer look at what you can win...
Here's how it works...
First, follow Fluttering Through First Grade on Pinterest HERE.
Then, visit our TpT Shop between now and Friday night.
Find your 2 favorite November items (or click on the direct linked pictures above...Let's keep this simple.) that you'd love to win.
Then, pin from our shop.
The two products, that is. 
Onto Pinterest...
Okay, just making sure we're making sense. :)
Leave a comment below with
1. Your Pinterest url (We love following teachers!)
2. The names of the 2 November products you pinned and would love to win.

That's It!
We'll pick 2 winners who will win 2 November items of their choosing on Friday night!
So, if you're in a pinning and winning mood, leave us a comment below and check back on Friday.
Good luck!

Liberty Bell How To

Once upon a time, we found a pin...
Unfortunately, it led to nowhere. If it's yours, please let us know! We loved it and are firm believers in giving credit where credit is due.

We've been studying American Symbols as part of our Social Studies learning and knew our class would love making Liberty Bells similar to the pin above. Unfortunately, we couldn't personally get the aluminum foil to look as pretty as the pin above, so we were worried that our first graders would have a hard time too.

We thought and thought, and finally the bells went off!
We put our own twist on Liberty Bells, and our kids loved them.

Here's What We Did...
 We found cardboard planting pots at the 99 Cents Store. The texture and thickness is PERFECT!
They looked crackly and lovely. We were excited.
On Day 1, we set up a painting station at the table outside of our classroom.
 We showed them how to paint a "pot puppet" by putting it over their hand, or by holding it down, getting a little dirty and painting it on the table. We used yellow tempera paint and the paint job was quick ~ 2 coats was plenty with the foam brushes.

 Once dry, we prepped the pots and materials for the next phase.
 We found small jingle bells, brown scrapbook cardstock by the sheet and blue glittery pipe cleaners at Michaels. We were excited. Poke 2 holes in the bottom of the painted pot before you begin.
 Cut one square 3 1/2 x 4 inches wide. This will be the rolling piece. Cut another piece 1 x 3 inches. This will be the Liberty sign.
Have them roll their larger brown paper around their pencil. 
They were very proud to figure this trick out!
String the bell onto the pipe cleaner, then thread it up through the open end of the pot, now bell~One end per hole. Hold the bell against the side of the inside pot while twisting the pipe cleaner at the top to hold it in place.
Place the rolled brown paper in between the pipe cleaner tails and twist again. A few needed adult help, but most of them were able to figure this out by watching a few times.
Add the crack with a Sharpie, and of course a brad for one of the bolts that tried to fix the crack in the bell. They loved this part! We poked the brad through for them and they opened the arms of the brad inside the pot themselves. 

Use the same Sharpie to print the word "Liberty" on the smaller brown paper and attach it to the front of the roll. We used glue dots to attach ours.
We decided to string our Liberty Bells onto blue yarn and hang them like a garland above our American Symbols bulletin board. Bald Eagles are from Deanna Jump {here}. We used duct tape on the ends to keep them in place. The tape is hiding up on the window sills, but has been there for over a week and no bells have cracked yet. :)
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