Holiday Rush Tips, A Freebie & Giveaway! | Grade 2 Hullabaloo: Holiday Rush Tips, A Freebie & Giveaway!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Holiday Rush Tips, A Freebie & Giveaway!

Oh, can you feel it coming? The December rush of activities, programs, crafts, and... um... teaching has to fit in there somewhere? I get a little tense just thinking about it. However, I want to ENJOY the activities, programs, crafts and lessons with my kiddos. So, here are a few tips, a FREEBIE, and a chance to win a $25 gift to Target! All this is to help you prepare for the sprint (this one isn't a marathon like some say) that is December in elementary school.

Win a $25 gift for teachers
Win a $25 Gift Card! Enter Below.

In the spirit of giving, and to show you how much I care for you, dear teacher blog reader, I am participating in a blog hop sponsored by Keeping Up with Mrs. Harris and Notes from the Portable. Try these tips, grab the Solve It, Santa! freebie, and enter to win a $25 Target gift card!

First of all --

Take care of Yourself. 

  1. I call it putting my own oxygen mask on first as they say on flights. If you aren't healthy and well-rested, how can you be at your best? Harder said than done, isn't it? I suggest you make two promises to yourself.
  2. I promise to approach plans for December with a mindset of reasonableness. Yes, reasonableness applies to planning (not just strategies in math)! Do you have time to create 24 adorable sock snowmen complete with pompom ear muffs? Probably, but maybe a smaller (and less time intensive and expensive) gift is more reasonable for your students, not to mention presents for room parents and coworkers, and office staff and TA's and, and, and... 
  3. I promise to take time for myself. Give yourself the night off at least once each week in December. Weekends don't count! Yes, you CAN do it. Whatever is on your to-do list CAN wait. Find the time to go to your real or imaginary happy place. My imaginary one is below -- Belize! 
Teachers find time to relax during the holiday rush
Take time to find your happy place during the holiday rush!

Enlist Help.

  1. In my school, parent volunteers are plentiful. However, I have been in schools where there was little to no parent involvement. Do you need construction paper cut into certain sizes for those reindeer, Santas, menorahs, or snowmen crafts you have planned? Create an example of exactly how you'd pieces cut  and write EXAMPLE on it. Add notes to them if there are any complicated parts.  Email your parents to ask for volunteers to cut them at home. Maybe there is an older sibling in the home who would love to do it. Even if you have very little parent involvement, if there is one parent you can call on, you might build a great relationship with her/him. It could spark others to offer to help. You won't know unless you try.
  2. Have you considered creating tracers for those craft projects? I love using tracers with my second graders. It helps with fine motor skills, and all I have to do is have the construction paper laid out for them to grab. If you use tracers (use card stock), it is important to teach your students to place the tracer near the edges of the paper. I demonstrate how plopping that teeny tracer in the center of the paper is wasteful. I also teach my kiddos to flip over the piece they have traced, so that the pencil tracing lines don't show in the final product. (Yes, I'm a little OCD about these things!)
Teacher Time Saving Tips
Clearly, these tracers have been used many times. Print once, use many times!

Tracers help teachers save time
My students used tracers to create these turkey glyphs. 

     3. Finally, I find a big basket or box and put a label on it -- PAPER SCRAPS. That way, if children need a piece of black for Santa's boots, they should look in that box before taking a new piece of black paper. This is a lifesaver when one of your littles comes to you asking for a red piece of paper when you're involved with a small group or in the middle of helping someone else. Train them to look in the scrap paper box first! 

Start early. (like NOW)

  1. Are you traveling for Thanksgiving or Christmas? Do you have a personal laminator? Print your items needing to be laminated and take them along with you. No personal laminator? Laminate at school before you go. While everyone is letting that huge holiday dinner settle, pass out a few pieces and have them help you. I plan to do this at my parents' home! I have nieces, nephews, and sisters-in-law who are going to be helping me trim during Thanksgiving and Christmas! Don't forget to bring along a few extra pairs of scissors. I'll be printing this Solve It, Santa! set of 26 addition and subtraction with regrouping story problems. 
Santa Math
Click on this image to get this free product!
  1. Almost every year, I look back and realize I forgot to do a neat craft or lesson for a particular holiday. Go through your files and make sure you haven't forgotten something you love to have your students do for the holidays. Do it NOW. While you're at it, grab this holiday 
  2. Gather your holiday books. Put a sticky note on the top of things you need for the lesson. It will help with prep. Can't find that one special book that is a must-have? Put those sweet eagle-eyed students to work searching for it. I pull up a picture of the book cover, show the children, and off they go to find it. Usually, in a minute or two, the book has been found. Do this during a transition time and make a game of it. I use my announcer voice and announce that it is time for "Let's Find this Book" and they're off!

Finally, if you've read all of these tips, thanks! I hope you've grabbed my thank-you freebie in the spirit of giving during the holidays. It's my thanks to you. I know how hard you work and I appreciate you stopping by my blog and my TPT shop! As a BONUS, grab this limited-time freebie as my second thanks to you! 

Enter to win a $25 Target Gift Card below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wishing you the happiest of holidays!


  1. I definitely agree about using tracers. It not only saves time, but helps students be able to complete more projects independently. So important! Thanks for sharing your wonderful freebies as well!! They are awesome.

  2. Great ideas! Thank you for the lovely post. Happy Holidays and glad to be blog hopping with you! -Betsy (Spark Creativity)

  3. Great tips Susan, I'm so glad to be on this blog hop with you, and to discover your blog and FB!

  4. Great Ideas...loving the blog hop and thanks for the collaboration!