I can show gratitude.

I can give back.

I can say "Thank you!"

While these three "I can" statements are not included in my second grade Common Core Standards, they are extremely important precepts that I post in my classroom during the months of November and December.
Since I am a firm believer in "paying it forward" and was raised by parents who encouraged me to try to  stay on Santa's "nice list," I work hard at teaching my little ones to focus less on the hype and the "gimme, gimme" of the season, and more on making others happy by being generous in spirit.
I infuse my Writer's Workshop activities with these "life lessons," 
and you can see a preview of the FREEBIE
and related writing resource I use for Thanksgiving

and check out this newly-revised Christmas FREEBIE that was designed 
as a book companion for
Patricia Polacco's 
Gifts of the Heart


 You might also like this related (and also recently refreshed)

features these happy graphics by my dear
friend Jen from
Teaching in the Tongass

She has graciously donated her charming Nutcracker bundle 
in honor of my
one-year blogiversary, and I am excited to see who wins this delightful collection! I was never much of a dancer, but when I was little I used to put wooden blocks in the toes of my slippers and pretend to be Clara waltzing with her handsome prince as we watched the annual television broadcast!  

My daughter and I often attended our local production of this ballet when she was young, and made the mistake of taking my son along with us when he was in the 5th grade.  About ten minutes into the performance, he was unimpressed by the soaring music of Tchiakovsky, the grand costumes, and the real snow falling on the gorgeous stage set, and loudly exclaimed...  

"Mom!  You did not tell me that there is just DANCING 
in this show and NO TALKING!"  

Thank goodness for the sword play in the battle between the Mouse King and the soldiers, as well as chips and a soda from the refreshment stand at intermission!  You will be relieved to know that he survived the experience, and happily started collecting holiday Nutcrackers that he proudly displays every year a Christmas time!

 Be sure to like Jen's Facebook page and follow her TpT store when completing the Rafflecopter below to receive notifications about FREEBIES that are often exclusive to her fans!  I can't wait to use these new 
FREE elf sets 
that she just uploaded! 

Check out her related writing activity pack as well!
I will announce the lucky winner and ask her to send the file link 
via e-mail tomorrow morning, Sunday, Nov. 9th!

In closing, I'd like to share a link to one of my 
favorite holiday songs entitled  
Grown-Up Christmas List 

It emphasizes that the gifts with the most value truly do not come tied up in packages and bows.  They come from our hearts, in the form of kind words and selfless actions.  They are given with love and expect nothing in return.  They cost nothing but time and thoughtfulness.

Thanks for sharing in the real reasons for the season with me as I celebrate a personal and professional milestone this weekend!  
Now take a special moment to 
listen and enjoy this story inside of a song....

a Rafflecopter giveaway  photo jennifergiff-3.gif


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for coming to my party, Laura! I appreciate your support!

  2. My class goes to see The Nutcracker Ballet every year! Would love to win this!

    1. You are so lucky to be able to take your class to see the balet! Sadly, our field trip budget was cut and we are no longer able to go to theatre productions! I try to show my students video clips though, and we listen to the music during morning work time in December!