Sunday, December 04, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Between my Pandora Christmas channel playing in the morning when the kids come in and our schedule being thrown off due to the older kids being in testing, we have been SO in the holiday spirit and can't get enough of holiday {Christmas!!} projects.

{math integration}
As much of a necessity as Elmer's glue is in elementary school, using it gives me hives.  The lid is clogged or they twist the whole lid and a pile of it soaks their paper...I would kiss the inventor of the gluestick.  But, sometimes you just need a little more stickiness.  So I used paintbrushes and my math sorting trays for art and {ta da!} had a liquid glue success story. 
We used sequins {ooh sparkly!} to make pattern ornaments!
I found the ornament outline on the Family Fun website and added the lines myself to help guide the students' patterns.  Go {here} for 40 other holiday craft ideas.
Then we used surrounding patterns to create a different type of pattern ornament!  {These will be gifts for mom & dad.  Sshhhh...don't tell!}

One of my coworkers found an adorable spin on 10 apples up on top for the holiday season.  {If this is your idea, please let me know so I can give you credit!}  The kids make {or color} presents to balance on pictures of themselves just as the characters balanced apples on their heads in the book.  They're SO cute.  The kids worked so quietly that I had to reward them by turning our Pandora Christmas music back on!

If you have them {or enough time to print some out} I've also done this in the past with actual photos of the children instead of having them draw themselves.  Even better if you can get them to make a "balancing" pose.  ;)

{literacy integration}
A few of my kids came in last week talking about Rudolph after they watched the special on TV the night before.  And when your kids have an interest, what do you do??  Build on it!  :)  We started by looking up the song on YouTube and singing along. {Ok, we're listening to Christmas music basically non-stop. But you should see how productive they are!!!}
We made these reindeer with one footprint and two handprints.  I made it clear from the beginning that they were making reindeer {not necessarily Rudolph} knowing I could turn it into a writing project.  I let them choose their own nose color and then they wrote about their character.  Some told their reindeer's name, some told how it helped Santa...I left it pretty much wide open as long as it was on topic.
My across-the-hall buddy is a first grade teacher {and so much fun to "live across the street" from} and we are constantly sharing ideas of things that my kids aren't quite ready for or that her kids have already mastered.  Luckily she's also a fan of blog stalking and cutesy ideas so we help each other out a lot!

When I realized that first grade was writing a list to Santa about things the kids were asking for, I took that as my cue to think of something more kindergarteny.  As much as I keep saying that I'm "beefing" things up or "extending" activities I also think at times we're asking too much of these kids too soon.  {But that is a totally different conversation for a different day!}  And that's when it hit me...Santa Circle Maps.  :)

Instead of requiring that they know how to write full sentences and sound out the items they were asking for {having been in school for an astounding 60-something days} they drew pictures of their lists and added labels.  Still sounding out, still practicing literacy skills...academic check.  They they used scraps from the construction paper bin to make his arms and legs.  The face is just a coloring sheet I found on Google and shrunk down.
When we spend time talking about what the kids want and being self-focused, I always have to combat that with a discussion on giving.  So to complete our bulletin board, we did some argumentative writing practice.  I will give a ___ to ____ because...  Then I glued their writing in wrapping paper scraps to make adorable lift-the-flap pieces.
Some students chose to give to someone in their family while others chose friends or classmates.  What I loved was seeing all unique gift ideas and specific reasons for why they were chosen.  {ie "I will give my dad new jeans because it is getting cold."}
A very logical answer below.  ;)
We also completed a Christmas tree glyph to tell how we feel about all of the celebrations and displays of the season!  I adapted questions from KidsCount to create our directions.  The ornaments are little foam shapes that you can find at most craft or dollar stores...or Target.  :)
And Mistletoe is still in full swing!  Kids who clipped up the highest throughout the week were able to whisper him a secret before they left for the weekend on Friday...which was an added incentive!  ;)
I'll be teaching Hanukkah and Kwanzaa this week to go along with learning the Christmas story last week.  Candy canes, menorahs and kinaras coming up next!


  1. I love all the ornament patterns, especially the sparkly ones! :) I'm your newest follower!

    Lil' Country Kindergarten

  2. Hey there! Do you happen to have the template for the ornament with the lines? I love that idea and would love to use it if you are willing!

  3. I would love that template too! Cute ideas!

    1. Hey Karen, the ornament was from the Family Fun website. It looks like it's been moved, though. :/ If I find it again, I'll relink it - and let you know!

  4. I teach pre-k and have also struggled with glue. Our solution is small plastic bottles with a brush attached to the lid (similar to rubber cement). We love them it has made all the glue projects so much more manageable. I ordered them online inexpensively.
    Thanks for sharing all your creative ideas


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