Saturday, December 6, 2014

Countdown to Christmas

The first week of December has come and gone.
So I thought I'd share a neat idea I pinned on Pinterest last year.
When I checked back to my original pin, the blog was no longer found.  Sad day.  This is such a neat idea that I wanted to make sure and share it with others.
The original pin was from a mommy blog.  Before the end of November each year, she'd collect 24 of her children's favorite Christmas books and wrap them up like a Christmas gift.  Then, each night, one of her children would get to pick out a book, unwrap it (the best part), and that book would be their nightly read aloud.
Great idea!!
And so easy to modify for a kindergarten classroom.
I tried this last year, with some modifications, and my kids LOVED it.  So of course I knew that I'd be doing it again this year.
I have 20 students.  So I chose 20 of my favorite Christmas books.  I purposely did not choose ones that I like to use for special projects, like most of my gingerbread books were reserved for gingerbread week and I didn't wrap How the Grinch Stole Christmas because I knew we'd be having a Grinch day. 
Our last day of school before Christmas Break is December 19.  So I'd have only 15 days of school and 20 books. 
No big deal.
Some days if we have a little extra time, I'd pick two names.  Other days that were a little bit busier, I'd only draw one name.
The biggest thing for me was that I wanted to make sure my kids understood that these were my books.  I just wanted to have a fun way of letting them pick out books for us to read.  So even thought they were choosing and unwrapping the book, when we were finished reading, it was going back on my shelf.
(I actually bought each of my kids a book for Christmas so during our Christmas party they will get to unwrap a book that will belong to them.  They don't know that yet, of course.)
First thing I did was type up all my students names on a word document and print it out.  The names then went in a little container I bought at Dollar Tree this summer.
I could've just written the names on scraps of paper, but typing the names in Word was probably faster and they look a little nicer.
Then I picked out my 20 Christmas books.

I brought them home over Thanksgiving to wrap.

I found all of these wrapping paper rolls at Wal-Mart last year.  They came 2 or 3 to a pack, I can't remember.  But there was enough to wrap last year's 23 books, this year's 20 books, and a little extra left over for next year.  I'm sure I'll have to buy more next year though.
I just love the bright fun colors!

I am actually a terrible wrapper.  So I commissioned my mom to wrap for me. 
I bribed her.

Finished and ready to go back to school!
There are no embellishments on these book gifts.  No bows or ribbons, just wrapping paper.

  I wanted my students to be able to tear open these books pretty quickly and the books probably wouldn't have all fit in my little Disney shopper tote with bows and such. 
I love this little tote from the Disney online store.

Fits perfectly between my cubbies and rocking chair.
Before starting, I explained to my kids that these were my books.  They would get to choose which one they wanted, unwrap it, I would read it, but then it would go back on my bookshelf.  I explained that I thought it would be a fun way for them to get to pick out which Christmas books we read each day.
They were cool with it and totally understood that even though they unwrapped it, the book was still mine.
I was a little worried about how well my students would understand that concept last year when I first introduced this idea.  I was fully prepared for tears and questions of why they couldn't take their book home.  But they all understood and we had no issues.
So I knew my kids this year would understand as well.

This little guy's name was drawn first!

He was so excited!

This was a brand-new book I just received from Scholastic, so I was excited to read it too!
My kids are loving this Christmas tradition.
When I get ready to pick out a name, my kids are the quietest I have ever heard them.  They are anxiously waiting for me to call their name.
And if I don't pick out their name, they are perfectly okay with that, because they know that their name is still in my basket and they will get a turn, just maybe not today.
Try it in your classroom and let me know what you think!

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