Friday, January 2, 2015

Classroom Christmas Fun!

I know it's like a week past Christmas, but I wanted to share some of the Christmas fun that went on in my classroom during December.
First we made our December stained glass window art.

Maria from Kinder-Craze had a great idea for the stars.  If you cut them out of butcher paper (bulletin board paper) you can still see the color and they are a little transparent but different from the green of the trees.
Great idea!

I bought a star shaped paper punch from Hobby Lobby.  No way was I going to cut out a zillion little stars by hand.

The first Friday of December we had Grinch Day!

We encouraged the kids to dress up in their "Grinchiest" clothes.
I had a lot of kids dressed up in green, but this little cutie was the only one to dress up as Cindy Lou Who.
Loved it!

My teacher neighbor and I teamed up for the next part.
She read "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" to both of our classes in her room while I made Grinch floats in my room.
Talk about pressure.
I had to keep telling her to read slower.
Scooping lime sherbet and pouring Sprite into cups for 40 kids plus adults was a bit much by myself.  Next year I will see if a parent can come help.

Then all the kids came over to my room to watch the cartoon version of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" while they enjoyed their Grinch floats.
I was so frazzled and my fingers were so sticky that these were the only pictures I took this day.
The second Friday of December we decorated Gingerbread Houses.
Earlier that week I had one of our Kindergarten assistants collect the kids' milk cartons at lunch.
Then I rinsed them out and set them upside down on paper towel to dry out.
The next morning I stapled the tops shut.
Then my assistant hot-glued graham crackers to the sides and the roof of each milk carton.  (I made sure to tell the kids not to each the graham crackers off the carton unless they wanted to eat glue; they thought this was hilarious!)
I sent home a note in advance asking for frosting, plates, candy, etc for our gingerbread houses.  But I went ahead and bought the graham crackers myself.  In the past I've gotten cinnamon, chocolate, and expensive graham crackers.  I just buy the cheap Walmart brand of honey graham crackers because they work best and actually break on the line where they are supposed to.
I've done these gingerbread houses many a year by myself, no parent help.  So I was thrilled when I had several parents show up that day.
First, each student received a paper plate, a house, and a spoon.
My parents put frosting onto paper plates while I gave rules and suggestions.
Rule 1 - the spoon does not go in your mouth and then back in the frosting.  (we have been dealing with the flu and strep, so if a spoon went into a mouth, it was thrown away)
Suggestion 1 - use the back of your spoon to scoop the frosting and spread it onto the house.  The more frosting on your house, the better the candy will stick.
When kids finished with the frosting it was time to decorate.
Rule 2 - you may eat 3 pieces of candy, the rest go on your house.
Suggestion 2 - push your candy down into the frosting so they'll stick.

We had a good collection of candy that included: skittles, m&ms, peppermints, mini candy canes, and gum drops.  We were supposed to have red hots, but the little girl who was supposed to bring them told me her mom ate them all.  Haha!
You gotta love kindergarteners.  They will tell you everything. 
Then a mom came around and let each child choose sprinkles to go on top.

 How in the world did I send these things home?
It's taken me a few years to get it right, especially with bus riders.
While the parents helped the kids decorate.  I pulled out the gallon sized zip-lock bags a parent brought in.  I wrote each child's name on a bag with a black Sharpie.
When students were finished decorating, their gingerbread house went onto a clean Christmas plate (we used regular plain plates for the decorating process).  Then I carefully tucked the plate and house into the zip-lock bag, zipped it up and tada!  All ready to go.
I then separated the bags by car riders and bus riders since they dismiss 25 min apart.  Before my kids could have their house I made them go put on their jacket and backpack, then I would give them their bag.
The last day of school we also went ahead and made our January stained glass window art.  I like to have things up and ready to go for January before I leave school before break.

The third Friday of December was the last day of school before a two week break and it was also our Christmas party.
Yes, we have a Christmas party.  I teach in a tiny town in the south.

This is one of my favorite of our zillion parties.
All we ate were cookies and milk.
I had one parent bring in a gallon of milk, several parents bring in cookies, and then one parent brought in napkins, plates, and cups.
So much simpler than our Thanksgiving Feast.
So first we ate.
I played Christmas music in the background.

Then the kids opened their gifts from each other.
Girls bring in a wrapped book for a girl, boys bring in a wrapped book for a boy.
I have all the kids sit on the carpet.  I laid out all the girls books around the edges of the table.  I had the girls go stand in front of the book they brought.  Then I played Christmas music while they walked around the table.
When the music stopped, they stopped walking, whichever book was in front of the them was the book they received.
I did the same with the boys.  Quick and simple.  No fussing.

I gave them some time to look at their new books and then I passed out my Christmas presents for them.  More books!
The other kindergarten teachers and I decided that instead of buying our kids toys this year, we would buy them each a book.
Scholastic book orders have a $1 book every month.  November's $1 book was "Snowmen at Christmas," one of my favorites.  But I had several kids who bought that book when I did book orders in November.  So I bought half the class "Snowmen at Christmas" and the other half got the December $1 book, "Sneezy the Snowman," which turned out to be super cute.

I wrote a little message inside the cover of each book to each child.

When I ordered the books, Scholastic asked how many kids were in my classroom.  Then they sent me 20 snowman sticker pages with my order.  So I slipped one of the sticker pages inside each book as well.

They loved them!

So sad that December is over.
It's always crazy busy but I love all the fun activities.

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