Sunday, December 6, 2015

Christmas Activities & Elf in the Classroom

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
One of my favorite times of year, but also one of the most stressful because I have so many fun things I want to squeeze in to these last 3 weeks before break.
Here is my door for our school's Christmas door decorating contest.
These fun collaborative mosaic door coloring sheets came from Art with Jenny K
 I didn't tell my kids what we were going to do with their coloring pages.  I just handed them out and let them color.  Students who colored quicker than others would get an additional sheet, there were 30 altogether.
They were amazed when they realized that the pieces fit together and made a picture.
BTW - this was super easy to put together.  Each page had a letter and number on it so that you knew where each one fit into the picture.  My wonderful practicum student cut them all out and relabeled the backs.  Then I taped them together and our awesome first grade assistant put it on the door for me.  It was a team effort!

Then it was time to get out the Christmas tree.
Unfortunately, half the lights were burnt out.
This was my Christmas tree in my apartment in college, so it's had a good long life.
I went to Walmart that night to get a new tree...

And it's black.
I seriously did not know they made black Christmas trees.
Well I got one!
I decided I was not going to stress about it.  So this year I will have black Christmas tree.

Last week, Santa came to visit and he brought some of his reindeer.

The kids were amazed when they were told that the reindeer with antlers was actually a girl, while the reindeer without the antlers, in the picture above, was a boy.
It blew their minds when one of my kiddos put two and two together and realized that that must mean that all of Santa's reindeer are girls, because they have antlers.

Mrs. Claus is in the background of this picture.

My kids were so excited to see Jolly, our elf from last year.  He came the Monday we returned from Thanksgiving Break. And as usual, he appeared sitting on our Christmas tree.  He must be okay with black trees.
This year Jolly has discovered TpT and has been bringing us an awesome countdown to winter break card each day when he comes back from the North Pole.
You can check out this awesome freebie from Missing Tooth Grins here.

I love these cards because not only are they super cute!  But they have the countdown till Christmas Break, a fun and easy Christmas activity, as well as a kindness challenge for the day.
After we read our card each day, I hang it on our bulletin board.

The first card suggested that we make some snowflakes!
I honestly can't remember the last time I made snowflakes with a class.  I'd say its been about 8 years.  But they loved it!  I grabbed some copy paper, taught the kids how to fold it, and then we snipped away.
I hung everyone's snowflake up somewhere in our room.
The next day, Jolly's card said that we should write letters to Santa.
So during P.E., I searched TpT and found this freebie from Kidology by Krista Reid, check it out here.
 I thought it was so adorable with the little naughty and nice check boxes at the bottom.
And the kids did a pretty awesome job!
Here are my favorites.

Dear Santa,
For Christmas I want a good Christmas for all the kids around the world.  All I want is a stuffed giraffe, stuffed unicorn, and to have a good Christmas.  I love you Santa so much.  I love you Mrs. Claus and all the 9 reindeer.

Dear Santa,
I love Santa!  I wish for a new horse!  I love you!!!!  I love you!! I love you!!  I love you!! I love you!!  I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(We've obviously been learning about exclamation marks)

Dear Santa,
I have been nice.  I wish I had Jurassic World toys.  I wish I had an Elf on the Shelf.  I wish I had palace pets.  Thank you Santa.  I love Santa.  I can't wait for you to come again.

Dear Santa,
I have been nice.  Thank you for Daphne (her dog).  Thank you for the unicorn.  Thank you for Christmas.  Thank you for dolls.  You're the best.  I've loved you forever.  You're the best forever.  I love you.  You're the best Santa.
I just thought these were the sweetest letters to Santa that I had ever read. 

- Please don't judge the state of my shelf.  Yuck! I had no idea how dusty it was.
(Just a quick note about the kindness challenges.  My kids love reporting back to me when they have fulfilled the day's kindness challenge.  On this particular day, our door holder informed me that not only did she hold the door open for someone today, she held the door open for the entire class.)
Next, Jolly's card said that we should think up a new holiday name.
So then I walked into my friend's classroom that morning and saw this fun freebie from Teaching Superkids. 
This is a job application to work as an elf for Santa.
What a super cute idea!
I knew this would be a hit!

First, we had to get new elf names.
Your first name was based on your birthday month.
And your last name was from your favorite color.

My elf name is Tinsel Sweet Feet.

Then the kids completed their elf application with their age, which job they were applying for, and why they thought they would be a good elf.
Is this not the cutest thing ever?  And it was free!
I love the application in the picture above:
Jolly McMerry is 6 years old and wants to be a Stocking Stuffer.
She would be a good elf because...
"I can be quiet.
I can be quick.
I am a good elf.
I love you."
Trying to get on the boss's good side.

Then, depending on which job they were applying for, they had to complete a second sheet to show off their elf skills.
If they wanted to be a Stocking Stuffer, they had to list three things they would put in the stockings.
If they wanted to be a decorator, they had to design and color an ornament.
If they wanted to be a toy maker, they had to list three toys they would like to make.
And if they wanted to be a gift wrapper, they had to describe how they would wrap a present.

Sparkle Sugar Plum is 7 years old and wants to be a Decorator.
"I would be a good decorator because I would pick sparkly ornaments."

Glitter Sugar Plum is 7 years old and wants to be a Gift Wrapper.
"I will be a good gift wrapper because I put the bow on top."

Then she described how she would wrap a gift.

Holly McMerry is six years old and wants to be a Decorator.
(She asked if she could write the number word for 6)
She would be a good elf because "I am a good decorator."
On Friday, Jolly had way too much fun with our calendar board!
My kids watched me very carefully to make sure that I didn't accidentally touch Jolly when I was retrieving our activity card and our calendar piece.  Jolly brought us the Elf on the Shelf movie last year, we watched it again this year, and so they learned all about what would happen if you touched him.
Our Christmas activity of the day was to listen to Christmas music while you work.  So we had a blast rockin' out to Christmas Kids Bop music while we worked!
Stay tuned for more adventures with Jolly!
I'm excited to see what other Christmas activities he has in store for us.
And he also whispered something to me about bringing his reindeer friend with him next week.

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