Tuesday, December 6, 2016

12 Days of Holiday Ideas for the Classroom - #6

It's the 6th day of...

This post may contain affiliate links to materials I recommend.

One of my favorite (and most important) jobs as a teacher is character education.  I love finding ways of trying to make my students better citizens of our world.  Teaching them to be kind to others is a huge part of that.  The holidays are a wonderful time of the year to do some random acts of kindness!  A great kickoff book to introduce this idea to your students is Peter Claus and the Naughty List by Lawrence David.

(Click on image to find this book on Amazon.)

Many teachers enjoy having their students decorate their classrooms for the holidays with red and green paper chains.  What if you turned that into a kindness chain?  

You could encourage your students to do random acts of kindness for others, and each time they did, they could add a link to the chain in your classroom!  Or how about a Kindness Christmas Tree?  For each act of kindness, students could add an ornament to the tree!  

Don't have time to create a tree or paper chains?  You could encourage your students to participate in 12 Days of Christmas Kindness!

You can find all of these materials in my Random Acts of Christmas Kindness freebie in my TPT Store!

Click on the button below to go back to the beginning of the 12 Days of Holiday Ideas for the Classroom!

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for day 7!

Monday, December 5, 2016

12 Days of Holiday Ideas for the Classroom - #5

The first snow of the season is falling outside, and it's day 5 of my...

Yesterday I shared my favorite snowman books to go along with a snowman themed holiday party, and today I'm sharing a beautiful art project that I found a few years back on A Faithful Attempt, a blog by a K-12 art teacher.  She had her students create pastel drawings on construction paper after reading Snowmen at Night.  You can read her post by clicking on the pic below.

These are a couple of the drawings that my students made.

After seeing all the different versions of the Snowmen at Night books (Snowmen at Work, Snowmen at Play, etc.), I've decided I'd like my class to create a Snowmen at School book of our own!

If you'd like to see the 12 Days of Holiday Ideas for the Classroom posts from the beginning, click on the button below.

Then head back over tomorrow for day 6!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

12 Days of Holiday Ideas for the Classroom - #4

I'm on to day #4 of my 12 Days of Holiday Ideas for the Classroom blog series!

This post may contain affiliate links to materials I recommend.

Yesterday's post was all about having a snowman themed hot chocolate party for the holidays which goes along perfectly with today's post!  

The Snowmen at Night series of books by Caralyn and Mark Buehner are fun stories with the most beautiful illustrations perfect for snuggling down with a cup of hot cocoa!  (Click on each book cover within the post to find the Snowmen at Night books on Amazon.)

I have found two great YouTube videos of this story that are fun to share with your class on the big screen.

The story is read aloud with nice background music and camera work in this first version.

The second video features the entire story converted to song and set to music.

Perfect for your holiday party is the second book in the Snowmen series, Snowmen at Christmas!

Here are the other fun books in this series!

Want to see the project you can do with your kids to go along with the Snowmen at Night books?  Click on the button below!

To go back to see all the previous posts in this series, click on the button below.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

12 Days of Holiday Ideas for the Classroom - #3

It's the 3rd day of my 12 Days of Holiday Ideas for the Classroom!

A couple years ago, my class earned a reading celebration at some point in the winter, and as part of that celebration we had a snowman themed hot chocolate bar.  I think this would be a fabulous idea for a holiday party!  

I brought in an assortment of thirty different mugs.  (If you've been teaching for any length of time, you should have plenty!)  I even decorated marshmallows with cake decorating gel to look like snowmen!  

You could easily add other items like candy canes, caramel sticks, or how about those amazing Pepperidge Farm Pirouette wafers?!  Click on button #4 to see some books I'll be sharing to go with your snowman themed party!  

Click on the button below to go back to the first day of my 12 Days of Holiday Ideas for the Classroom!

Friday, December 2, 2016

12 Days of Holiday Ideas for the Classroom - #2

It is day 2 of my 12 Days of Holiday Ideas for the Classroom!

One of my fifth grade buddies passed this next idea along to me a few years ago.  Kids obviously love receiving gifts, but they also get very excited giving gifts to others.  This idea gives students the opportunity to give gifts to their classmates without the inevitable disappointment that happens with a traditional gift exchange.  

Start by having all of your students bring a Christmas stocking to school.  I have a hard time dealing with the mismatch effect of 30 different stockings so I purchased a class set for half off the day after Christmas one year.  Hang the stockings up in your classroom.

Send a letter home to parents letting them know that they can send in small items to be placed in each stocking.  You can see the letter I use below.  Click on it, and it will take you to the Google doc.  Fill in how many students are in your class and feel free to use it!

When my students bring in their items, I have them stay behind for a few minutes when the rest of the class goes to lunch.  That way all of the gifts stay a surprise!

During the Christmas party, the students get to see all the goodies that are in their stockings!  They put them in a treat bag to take home, so I have my stockings to use the following year.  

Want to see the next holiday idea?  Click on button 3 below.

To go back to the first post, click the #1 button, and be sure to stop by for the next 10 days for more great tips for celebrating the holidays!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

12 Days of Holiday Ideas for the Classroom

I love being a teacher during the holiday season!  It's a wonderful time of year to do special activities with the class, and I have a number of holiday traditions I enjoy sharing with my students.  Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing many of my favorite tried and true traditions along with some new ideas as well in my special blog series, 12 Days of Holiday Ideas for the Classroom!

I had to kick off this blog series with my absolute favorite holiday tradition!  I have talked about this idea before, but I know it will be new to many of you.  I also added a new little element that I have found helpful.

This idea is all about keeping your kids focused and working and you sane in the weeks leading up to the holiday break!  Every day I put HAPPY HOLIDAYS on the board.  

If the class is not following directions, not working quietly, not lining up without talking, whatever...I remove a letter.  Once letters have been removed, they can not be earned back.  If the class has at least one letter left at the end of the day, they earn a present for the class which goes under the tree. 

I will take away letters even if it's not the whole class but just a group of students who aren't doing what they should be.  Peer pressure can be a wonderful thing, and the students are great about encouraging their classmates to follow directions.  I have had classes lose a gift before, and  I make sure my kids know that gift is no longer able to be earned.  However, I don't believe I've ever had a class lose two of the gifts.  They are always much better behaved after losing one.  

Once in a while there is an issue of one or two students who really struggle with self control having the potential to ruin it for the whole class.  That's why I have sometimes used an individual Happy Holidays sheet.  I cross out a letter each time the student makes a poor choice.  The student may then lose the gift even if the class as a whole earns it.  This has been very successful with those students. I recently created this cute form to use for this purpose.

As the days go by, the kids get excited, seeing the presents begin to pile up under the tree!

In each gift is something written on a card that the whole class receives.  Some of the gifts are special privileges, some are activities, some are inexpensive gifts I can give everyone.  The gifts are opened a day or two before the last day of school before holiday break.  This allows me to plan all of the special activities they have earned those last couple days. Instead of dreading them, I actually look forward to them!  The gifts they earn end up being gifts for me too, as I don't have to do too much regular teaching (if any!). 

It is so much fun when the class finally gets to open the presents!  I draw name sticks to decide who gets to open them.  The student I draw comes up to get the next gift, opens it, and reads the card to the class.  I love seeing the excitement on their faces!

This is an easy idea to implement on your own, but if you would like to take a look at my Thanksgiving to Christmas Classroom Behavior Incentive, it is available in my TPT Store.  

Be sure to stop back by often in the coming days to see the rest of my 12 Holiday Ideas for the Classroom!

Click on the button below to check out Day 2!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Cyber Monday Sale and Giveaway!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and are ready to do some Cyber Monday shopping!  Last year I did at least 75% of my Christmas shopping online, and it certainly does beat fighting the crowds.  I'm also ready to take advantage of TPT's annual Cyber Sale, so I can get some great deals on all of those things on my wish list!

This year we have Monday and Tuesday to shop to our heart's content!  My entire TPT Store is on sale, so be sure to stop by and browse around!

I was fortunate enough to win a $10 TPT gift card to pass along to one of my lucky readers!  I will be emailing the winner their gift card on Tuesday morning, so you will have plenty of time to spend it!    

a Rafflecopter giveaway