Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Break Comes Early!

I'm linking up on this ice day morning with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five For Friday! Today was supposed to be our last day before Christmas break, but we ended up getting an early gift of a day off!  

The students wrote Christmas Pattern Poems this week in writing workshop.  First we reviewed the different types of sentences and then students had to write some of each of those sentence types about the holiday season following the pattern outlined on their rough draft paper.  This is one of the activities included in my Christmas/Holidays Activities Bundle, and here's one of the finished poems.

On Wednesday morning we opened the gifts the students had earned from me since Thanksgiving.  I talked about this behavior incentive in my post "It's Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas (and it's giving me a headache!)".  The students were very excited about all the goodies they had earned!

I drew name sticks, and each student I drew would get to open a gift and read aloud the gift card inside.  I love to hear the cheers when the gifts are announced!

One of the gifts the students earned was making an art project.  Since my students don't have art class, this is a gift they really enjoy.  We made beautiful 3-D snowflakes!

There is a video link showing how to make these great snowflakes in my post "Monday Made It for Christmas". What I love about this project is every student's snowflake turns out fantastic!

Another one of the gifts the students earned was an hour of playing board games.  They brought all kinds of games from home and had a blast playing with each other!  One of the most popular games was Headbanz.  

You wear a headband into which is placed a card that you can't see.  You ask questions of the other players to try and figure out what is on your card.  It was hilarious to see them having so much fun with this!

At our Christmas party I was planning on having the kids make this snowflake ornament.  I got the idea from Pinterest (of course!).  This was the original from  Click on the picture and it will take you to their directions.

These are the materials I bought at JoAnn's:  white pipe cleaners, beads, and ribbon.

My ornament didn't turn out exactly like the original.  I couldn't afford to buy enough beads to cover all of the pipe cleaners, and the weight of the beads I did have kept making the pipe cleaners flop down.  I flattened the whole snowflake, and this made it hang much nicer. Since we didn't end up having our party today we'll just have to make New Year's resolution snowflake ornaments in January!

I am so looking forward to the next seventeen days off!  I'm sure you need a break as much as I do!  Make sure you stop by Doodle Bugs Teaching and check out Five for Friday!


  1. Stephanie, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your wonderful ideas for the gifts. We opened a gift each day and it WORKED wonders in mine and my bestie's classes. I've never had such wonderful behavior in all my years of teaching. I KNOW my reading your post and implementing your idea was the cause. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  2. Thank you so much, Alison! I'm glad it worked for you! Have a great Christmas break!

  3. I love the snowflakes. They are beautiful. You guys did a great job at making them! Thanks for sharing.


  4. Oh my goodness, your snowflakes are amazing. I can't wait to try making them with my students when we return from break!

    Elementary School Garden

  5. What a fun idea to open a gift each day! I bet your students LOVE that AND it's a great idea that can work for both young and older learners! Enjoy your well deserved holiday break!
    Short and Sassy Teacher

  6. I really like the gift idea! Enjoy your winter break! I'm a new follower!

    The Aud Classroom