“Do It Yourself, Kids”: Christmas Style

I tried a few new Christmas ideas in the classroom that have been working very well, So I thought I would share with you all.
The Christmas card area has been a HIT EVERY SINGLE DAY. You can check it out in my previous post.

With some large green poster board, I cut out the shape of a Christmas tree. I also included the stump of the tree by using brown paper. I purposefully didn’t put a tree or angel topper, since I wanted to see if a student would notice and make one themself.

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The students had also worked on some gingerbread people the previous day, so I pinned those around the tree for a festive look.

On the counter, I left some small white piece of paper. The students could take the paper, draw their own circle, and make an ornament. They could cut it out, and then glue it to the tree.

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It turned out well!

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And I like how the students could go there whenever they wanted to.

I also wanted to put to use three wooden squares I had picked up at Goodwill over the summer. I stacked them one on top of the other to make it appealing to the students due to the heightsof the structure. I put out some red, green, and white modeling clay from the Dollar Store. I taped down 4 pieces of tan paper to the table to help define the space. I find that when I tape down paper, or use placemats, in different areas of the classroom that it helps the kids centre themselves, and lets them know how many people should be in one area at once.

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The students loved it, and they used the wooden squares in great ways I never would have thought possible!

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Check out those creative Christmas lights!

Also, marshmallows are super wintery and stuff, so I tried them with some rice in the sensory table.

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I hope this gave you guys a few ideas for your classroom. 🙂

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iPad vs. Paper: Christmas Card Writing

This station I have set up in my classroom really is the best of both worlds. A perfect balance between technology and the traditional paper and pencil. For serious!

My students loved the Mat Man activity so much, I decided to dedicate a few iPads to a new Christmas card writing area. Christmas cards and dirt cheap at the dollar store, and us kindergarten teachers know that students go through resources and various items like WATER. My students do anyways, and I have 49 of them. What’s with their obsession with tape? We can go through like 3 rolls a day if allowed. Guess that’s another blog post. 😉

Here is the look of the new station.

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Less elaborate than previous stations, but very effective. There are two sides to the station, one for each student.

For a previous activity with cookie sheets and magnetic letters, I printed my students photos, mounted them on cardstock and placed a name label at the bottom.

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Sorry for the blurred out face, name, and magnetic letters. Privacy protection, and all that jazz.
I also use these cardstock photos to organize our day, as seen in my previous posts.

I wanted to keep the names at the station for the students to be able to choose who they would like to write a Christmas card to. Their attention was so drawn to the iPad that I took a photo of each photo.

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I then put them in a separate album. One album for the AM students and one for the PM students. I did this on two iPads. I also put up the “Handwriting Without Tears” letters framed to define the space, and help students form their letters properly.

Then I got a coworker of mine (thanks again!) to take overhead shots of me doing the steps of the activity. I write the name of the person who the card is going to first, then I write my name at the bottom, then I put the card in the envelope, then I write the name of the person who it’s going to on the outside of the envelope.

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I took the photos off my digital camera and sized them onto a regular word document. I printed it twice, one for each side of the station.

I also dragged the “Photos” app to the bottom of the screen. This way students know when they come to this station, they know that’s the app they are able to use.

I also forgot to take the photos of two cute mailboxes I have. I put them on the table so when the students are done writing, they can put them in the mail box. At the end of each day we will empty it out, read the names of the students who have cards, and they can take them home.

Another successful self-managed ipad station in the classroom. Youpie! We will see how they like it tomorrow. Maybe I said “successful” too soon!

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Making It Inviting: Scissor Style

A huge part of being a Reggio Emilia inspired classroom is making the learning opportunities in the classroom look inviting.

I knew that with so many students, and a visit soon to be had by the OT, that I wanted to get started on scissor skills with my students right away. There are never enough hands and eyes to help correct students and help them use scissors properly.

I set up a few tables in my classroom to look like this:

I found the dark brown desk organizer at Value Village and used it to put paper and pencils in. I then made the scissors extra inviting by putting them in baby food jars with the labels taken off. I defined the space by getting some neutral coloured place mats from Superstore and placed the vase of flowers there for some inspiration (just in case!).

To make the pencils stand up and make them seem a little more useful, I put some kidney beans in the bottom.

The next day the students entered the classroom and saw this area, they were there in an INSTANT.

This speaks volumes as to how important the environment is. A stack of paper with a few pairs of scissors laying around would not have gotten anyone excited to practice cutting.

Of course, the excitement will wear off next week, and then I’ll put something different at the table to focus on something else.

Have you tried anything like this in your classroom?