My Favorite Christmas Craft

Sunday, 2 December 2018

If you are looking for a holiday craft that is last minute, this is not the craft for you!

However, if you are looking for a DIY project that both children and parents enjoy and have some time to devote to it, you might find these cookie plates to be just what you are looking for!

This was the holiday gift that my K team shared with me the first year I began teaching kindergarten and I've been doing it ever since!  Here I break it down for you step by step!

Step 1:  Order the Plates
The plates come from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and are called Canterbury Dinner Plates.  You can find plates elsewhere, but just make sure they don't have a rim around the bottom - they need to be flat (made that mistake before!).  The plates can be shipped right to your school, which saves some heavy lifting, but beware that the custodian might think you are spending too much online and sending your purchases to school so your husband won't see them! (hee hee!)

I collect $3 from each child to cover the cost of the plates.  Remove the tags from the plates (or deligate this task if you have parents or a teaching assistant that might be willing to help!)

Step 2:  Handprints
Trace and cut white circles, about the size of a Cool Whip lid, onto white copy paper. Have each child  put their handprint in the center and write their name at the bottom using a Sharpie.

Step 3: Attach Handprint
Brush Mod Podge (I buy the gallon size) over both sides of the handprint circle.  Affix to the back of the plate.

Step 4:  Cut Tissue Paper
Cut squares of tissue paper - any colors or patterns that you like!  I usually mix a few patterned ones with solids.  Try to avoid tissue paper that has a right and wrong side to make it easier for the children.

Step 5: Create Tissue Paper Border
Cover your tables with cheap plastic tablecloths from the dollar store.  Give each child their plate, face down (they will be working on the back of their plate). Show them how to attach the pieces of tissue paper around the border of the plate until all the clear glass is covered.  You may want to do this in small groups vs. whole class.  I usually do 6-8 kids per day for 3 days.

Step 6: Cover with Mod Podge
Spread a coat of Mod Podge over the back of the plate, smoothing out the tissue paper. Let it dry.  Repeat 2 more times.

Step 7: Trim edges
Once dry, trim the edges of the plates with scissors or an exacto knife.

Step 8: Send home
I wrap the plates and carefully place them in the children's backpacks to send home.  There is usually a lunch box and/or sneakers in there to provide a good "cushion" for the plate.

I let the children decide how and when they want to give their gift. Some choose to give it right away, while others place it under the tree until Christmas.

There isn't a year that goes by that I don't hear from parents about how much they appreciate this gift.  Most take the plate out each year and use it for cookies.  Some hang it on their wall.

While it's a bit labor intensive, I have yet to find a Christmas craft I like better.

What's your favorite Christmas craft?

Thanks for stopping by!

Read More
No comments

November Full Moon Freebie

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Give your children the gift of something green and growing this holiday season by bringing a mystery bulb into your classroom.

You can choose one for the whole class to enjoy or buy them in bulk and provide each child with their own.

Begin, by inviting children to look closely at the "mystery object" and guess what it might be.

Ask if it is living or nonliving and let them predict what it might grow into and how long it will take to bloom.

Use this month's Full Moon Freebie, a Mystery Bulb Journal, to document their observations.

After the flower blooms, place it in a "take apart" tub and let children explore it further.

Grab it now as it is only free for the next 48 hours!

Hope this finds you well and enjoying time with friends and family!

Thanks for stopping by,

Read More
No comments

Teaching Children to Say Thank You

Friday, 16 November 2018

In the very basic sense, helping young children understand gratitude, begins with teaching them to say thank you.

Unfortunately, these two little words don't show up as often as I would like.

Each year, I'm made aware, when this happens...

I'm handing out papers and the first 15 kiddos take the paper without saying anything in return.  Student 16, says, "thank you."  I acknowledge their good manners and then the next 7 children also offer a, "thank you."

Sound familiar?

So how do we build those "thank you muscles" in our kiddos?  Here are a few ideas for you to try:

1) Check Yourself

Notice how often you are using these words in your language with children.  I discovered, that while I always respond to the children, I don't always tack on a "thank you." So now I try to make an effort to remember these important words whenever they bring me the little "bits and bobs" they find on the floor, draw me sweet pictures, or pass on a parent note.

2) What Does it Really Mean?

Children often think that saying thank you means you like what someone has given or done for you. It's important for them to understand that this won't always be the case and that this phrase really means, I notice and appreciate what you have done/given.

Help them understand the difference by role playing using puppets.  Have fun with it by incorporating unusual and outrageous gifts that they might not be too crazy about receiving.

3) Sign It

Teach children how to say thank you in sign language.  Challenge them to use the sign at least once each day for a week to say thank you to someone.

4) Around the World

Help children understand that people of all languages express gratitude by teaching them how to say thank you in other languages.  Each morning, choose a new language, teach them the word, and invite them to use it throughout the day to show their appreciation for one another.

Also, check out Mahalo, by Laurie Berkner for a great Hawaiian thank you song!

5) Thank You Notes

Keep a supply of thank you notes on hand in your classroom and invite children to use them to show gratitude for their everyday heroes such as the school nurse, gym teacher, parent volunteers or custodian.  

6) Thankful Thursday

Set aside one morning meeting share for children to consider who they might need to thank that week. Create a special thank you rock to pass around as they share their thankful thoughts.

7) Sharing Time

I once watched a Debbie Miller video (author of Reading With Meaning) and was so moved by how her children responded each time it was their turn to speak.  They always began with "thank you" and then proceeded to say whatever it was they wanted to share. 

I was inspired to try this in my classroom.  I began during our morning meeting circle share and as they receive the sharing ball, they say "thank you," and the child's name. They've needed lots of reminders for it to stick, but are finally starting to remember to do it on their own. 

8)  Thank You Anyway

In the story, I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassen, the bear asks the other animals if they have seen his hat.  When the answer is no, he politely responds, "Thank you anyway."  Great book to introduce this phrase and its meaning to children.

Hope you found something you can use!

Please know that I'm thankful for your time as well as your ongoing dedication to the wellbeing of children.

Thanks for stopping by!

Read More
No comments