Welcome Winter (and a full moon freebie)!

Friday, 21 December 2018

This year, instead of a Christmas party, we had a Welcome Winter Day where parents were invited in to help with a few seasonal activities.

Since winter has just begun, there is still lots of time for you to try any of these activities with your kiddos!

First up are the bird feeders we made from the pine cones we collected earlier in the month.  The children loved watching the petals open as they were very wet when we brought them inside.  We used Crisco instead of peanut butter due to allergies.

We decorated candles using modeling wax.  This is such a great fine motor activity as well as a sensory experience for the littles.

 We read the book Snowballs by Lois Ehlert and made our own collage snowmen.

A cute felt snowman and headband from Dollar Tree were transformed into games.  Click here for the noses to play pin the carrot on the snowman!

And this is just the traditional headband game with winter vocabulary words. 

Lastly, we enjoyed a build-a-snowman snack - as much fun to make as it is to eat!

Sticking with the winter theme, this month's full moon freebie is a math reader you can use to introduce or review flat shapes. Yours free for the next 48 hours!

Winter can be long, and sometimes we are inside more than we like, hoping you'll find cozy ways to keep your kiddos idle hands busy during this season.

Thanks for stopping by,

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Polar Express Day

Thursday, 20 December 2018

On Monday of this week, a "mystery package" arrived in our classroom with a note that asked us not to open it until December 20th.

Not by chance, our Positivity Project character strength for the week was self-control.  We talked about what this looked and sounded like and watched videos, such as The Marshmallow Test, where children's self control was tested.

I asked the children if we should open the present now or wait until the 20th.

And they let me know - most of them wanted to open it NOW! (Uh-oh, now what!)

So, we spent some time talking about the kindness of the gift and how there must be a good reason why the gift giver wanted us to wait.

I asked them about presents that might be under their tree, that they are waiting to open. We talked about how waiting is hard, but shows great self-control.  I told them that if they wanted to change their mind and move their star,  they had to the end of the day to do so.

Since it was decided that we would wait, we continued to be curious about the box and made predictions about what we thought was inside.

Many heard a "jingle jangle" when we moved it and predicted it was bells.  Other guesses were school supplies, a race track, and a chicken (Yes, a chicken!).

Finally, the day came to open it!  A child was randomly chosen to be the one to tear off the paper.

Inside was everything we might need for a Polar Express Day (and not one chicken!):

We got right to work enjoying our day!  We read the book and set up our chairs in rows like they are on a train.

We chose a train conductor and engineer who handed out and punched tickets and called, "All aboard!"

We watched the movie while enjoying refreshments.

When we got to the North Pole, we opened the "first gift of Christmas" (new crayons for our tool boxes) and...

had a rousing snowball fight!

We ended the day with a group photo and the children went home wearing bells as a souvenir of our trip!

While we still have a lot to learn about self control, the children are beginning to understand what it means and now we can build on that by introducing strategies.

Yesterday, I had a good chuckle when I received this gift from a child who wanted to test MY self-control by telling me I was not to open it until Christmas.

If it had been a plate of cookies, not sure how well I would have done?!

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday and break!

Thanks for stopping by!

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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!

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