Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It's Never to Early {Prepping for Mother's Day Tea}

We all know it's never too early to start planning and that some things take more planning and prep than others. Say big events for example. Like a big Mother's Day Tea program. I've done a Mother's Day Tea program every year that I have taught. I'm not gonna lie. It's A LOT of work. Like. A lot. But it's also so rewarding once that special day rolls around and you get to see all of the adoring eyes of the mothers in your classroom. I must admit that it is my favorite part of the year. 

 It does take a lot of prep and planning ahead, which is why I typically go into school one afternoon during my spring break to get everything copied and organized for the tea. Every year when we get back from Spring Break I tell my firsties that I have a really big secret that I need for them to help me keep. They must promise that they will not tell anyone. No brothers or sisters. No friends. No pets. And DEFINITELY no moms!!! I tell them that we will be having a Mother's Day Tea for their moms. At first, they're not really sure what that means, but I then outline the main events that outline the tea-read some stories, recite a poem, sing some songs, and shower our moms with gifts. Then, they're a wee bit excited. Over the next two months, my little firsties will be busy little worker bees getting all of our usual academics completed, in addition to adding some crafts, song and poem practice sessions, hat making, and rehearsals.


The first thing that we do to prep for the Tea is to listen to one of three stories each day that the kids will end up having a "part" in reading the day of the Tea. I like to read the kids each of the three books, one at a time first, so that they get to enjoy the story themselves first, but also to try to see which one they would prefer to read from. Rather than picking the story that they read from I do let the kids tell me which one they would like to do after we have finished all three. Now you might say, well what happens if too many kids want the same story? Well, I tell the kids before they even vote that there are only so many spots per book so if one has too many I will politely ask if any kiddos are willing to switch to the book that needs more readers. Almost always, I've had some real sweet firsties gladly make that change for me so that the problem is solved. That night I will take the copied "scripts" of the books that I copied over spring break, along with my list of the choices that the kids made, and select about 2-3 pages for each student to read from the book they chose. I write the students name on the front of the packet and highlight only the pages that they will read. This really helps them know which lines to practice and what part is their responsibility to read.

   

 This unit is my favorite for many reasons-one of which is the beautiful, unique hats that we make for the moms. Each child brings in two 12x12 inch pre-cut pieces of wrapping paper. I also accept donations of artificial flowers, ribbons, tulle, and netting. Day #1 is the actual making of the hats. We put the two pieces of paper back to back and cover one side completely with liquid starch. Then we place the "glued" pieces on top of a hat mold so that it holds the shape of an actual hat. We then design. I ask the kids if they want ruffles, if so big or small, if they want to roll the sides a little or a lot, or if they want to make it like a baseball cap. The hats are left to sit and dry overnight. Day #2 the hats are dry and I take them off the molds. Now is the fun part....decorating! Now I'm not going to promise that you'll have the top layer of skin on your fingertips at the end of this, but I do promise it'll be worth it. Let's just say you'll have some sore fingers from your hot glue gun. I call the kids up one at a time to pick out whatever flowers, ribbon, tulle, and other decorations they want to put on their hat. Once they've decided on their decorations they tell me where they want everything and I glue it for them. And VOILA! You're done!

STEP 1: Molding the hats. I let the kids choose what style hat they want.
Rolled up edges, big waves, little waves, baseball cap, fedora style, or just natural.
 Hat being molded {no waves}

Hat being molded {with big waves}

STEP 2: Decorating
Again, I let the kids pick what items they want to use to decorate.
Tulle & Ribbon

Flowers

I also let them show me how and where they want everything. They're the boss. They direct, I do. I will help them and give them ideas and suggestions as we go.

STEP 3: Set aside and let dry.
Natural edges

Baseball cap

STEP 4: Take adorable pictures of the kids wearing their new hat for their mom. Print. Save as a gift for the Tea.



That concludes the hats-the main gift for the moms. The big one. It's time consuming and you will have to dedicate at least one whole morning to the molding of the hats. Let them dry overnight and then dedicate the whole next morning to decorating with ribbon, tulle, and flowers.  Your fingertips will be burned from the hot glue. You'll be tired of the mess. You'll wonder why you did it. You will be over it.  You'll store the hats away in a large trash bag and hide somewhere in your room (making sure of course to tell your custodian to NOT throw them away!) They are not trash, but rather a memorable keepsake that moms will hold onto and treasure for the rest of their lives.  

However, there will be more gifts. There will be poems, placemats, napkin rings, pictures, coupons, a book, and some homemade flowers.  

Homemade Coffee Filter Flowers
The kids will each get 3 coffee filters to color. No fancy designs, just beautiful colors.
 They will bring them to me one at a time to spray with water.

 They will set the wet filters on their desks to dry.

 Within about an hour they will be dry. The kids are always so amazed at home they turn out and look nothing like how they colored them.

The next day I call them up with their "flowers", twist them, wrap with a pipe cleaner, and attach the poem for their bouquet.

Each firstie will write an acrostic poem with their mom's first name.  They will also use the flower template to write a thank you note to their moms for coming and why they are thankful for them.
Some fun floral decor.

The Setup
Butcher paper as tablecloths, coffee filter bouquet, placemat, napkin holder, I love you teddy bear stand,  and Kleenexes in the middle of each table. Trust me-they're a MUST!



The Snack Table
I usually get some small doughnuts, some iced cookies from a local bakery, the fruit barrel jugs,  and bottled water.  I also make chocolate dipped pretzel sticks with sprinkles. Add a vase with real flowers and you're set.

Photo Op after the Tea
 After the Tea I quickly walk around and take a picture of each kiddo with their mom. I print these after the tea and send them home for the moms to have.
I also have them come up to our "Tea Table" so that I can take their picture. I let them choose their pose and if they want to be serious or silly.  I also print a copy of these off and send them home with the other picture.

What I've shown you so far is about half of the activities and special events that occur throughout this special day for our moms.  In addition to reading the stories and giving the hats, the kids will also sing 6 short songs to well-known tunes, recite a short poem, share a piece of personalized writing of why they love their mom, as well as the other gifts I talked about earlier.  

So like I said. It's a lot of work. But I can guarantee that your moms will feel so special and spoiled that day. Their cup will runneth over. Tears will be shed. They will be beaming, proud moms. And if I'm being honest, the kids will be beaming with just as much pride as well.

I describe the whole program of the Tea and include everything you need in my pack.  Make Mother's Day one of those memories that last a lifetime for your classroom moms. I still have moms come back and tell me that they still have their hats and wear them all day every Mother's Day.  I mean that's what it's all about, right? 





1 comments:

  1. That is so sweet. As a mom I would definitely enjoy that. As a teacher, I would pray that someone would help me!!! Esp. with little kiddos.

    Deniece, This Little Piggy Reads

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