Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Countdown Fun and some FREEBIES

With seven days to go to the Christmas break, I am pulling out all the stops to keep my students engaged and learning at this exciting time of the year.  Over the years I have set up a number of ways to countdown the days to our break.

1.  Secret read alouds

Each year I order some new Christmas books from Scholastic using my bonus points and then I wrap them up in Christmas wrapping paper and put them on display.  Each day after our recess break I pick one student to open one book.  My students get so excited to see which book is hidden behind the wrapping paper.  This year I also ordered some books that come with a CD which can be played while a student holds the book.  I really love the few minutes break you can get when a CD is playing in your class during this time of year.

2.  Chocolate Advent Calendar

Each year I buy a chocolate advent calendar (peanut-free of course) for my students to use to count down the days to Christmas.  My students have all been given a number in the class.  I use the numbers to help with distributing supplies and books at the beginning of the year.  On the day of each student's number they get to look on the advent calendar and find their number and then open the door to receive their chocolate.  For example:  student #1 gets to pick their chocolate on Day 1.  If their number falls on the weekend they get to open their chocolate on Monday.  Some days I forget about the chocolate calendar but my students never do.  They know their day!

3.  Elf on the Shelf

Whether you love him/her or not, it is a part of many students Christmas traditions so I have decided to embrace the elf and use it to my advantage.  I find the Elf is a great motivator for writing.  I find even my most reluctant writers will always want to write in their journal about where the Elf was hidden and what he/she was doing.  One of my favourite activities is to have students design their own Elf and write about what makes a good one #santahelpers #toptoymakers.

This is also a great companion activity to go with the book "Memoirs of an Elf" by Devin Scillian and Illustrated by Tim Bowers.  I think this is now one of my favorite read alouds and my students love that the elf is texting and taking "elfies" instead of "selfies"

You can check out my Take An Elfie unit here!

4.  Christmas Solve the Room 

Students find it harder to sit this time of year so I try to get them up and moving every chance I get.  Students love working with a partner to move around the class and I love that they are still practicing their math.

Christmas Place Value Solve The Room
If you teach multiplication and division, try this freebie with your students to see if they would like participating in a solve the room type activity.
Operation Christmas Multiplying and Dividing Whole Numbers

5.  Gingerbread Ornaments

Applesauce and ground cinnamon mixed together make a great parent present.  Grab my recipe here.  Students have to measure the ingredients so it is a great way to sneak in some math at the same time.
Waiting to be decorated with some glitter and a ribbon!

6.  Reindeer Cam

Indoor recess or lunch play is just a bit easier when you have the Reindeer Cam playing.  My students love watching the reindeer move around the field.  It seems to keep their attention while they eat.  Check it out by visiting the Reindeer Cam.

I hope some of these ideas help you to countdown and plan for the busy few days before the Christmas break.  Happy Holidays to you and enjoy your time away from school!

Jane Feener


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