Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas Traditions in the Classroom

December is a great time to teach about traditions, especially Christmas traditions.  And what better way to introduce and explore Christmas traditions than to create and experience your very own Christmas traditions in the classroom?!

1. Set Up the Classroom Christmas Tree Together- I love handing out branches to each student and then calling them up to help me place the branches on the tree.  But the best part of all is when we string the lights and I light up the tree for the first time!  The excitement and amazement in the kids eyes simply makes it all so wonderful!

2. Hang Students' Ornaments- To make our tree even more personalized and memorable, ask students to bring in an ornament from home with their name written on it to decorate the tree.  Before students are encouraged to hang their ornament on the tree, we do a quick Show-and-Tell which makes for a sweet memory for all!

Fish Ornament

3. Celebrate Christmas Around the World with Food- Nothing makes students or anyone for that matter, happier than FOOD!  Sure, arts and crafts make learning about Christmas Around the World fun, but what kids love most is tasting the traditional Christmas FOOD that goes along with each country!  Here's a sample of different foods that you can serve.

England- Pudding
France- Cheese/Cake
Italy- Goldfish (Italians eat seafood for Christmas)
USA-Cookies & Milk (Snack for Santa Claus)

Putting out the milk and cookies

4. Exchange Family Recipes- Send home a recipe template and ask parents to help their child share their family's favorite recipe.  Once completed and returned, bring out the crayons, markers, and glitter galore and encourage students to decorate their recipe template and exchange them at the class Christmas Party.  Students love sharing their own family favorite recipe and getting to take one home to share with their own family!

Christmas cookies

5. Make Gingerbread Houses- Making Gingerbread houses at our Christmas Party is one of my favorite traditions in the classroom!  Using empty milk cartons, graham crackers, icing, and a plethora of candy and sprinkles, students always have the best of times creating their own mini-gingerbread houses.  After completing them, students place them in an empty shoebox to take home.  But...the shoebox is not just any ordinary shoebox, it is wrapped with Christmas paper and decorated that was done at home as a family project!  Why place the gingerbread house in a shoebox?  Simply because I have found that it is the easiest and safest way for their gingerbread houses to stay in one piece from school onto the bus and then home!

There are so many wonderful classroom Christmas traditions out there!  What's yours?

Happy Days in First Grade

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