One of the things I love most about teaching kindergarten is the ability to go ALL out on every holiday. It’s like a built in addendum to our contract that in kindergarten, you must celebrate everything and anything! This year, I incorporated many fun, engaging and also educational Christmas lessons to spread the magical joy in my kinder room.
- Elfie –
This is my third year using Elf on the Shelf in my classroom, but this year, I created letters from Elfie that encouraged acts of kindness throughout the holiday season. The first day our elf arrived, students spotted him immediately! Some of my kids had an elf in their home and knew the rules so I wasn’t surprised when one of my students shouted “don’t touch him!” Each day, students looked forward to seeing where our elf was in the room and what shenanigans he was into! I started our day by reading the letter from Elfie and discussing what act of kindness he challenged us to try. Find a full list of acts of kindness and what the elf does in my TpT store through this link.
- Polar Express – The last week before break, I’ve made it a tradition to celebrate Polar Express week. This is where I take a break from our language arts and math curriculum and incorporate different lessons all about the Polar Express. I purchased a few different TpT products to make this week happen. I use The Polar Express by Teaching in High Heels for our “write the room”, to compare and contrast the book and the movie and to describe our time on the Polar Express through our five senses. I use All Aboard the Polar Express by Free Falling in SDC to make our conductor or reindeer hats. Last, I use The Polar Express: Book Companion by The Curious Catfish for my North Pole tickets and my writing craftivity. I’ve also come across a few freebies on TpT that I incorporate into my week of everything Polar Express. My absolute favorite lesson I’ve used during this week the past few years is the sequencing activity from Erica Bohrer’s Polar Express Movie and Craft Activities – FREE. I do this whole class first, then students sequence on their very own Polar Express train. This week is very language arts heavy, but this freebie Polar Express Doubles/Doubles Plus 1 by Studly Peaches is a fun way to incorporate math, with various versions of a five in a row game. The Polar Express has been one of my all time favorite Christmas stories since I was a little kid and bringing this love to my kindergarteners makes for a very magical week before Christmas break.
- Gingerbread House – I am so blessed to work at a school with the BEST co-workers. This year, our lower school team teachers (grades k-2) are some of my best friends. We planned a kindergarten through second grade gingerbread house decorating party! Parent volunteers brought in graham crackers, icing, and candy. The day before our party, our volunteers assembled our houses and then day of we had a few parents help pass out the candy or fill up student’s cups with extra icing. Every year, I am amazed with student’s creativity!
- Parent Gift – Each year, I’ve made a different parent gift for students to give to their parents. I’ve never been super impressed with anything I’ve had them do in the past so I turned to my favorite addiction – Pinterest. After browsing pinterest for what seemed like hours, I settled on a salt dough handprint ornament that the students paint to look like Santa. This was a very ambitious project but with only 15 students and the help of my assistant teacher, we were able to accomplish these gifts and they turned out AMAZING! Check out this link to see the full tutorial of how to make these ornaments. Students loved seeing their handprint after I baked the dough and felt so proud when they turned their handprint into a Santa ornament.
What kinds of traditions do you have in your classroom around the holidays? This time of year is very hectic but also extremely magical. I wish you and your students a happy holidays and restful winter break!