Friday, December 7, 2012

Holiday Lessons

Many of you have probably read my post from last year on Special Snowflakes--a lesson on diversity using coffee filter snowflakes.  There are also a few other lessons that I'm using this year in light of Christmas.  On of my favorite parts of this time of year is that it can easily be tied into lessons.  For Thanksgiving, I love to use The Giving Tree and talk about gifts that don't cost any money.  I like to create a giving tree with my 2nd graders.  Other lessons that I'm doing this year that are related to Christmas are:

How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky

Product DetailsThis is one of my favorites to do in Kindergarten because the kids are excited to read anything that has to do with Santa Claus.  We talk about what Santa's job is currently and then read about different jobs that he has tried out before deciding to deliver toys.  He tried to be a chimney sweep, a postman, and even a zoo keeper (which is where he met his reindeer). After reading, kids get to share (by drawing) what they might like to be when they grow up. 

Christmas Trolls by Jan Brett

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This is one of my all time favorite books because of it's lesson on generosity.  I read this story with 1st graders and we first talk about what generosity means.  The students are eager to tell me about how they have been generous or could be generous to someone else.  We read the story and learn about how Treve teaches the trolls, Tig and Mig, to be generous.  Afterward, students show me how they can be generous to someone.  It always touches my heart to hear them talk about donating old toys, helping others, and sharing with their brother or sister.

As stressful as this time of year is due to the overwhelming amount of families in need of help this Christmas, I love to see how caring and generous the students can be this time of year.  I hope that you all have a Merry Christmas and a restful holiday break!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Playing Santa

Man carrying gifts for ChristmasHello readers!  I apologize that I have been M.I.A.  It is that time of year when we are all getting the opportunity to play Santa.  This year, I am coordinating assistance for 51 of our families--a whopping total of 132 children.  I have done more in the past.  I have been very busy making phone calls, taking donations to go shopping, and pretty soon it will be time to organize it all and start handing it out.  Our local Rotary Club is generous enough to provide one box of food per family, and today I just went to pick up 75 bags of toys from Toys for Tots.  It is a big job, but someone has to do it!  I always tell my staff and donors that I feel like its not fair that I'm the only one who gets to give the actual "giving."  I start out by sending applications to my families who have participated in the past and/or are a part of our Backpack Bunch program.  These go out in October!  Once I have them back, I create a "christmas tree" for each child listing their clothing size, shoe size, and wish list.  I still have about 20 families to fulfill and time's ticking away!  It always seems to come together, but it is definately one of the most stressful (and rewarding) parts of my job.  It's totally worth it to know that all of my students will have a smile on their face on Christmas morning.