Christmas is an special time for both children and adults. You can't help but feel the excitement in the air as December approaches. Christmas lights blink everywhere, Christmas music plays in the stores and on the radio, and the Christmas movies start to show up on the television.
There are so many opportunities to use this excitement and the feelings associated with Christmas in your classroom writing. For years I did Christmas writing with the senses. When I retired last year, I still had the chance to introduce this idea one more time when I was helping out in another teacher's classroom.
Here is my blog post about what we did.
When I wrote about the writing we did, I mentioned a special gift that we were creating, but I couldn't say anything more because a parent might see the post and it would spoil the surprise.
Here is more information about what we did and how it was special.
The teacher I was working with began by showing some different Christmas scenes. Each scene was going to be the topic of the verse that would be written.
We first generated ideas using my juicy details templates. We had used them for some other activities earlier in the year, so the children were familiar with them. We began as a group and then they went to their desks and selected the words that they wanted for their poems.
I have always found that using a framework for writing helps some of the struggling writers get started. Stronger, more confident writers develop more descriptive pieces of work and use it as a springboard for future work.
Using fancy paper for the final product is a great motivator for kids. I also find that they are more willing to do the writing and add to their work if they know that it is going to be typed up afterwards. (Those that have difficulty writing often write less if they know they have to do a re-write for publishing.)
Several times in the past, I used this idea of writing about Christmas using the senses as part of a bigger idea. Parents love to receive special gifts from their children that have been made by them. The poem was all written on one page and then put onto special paper. It was then placed on the back of the "stained glass" picture. This way, it could be shared each year as the kids grow. What better way to display it than to make it part of the Christmas decorations!
Instead of making a single page poem, this time, we made a special Christmas booklet with each verse on a separate page. A special note was written for each parent to add to the back of the "stained glass" picture instead of the poem. The booklet went along with the picture.
If you would like to make your own special "stained glass" decoration and poem keepsake, check out how we did it here.
Years ago, I went to a math workshop put on by Kim Sutton. There, she taught us to use hands to help kids remember to count by fives when learning to tell time on the analog clock. At the time, most people were still using analog clocks. Now that digital clocks are the norm, analog clocks are harder for kids to relate to.
I decided to revive the hands concept and my class made analog clocks with hands for the numbers. This is the one I made at the workshop. I am using magnets to hold it on my whiteboard.
Here is what the ones my students made look like. They are easy to make. Follow the steps below to make your own.
You will need some large pieces of construction paper, a protractor, or some other object that will let you create a circle, and some scissors to cut it out. I used a marker to draw the circle so that it was easy to see when I took away the tracer.
Next, you will need some hands with the numbers on them. For my original, I used a child's hand and traced it. This time, I created some hands that were ready for cutting. I printed them on regular paper, and then I enlarged them on the photocopier so that I had a size that I was happy with. You can decide what size you would like based on the size of your circle.
Cut out the circles and then place them on the construction paper circle. If you would like to have them stand out more, you can color them in.
When they are colored, you can laminate them so that they last longer. After laminating them, cut out the hour and minute hands. On my original, I just made arrows, but for these ones, I created some pointer hands. I made multiple sets on cardstock so that I had enough for everyone. Attach them to the clock with a brad fastener.
If you would like a copy of the hand numbers and the pointer hands, click here.
Wow, it is hard to believe how quickly the weather has changed. Fall has definitely arrived. We decided to do a poem about this. First we generated ideas of what types of things we would do or see in the summer and fall. Then we chose some of the things from each group and created a poem.
We used some cute fall themed papers by Mr. Hughes. Click on the image to check it out.
We also created some fall leaf similes. We used the framework and planning sheets from this great center by Kelly Everoski. Click on the image if you would like to check it out further.
We used the planning sheet to generate things of different colors and things that were crunchy, then these words were used in the poem frame provided. There were also a couple of lines for other descriptors.
All About Me
The theme for September has been self-esteem and becoming the best Me I can be. We have done many different activities in this area. We began by creating the All About Me booklets created by Jaime Pink.
We also created Name Acrostics using success words. These words focused on positive talents or attributes.
We also chose a power word that was important to us. I made these little boards to display the power words. I used Kids Alphabet graphics.
Graphics From the Pond http://frompond.blogspot.com
These were put up just in time for the open house on Wednesday. I blogged about how to make them here.
Our math focus this month has been graphing and reviewing basic number facts/place value. I tried out this Build-Count-Tell activity, created by Susanna over at Whimsy Workshop, with my class. They loved it. We had so many different kinds of manipulatives to use that they were able to create many awesome things. Here is one done with the pattern blocks.
Here is another quick gift that is sure to add a smile to Dad's face.
container to put candle in
feather clip bookmark
After making the kit, decorate a paper bag and add a label to it. Then you are set to go. A simple Father's Day gift that is sure to make Dad smile.
Here is a very popular Father's Day gift with my students. It is easy to make and the Dads really like receiving it.
To create these frames, I had my students create lists of words about Dad. They did them in their notebooks and underlined the most important ones. This is because I didn't have access to internet for everyone at the same time when doing it.
Later during other quiet work times, I called them over and put their words into the Wordle program. They got to choose the image they wanted. If you have limited colored ink available, you may have to specify that black backgrounds cannot be chosen.
Once an image is selected, you can choose to print it. On my computer, this allows me to choose a pdf option. I save all the images as pdf and then I put them in a word processing document. I put 2 on each page and then cut them to size when they are printed.
If you have access to a lab and are able to do all of them at the same time, this will speed up the process.
DIY Project For Kids: Easy To Make Stress Balloons
Are you looking for a fun diy project for kids to make? Try these flour diy stress balloons. They are easy to make and kids love them.
These stress balloons are really easy to make and kids have fun making them. It is a project that they can do by themselves. It was such a success at our spring fundraiser, that we had to take orders to make more.
- large balloons (small ones don't work well)
- a funnel
- bowl to hold the flour
- scoop for the flour
If you are looking for some more fun to make diy projects check out the ones we made for our spring fundraiser.
DIY Project For Kids: I Spy Jar
If you are looking for a fun diy project for kids, check this one out. This I Spy Jar will engage kids and keep them looking as it is different each time they try it.
These I Spy Jars are easy to make and they can be adapted to fit most small objects that can be found around the home. Here are the step by step instructions for making you own I Spy Jar.
These little bottles are a great gift and they are easy to make. All you need is a few small items that can be found when turning the jar around and around so that the seed moves and the items peek out.
Click on the image to get a free copy of these labels.
There you have it. Some cute I Spy jars. Have fun making them.
If you are looking for some more fun to make diy projects check out the ones we made for our spring fundraiser.
Fun DIY Project For Kids
Are you looking for a quick, fun diy project for your students? Try these diy fancy bell pencils. They are easy to make and a big hit with the kids.
A few years ago, we created many different diy projects for a spring fundraiser. This one of the projects we made. I made my students each one of these for Christmas and they liked them so much they were excited to be able to make them for the sale.
Here are the materials needed.
These pencils are a great hit, but be prepared for some musical sounds when they are being used. It is a fair trade-off though because it shows that they are writing. Enjoy the happy sounds of these creations.
If your school is like mine, money is in short supply and so are resources. Teachers are constantly supplementing classrooms from their own pockets so that the children can have creative resources and hands on materials. Now, even the cost of buses to go on field trips is becoming very high.
I really wanted to do something different and special with my class before the end of the year, so I decided that it would be fun to travel to another place where many students may not have been before.
During Spring Break, I had the good fortune to spend a day and a half in an elementary school in Port Hardy, a town at the northern tip of Vancouver Island. I met some wonderful teachers and students and I also got to see a student of mine who moved up there at Christmastime.
I thought it would be fun for my class to get to know her new class and the class next door. What better way than to actually go there. We are studying about our country, so I wanted to start with the island we live on. Most children have been down island to Nanaimo or Victoria, but not many have been up to the north end of the island. I have lived in Campbell River for many years, and last month was the first time I had visited this town.
I checked into getting a bus and discovered that it would be very expensive. I didn't want to ask parents to pay out large amounts of money, so I had to get creative. Then I had a lightbulb moment. We had just finished working on our money unit. Instead of doing a mock sale in my class with the school play money, why not do a real sale and earn money.
Last year, the older students in the school did a Young Entrepreneurs sale. When I saw the items they were selling, I started to think about how this could be modified and used in a smaller dose with my Grade threes. I promptly forgot about it until about 2 weeks ago. So, this is how our Spring Sale Fundraiser event began.
Check out our 9 products that we made for sale!
We raised $325.00 and we even had to take orders for our stress balloons because they were so popular that we ran out of them.
If you need to raise money and you want it to be child driven, this is a fantastic way of doing it. The kids were so motivated, and they also learned first hand how to earn money in the real world. Check out the DIY blog posts for directions on how to create some of these projects.
Handprint Snowmen Cards
These little cards were a combination of ideas that came from Stephanie over at Falling Into First and a project I have used for years.
I ended up only using four fingers for the snowmen, and I put them onto a card that had a blue wash background. The students then decorated them as snowmen using Sharpies.
I also had to modify the poem at the last minute because of the number 4, so it was not as fancy as the one that Stephanie used. However, it was okay, and the students pasted it inside the card and added a message of their own as well.
Christmas Light Bulb Ornaments
These ornaments were made from old light bulbs. Unfortunately, it was a mad rush at the end of the day to get them wrapped and sent home, so I didn't get any final photos of them.
The students started with a light bulb that had a piece of Christmas ribbon tied around the top of it. They painted the light bulbs blue and then we hung them up to dry. (Thanks for the clothing rack idea, Stephanie!) Later on, they painted on snowmen with a brush. (We tried a sample with the painted fingers, like Stephanie used for her ornaments, but because of the shape, it didn't work very well.)
The final result looked really cute and the students were happy to take them home to put on their trees.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.