Sunday, December 14, 2014

Let the Countdown Begin...

One week left... I think I've been counting down the days since Thanksgiving.  Don't get me wrong, I love my kids, but let's be real, it's just that time of the year where they talk a little more, can sit still for about 5 minutes (on a good day!) ... yeah it's time we all have a break.  In order to keep all of us sane, I make sure to embrace the holiday season.  I know some might say that this encourages their "restless behavior," but I love celebrating the holidays, too!  Here are some things that I am currently doing in my class.  There are LOTS freebies in the post so PLEASE read all the way down!

1.  Elf in the Classroom -  It can pretty much be found in anyone's home or classroom now...  infamous Elf on the Shelf who does naughty things and keeps and eye on the kids for Santa.  Well my class named him "Hezekiah" (he is a student's brother's name) and he's much more of a silly elf than anything.  I started off with a letter (you can find lots of freebie letters here).  I love seeing their innocence and how they just eating everything I say up.  We read his favorite book "The Polar Express," and I ring the bell that is in the stocking he came in (all the kids make sure they can still hear it lol)! I move him around the room at the end of the day after school lets out  and if they have a good day "he" will bring in treats (candy canes, pencils, Little Debbie cakes etc.)  Here are some of the places he's been in my room.

Here he got caught eating one of the snacks he brought the class!  

 He's hanging from one of our group signs!

2.  Mystery Pictures (Winter Holiday Pictures) - This is the time of year when my students aren't as um.. focused.  We have loads of formal district, school wide, and benchmark assessments so I basically NEED them to stay focused. I created this mystery picture packet a couple years ago as something fun, but full of review and math practice.  They LOVE these pictures.  There's lots of ways to differentiate for different levels.  Click the picture or here for a freebie!  I'm sure your kids will stay engaged while practicing critical math skills. 
 Click for the Freebie!

Click the picture if you are interested in the whole packet! 

3.  Holidays Around the World - This will be my 3rd year doing "Holidays Around the World."  This year I'm only spending a week on it and my teammates and I will be spending one of those  days rotating our class so we can get 3 done in a day! There are LOTS of ideas and resources on pinterest and TpT.  I use What the Teacher Wants "Holidays Around the World Part I and II" Packet  !  I print out the student pages and turn it into a book that they fill out as they learn about each holiday tradition.

The students receive a boarding passpassport (thanks to Rachelle from What the Teacher Wants for the freebie), and this year I'm providing each student with a map (Thanks to Sarah from Sarah's First Grade Snippets).

Everyday we will go to a country, I find video snippets or books (depends whats available, lots of links in the packet) and the students fill out their book.  They get a stamp in their passport and make a craft.  This year for one day my teammates and I will each host a country and complete the lesson with all the first grade classes (there's only 3 of us ) !  So many standards taught through this activity (map skills, traditions, culture, family ... and of course literacy standards)!

4.  All Aboard the Polar Express - The last day of school before break all my students get on the Polar Express and make their way to the North Pole.  We use the book as our weekly read aloud where I choose several words for vocabulary and work with the story throughout the week (Day 1 - Read for pleasure Day 2 - summarize, focus on 5 vocabulary words Day 3 - make vocabulary flash cards Day 4 - I read the book and students put up their vocabulary flash card when they hear the word in the story).    On Friday, we will watch the movie!  Students will change into their pajamas, I give them tickets (freebie Thanks to Love to Learn!) and as they watch the movie, serve them snacks and hot cocoa.  I use it as a behavior tool all week because they have to earn their seat on the "train." 

I hope you will be able to use some of these activities for your classroom or even next year!  Have a great week and let the countdown begin...!

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Just found your blog today. I also teach first grade--16 years in the classroom! :) Thanks for the ideas and best wishes for a successful rest of the school year. My those days right before Christmas are wild, aren't they? Merry Christmas.