Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Ahhh... the most wonderful time of the year.. that period between Christmas and before we go back to school.

Don't get me wrong-- I LOVE Christmas-- I mean who does not love Christmas?! I am certainly not a Scrooge, but Christmas is BUSY! I feel like I am running around trying to make the most of the holidays with my kids, buying my last few gifts for friends and family, and trying to go to a million holiday celebrations. The holidays are great, but the days after Christmas-- that is the BEST.

Back track to some Christmas celebrations, in my class, Christmas is a big deal. The kids are much less crazy when they are interested and invested in what we are learning, so for the third year in a row, I used Ashleigh's Christmas Around the World bundle. I love this product because it has 3 levels of text. I train my kids to know what level is best for them using the lexile and their Fountas and Pinnell reading levels. My kids this year are amazing, so many asked if they could challenge themselves and try one level harder. Obviously, I said yes! We talked about signs you might not be understanding and how to test if its too hard (things we did at the beginning of the year), but so many of them felt up for the challenge!

Since we were on fiction text this year, I set up these activities as centers and my kiddos kept the interactive notebooks in a suitcase that they took home the last day of school. I also found some Hannukah Coins, Swiss Rolls, and even had a student make some Bangledesh treats, which were rewards for completing 3, 6, and 9 centers. 

In writing, all my students picked one country and did research using centers, books, EPIC (my new obsession), and Symbaloo to learn more about one specific country. I used More Than a Worksheet's Christmas Around the World Research Project 12 Days of Christmas  template to help my kiddos design their own 12 days of Christmas song. We used garage band to actually record the songs and create a parent CD! These songs were adorable-- my kids had so much fun creating and recording. They got to pick their back up singers and help cut and create their song.

In Social Studies, we made the most adorable calendar of all the Louisiana Festivals in 2017. We researched festivals and created little blurbs about them and bound our calendars as gifts for out parents. This was a really big project, and required a lot of teaching since we were working with the binding machine and all kids had their own laptop to research so I took zero pictures. I will hopefully have the product published within the next few days and I will link it then!!

Finally in math, we have be learning all about area. I know in many classrooms teachers teach area and perimeter in conjunction, but I like to do them separate, it helps students to grasp the concept and to learn the vocabulary of each one as a unique property of shapes. To tie in some holiday fun, we create an Area Workshop for Santa's new remodel. I have included differentiated versions because if you kids are anything like mine, one size certainly doesn't fit all! I love differentiation and I find it is sometimes harder in math, but this project makes it a piece of cake.

Finally, we also had some holiday FUN.  We had a gingerbread party, a book exchange, and listened to our very own Christmas music! Best of all, this year, I didn't have to invent everything from scratch. A Traveled Teacher has the perfect notes, supply list, and templates for the Gingerbread Party and Book Exchange. Less work for me around the busiest time of the year, yes please :)

And now for some down time, hot cocoa, and relaxing around the Christmas tree!

I even had time to make this sign today! 

Happy Holidays & Enjoy your Christmas Break! 

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