TEACHING IN DECEMBER: MAKING IT MAGICAL AND MEANINGFUL {plus some freebies}

Sunday, December 17, 2017
Happy December, teacher friends!

I know that December can be a very busy time, not just at home, but also at school. But can I just state something... I love teaching in December. Yes, our students might be a tad chatty. Yes, we have deadlines to meet and prepping to get done for when we get back from break. So yes... this month can be stressful. Until I take a step back and think about those sweet little ones we are so blessed to teach every single day.

This time of the year is incredibly magical to them. We truly are fortunate to get to teach during this special time. We have an opportunity. We get to create an environment that incorporates the magic of  the holiday season and academic skills. And that's exactly what I strive to do during December. Here's how:

READ HOLIDAY BOOKS...JUST FOR FUN

These past 2 weeks I used 2 books to teach literacy skills (The Gingerbread Man and The Polar Express). I also read my students as many holiday and seasonal books as I could. But we read them just for fun! Do I ask some comprehension questions? Sure. Do we make predictions? Absolutely. Do they turn and talk to share their favorite parts? Of course. In general
though, my goal is just for them to love and enjoy reading.

A few books I love to read my students are:
- The Polar Express
- The Gingerbread Girl
- The Ninjabread Man
- Gingerbread Pirates
- How to Catch An Elf
- Splat the Cat: Merry Christmas
- Snowmen at Night
- Snowmen at Christmas
- Is It Hannukkah Yet?
- Turkey Claus

PLAY MUSIC

So I'm one of those teachers that loves playing soft instrumental music all year long. It's always on in the background as my students enter the classroom. I've found that it helps to keep a calm start to our day. During December, I love to play instrumental holiday music. In the past, I've played instrumental music found on You Tube. This year, I purchased Quiet Work Music for December from The Primary Techie. I absolutely love it. The music is calm while giving the perfect holiday feel. My students love it. 

BRING IT ALL TO LIFE

This is my favorite part. Here are a few ideas for bringing this magical season to life.

With The Gingerbread Man: Create a life-size setting as a class. To do this I used large green
bulletin board paper, Lincoln Logs, and the character cutouts from this Gingerbread Man Book Companion Freebie by Primary Graffiti.

Go on a Gingerbread Man Hunt. For the entire last week of school, my students have been searching for the Gingerbread Man. They created "Missing" posters and went on an actual scavenger hunt using QR codes around our school. We used the resources from my Can You Catch The Gingerbread Man? Scavenger Hunt. At the end of the week, they're going to actually find the gingerbread man at our school's holiday sing-a-long assembly (another great way to bring the magic of this season to life).
I just love Kindergarten writing <3

With The Polar Express: During the week that you're using this book to learn comprehension
skills, pick a day to turn your classroom into the actual Polar Express. To do this, we used my play kitchen, 4 rectangle tables, and string lights. Everything was wrapped in black bulletin paper. We even created an opening for students to step "onto" the Polar Express. The second picture shows our Polar Express display from 2016, which I love a little more because we had more string lights (insert heart-eyes emoji here)

MOST IMPORTANTLY... EMBRACE AND CHERISH THE CRAZINESS

I definitely do not shy away from activities that have a chance at being a little bit of a challenge. For instance, taking my class of Kindergarteners on a scavenger hunt with iPads. But what makes it worth it, is seeing their happy faces learning and enjoying what we're doing. Crafts with glitter, and glue can be messy. But I absolutely love watching the joy happening in our classroom. That's literally all I can say. Accept it. Embrace it. Make it magical. 
The pictured resources above are all freebies :) Find them here! 
Candy Cane Craft - Miss Kindergarten
Gingerbread Craft - Miss Mandy

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