Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday celebrations and "The Mitten"

Happy winter break, everyone!

Our December unit was all about winter holidays, and we learned about and celebrated Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Las Posadas. I was a bad picture-taker this month, but here are a few things we did:

-Made sweet potato pie for Kwanzaa! We used this recipe (rather than the one in our curriculum), and it was absolutely amazing. My new favorite holiday dessert! Several of the kids enjoyed it, too. We also made latkes for Hanukkah. Also a big hit - we served with ketchup, not the traditional applesauce, though. Kids ate the applesauce separately - couldn't quite get them to buy into the applesauce-on-potatoes thing.

-Played the dreidel game. My one kiddo was quite the dreidel shark! I mean really, he just kept winning. Every. Single. Game. Told him he needed to give us numbers and we'd play the lottery and probably win! We used the Dreidel Game Rules from Chapel Hill Snippets and I found a set of 4 dreidels for something like $1.99 at Party City. I was impressed when a couple of my guys could even spin the dreidel correctly! (The rest, who could not spin due to fine motor difficulties, rolled dice-style.) Great fine motor activity, and of course doubles as a counting activity including the concept of "half." It was a big hit!

-We had a holiday party with the two other classrooms at our same age level. We decorated cookies and had a $1 gift exchange. Fun!

-We made gifts for parents - file this one away in the "try before attempting at school" bin! We attempted to make Cinnamon Stick Candles...all the directions online/Pinterest/Martha-Freaking-Stewart, even - which say to use hot glue or even just regular glue were wrong. I'm here to tell you any sort of glue that we could find did not affix cinnamon sticks to waxy candles. We ended up finding one set of directions that said to soften the wax of the candles in the microwave little by little, pushing the sticks into the wax bit by bit. It worked, and the gifts ended up looking very nice, but it was time consuming and the kids ended up not being able to do much themselves. Too bad I didn't get any photos during this process - it was probably pretty funny!

-We made cards for parents and for our buddies at our sister school. We used the printable below - which one of you on my blog roll had mentioned - can't remember who, but if it was you, thank you!
(Click the image to go to the blog post.) Instead of using do-a-dot markers, my students used their thumbprints...I wish I would have gotten photos of these, because they turned out SO adorable!

-On our last day of school (Friday) we made snowflakes for the students at Sandy Hook Elementary, to help them decorate their new school building after the break. This was a nice tangible way to "do" something after the tragedies in Connecticut. Here is the article I originally read about the project; you may have seen a post on Facebook about it, too. I am going to have my extended family make more snowflakes over Christmas to add to our class' and then send them on their way. Here are some of my students' snowflakes:
(Yes, many were staff-assisted - we are still working on our cutting skills. All the glitter decor was independent student work, though!)

This afternoon I'm heading off to my parents' for Christmas. Before I do, though, I'm already thinking about school starting up again and some of the fun winter projects we'll be doing in our classroom. The Mitten by Jan Brett is one of my favorite winter stories to share in the classroom. Last night I just finished a bundle of math and literacy activities to go with this great book!
Click the image to check it out on TPT...If you purchase it (or any of my other products) between now and January 14, all my proceeds will go to the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary.

A very merry Christmas to all of you! :)


  1. It sounds like your class had a very fun December! =) When I taught Pre-K, we were always cooking things, especially around the holidays.. the kids loved it!

    I wish I had heard about the snowflakes earlier! I heard about it on Friday and of course that day I didn't have any of my resource students because they were having holiday parties in their homerooms. Your snowflakes turned out great and the students of Sandy Hook will love them! =)

    The Resource Room Teacher

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