Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Party Idea

Have you ever noticed around this time of year that your classroom supplies dip low? Well, last year I came up with an idea that I thought probably would not work, but it actually worked out beautifully! I sat down and constructed a list of items that my classroom needed to run for the remainder of the year (i.e. glue sticks, crayons, construction paper, labels, printer cartridges, markers and such). I then cut up the wish list into strips and put them into a bowl so that the kids can draw an item from the bowl. After they have drawn an item, I send a note home explaining the process to the parents along with the item that their child had drawn earlier that day. I usually have them bring in their gifts as soon as possible and bring in extras just in case someone forgets theirs (you do not want any child to go without). I then ask that no matter how many items they bring they need to wrap them up in one box. Otherwise, children will want to know why they have more to open. On the day of the party, I call each child by name to sit in the share chair and open their gift. Once they open their gift, all the children give a round of applause and say thank you for contributing to our classroom. THEY LOVE THIS! The kids feel like they are doing something and they really ARE! Last year a little girl brought in wiggle eyes and every time I got them out to use them they would say "Oh these are from Emily! Thank you Emily!" That kind of thing went on for the remainder of the year and it relieved me of having to go out and purchase things with my own money. I realize that this may not be a "FUN" gift, but the kids have fun. I feel that children get SO MUCH for Christmas and a $5-$10 gift does not seem to go far these days and most of the time ends up in the back seat of the car before you even get into the garage. So, this benefits everyone. Trust me- it's been fabulous the past two years! I'll upload pictures from my party on Monday! Click here for the note home to parents explaining the process (as this can be the most difficult to explain). MERRY CHRISTMAS!  Photobucket

Party Tip

So the past couple of years I have had the toughest time organizing my classroom parties. Sometimes I'll end up with tons of extra cupcakes and no chips! So, the past two years I decided to take up an activities collection to cover all winter expenses. I usually ask for around $10.00 a child depending on the year and the activities I have planned. Now, this money will cover ALL crafts and ALL party supplies. This way you (the teacher) can grab everything you need and will not have to rely on anyone to get anything and you also will not have to worry about parents forgetting or the dreaded... extras! This has worked out so well for me!Photobucket

Thursday, December 9, 2010

FREE Reindeer Unit

Hello! Over on my other party design blog, Moo Moo's & Tutus, I posted a FREE printable unit full of reindeer activities to use with little ones!  I wanted to share it with our readers today too! 

Today's unit is "R is for Reindeer," and I'm so excited to do all of these activities with Noah during the next two weeks.  It is 18 pages full of theme, literacy, math, and special snack ideas that you can use with your little one at home or with a room-full of little ones if you teach Pre-K or even Kindergarten!  I hope you enjoy!  If you decide to download my unit, as always, please leave me a comment!

Here's a little peek inside!

Just click the picture below to download the unit!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Playful Penguins

Petroleum Jelly 
To start off the Winter season I always like to being with a unit on penguins. I find them to be an easy transition from turkeys to gingerbread, reindeer and etc. There are so many fun things to do with penguins. When I first starting teaching, I had trouble coming up with activities so I would do polar bears and penguins together. What was I thinking? I'm sure many of you teachers have thoughts just like that. Needless to say, polar bears and penguins are completely separate units now and I have trouble figuring out what activities to do for both! I want to share my favorite activity and one that is most loved by my kids. I found this idea from Mrs. Jumps Class
so I cannot take an credit, but I have tweaked it and made it my own, of course!

First we start out with petroleum jelly on our hands and I go around to all the kids and have them dip their hands inside ice water and pull them out. They notice that the water rolls off just as it would on a penguin's feathers.

Glove & Ice
Penguin Puppet
Next we put on a winter glove (just like the penguins winter feathers and blubber) and put a plastic bag over it. Then they put that hand inside ice water and their other hand without the glove inside ice water. They notice that the hand without the glove and bag are FrEeZiNg! This is how penguins stay warm during the winter.

They love this! I am actually doing this experiment with my class tomorrow and will upload pictures as soon as possible. In the mean time I will include a recording sheet that my students use to record their findings.
Enjoy the freebie!!
How do penguins stay warm?

"All penguins have soft feathers"
"A penguin has blubber"