Now You See Them; Now You Don’t!
The Elf on A Shelf is a children’s picture book written by an American mother and daughter Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell, and illustrated by Coë Steinwart.
The book was self-published in 2005 and comes with a small elf. It's written in rhyme with watercolor illustrations.
The gist of the story is that Santa knows who is naughty and nice by what his elves report back to him as they fly back and forth each night.
Upon returning, they pick a new place to hide. By choosing a new hiding spot, the members of the family play an on-going game of Hide and Seek. Children are encouraged to name their elf.
Once the elf is named, the "scout" elf receives its special Christmas magic. Now they can fly! However, the magic might go if touched, so the rule for The Elf on the Shelf states: "There's only one rule that you have to follow, so I will come back and be here tomorrow: Please do not touch me. My magic might go, and Santa won't hear all I've seen or I know."
In the hope that students will settle down, stay on task, and be better behaved during the hectic month of December, teachers have now gotten on board and purchased an elf for their classrooms.
To launch Elf on a Shelf read the story and let the good behavior modification begin! After all, Santa now has a spy in the room, and the teacher has a helper that is watching.
If you're looking for a costume to wear on the day you introduce your elf activities, or perhaps dress up in for story time, I found one at Oriental Trading. It's just $16. They also have an apron, or simply don the hat for $3. Children's sizes are also available, and would be a real hit in your dress up box,
I spent over an hour sourcing pictures of elf antics, 'til my head was actually spinning! There are virtually 100's of ideas Online, so I decided to start a PIN board with my favorites. Click on the link to catch the Elf Excitement.
I bought my bags at Hobby Lobby. Click on the link to view/download Twinkle, the Elf on a Classroom Shelf "craftivity."
This is also a very easy thing for your kiddo's to make, and can act as a great behavior modification technique, as I've included "Tally Tags."
Children choose one and glue it to the front of their own elf. Whenever you catch a child being good, or when they have completed a task, they may add a tally mark to their card. Have them use a red marker for tally marks 1-4 and then cross the 5th tally with a green marker.
To ensure honesty, remind students that the elves and Santa are watching, so no cheating. You could also let them know that you have a student tally total that you keep track of, so if you find a discrepancy they will lose their card. You really don't have to keep up with this, just show the paper and it will hopefully do the trick.
Feel free to walk over and add tally marks to children’s bags without saying a word. Believe me, they will be aware of what you are doing and get right down to business. After school, add tally marks to whom ever had a good day. This tally mark can be from the Elf on a Shelf. So children can readily see a difference, make the elf’s tally mark in another color like blue or purple.
Because of the book’s popularity, elf activities were being requested, so I decided to design a few.
Click on the link to view/download The Christmas Elf, which is a spatial direction booklet, that also has several “craftivities” included, like the stocking with a photo of a real elf tucked inside.
Simply take a picture of each of your students wearing an elf/Santa hat. Students trim and glue to the back of their stocking. A graphing extension is also included.
The booklet Little Elf What Do You See? is a rhyming booklet that incorporates the 5 senses.
Lots of Common Core is covered, as students read, circle capital letters; add end punctuation; underline adjectives; trace and write the "senses" words and then color, cut and glue the matching pictures.
If you're looking for an elf-related writing prompt have students respond to Santa's wanted poster.
He's looking for seasonal elf help. Children write why they feel they'd make a good elf.
After students share their page, collect and collate into a class book. A "You're Hired!" certificate and "Official Santa's Helper Button" are also included. Click on the link to view/download the Wanted: Elf Help packet.
Thanks for visiting today. I design and blog daily, so I hope you can pop by tomorrow for the newest FREEBIES hot off this elf's computer. Feel free to PIN away.
"I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel." -Buddy, from the movie Elf
Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful; Are Your Students' Actions Delightful?
Are your students a bit hyper after Thanksgiving? Mine were always a little more energetic and excited. I think it was because they were caught up in all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
I’ designed this packet a few years ago, before I had all of the awesome software I now have available, but because these ideas really work, I decided to post this article again today.
The activities are quick and easy to implement. Hopefully they will help you, help your students, put their best foot forward, so you can get down to the business of teaching instead of preaching.
All of the following are in a 36-page packet entitled: Modifying Behavior In December. Use them as a whole-group TEAM challenge (Together Everyone Achieves More) or for individuals who need that extra little boost.
At one point or another, I've used all of these techniques. They were extremely successful with my kiddo's.
Thanks to the Polar Express. everyone knows that if you truly believe in Christmas, you can hear Santa’s bells, so I passed out a few, to everyone from the janitor to the principal. They'd deliberately pass by our door and jingle.
It really cracked me up when my students actually froze when they heard the bells through out our day, and explained to each other that they heard Santa’s helpers spying on us!
The List: As I caught children being good, I added them to our “Santa’s Watching!” good girls and boys list.
Use the poster as a topper on your white board. Remind children that just because their name was on the list, didn't mean that it couldn't be removed, and you expected them to continue to behave appropriately.
Letter From Santa: To get the good-behavior ball rolling, I sent a letter to each of my students from Santa. I printed them on Christmas paper that you can buy at The Dollar Store and tuck them in a Christmas card.
I added an address label (from the North Pole of course) and a sticker that said: "A letter from Santa" . My school has everyone's address in a database, so our secretary was kind enough to print out a sheet of labels; because this was a student activity, my school provided the postage.
I also bought those ultra tiny Ziploc Baggies and put a teaspoon of oatmeal mixed with glitter in them. The child sprinkles it on the lawn on Christmas Eve. Rudolph smells the oats and sees the glitter sparkling on the snow and knows just where they live!
This all added to the fun. My students were always so excited to tell me they had received a letter from Santa! It's amazing how their behavior improved as well!
I Need A Little Incentive Today! I’ve also made some incentive charts for you to use. Use this incentive plan to get children to transition quickly, line up and stay quiet in line, get things cleaned up and put away etc. They are also a great way for your students to learn the days of the week.
Use them for individuals too. There are several to choose from, so you can use one each week. How they work: Put up the Christmas tree poster. If everyone behaves, gets their work done (whatever you have as a goal) then they get the Monday ornament put on the tree or colored in, the same thing for Tuesday etc.
When they have earned all of the ornaments they receive whatever prize you decided upon. (Free recess, new center to play at, trip to the treasure box, candy treat, game time etc.) I also have stripe a candy cane, (I buy non-peppermint-flavored canes for this one, and at the end of the week each child gets a candy cane.
A wreath that you put berries on, is another alternative. Run the master off on green paper as well as red then cut the pieces out. The 4th one is a gingerbread man where you color in the buttons.
Tree-mendous Behavior! Save an empty spool of thread or buy one at The Dollar Store and stamp your way into some tree-mendous behavior. Run off a class set of trees on green construction paper. Have your students cut them out. Add a brown rectangle for a trunk and a yellow star at the top where they write their name.
Now wait 'til you catch them being good, or accomplishing a task and reward them by allowing them to stamp their tree. You could also use a variety of stickers as "ornaments."
Santa's Beard Needs Some Fluff! This is the same concept as above only using a Santa. There are a specific number of circles on Santa's beard and they need a "good-behavior-cotton ball" glued to them to help fill it up.
Whose Santa has the fullest beard? You can send a note about the Santa's in your newsletter asking parents to ask their child how their Santa is doing, and how many cotton balls they received that day. That should be a nice motivator!
Punch Me Please: I don’t know about your students, but mine love using my paper punch + it’s a great fine motor skill that strengthens their hand muscles. I thought how can I incorporate this more; and designed this activity.
Run off the trees on green construction paper and have your class cut them out and add a brown construction paper trunk and write their name on it. Hang the trees on a classroom bulletin board or wall.
Keep strips of various colored “garland” handy in an envelope. Each child gets to choose their first one and keeps it taped to the side of their desk or at their table by their name card.
Each time the teacher catches them being good, or they accomplish their Table Top lessons, or hand in their homework (whatever you decide on) they get to use the paper punch and punch a hole in their garland. When they get 10 punches they glue the garland on their tree.
Shall I Freeze Or Should I Melt? To help get the wiggles out so that I don’t have behavior problems, I allow my students to FREEZE and MELT!
I have them dance and prance around the carpet area as quickly as they can, watching me out of the corner of their eye, to see if I’ll hold up a snowflake or sun.
If they see Mr. Snowflake they quickly FREEZE in whatever position they are in. If they see Mr. Sunshine they slowly plop to the floor melting as they go; falling like the Wicked Witch of the West!
I made my Freeze and Melt signs from a huge snowflake cut out that I purchased at a party store. The sun I made from a piece of yellow tag board. I laminated both pieces. I made a set of clip art posters for you, if you don't want to start from scratch.
Click here to print all of the patterns, including the article which explains the directions. December Behavior Modification Packet
Feel free to PIN anything you think might be helpful to others.
"Remember that teaching is more than high test scores; it is also enriching lives and having fun while doing so."
1-2-3 Come Do Some Reindeer "Craftivities" With Me
On Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen; you too Rudolph. I wanted to finish up with reindeer-themed activities, by sharing 2 revamped favorites, + 2 new FREEBIES.
If you're looking for an inexpensive and easy treat to give your kiddo's, I think you'll enjoy making a Snack Baggie filled with 8 chocolate reindeer noses + a red gum ball (Rudolph's nose.)
This is my version from several other Pinterest pins that I've seen. My poem reads: "9 delicious reindeer noses from me. Packaged with lots of love and TLC. They come with happy smiles of joy to say--I hope you have a Merry Christmas Day!"
If you'd like to have your students make this as a gift for their family, have them make a thumb print reindeer and sign it from their little "dear." Click on the link to view/print Chocolate Reindeer Noses.
Cover a lot of Common Core State Standards as students read, add end punctuation, underline capital letters; trace and write the shape word; trace and write the color word; trace the shape and then draw and color that shaped nose on the reindeer.
A graphing extension is also included, where students tell which shaped nose they liked the best. Click on the link to view/download The Shape Of My Reindeer's Nose.
Finally, I revamped "You Can Count On Rudolph" and included trace & write pages. Students can count to 20, count backwards from 10 to 0 or 20 to 0, or skip count by 2's, 3's, 5's. and 10's.
I've also included a red-hot cinnamon "reindeer noses" counting activity in this packet as well. Click on the link to view/download the Counting On Rudolph packet.
Thanks for visiting today. Feel free to PIN away. I design and blog daily, so I hope you can stop by again tomorrow for even more FREEBIES.
"Christmas is like the morning; every year we experience it as new, partly because of the magic of snow and sleighs; night silver light and the silhouette of Dancer against the moon." -Unknown
1-2-3 Come Do Some Christmas Craftivities With Me
If you'd like to put a lid on the question: How many more days 'til Christmas vacation? make a countdown craftivity. Last week, I designed one with a gingerbread using a paper chain, so you could work on patterning, but if you'd like your kiddo's to see and practice real numbers, then you might want to make either Santa's Countdown Beard or the Finger Print Wreath.
Counting down the days to Christmas, by gluing a cotton ball on a numbered circle, is not my original idea.
I've seen it many times, in a variety of ways, all over the Internet, so I thought I'd draw a Santa and give this idea a whirl too. Click on the link to view/download the Santa's Countdown.
Make one for your class and take turns having students glue a cotton ball on each day, or run off a copy for each child and set this up as a daily center.
An easy way to set up independent centers, without taking up a lot of room, is to use TV trays. Simply keep all of your students' Santa's in a basket on one of the trays and a bottle of glue and a container of cotton balls on another.
If you'd like an alternative to Santa, I also designed a Countdown to Christmas Wreath.
So that you can reinforce the fact that December has 31 days, both the Santa and wreath have numbers to 31.
Have students circle the 25th with a red or green crayon so they can readily see that special day.
Students can opt for a paper-heart "bow" or a real ribbon one. For the added "awww-dorable" factor, have children glue a photo in the center.
To countdown days, students press their thumb onto a red stamp pad and place it on the appropriate day. Click on the link to view/download the Countdown Wreath.
If you're looking for some other keepsake wreath activities, finger painting one was a Y5's favorite.
Because learning colors was one of our standards, I'd often have students mix 2 primary ones to make a secondary color.
This also was a teachable moment for reviewing equations: Yellow + Blue = Green. A "magical" way to do this, is by fingerpainting.
Put a dollop of yellow and a much smaller dot of blue on their tag board wreath cut out. Children swirl and mix 'til they have a pretty shade of green.
My kiddo's often squealed in delight: "Mrs. H. come quick! Come see! My paint is green!" Their joy was worth the bit of mess.
Set aside to dry. Later, students add finger print holly berries and glue the poem in the middle: "I made this pretty wreath for you. I made it mixing yellow and blue. Yellow + blue as you have seen, makes a lovely Christmas green. The red berries--I'll give you a hint, are made from someone's finger print. This wreath is a circle it has no end. It's like my love, that I now send." Click on the link to view/download the Fingerpainted Wreath Craftivity.
Another idea is to draw a circle in the center of a large square of tag board. Paint child's hand with green paint and have them press it around the circle to make a wreath. (To keep things bright, paint-press; paint-press etc.)
My son, Jason, did this activity in Y5's 29 years ago and I still have it somewhere in the basement! Click on the link to see a tutorial of another mom doing this with her daughter Elsie.
Instead of paper, she used fabric. To make a fabric project do-able for a class, simply have students bring in a plain white pillowcase.
Reindeer are the perfect animals for making hand and foot print "craftivities." I've designed several for you to choose from.
The Lunch Bag Reindeer is A wonderful keepsake art project that makes a great manipulative to whole group assess spatial directions, and body part identification.
My personal favorite reindeer "craftivity" is Rudy. His head is made by tracing a child's foot with their shoe on. The antlers of course are hand prints cut from a darker shade of brown construction paper.
Add a neck and wreath collar and you have an adorable keepsake. The poem on the collar: "These are my finger prints oh so small, that I left on your heart and every wall. This is my hand you used to hold, when I was only ____ years old."
Ribbon, wiggle eyes, a red pom pom nose and a photo of the child, add those finishing touches. Click on the link to view/download the Reindeer Hand and Foot Print Crafts.
Also in this packet is Reindeer Noses. "Sliders" are a quick, easy and fun way to whole group assess, in this case, 2D shapes.
To review an ABAB pattern as well, have students alternate coloring the shapes red and black. Call out a shape; students slide to it and hold it in the air.
Call on quiet students to continue to choose shapes 'til all have been reinforced. You can see at a glance who is is having difficulty. I'm designing The Reindeer's Nose easy reader today; so I hope you can stop by tomorrow to grab that freebie as a nice language arts follow up.
The last craftivity in the reindeer keepsake packet features a reindeer that students color. You can add wiggle eyes and a pom pom nose as well. Call students up to the painting center and paint their hand a dark shade of brown. Press to make antlers.
Thanks for visiting today. Feel free to PIN anything from my site.
"To dance with the moon, you need only become friendly with the dreams of a reindeer." -Unknown
Get Ready; Get Set; Let's Go Around The World For Christmas!
Kids and Christmas seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly and is a big reason why I choose to incorporate a Christmas Around The World unit to teach geography in December.
Hop on board the Global Holiday Express and enjoy a reindeer ride to Mexico, Canada, England and other parts of the globe.
The internet has brought our world closer and put it virtually at our fingertips. We are truly just a click away from the Far East where we can grab some spices for our gingerbread creations.
Are you ready for an adventure? Then come celebrate Christmas Around The World. Click on the link for 124 pages of fun. Pick and choose whatever you want.
Because of special requests from upper elementary teachers, I've up-dated this packet to include templates for older students, including an interesting writing prompt: If you REALLY could go to any country in the world for Christmas break, where would you go; who would you go with; how would you get there? etc.
First stop, we need to make a cereal box suitcase. It comes complete with travel stickers and a luggage tag that helps students practice writing their first and last name as well as their address.
Two file folders become a briefcase that holds a passport that children help create. I used real passports to help me design one.
This activity reinforces name and address writing and is a math extension where students measure each other to determine their height and weight.
The Christmas Around The World suitcase is the perfect place to put souvenirs that represent the countries they visit! (Completed art projects, maps and papers.)
There’s also a pocket that holds airline tickets. Children have a ticket for the country that they’re researching, one for the USA and one for their favorite country, to be determined after the unit.
Besides traveling to foreign countries, students also learn about their own state.
Children write a page about their family’s Christmas traditions or winter festivities if they don’t celebrate Christmas.
Their “State” pages and these two personal pages become part of their suitcase; and copies are made into a class book.
There are many graphing opportunities in this study: Do you hang a stocking? Do you have a fireplace? Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
Each student chooses a country and armed with a list of websites to check out, must find 4-5 facts about how Christmas is celebrated there.
They are given a map and flag of their country; this is cut and glued on their Christmas Around the World page, along with how people say “Merry Christmas” in that country.
When students finish their research/writing assignment, they share it with their classmates; and a copy is made for another class book.
All students keep a Christmas Around The World travel journal, of all the countries visited.
They put a sticker dot on their world map, locating the country that is being shared. Each time a student shares a country everyone’s passport is stamped.
The Christmas Around The World crafts I’ve chosen to share, are ones that you could plug in for quite a few countries.
Putting up a tree and lighting candles seem to be universal practices for many.
The poinsettia is perfect to represent Mexico, but also the USA. Did you know that an average of 65 million are sold nationwide, grown commercially in every state, and that California is the leading producer?
Besides America, gingerbread also fits several countries, especially Germany where Nuremberg is known as the gingerbread capital of the world. However, England and France are famous for their gingerbread “fairs”, and several places in Canada have Christmas cookie exchange parties.
December wouldn’t be complete without climbing aboard The Polar Express, and reading stories like Mem Fox’s Australian animal tale Wombat Divine, Australia) and Robert Barry’s tale from England, Mr. Willoby’s Christmas Tree, as well as several different gingerbread stories that can be compared and contrasted; they all make great additions to your Christmas Around The World traveling adventures.
While celebrating Christmas Around The World we also sang songs like, We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands, adapted for this unit. (Students trace and cut out their hands and wrap them around the world for an awesome 3D craftivity.)
Come embark on a most extraordinary adventure, discovering unique cultures and traditions, that although different, bring you a little bit closer, as your students celebrate Christmas Around the World. Whatever you’re doing this season as you study geography, I hope you hear the jingling of those sleigh bells, that help transport you on a magical journey.
Thanks for visiting today. Feel free to PIN away!
"God bless us everyone!" -Tiny Tim