A Sweet Treat For Christmas Or A Sweet Surprise To Ring In the New Year When Your Students Come Back.
Here is a photo of the snowman candy bars I made for my grandsons last year.
Having a sweet surprise on your students' desk is a nice way to wish them a Happy New Year!
Because I have the extra time to putz during vacation and feel more relaxed, I enjoy whipping some things up, however, if you're looking for something to give your students as a gift, or even have them make for their families, these are super easy and sure to be a winner.
Putting them together in assembly-line fashion is enjoyable and gets the job done quickly. I made 20 in less than an hour.
I purchased Nestle Crunch bars from Sam’s Club. There are 36 in a box for $19. If you have a smaller class, perhaps you can split the cost with another teacher who would also like to make them.
If this is beyond your budget, you can scale things down and make the snowmen using packs of gum, which can also be bought in bulk at Sam’s or Costco. Instead of paper scarves, use ribbon and tie them on.
For complete directions of how to make a chocolate bar snowman wrapper, click on the link.
- So that you don't have to spend a lot of time writing, I made a template with Happy New Year 2013 labels on it.
- This is a DOC file so you have to click here to get the labels. You can then change the date each year.
- Click on the link for the Happy New Year labels.
- I've also made Merry Christmas Labels if you'd like to use them for Christmas instead of New Years. Click on the link to download the Merry Chrismas Labels.
- You can either make name labels or write your students' names on the bottom of the candy bar. I’ve provided a name label template for you as well.
- Click on the link for the name label template.
- Blue writing also looks nice if you want a different color. This can be changed on your menu bar by choosing a color and then highlighting your print on the template.
- Add facial details with watercolor markers.
- I’ve provided a skiing “cover” for the back of the candy bar to cover the glued tabs if you want to add that “finishing touch” so things look a bit nicer.
- Click on the link to view/download the Snowman Candy Bars.
Do You Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day?
January brings along with it the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I feel that this is as much about celebrating an awareness of unfair prejudice, and true "liberty and justice for all..." as it is about teaching about this icon for civil rights.
Just because my Y5's are really not familiar about what went on during this historical period of time, does not mean they are not familiar with prejudice. I think there is still all sorts of that kind of thing going on in an elementary playground: girls against boys, coordinated students against the clumsy, geeks & nerds versus the more popular students. It all still boils down to prejudice.
My little ones are very quick to exclaim: "That's not fair!" so I try to keep things especially "fair" in our classroom, at the same time letting them know that "life" really isn't fair and then try to equip them with some life skills so they can handle "life" when it sometimes rears its uglier side.
To introduce the topic of prejudice to my students, I read Dr. Seuss's The Sneechs. I pass out star stickers to the girls and not to the boys just because they are girls and then ask everyone how they feel. Surprisingly some of the girls aren't as happy about receiving a sticker as they might be, because they feel sorry for the boys. On several occasions, girls have even given their star sticker to a boy.
I then pass out lollipops to the boys, simply because they are boys and give none to the girls. Once again we talk about feelings. The topic of not being "fair" and feeling "left out" and "helpless to change things" always comes up. Since a few little lips tremble, and I don't want tears, I quickly give everyone star stickers and lollipops as we continue our discussion of how much better it feels when everyone IS treated fairly/equally.
I send a note home to parents about the entire "experiment” along with our new vocabulary words: prejudice, equality, civil rights, etc.
Do you celebrate Martin Luther King Day? How do you introduce the topic of prejudice to your students? Do you feel it's appropriate to celebrate this day?
For more ideas, check out my mini Martin Luther King Unit by clicking on the link.
A Quick & Easy Christmas Craft With Math Extensions!
My grandson’s last day is Tuesday. If you too are still in school and looking for a quick and easy project to plug in for a little fun, but still want some standards attached to it, then you may enjoy making these little Christmas trees.
The initial shape is a circle; students cut it in half and then fold it in 1/4th’s, for a nice fraction review. Their circle now looks like a triangle.
When it’s glued together the completed project is no longer a flat shape, but takes the 3-D pyramid shape and looks like a mini Christmas tree.
They are such fun to make; you can also cover the concept of small, medium and large by doing different size circles.
To display the 3 sizes as a centerpiece, place them on a circle of aluminum foil with a large paper doily on top.
Students can count the ornaments they dot on their tree as another math extension, or give them the option to decorate their trees with glitter garland or snow.
Dabbing glue on with a Q-tip, is a no-mess hassle-free way to accomplish decorating the trees. Remind students “A little dab will do ya.” as you don’t want the glue running when they stand to dry, after children sprinkle glitter on top.
If you are making these at home with your own children, they make adorable place cards for your table.
Simply write your family’s names in the middle of one section of the tree and then decorate around it.
I used green printed scrapbook paper that was cardstock thick, but construction paper also works well.
You can top with 2 gold star stickers pressed back-to-back or cut some with a star punch for that finishing touch.
Lightly sprtiz with evergreen scent for that final Christmas bit of magic!
Here's Ho Ho Hoping you have a Jolly Holly-Day!
Do you have someone who gives you a helping hand? Why not let them know by stuffing a pair of warm winter gloves with goodies and giving them this gift to show your appreciation?
You can make a helping hand glove set for your room helper(s), or teacher’s assistant or make some for a few of your close teacher friends. They also make a nice gift for the school secretary or other volunteers. I’ve made poems for both kinds.
It’s up to you what items you want to stuff inside. I included practical “pamper yourself” things that a helper might find useful, purchased at two of my favorite stores: Bath & Body & Yankee Candle.I enjoy making jewelry so I purchased some pretty beads at Hobby Lobby and made a bracelet to put on the cuff for that extra touch of pizzazz.
If you’re making a lot and want to keep the cost down, The Dollar Store sells all of the ingredients including the gloves! Here are a few suggestions:
Things that are hand-related:
- A tube of hand lotion
- Glittery nail polish
- A cute emery board or “forever” nail file
- Key chain nail clippers
- Purse-size-wonderful smelling hand disinfectant
Things to stick into the fingers:
- Lip balm
- Roll-on perfume
- Life Saver candies
- Pack of Gum
- Purse-size Kleenex
- Votive candle
- Favorite candy bar
I’ve also made a cute little “meanings” for the things above and why you might include them in your gift glove.
I’ve given you a DOC form so you can revamp the list for what you include in yours. Click on the link to view/print the Gift Glove meanings list.
- Click on the link to view/print the Gift Glove article, directions, pictures, & poems.
Merry Christmas and a grateful high-five thank you, to all of the many helping hands that have made my life so much easier through out my years of teaching,
and to all of you reading this, who make the time to be those helping hands in the lives of others!
Even your most reluctant writers will enjoy contributing a page to a class made book. I try to make one each week, sometimes more depending on the themes I’m doing.
Students TRACE the sentence and fill in the blank. So that they don’t have a problem with spelling and I can manage this activity with an entire class without a lot of repetitive questions, I gather everyone in front of the white board.
Read the prompt and then ask your students to give you as many examples as they can think of.
I tell my Y5’s to put on their thinking caps and we make motions and sounds to do that.
As they raise their hands and give me suggestions, I write them on the board.
They choose an idea from the list and then take their seats and get down to business.
I always do a sample, complete with an illustration, so that they have a model to refer to, that is posted on the board.
When everyone is done with their page, we do the graphing extension(s). I laminate their contributions + the graph(s) and put them into a book, and then read it to the class.
Afterwards, it goes into our “Class Made Books” basket. This is one of my students’ favorite items to read during quiet time.
Some of the books we make I develop as a nice follow up for a popular story that we’ve just read.
These stories usually follow a theme such as Jan Brett’s The Mitten or the classic winter fairy tale The Gingerbread Man.
For the gingerbread story, I pass out Keebler gingerbread cookies and tell my students to take just one bite. I ask for a show of hands to see who bit off what and then they write and illustrate their page. I also graph the results.
Click on the link to view/print Our Mitten class book.
Click on the link to view/print Our Gingerbread Man class book.
For more winter fun writing Class Books click on the link.
Why not subscribe and enjoy everything on the TeachWithMe site for an entire year! Click on the link for details.
Happy Winter Writing!
Have Your Students Make Them As Christmas Gifts, Or Give Them To Your Students As A Sweet Treat!
A crafty teacher shared her idea of making reindeer noses on one of the chat boards I enjoy. I thought it was really cute.
I've also seen it pinned on Pinterest, so I'm clueless of who to give credit to. I've included a poem and given you my version here.
I think your students would have fun making a bag of chocolate reindeer noses as a gift for their parents or grandma and grandpa. Keeping this in mind, I designed a poem-card to go with them, and a header they can color.
They are also easy enough for a teacher to whip together to give to an entire class on their last day before vacation, and make adorable party favors if your child has a December birthday.
- I thought that Whoppers would make the perfect size for a Reindeer's nose.
- I found the best deal for these malted milk balls at Big Lots. The bag is only $6. My 39 oz. bag had 501 brown reindeer noses inside!
- Yes I counted them all, so you wouldn’t have to wonder. That lets you make 62 bags! (You need 8 brown noses to represent 8 of Santa’s reindeer!)
On Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen!
- You might want to share this idea with another teacher and cut your cost in ½ or make them with/for your students and send the rest as treats for your own child.
- I hit the Jackpot when I checked our Dollar Store looking for Rudolph’s red nose. They had a bag of the same-size bubblegum that contained 44 pieces with only 4 color options inside! (red, green, yellow and blue).
- I looked for bags that had a lot of red. The 2 bags I purchased had 13 and 14 red pieces in them!
- Snack Baggies are also sold at The Dollar Store and make the perfect container.
- Run off my header, have students color it, and glue to a green strip of construction paper for pizzazz and you’re in business.
- You can staple the header to the Baggie or use Scotch tape.
- Have children press their thumb in a brown stamp pad to make a reindeer head. Add antlers and facial details with crayons or markers.
- Students write their names in an ABAB pattern with a green and red crayon and color the holly for that finishing touch!
- Children glue their completed picture on a sheet of red construction paper.
- Set up the ingredients as a center on a TV tray or small table. Put the noses in two different bowls with plastic spoons. Allow students to count 9 brown balls into their bag + 1 red one which will = 10 (I work with base 10 all year so this is perfect!).
- Students take their Baggie back to their workstation and may now eat 1 BROWN nose. 10 – 1 = 9 reindeer noses. Encourage students to say the equations.
- STRESS that they can only eat 1 and that it can only be a brown nose. It’s a nice way to review addition and subtraction and a great way to avoid begging and continuous questions of: “Can I please have one?” After all, it’s hard to be little and not tempted with a bowl of chocolate Whoppers!
Click on the link to view/download Reindeer Noses
After they’ve finished their gift, have them continue with another math extension and visit meilistudios to figure out how old they are in Rudolph years!
Thank you for visiting today. Feel free to PIN anything you think others may find worthwhile.
"If you don't like the road you're walking on, start paving another one!" -Dolly Parton
Cylinder Santa Windsock: A Great Keepsake for Christmas!
The cylinder is one of the tricky 3-D shapes for my Y5’s to grasp, so I try to do things with cans and toilet paper rolls.
We also make at least one windsock a month and December is the perfect time to make one that will become a treasured keepsake.
Cylinder Santa is not that difficult, and reviews a variety of flat shapes as well as brings home the vocabulary word cylinder!
- Depending on the ethnicity of your students, choose a facial color construction paper for Santa’s face.
- This will be the cylinder.
- I use the smaller sheets of construction paper and glued them together so that my paper is 21 inches long.
- Run off my templates on a duplo.
- Click on the link to view/print the Cylinder Santa Handprint Windsock patterns OR...
- Click on this link to print the Cylinder Santa handprint windsock patterns, pictures and this article's directions. Cylinder Santa Handprint Windsock "Stuff"
- Cut Santa’s brim strips on a paper cutter.
- To cut down on time, and because my students are younger (this is a lot of cutting) I have the holly leaves, nose, mouth, and eyes pre-cut.
- A room helper has also traced and cut their hands the day before. She traces once, and then cuts 4 hands at a time, then paperclips them together.
- Students cut out their hat and circle pom pom.
- They fold the hat down and glue their circle pom pom to the point.
- Teachers always want to know why my cotton fur always looks so real and my students don’t glue the whole cotton ball on their artwork, even when they are told not to.
- It’s because I have them pre-rip the balls apart ahead of time, making it a contest to see who can make the nicest pile of ripped up cotton FLUFF!
- Since I’ve been doing that, their piles no longer resemble a cotton ball, their fingers get a wonderful fine motor work out, and their artwork from Santa’s cap to adorable sheep, look very realistic!
- Put a dollop of tacky glue on a small paper plate. Students use their index finger or a Q-tip to rub glue over their circle pom pom and then pinch pieces of fluff and stick the cotton pieces to the sticky surface.
- Have them repeat the process for Santa’s brim.
- I have the pre-cut pieces lying out at a table. Once children have completed the fur step, they pick up the appropriate pieces and return to their workspace and glue Santa’s face on.
- Remember to model how to do this before your students make their own Santa windsock. You will then have a sample to hang up in front of the class for them to refer to.
- When children are gluing on santa’s mustache remind them not to glue down the ends so that they can fold them forward giving a 3-D effect.
- Younger students may need help fanning out their handprints as they glue on Santa’s beard under his smiling lips.
- Students come up to the "Trimmings" center to work one-on-one with me.
- At this time, I let them rub their pointer finger in dry pink rouge powder so they can give their Santa some cheeks. Copper and bronze also look nice.
- I’ve experimented with other things, and like this even better than chalk. My students think this is “way cool” especially the girls.
- I use double-sided green pin-dot scrapbook paper for the holly leaves. One side is darker than the other and gives their Santa just a bit more pizzazz than plain construction paper.
- Children choose two red sequins and a ruby flat-backed rhinestone for the 3rd berry. They adhere them in a cluster in the center of the leaves with glue dots.
- I make veins on the leaves with Elmer’s glue and they sprinkle green glitter over the top.
- Set aside to dry and then using a glue stick, rub a stripe of glue down one side of their paper and roll their Santa into a cylinder.
- Staple top and bottom for durability.
- Punch a hole on either side, suspend with yarn, and hang from the ceiling.
- The Santa Cylinder Windsocks look darling running along the top of a wall in the hallway.
- A black Ellison die-cut caption can read: “Here’s Ho Ho Hoping you have a very Merry Christmas! Better behave; our Santa’s are watching!”
Be sure to pop back tomorrow and I'll share a fun reindeer puppet that you can make out of a lunch bag!
Another Quick, and Easy Keepsake!
This Is A Fun Center Too.
I do all sorts of fingerprint activities with my Y5’s. Among other things, it’s a great marker for 10-frames and a fun way for students to show an ABAB pattern.
Stamp pad ink is easily cleaned off an index finger with a sanitary wipe and I can set up a center on a TV tray.
Fingerprints pressed on art projects become keepsakes. Keeping that in mind, I try to design a few quick and easy ornaments that also involve some sort of standard.
The fingerprint tree involves a triangle + the concept of +1 more in each of the 4 rows, so my Y5’s come out with 10 green prints. We work with base 10 though December so this is perfect. To finish it off, they add a brown print for the trunk.
If you want your tree to be fuller, you can simply let your students do as many prints as they can fit as seen in the other sample.
Run off copies of the patterns. The large trees are run off on emerald green construction paper, the smaller one on white construction paper. This makes things nice and stiff.
You might not be able to tell on the photo, but I found some pale green marbled copy paper, which added a bit more pizzazz to my tree, so I used that.
I find that children are more coordinated using “Mr. Pointer”, but that their “thumb” often leaves a better -fatter” print, especially if you’re doing this one-on-one with a young child.
Make sure you remind them to press their finger on to the stamp pad every time, so they have enough ink to make a nice print.
Run off copies of the poem and trim them. Students glue them on the bottom of the back of their trees. A red heart sticker above the poem adds pizzazz.
Using a green crayon, have students sign their name and the year. Teacher punches a hole at the top, adds a reinforcement circle and yarn tie. A sparkly star at the top on both sides is also a nice accent.
Little ones will often want to “decorate” their trees. They usually get carried away and you can’t see their prints any more, but they do look cute decorated.
What you can do, if you have the time, is let them make two. Put a dollop of a variety of colors of paint on small paper plates.
Rest a Q-tip for each color on the plate. Instruct students to dab a tiny dot on their trees. Demonstrating this, and having a completed sample is the only way to go.
They can also dab on tiny dots of Elmer’s glue and then put on a sequin, or sprinkle with one color of glitter.
It’s a good idea to have an adult supervising these stations, as most little ones have so much fun decorating, they don’t know when to stop.
I hope you have a “tree-mendous” time with your little one(s) making memories
Do you have a fun ornament that you make? I'd enjoy hearing from you!
Be sure to pop in tomorrow and make a Keepsake Santa Handprint Windsock!
Build A Tree!
I like to dream up games that double as art projects and review report card standards so that I’m multi-tasking during busy December days. The Strip Tree Dice Game fits the bill.
Here’s How To Make It:
- Run off the strips on green construction paper and cut on a paper cutter.
- One side will make one tree the other another tree.
- You can laminate the construction paper before you cut the pieces out and make this an in-class game you use every year, or skip the lamination, and simply have it as a game your students can take home.
- This makes a fun activity for the day before vacation or for your class party day.
- If you want to do it now, it also makes a lovely December bulletin board! Simply staple them to a black background with the header: "Tree-mendous work!"
- As a game, students can play with a partner.
- I like to play with large foam dice. They don’t make any noise and they stay on the tables.
- If you don’t want the students to re-use the pieces as a game, and you want to turn it into a lovely art project, have students glue the pieces down as they roll the dice.
- I use a star punch to expedite cutting out this piece.
- Make sure you remind students to put the glue on the side with the NUMBER on it.
- A royal blue construction paper background looks awesome.
- Give students a dollop of white paint and a Q-tip and they can dab on a flurrie of flakes to add a bit more pizzazz.
- So that their tree turns out with the appropriate proportions, students must decide to build it from the top down or the bottom up depending on what number they roll first. i.e. if they roll a 1 they will start from the top and go down.
- They glue the star first and then they must roll 2 more 1’s to be able to glue the other two small green pieces down.
- If they roll a 6 they will start from the bottom and go up. They would start with the brown trunk and then need to roll another 6 to put the longest green #6 strip down after that.
- If they roll anything else they must skip their turn until they roll one of those numbers.
- After they roll all three 1’s then they must roll a 2 then a 3 and so on.
- When they roll their 2nd 6 and start from the bottom, they must then roll a 5, 4, 3 and so on.
- Children glue their red heart on last and write their name on it.
- Demonstrate how to play the game by showing students an example of both top down and bottom up examples so that they understand.
- Have a completed sample so that they can see the shortest to longest pattern.
- Point out that there should be a space in between each rectangle.
- Review the shapes with your students. How many rectangles are there? Did they count the big blue one? How many squares? What other shapes do they see?
- Click on the link to view/print the Christmas Tree Dice Game
- Using cardstock, make a template from my master.
- Children trace it onto a lunch bag and cut out a head and ears for their reindeer.
- These can be pre-cut for younger students.
- Flip the lunch bag so that the bottom of the bag is showing.
- Glue the head so that it is in the middle of the bottom of the bag.
- Glue the ears at right angles in the top corner of each bag.
- If the children would like to add inner ear accents with a brown crayon, have them do it before they glue them down, so the creases of the bag don’t show through.
- Fold a sheet of dark brown construction paper in ½.
- Trace children’s hand on top.
- A room helper can cut these out for younger children.
- I find that any student 5 or less has a difficult time with this and usually chops off a finger or two.
- By folding the paper in half you only have to cut one time and you’ll have two “antler” handprints.
- The antlers look best with the thumbs on the inside.
- Point this “gluing fact” out to your students.
- Children glue their hand-antlers to the center top of their reindeer.
- Call students up to the glue-dot center and have them choose a color pom pom nose and a pair of eyes. (Red, brown, and black nickel-size pom poms all look great.)
- Give them glue dots and have them stick them to their reindeer.
- If they press their wiggle eye and the pom pom directly on the glue dot and then remove them, I find that this works well.
- Students carefully insert their hand and arm into their puppet and manipulate the head.
- Have students use their puppet when you read them a December story that has reindeer as characters.
Click on the link to view/print a copy of the reindeer lunch bag puppet
How to use the reindeer puppets:
- Line up 10 students and sing 10 Little Reindeer to the tune of 10 Little Indians.
- Sing Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer.
- 10 In The Bed is also fun. Have ten children with puppets held above their heads, lie on the floor and roll off the “sleigh bed” one by one, til everyone has had a chance.
- Have students count backwards and blast off to the North Pole with their reindeer.
- The Reindeer Pokey is another way to use this manipulative.
- Click on the link for a copy. Reindeer Pokey
- Have your students identify their various body parts by placing their puppet on their chest, hip, thigh etc.
- They can also show you various spatial directions with their reindeer by putting their puppet above, behind, to the left, to the right etc.
- Naming their reindeer and then gathering in a circle where everyone gets a chance to introduce their puppet friend is also enjoyable and a great way to get quiet and shy children involved!
Be sure and pop in tomorrow to see how to make an adorable bag of reindeer noses! The perfect little gift for your students to make, or a quick and easy gift for you to whip up and give to them!