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December Fun

Surprise! I'm writing a blog post! December has to be the busiest, but best month of the year! I love to make my classroom a special place for my kids to spend the month. Here is what has been going on in my classroom this month... : )




Holiday card writing has been a huge hit in my Work on Writing Center! I just sent a quick note to my parents asking for holidays cards, leftover or new. I probably received hundreds of cards! Dollar Tree has packs of 20 cards for $1! We created this anchor chart together!


It reminded my students how to write a friendly letter and how to "address" it.



The little letters they wrote were so sweet!

And this one is just to die for! He says something sweet to everyone in his family, including his dog Bandit! And look how he spelled including...enqulouding : ) He even called his mom a rock star, and she is!


Last year I bought these stockings way on sale after Christmas. Like 10 cents a piece on sale! : ) I just painted each child's name on their stocking and this served as their "mailbox" to receive holiday cards from their friends. My first graders have LOVED them! I am hoping that I will be able to pick up more (cheap) stockings this year for next year! 

I've said it before and I will say it again, children love, love, LOVE learning about animals! Especially reindeer! I am always amazed at how much their writing improves when they write about something they are interested in and when they are able to recall facts. I always start my reindeer unit with telling students their are two different types of reindeer. We have Santa's reindeer and reindeer that live in the wild. Santa's reindeer have magic and they can do great things like fly. Reindeer in the wild just aren't as lucky. As soon as we have this little talk, we can  begin our non-fiction writing! ; )



This is one of my favorite anchor charts we have made all year long. The pink vocabulary cards are part of an academic vocabulary program my school is using with ESL students. I try to use the cards on anchor charts when I can so students can read the definition we created and connect it to the content. 

We read this non-fiction book about reindeer and then I physically took pictures of the pages to go on our anchor chart. The only non-fiction text feature it didn't have that I needed was a caption, but that was easy to add. I love this book because it is PERFECT for K and 1 and it has different information then some of the other books I have found. 



All week we worked on our reindeer writing and finally on Friday we were ready to create our final draft. Of course we added this precious craft too! 

Look at those great labels! : )


No reindeer unit is complete with out some reindeer food. Now this my friends is for those magic reindeer mentioned above! ; ) However, we do remember that reindeer are herbivores and like oats. 




My students wrote their own recipe of how we made the reindeer food.


Find the Reindeer Food Recipe Writing for free HERE. 



I didn't stress about parent gifts this year because our PTA puts on this fabulous event called Elf Alley where students can make their gifts. It's so great! This year I just stuck with my favorite cinnamon applesauce ornaments. They smell so good and last forever...well at least four years and counting. I just mixed equal parts of cinnamon and applesauce, probably a cup of each and squeezed in some good 'ole Elmer's glue. The kids rolled out the dough and used a gingerbread cookie cutter to make their ornament.  



I just let them air dry for a few days flipping them back and forth, but I'm sure you could stick them in the oven too. I gave the kids puffy paint and let them go to town. It's so interesting to see what they do when their are no boundaries given! 




And of course no December is complete without Elf on the Shelf! My classroom elf, Ellie made it back for her fourth year! Santa actually had to mail her this year since I had moved to a new city, new school, new classroom and new grade!; ) Bless her heart, she was lost!



She has definitely kept us entertained!






A new classroom tradition I started this year was wrapping up holiday books. If you are like me, you have WAY too many great Christmas books. I never have a chance to read them all! This year I wrapped 19 different books (one for each child) and placed them under the Christmas tree. Each day I choose a different child to unwrap a book for me to read aloud. The kids LOVED it! They look forward to the last 10 minutes of each day because they know it will be someone's turn to unwrap a surprise book. After I read the book aloud, it is added to our classroom library! : )




Decision...decisions...

These Santa hats were also purchased super cheap after Christmas last year! : ) 

I am planning to pop back in later this week with some more Christmas fun, but for now I am off to cuddle with my little elf.

And yes, we do have matching Christmas pajamas. Just call me the crazy dog lady! : )







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