Spark Student Motivaton - Secret Elf Pals and a Freebie!!

Happy Saturday everyone. We woke up this morning to snow! It is definitely motivating me to decorate for Christmas or at least watch Christmas movies!! I am going to take a few minutes to link up with the most motivating teacher I know, Joanne, at Head Over Heels for Teaching for....

I want to share an idea with you that I did with my class last December (I am sure I got this idea from a blog or Pinterest but I can not remember where or which blog - I am sorry - I would happily give credit if I knew who it was!!)  and will be doing again this year (my students have already asked about it and are super excited to start). It is Secret Elf Pals.

Here is what we do:

Day 1 - decorate a lunch bag with a Christmas theme. I put their names on the bags in marker so they are easy for me to see.

Pick a name out of an elf hat (one of those lovely dollar store elf hats I am sure we all own). That is your Secret Elf Pal (I record the names - just in case!). Destroy the slip of paper and keep it a secret!

Day 2 - start on the Secret Elf tasks - draw a picture for your person, make a Christmas card, give them a compliment etc. I do not have them do a task everyday because some days in December we are being Secret Elf Pals to others in our school/community. For example one day we secretly delivered Christmas erasers to a younger class, or we left sharpened pencils on all the desks in a class or but candy canes in the staff mailboxes.

Day before class party - set up class store (dollar store items, gently used items, donated items from parents). Students buy their Secret Elf Pal a gift with money class money. In previous years we were running a classroom economy so they already had class money. This year they will be earning Elf Bucks in December for good behaviour - they use it to buy their pal a gift then they can buy for themselves.

Last day of school/school party - students get their stocking/bag - guess who had their name and they reveal themselves.

I also like to read Junie B Jones Jingle Bells Batman Smells - even though they are too old for Junie they still love this story.

If you want a copy of the Secret Elf Pal task cards I have made you can click here. Here is a sample of the cards - there are a few blank frames to add your own tasks too!

I also made a set of Elf Calendar cards. You can pick those up on my FB page under the Fan Freebie tab. I cut the entire black border off so they fit nicely on my calendar.

Be sure to check out all the motivating ideas being shared on Joanne's blog today.

You may also want to check out this elf persuasive writing unit...

Lastly check out my post at The Organized Classroom today - you may find a little motivation there too!


  1. I want a Secret Elf Pal. What a perfect idea. I think I am going to have to get back into my lesson plans and do this. I'm for SURE going to be getting the elf numbers to use for when they finish their work, they can move their elf. Happy Saturday my friend!!!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  2. I love this idea!! I think I'll do this with both my classes and have the Secret Elf with the other class!

  3. Love that secret elf idea! I especially like how they have to earn the money through their behavior. That is a double win. I also like that they write each other notes as opposed to just gifts. Great idea!

    Eclectic Educating

  4. awesome idea! I love that they earn elf bucks in December for good behaviour!

  5. Fantastic idea! I really need to encourage more kindness in my class this year and this will be a perfect way to do it. Thank you!

  6. Those are awesome ideas! If I saw the same class daily I would do it!!


  7. This is such a cute idea! My favorite part is having the students do nice things for each other that don't cost a thing. Thanks for the free download!

    Forever in Fifth Grade

  8. We did something similar last year with the tasks. I like how you have them put goodies in a bag and deliver it to them at the end.

  9. I love this idea! Thanks for sharing it with us. I am definitely doing this with my kiddos this year!

    Hunter's Teaching Tales
    Find me on Facebook

  10. Love your idea for Secret Elf! Think we will be starting this just as soon as Thanksgiving is over! THank you for sharing!

  11. Secret Elf is sooooo cute! I love it! This will fit in perfectly with my Random Acts of Kindness! I love that you are Secret Elves for other classes too-spreading your cheer everywhere! I bet they think their secret agents on a secret mission! Thanks for sharing and linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  12. How fun! I love this. Thank you for sharing!

    Fit to be fourth

  13. I LOVE this idea!! The best part is that they are encouraged to do nice things for more than just their secret pal. I'm sure they have a lot of fun with it.

    Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late
    Follow me on Bloglovin!

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  15. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! This is exactly what I need for my classroom this December!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  16. This is awesome!! I LOVE it and thank you so much for the freebie cards! :)
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  17. This activity is too cute!!I can't wait to use it with my class. Thanks for the freebie!!

  18. Very cute idea. I use to do something similar with a secret snowman theme. I teach science now, but that brought me back to this fun winter activity that surely did motivate. Thanks for the post!

    Renee at the Science School Yard

  19. These are so clever and cute! Thank you so much for sharing - I am off to school to get this started! Can not wait to get my students started!!


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