So, my husband is a letter carrier and has started to get Christmas presents from the people he delivers to. He was wondering if he should give people thank you cards to acknowledge their kindness (since he would be going to their house anyway!!). So I whipped up a little card we could print off and he could deliver with their mail. Since I was on the computer anyway I decided to change the wording and make them into my thank you notes too. Here is what it looks like.


You can click on the picture and save it as a picture file and then insert it into a ppt or use it to make labels. I put it four to a page to make little note cards. You can click on the picture below to pick up a page with 4 cards.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B20koPwy0VFOSllKbjJia1lSd0E/view?usp=sharing






 The countdown is on.....just 5 more days till Christmas break. I always feel like these 5 days are the longest days but somehow there is still not enough time to get everything done. We are travelling around the world in our classroom learning about traditions in different countries (4 countries still to go!!) and trying to fit in some Advent activities and some Santa fun too. Maybe you are feeling the same way....a long week ahead but you need to keep your students motivated and learning. Here are some elf based activities I have shared in the past that will help keep your students on track and engaged this week.


Secret Elf Pals and Task Cards 

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. If you do not have a classroom economy your students could earn Elf Bucks for good behaviour and then 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 - a great tie in for choosing gifts for others.



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!

elf task card freebie



Here is what the Elf money looks like. Click on the image to pick up a copy if you would like to use it in your classroom too.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/9fzit32oc6z4uqz/elfbucks.pdf


I photocopied it onto lovely green paper. Each student will have an envelope in their desk to collect their money. I tell my students to put their initials on their money when they get it just in case there is any mix ups.

Now that you have your student's behaviour on track it is time to engage them with some fun learning. I love using Elf Applications for this! On Monday I introduce a Help Wanted poster from Santa - he needs more elves and we were going to apply!! They loved reading through all the job descriptions and qualifications.



They had to decide which elf job they were most qualified for and wanted, then the writing began. They chose four qualifications and gave evidence of how they met that qualification.



We worked on using their ideas to create persuasive arguments. We went over how to set up a persuasive letter and how to use persuasive words. I love when the students use the anchor charts!!



Then we made our elf self to display our writing!



They are very excited to find out if they get the jobs. Students are also invited to bring in any evidence they have to support their persuasive argument. One student brought in a fake gift she wrapped, another one his team jersey to show he is a team player and another made a picture to show her creativity. They will each get a certificate from Santa letting them know they were successful!


If you want to check out these resources they are in my TPT store along with all of my Christmas products just in case people need something for the last few days.

elf applications

If you need a movie to go with your elf activities I recommend Prep and Landing....


I also made a set of Elf Calendar cards - which while too late to use as calendar cards can be used for math activities, picking an elf pal, picking partners etc. You can pick those up here.

elf calendar cards







(Let's skip over the part where I apologize for being gone for so long and making excuses and carry one like we are still old friends).

As you know  I LOVE books. I love finding new books, I love re-reading books and I love introducing books to my students.  This year I have am trying to introduce books with a bit more fanfare and props, lots of props : )

It all started back in October with the book Room on the Broom (yes, I wrote a whole blog post about this back in October and haven't finished it!!). Before I even brought the book out I started placing a few items out on our window ledge/shelf - a high traffic area in our classroom.



I slowly added more items over a few days and the questions poured in. The excitement built and finally when I introduced the book the light bulbs went off. Just from the cover of the book the students could see the connection to the collection of items in our classroom.




The best part of having all of these items on hand....we used them to retell the story as a class, in small groups and yes, sometimes even when we were not supposed to be at the window retelling the story to ourselves!



Since it was such a success I tried it again with The Mitten. Here is what showed up on our shelf before the book came out....



Students made the connection between our items and the book immediately and it was instant engagement.

Later I put all the animals in the mitten and put the book and the mitten in one of our reading bins. The students LOVE taking out the book and retelling the story with the animals.

I am also using the idea of putting out a memento and book for each country we are about to travel to in our Holidays Around the World unit. It gets the students thinking, wondering, predicting and engaged before I open my mouth (after I open my mouth...that is a different story : )  )




Have you used this technique for introducing books in the classroom. I highly recommend it. I will admit being the mother of two teenage daughters does give me access to a lot of discarded toys that work for any number of books - apparently buying every stuffed animal under the sun is paying off. I would love to hear how you introduce books or any suggestions for other books and props to use.

Here is a picture of the back part of our window ledge (without all the props) all done up for the holidays...




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