December is one of my favorite months in my classroom. I love the holidays, the decorations, and the BREAK! ;). Each December we embark on a "Winter Celebrations Around the World" unit, which is always just so much fun!
At the beginning of last week, I introduced my students to the unit by giving them the opportunity to share some of their winter traditions and memories. Each child wrote down a favorite winter past time on a post-it, then we sat in a circle and shared them as a class. We then created the following anchor chart to display our ideas.
Their homework that night was then to go home and select a photo (or I gave some of my kiddos paper to create a drawing if they shared with me that they did not have one) which portayed them either participating in this winter activity and/or another that they enjoyed during this season.
We shared these the next day as a class and the kids had the opportunity to ask questions about one another's photos. Then I create a border with all of our photos around our anchor chart to keep them on display throughout December. (Yes, it's on my door...I have to use any open space I can!)
After building our background knowledge and sharing our winter schema, we began taking a look at our first winter celebration- a familiar one for most of my kiddos- Christmas!
After reading a good ole' non-fiction text about the holiday and gaining some new knowledge, we set about participating in a acclaimed Christmas tradition- decorating the tree!
We took all of the students pictures next to the lit up (partially decorated tree) the day before. Then I printed them off, and had them glue them to their ornaments. I create the ornament with some simple glitter filled cardstock, and a ribbon and cut them out with my Cricut in no time. On the back, all of the students added "Merry Christmas, their name, and the year". It seriously took about 5 minutes, but gave them that experience of decorating the tree...and gave our tree a definite lift that it needed! Here is the finished product:
Finally to conclude our week, we discussed how during this holiday season, many take the time to give back to their communities and others who may not be as fortunate. We worked to brainstorm a variety of ways that we as superkids could work to exude this "giving spirit" and then the kiddos each created a light to add to our newest bulletin board entitled "The Superkids Can Light up the World!". I got this original idea from Fun in First Grade. Click on the blog title to see Jodi's inspiring example!
Here are some examples of their ideas for how they could make the world a brighter place this winter season:
And here they are as a collective unit...
The kiddos were quite excited to share their ideas for giving back with their parents and I encouraged them to work to do some of them over their winter breaks to give back!
This week we are focusing on Hannukkah and Kwanzaa....photos to come later :)!