Earlier this week, I blogged about the content packed fun Christmas activities we did, but this little blog is devoted to all of those classroom celebrations for Christmas! :)

Parent Gifts

I love these gifts that the first graders make at my new school!  It's my first year for these and they turned out adorably!  One of my teammates got the 6 inch tiles donated from a local tile store so they were very little cost too!

And since one of my sweeties' moms is a first grade teacher at our school, he chose to do a different design to surprise her!

Didn't they wrap up so nicely? (One small group at a time.... *wink, wink*)

Cards for Parents

We made cards to go with our gifts this year and I love how fun they turned out.  I've done the Christmas trees before, but I wanted to give my kids a few more options this year.  I cut small strips of scrapbook paper.  I piled them by color on our back counter.  The kids grabbed the colors they needed and went to work.  I had my examples for them to copy, which most did....

But a few went off on their own.  One made a candy cane (which I didn't get a picture of) and another one made this present!

First Grade Gifts

So here's the teacher fail moment of the year....

I always get my kiddos the dollar book from Scholastic's December magazine issue as their main Christmas gift.  This year....no dollar book to be found.  And let's face it, my teacher salary can't afford $2.00 books for 25 kiddos every year!

So, I had to get a little crafty.  Since we were finishing our Fables Unit and had been reading How The Grinch Stole Christmas, I decided to make some Grinch-Doh...you know, green play-doh with a little glitter added in.

First of all, I'm in love with how they wrapped up!  We played pass the present {on the word "Grinch"} while reading the story again, and the kids were super excited about their gift!
You can grab the gift tags HERE.

Besides the fact that I *failed* to get my kids a book for Christmas this year, my play-doh gift *failed* too.  Oh, it looked super cute.  But my kids begged to play with it.

And it was messy.

Like super bad messy.

Like the kind of messy where play doh sticks all over 25 kid's hands and they can't wash it off.

And the carpet.  OOOOHHHH, the carpet had play doh all in it!

So, yeah, it was pretty much a bust, but hopefully I can make it up to them at the end of the year! :)

And, actually, looking back on it, it was really a great gift idea...but maybe I'll try buying the play-doh next time and adding the glitter into that to keep it from being so messy!

Christmas Phonics

The week before Christmas Break, we took a break from phonics and just did review.  So, I supplemented with some Christmas poems from my Year Long Poetry Pack.  We focused on ordinal number words and quotation marks with this one!

Class Giving Project

I saved the best for last!  I am SUPER proud of my class this year.  As part of our Fables Unit, we read the Giving Tree (read about those activities HERE) and decided on a class service project.  We set a goal of giving 34 cans of food to our local food bank through our school's food drive.  We ended up giving over 75 cans of food--more than double our goal! (The picture was taken before our final cans came in!)
It's the last week before Christmas break.

And it'd be super easy to cash it in this week and print off some Christmas color by number and busy worksheets and call it teaching.

But fluff stuff for the sake of fluff stuff is just not how I roll!  It's a waste of my kids' time, a waste of paper, and just flat out boring to this teacher!

So, we kept plugging away on our fables unit!  One of our last fables of this unit was Town Mouse, Country Mouse.  Even though this story isn't terribly "Christmas-y," I love doing it around Christmas time because it's so easy to talk about wants and needs with this book!

We started off reading the book and retelling the story, just as we did with the other fables.

Then, we reread the story and talked about wants and needs.  We charted what wants and needs mean and then after we read the story, discussed what wants and needs the mice had in the story. (I did not add any of the wants and needs picture cards until later...)

Students worked with partners or alone depending on preference to sort the wants and needs of the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse.

Then, we checked them together (notice the checkmarks and stars on this kiddo's work!) and I added the correct picture cards to our chart.

The next day, we extended this activity by writing about students' own wants and needs for Christmas....

I love activities like this that are Christmas friendly and fun, but still substantial in content!
My kiddos are in love with our fables and economics unit on life lessons right now!  Since each table group is named after a fable from our unit, the kids are on the edge of their seats waiting for us to read *their table's* fable!

The first part of this week, we read The Giving Tree.  Here's a look at all of the economics and life lessons we packed into this 3 day series...

Day 1:
We read The Giving Tree.  We talked about the life lesson and posted it at the table group.

And then my firsties worked in partners to sequence the story with our sequencing cards during Readers' Workshop.

Day 2:
We reread The Giving Tree and focused on whether or not the story was a fable or not.  We used our fable anchor chart to record whether or not we saw the elements...

(You can find this anchor chart template here.)

Then, we talked about the life lesson again and made a list of the things the Giving Tree gave to the boy {apples, branches, trunk} and I reinforced that the giving made him happy.  Then, we talked about the fact that the tree gave things she already had....giving doesn't have to mean buying things.

We brainstormed a list of things we can give that we already have...without spending money...

We chose two of those ideas {because we couldn't agree on just one!!} to work on as a class giving project: cards for a nursing home and participating in our school's canned food drive.  We will be working on cards later this week, but we started collecting cans on Wednesday!

To help my firsties understand how good it feels to give to others in need, we set a class goal for collecting canned foods!

Day 3:
We reread The Giving Tree.  We reviewed our economic terms goods, services, and resources from our Little Red Hen series.  Then, I introduced the terms scarcity and opportunity cost.  We talked about the connections. {When resources are scarce, we have to make choices...which means we have an opportunity cost.}

We charted the scarce resources the tree gave {which we listed on Day 2} and then discussed the choice the boy made with that resource and the opportunity cost he gave up because of his choice...

Finally, during Writers' Workshop, my firsties wrote about whether or not they agreed with the boy's choices and why.

I love love LOVE this story during the Christmas season.  Even though it's not a "Christmassy" story, it's the perfect addition to our Life Lessons Unit during the holidays!  I love how it really brings out the true giving spirit in my firsties...and I'm quite sure they will meet their goal of 34 cans before Christmas Break!

Grab The Giving Tree mini-unit 

or get the full 200+ page Life Lessons Unit with this plus many more fables and activities!
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