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Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas

I'm bracing myself for a challenging week. It's a busy time of year. There are very few hours of sunlight per day. That really affects the spirit of many. Kids are overstimulated, sleep deprived, and downright cranky.

Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!

 

Here are Six Ways to Survive the Last Week Before Christmas:


Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!

1.  Bribery Works!  Yes, I've been known to resort to bribery. I would hope that children want to be good just for that personal pride, but that's not realistic. They need to earn something.  
 
This week, we're working toward a Christmas party on Thursday afternoon. I've already planned the party.  We'll have entertainment and gifts to open, and food and fun stuff. But I tell them those plans can be cancelled if they don't earn the party. I've come close to cancelling the party in the past, but we've always had the party. One thing to remember about bribery... the "bait" needs to be WORTH IT, or it won't work next time! (I'll be sure the Christmas party is awesome!)

Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!

2.  Keep Them Active!  I've got some games (freebies!) that keep the kids out of their seats.
Try Golfing for Tens
 
Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!




Or even a game like this one I found on Amazon.



The key is to get the kids having so much fun, they don't realize they're practicing their adding skills!


Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!

3.  Try a Little Yoga!




Kids really adapt well to Yoga, and it really calms them down and helps them focus! Honestly, it helps me, too!




Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!


4. Add some music to your day!

I use this one in my classroom all the time!
 


Any baroque music makes a great calming background for the classroom!


Of course, my acupuncturist uses this background music, and I know it relaxes me!


Or, if you're looking for holiday music, this one is my personal favorite in the classroom: 


And who doesn't love this one?



Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!

5.  Let them paint!
I am always amazed at how quiet the children become when I pull out the water colors! Of course, one needs to have an educational purpose for painting, but I really don't think creative teachers like us would have a problem thinking of something, do you?

Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!


6. Have a Game Day!

There are plenty of board games out there that are perfect for strengthening the children's reading and math skills, and some great strategy building, but be sure to keep the "learning" part a secret... they'll think they're getting away with something!  Here are a few of my favorites: 



Apples to Apples is my favorite! It always makes the kids giggle, and (shhhh...) works some valuable thinking skills! 



Scrabble works reading, writing, and even math, as well as strategic thinking!




Uno is a classic! 


Plus, Yahtzee is a great game for strengthening math skills!



 Then, of course, regular playing cards will always entertain, and make mathematical paths in the brain. (Seriously!)

Well, there are six ideas to help you through this week. I hope this helps! 

But, as all teachers know, when all else fails, be sure to keep a stash of chocolate in your desk for those particularly stressful days!




How do you survive the week before the holidays!


Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!



Bullwinkle

I love when I get something from a workshop that I can bring back to my classroom the next day!

Bullwinkle: a fun math game! Here's an easy game that requires nothing but fingers... and fun! It's great for morning meeting or just a filler!

Today we had a Staff Development Day about Math. It had some good stuff about subitizing, Rekenreks (we used to call them abacuses) and different activities we can do with the kiddos  to help build that all important Number Sense.  
 
One fun activity was called "Bullwinkle".  (Do others remember the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon?)  Well, it's called that because you need to put your hands on your head so you look sort of like a moose.  (One could say you look like a reindeer this time of year!)

The teacher tells the kids to hold up a number of fingers. 
There are several variations:  making the number alone, making the number differently from a partner, making the number by working with your partner, making the number with your partner without actually talking.  

I'll bet you can think of even more variations, maybe even for practicing multiplication!

I really wanted to take a picture of a whole room of teachers (and administrators) playing Bullwinkle, but my hands were 
busy making the number 15.
Bullwinkle: a fun math game! Here's an easy game that requires nothing but fingers... and fun! It's great for morning meeting or just a filler!


December Freebies

It has come to my attention just how many freebies I have for the month of December. 
December Freebies: Here are several freebies to help you through the month of December!

Here are some of my favorites:


December Freebies: Here are several freebies to help you through the month of December!

Hanukkah is super early this year, in fact, it's happening now! Be sure to download this Hanukkah Game Board Freebie. It can be used with skill that needs practicing:  math facts, sight words, task cards. Just do a card, check, and roll your way around the game board.  

December Freebies: Here are several freebies to help you through the month of December!

Holiday Fluency Freebie is a fun way to practice reading phrases.  With holiday words, of course!

December Freebies: Here are several freebies to help you through the month of December!

This is my very favorite holiday activity. It focuses on the classic holiday music and the storyline that goes along with it. Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker includes suggestions on which music to play with each part of the storyline. It's a great exercise in visualization, and the kids absolutely love it! Yes, even the boys! How can you miss when the setting is a place called The Kingdom of Sweets! (I've done this every year for at least 15 years!)

December Freebies: Here are several freebies to help you through the month of December!

This is what my students are working on tomorrow:  Acts of Kindness Countdown gives the kids a chance to count down the days until Christmas and enjoy the joy of giving at the same time.  Plus, everything they are giving is free!
 

December Freebies: Here are several freebies to help you through the month of December!

I had to throw in my newest product, although this one is not free.  Holiday No Prep Printables Includes a collection of different Literacy and Math activities that are holiday related, fun for the kids, and great when you're in a pinch... or just don't have time to plan.  Just print and go!


December Freebies: Here are several freebies to help you through the month of December!


Making Friends is an Art!

Making Friends is an Art - This delightful story by Julia cook helps children understand the value of friendship and everyone doing his part. This post comes with an Art related freebie!
Julia Cook has written a number of children's books dealing with sensitive issues. In her books, she has amazing ways of dealing with tough subjects in a child friendly, fun way!  Learn more about this author and her books at her website HERE.

I read Making Friends Is an Art!  to my class the other day, and I'm so glad I did! (Click image for affiliate link to Amazon.)




The story is about the brown pencil in a box of colored pencils.  It is jealous of the other colors because they get more use, and are well liked.  Red, especially, is so popular that it's been sharpened down to a stump!

Brown explores friendships with the other colors, and finds out that in order to have friends, one has to be a friend, and their first friend should be themselves!

As Brown explores himself, through the help of his color friends, he finds out he is the combination of all the other colors!


We stopped to chat several times throughout the book to discuss the different personality traits.  "Yellow always does what's right, do you know anyone like that?"  Yes, they did!  "Who do you know that's like Pink, and always listens?"  They had plenty of answers (including their teacher!)  The one that really made me smile was their response to Purple, who has hopes and dreams... they all said themselves!  (Don't you love kids?) My favorite part was that they included all the kids in the class in their comments, not just the "more popular" children.

After realizing that Brown was the combination of all the other colors, I simply had to give the kids some time to explore with paint so they could see for themselves!
 
Making Friends is an Art - This delightful story by Julia cook helps children understand the value of friendship and everyone doing his part. This post comes with an Art related freebie!

Making Friends is an Art - This delightful story by Julia cook helps children understand the value of friendship and everyone doing his part. This post comes with an Art related freebie!

Making Friends is an Art - This delightful story by Julia cook helps children understand the value of friendship and everyone doing his part. This post comes with an Art related freebie!

Don't you love kids and paint?  I did happen to notice that most of the children included some BROWN in their pictures!

In Making Friends is an Art! Julia Cook personifies colored pencils with human characteristics.  I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get children to think about the character traits of their classmates.

Going along with the ART theme, I've designed a Friendship Palette for the children to take the character traits that Julia Cook gives the colored pencils in the book, and find classroom friends with the same character traits.

It was a great opportunity to look for the best in their classmates!

I made two versions of the Friendship Palette, one in color, and one that's more "printer ink" friendly, where the children can color the individual backgrounds themselves.
 
 
Making Friends is an Art - This delightful story by Julia cook helps children understand the value of friendship and everyone doing his part. This post comes with an Art related freebie!


There are two options for sharing classmates:  The children can draw their classmates in the ovals, or the teacher can provide photographs.  I chose to use photographs, and I chose to go a little crazy in order to avoid popularity contests or children being left out. Since I have 17 students, I made 17 different collections of photographs and rotated the faces so there were 11 per page, and each page was different.  (I'd show you, but I don't post my students' faces in public!)

It was totally worth the extra effort for me, as the children had no trouble fitting their 10 random classmates into all the spaces on the friendship palette.  Of course, their own picture went into the center for brown!
The children had fun, and spent time thinking about their friends and character traits!
 
Plus, I'm really glad I chose this book!  It was just perfect for my class! 
 
See the image or see HERE for your freebie!

Can you believe how many great books she has?  
You can buy this book and several others at her website HERE!
  


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