December 11, 2016

December Fun

Whaaaaat three weeks left in the year??!! I totally feel like shouting that Kevin from Home Alone shriek many many times throughout the month of December with all its craziness!

At the beginning of every month, I send out a family project. As a grade level, we send out themed activities for our students to work on at home with their families. Our families get creative and our hallways are filled with beads, pasta, glitter, and more!

This month, we worked on creating a Holiday Fun-land. I send home our usual parent note explaining the expectation/purpose of our project. I copy front and back a gingerbread man template and an ornament template. I ask the families to choose one to decorate.

It's totally optional to participate, and I don't put any pressure to complete the family projects. Below is what I received this month, 13 out of 19 isn't too bad. I also have a large bulletin board so I use half to display our family projects, and the other half to display writing samples of what we've done in the classroom.

As the students bring in their project to school, we have a show and tell to share all about our project. I sent this project out on the day before Thanksgiving break so that they could work on it with their families during the week.
This little friend shared about how he didn't have brown paint at home. A cousin who was visiting during the Thanksgiving break shared with him how she had learned in her high school art class how to use food as paint. He shared with our class about how he used coffee as a watercolor to make his gingerbread brown. Impressive and very resourceful at using what they had at home already!
This little friend shared how he got the idea to decorate his gingerbread as a ninja from one of his favorite t-shirts.

We've been sharing our family projects since August, when we brought in our Family Tree Leaves, so it's incredible to see how their listening and speaking skills are developing.
Something that has been working well with our monthly projects is that even my most quietest students love to come up and share their project. They have a sense of pride when they talk about who helped them to work on the project. We work on active listening skills too. Before the presentations, we discuss being respectful and polite audience members while our friends present their projects.

I think back to my own kindergarten experience, I have great memories of my kinder teacher allowing us a Friday show and tell. It was an exciting time to bring something from home and just talk about it. In a time where teachers have a lot on their plate with the pressures of standards and such, it's nice to have something as simple as a show and tell in our classroom.

I'm in the process of putting up all of my monthly project printables that include the templates and parent notes up in my little TpT store. If you are interested in this Holiday Fun-land project, check it out here or by clicking the photo below.

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