Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Sweet Christmas Party

My school Christmas party was a bit of a different experience for me this year with students. My classes meet for 45-minute sessions throughout the day. Therefore, my "party" had to be rather short and sweet for each class. Still, I wanted it to be a delightful experience for my students.

The solution? A holiday snack of hot chocolate with marshmallows, candy canes, and cookies. 
One of my fellow teachers shared an awesome hot chocolate-making tip with me: mix chocolate milk with the powdered hot cocoa mix in a crockpot. The combination creates a creamier, fuller flavor than just mixing the powder with water. Not to mention the fact that having that crockpot in your classroom all day makes the room smell amazing!
While the children snacked, I read a classic Christmas text 'Twas the Night Before Christmas aloud to them. This was one of my favorites as a child, and I was pleased to find that my students enjoyed it as well, even if they had heard or read it before. The rhyme throughout the text makes this one a fun, interactive read-aloud.
We didn't have time for a movie, but I did find this brief animated version of the story that fit nicely into our schedule. As with any text/film correlation, we followed the video with a compare-and-contrast discussion.
My older students completed a sequencing exercise to go along with the text. I simply typed the first few stanzas of the poem and then cut the stanzas into individual lines. The students reorganized the lines into the correct sequence of the text.

Last, but not least, I prepared gift boxes with little Christmas prizes (stamps, plastic rings, pencils, candy, etc). The students pulled numbers out of a stocking to determine which gift box they would open to select a Christmas prize.
All in all, I think our little Christmas party was time well spent enjoying Christmas snacks and seasonal literature. 

If you are looking for holiday book suggestions for your children or students, check out "20 Magical Children's Christmas Books to Read Aloud." This list contains some of my personal favorites, but also a few new ones in which I am interested as well.