Saturday, December 12, 2015

A few of my favorite things... Christmas Linky Party


It's the most wonderful time of the year and I am excited to share a few of my favorite things. Thanks to Southern Fried Teachin's Christmas Linky Party you can collect even more teaching ideas and resources over on her cute and patriotic blog.

Favorite Things via Southern Fried Teachin's Blog


Holiday Linky Party hosted by Southern Fried Teaching


1) My favorite holiday song is Andy William's Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season. It's so upbeat and festive that whenever I hear it I just can't wait to do Christmasy things, like craft, decorate or bake. Click the video to give it a listen if you like!



For more of my favorite Christmas songs click this pic for my YouTube playlist with over 50 songs.

Best Christmas Songs


2) One of my favorite holiday treats is the Scots Shortbread recipe my Mom makes. It's a recipe my grandmother saved. She used to make it for my Irish grandfather who loved shortbread since he lived in Scotland before immigrating here. 

3) Which leads to a family tradition for the holidays which is baking together. I have fond memories making shortbread, fudge and decorating cut out cookies with my Mom and siblings growing up. The holiday tradition continues with nieces and nephews getting in on the action too. I just love making chocolate covered marshmallow reindeers but they are not as easy as they look.  When I tried this recipe in my classroom it was hard to get it to work, as you really need a freezer to help the chocolate set, and putting them on top a large ice pack wasn't cutting it.  

Now I just stick to making edible Christmas trees with my students! I found that using frosting from a squirt can is easier than spreading it on with a knife.  Also this year I'm going to use shredded coconut as it gives the effect of snow! As with all difficult crafts or messy projects that you might do with students, I recommend that you pull a couple of students to the back table while others are working on something else. This way you can help students make and decorate their trees and supervise closely for less mess. Small plastic or paper bowls will also help to contain the mess while students decorate their trees. 


 Chocolate Covered Marshmallow ReindeersDecorated with Candy Christmas Tree Cones

4) One of my favorite holiday books is the Polar Express and I absolutely love the movie. If you are interested in having your students compare and contrast the book with the movie, you can use a Venn diagram or have them draw a double bubble. If you subscribe to my blog you will also get a link to a Venn diagram with writing lines, specific to this activity, in this month's newsletter exclusive freebie.

5) Christmas Kindness: Every year I chose a couple of charities to donate to, instead of spending a ton on gifts.  Some of my family and friends have also chosen to donate on my behalf in the past as gifts to me. 


6) and 7) One of my favorite memories is when my sister and I both got kissing barbies one Christmas Eve. These dolls came with a lipstick stamp (pictured in her hands) and a button on Barbie's back that when you pressed it, Barbie's head would jut forward. It was so silly. Even her dress came with kisses on it. Our aunt and uncle got us the exact same dolls, probably so we wouldn't fight over them. This memory coincides with one of my family's favorite traditions which were when my parents allowed us to open just one gift on Christmas Eve after we got back from looking at holiday lights. 

8) Some of my favorite Holiday crafts include this awesome Countdown to Christmas Tree and Garland that I made this year. I got tired of plain red and green rings, so I made one with washi tape style ribbons. I love how it turned out! I choose a student or two each day to take a ring off and then they get to wear the ring as a bracelet with a little Scotch tape. You can grab this craftivity too for just a $1.00 in my TpT store.  Just click the pic to follow the link.

Christmas Countdown Tree Garland Craftivity


9) My favorite holiday movie is without a doubt the Christmas story (besides Polar Express). I can watch it over and over for some reason. My Dad really enjoys it too, so when I am home visiting we watch it together and laugh our butts off. 

10) I do like to give small gifts at work to thank my team, teacher assistant, office staff and bosses. I rely on the Target dollar section and/or treats from Trader Joe's to thank them.

11) I would like Santa to bring me a Fitbit Flex so I can be motivated to stay more active. 

12) Finally, here is one of my students' favorite games this time of year. They're Multiplication and Division Fact Family Flash Cards with a Christmas Tree theme.  Students cover the answers as they use them and try to guess the answers before they lift their thumb or hand.

Multiplication and Division Fact Family Christmas Tree Flashcards


If you are looking for some more great Christmas resources I just updated my Letter to Santa to include primary writing lines and a bulletin board display kit.  I have my students write letters to Santa persuading him to fill their stocking because of good behavior and work they have accomplished. Then Santa fills them with small trinkets and treats!  Santa can even write the class back with my handy template that is included.
Dear Santa Letter Writing Paper 
Originally, I bought brick patterned craft paper from Lakeshore as well as the chalkboard Christmas lights borders. But since updating this resource there is brick paper now included for you to print and tile across your board and a template for the white part with Christmas light borders as well. However, you can also get the background paper and borders here and here through Amazon using my affiliate links. For the top part I just used white construction paper to make the top of the fireplace, and black construction paper for inside the fireplace. 

Mini-Stockings for students



In MS Word I simply created a table and added student names to it. (UPDATE now an editable table in the resource too!) I then print, cut-out, and glued the labels to the mini-stockings from Walgreens. It usually only runs 1.50 for six little stockings. What a deal! Amazon has them here too. I also see if there are any trinkets to fill them with, and they usually have Christmas pencils, stickers,  and candy canes. You can buy goodies in the Target dollar section too.  


Here's hoping that you have a Holly Jolly Christmas this year and a relaxing vacation!