Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holiday Activities Part

Hello.  Here are somethings we made at school to celebrate the winter holidays.  Something that was cool this year for me was that we actually got to look at where some of the holiday celebrations came from.  I guess at our school, first graders used to really study Christmas around the world.  It isn't written the same in the curriculum as it used to be, but many of the ideas and activities are still done because it hits on things in the core.  We looked at who and why certain holidays are celebrated.  We learned about Ramadan, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas.  With Christmas, we also learned how some different countries celebrate and where some traditions come from.  It was interesting because we were able to look at WHY people celebrate these holidays.  The students had AMAZING things to say.  The conversations were able to go beyond just Santa and presents.  I can't tell the students what I believe, but they were able to express some things that THEY were taught to believe.  Some of them have a great spiritual background that really shocked me with how much they understand.  It really impressed me and showed me how ready these young students are to embrace others' beliefs and cultures.  Here are just a few of the projects we did.  Some have pictures and some don't.

We painted Menorah's and then used the top half of our fingers to make the candles and the tip of our fingers and the flames.  The students wrote something they learned about Hanukah.  This was more difficult than I thought it would be because we do similar activities all the time.  Another teacher and I realized that the reason why it was difficult, is because for most of them Hanukah was a brand new idea.  They had heard of it and knew a couple songs about it (like the Driedle Song), but they didn't understand what it was about.  They had almost no background knowledge of the topic.  Everything else they respond to, they knew something about it before we talked about it and read nonfiction books on the topic.

We made count down chains.  The students took them home and used them to countdown how many days until Christmas.  Now I have many different poems that can go on the star.  I was given this one this year.  I like it because it can be used to countdown to any holiday in December OR if you have a student who does not celebrate any holidays in December, you can use it to have them countdown to the break.  Since the students are still young.  I encourage them to glue the links in a pattern.  This year they were able to choose what pattern they did.  They are also responsible to count them before they bring it to me.  I sent them home the day we made them.  Also, I sent a sheet of different activities parents could do with them that addressed different skills.  For example, have your child count by 2's.

Here is a closer look of the little poem.

 We also made ornaments.  They were very simple.  They are made out of glue, cinnamon and apple sauce.  We made it into a dough and used Christmas cookie cutters to make the shapes.  Next, we used a straw to make a hole at the top so we could put ribbon through it.  Then you let it dry over a couple days.  It makes the whole room smell like cinnamon.  We discovered this year, that if you rub glue over the outside of the ornament after it dries, they do not break as easily.  The students thought it was cool.

I was planning on adding a bunch more, but I don't have the pictures to go with them right now.  Hopefully I will get them put on here soon.  We will see how it goes.