Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Gifts....Completed!

As of last Sunday, I had no idea what my first grade students were going to create for their families.  I wandered around Walmart aimlessly as I searched through my Pinterest account on my cell phone.  Nothing was coming together, my brain was tired, my creativity was zapped, I was at an all time holiday low.  But then, my dear husband called.  He was at Home Depot......did I need anything?   Poor thing, he had to listen to crazy me rattle on and on like only an exhausted, old first grade teacher could, in the midst of the holiday bustle.  Out of desperation, he mentioned that I could paint blocks and create a snowman like he had seen one day when I was looking at my Pinterest boards.  Maybe he had a thought here.  He told me to get stuff to decorate wood blocks while he tracked somebody down to cut 2 by 4 boards into 6 inch blocks.  I easily found paint, felt, buttons, ribbon, and women's ankle socks.  As you can see, his idea turned out to be one of the cutest family gifts my students have ever made.  My students painted the blocks one day, and then decorated them the next.  They cannot wait to take these little cuties home and I have once again found holiday cheer!   Happy Holidays!  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Kindness Tree

I love the month of December because it gives my first graders an opportunity to share acts of kindness with others.  One way we do this is with our Kindness Tree.  On the first day of December I bring in an undecorated tree.  The students are usually surprised and baffled by the empty tree and they often want to quickly decorate it.  I let them know that we will add one ornament everyday to the tree.   The ornament is a plain, white plastic ball.  We think of a word that we can write on the ornament that would show kindness.  I write the words with a black Sharpie marker and then we hang it on the tree.  For example, if our word is smile, we will practice that word all day in the classroom, throughout the school, and at home.  We are finding that when we share these kind acts in our classroom, school, and home, we are giving the gift of kindness to others.  These gifts don't cost a penny but rather come from the heart and are worth more than we may ever know.  The students also begin to realize that as we add each ornament to the tree, the tree grows more beautiful.....just as we do when we share our gifts with others.