Sunday, December 13, 2015

MERRY AND BRIGHT: Christmas Themed Activities

Come on, you can do it! We're almost there! We know this week can be a little hectic, so some of my blogging friends and I want to share some tips to make this week before Christmas a little easier for you!
Just take a deep breath...
My students love "Christmas" themed activities! So, as soon as I change up a reading or math lesson and make it "Christmassy", they get excited and there's no groaning! :) It's amazing how changing the name of an activity, wrapping books up, adding Christmas clipart, copying on red or green paper, or making paper chains for each Reading Counts or behavior point earned will change the mood and mindset of kids!
I created this math game for math intervention and early finishers. Using dice, they calculate a number using any operation and then color in the ornament. Whichever players has the most colored ornaments is the winner. They BEG me to do math (play)!

Click here to get your copy. Your students will spend lots of "quiet time" playing this game! I plan on making several for the year! Stay tuned....
Want something to brighten your spirits too? This "Christmas" themed reading wreath will excite everyone and make an adorable display! Use with any fiction or non-fiction text. Your students won't mind thinking critically when they can sprinkle some creativity in their assignment!
This is part of a Reading Wreath Bundle!
Enter to win this and so many other goodies from the Merry and Bright Bloggers! You'll win lots of lessons for this last week and for January when we return! Our gift to you! :)
Check out some other fun ideas from other great bloggers!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Spark Student Motivation: 12 Gifts of Christmas-Easy Way to Get Excited About Books!

The countdown to Christmas has begun!

I love when I get an idea that's simple and gets my students excited!
And, basically it's FREE!
Disclaimer: I actually got the title "12 Gifts of Christmas" from a Hallmark movie! LOL! Yes, I'm addicted to those holiday movies!

First, you need to select 12 books. At first, I was going to have a mixture of subjects and topics, but then I was able to find enough winter and Christmas themed books to make it work. (I didn't think I could find enough in my personal and school library since I shared so many with my class last year.) I chose a variety of genres to mix it up (realistic fiction, poetry, fantasy, fairy tale, humorous fiction, and non-fiction).

I then wrote little notes to myself about each book, so I could plan an activity or mini-lesson for each book.

Time to wrap! This is what creates the element of surprise! It's amazing what a little wrapping paper will do! I precut strips of paper at home and quickly wrapped them at school. (I ended up only using the black and white designed paper-I just love Hobby Lobby's wrapping paper!)
I randomly selected 12 students to "tag" our books for the order they will be read. This was a big deal too! :) We will share all of them, but I guess it's fun to put the tag on the package!
During our reading block, I share our "Gift of Christmas" book. We've only read two books, but as soon as they walk in they remind me that we have to get our book ready!
(Yes, those are high heels ornaments! Aren't they amazing? My students find them everywhere!) 
I pull sticks to see who will open our "gift" book. Even though they know all the gifts are books, they all get excited to watch it opened!
Some of the books that are wrapped under the tree are just for pleasure, but I also plan on using some of these mentor texts for some mini-lessons too! These are from my Christmas Graphic Organizers pack. (They just make "working" during the holidays a little more fun!)

 When I was wrote my notes on each book, I wrote down a few skills I could focus on during my mini-lesson. The graphic organizers below are from my Ultimate Response to Reading Bundle.

I've also displayed a "12 Gifts of Christmas" countdown to excite my students about opening the gifts of reading!

There you have it! Wrap some books to surprise your students each day until Christmas! The wrapping piques their curiosity and ties into the theme for Christmas!

 I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!
***Please include the topic in the link up with your blog name.

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