- Grades: 6–8
Merry Christmas to all my friends and family. I won’t be blogging over the holiday vacation; however, I will be back on January 11, 2011. Before I begin my vacation, I wanted to share a few vacation rituals and some highlights from the past week. Watch the video of our holiday celeberation.
The first item on our to-do-list is to clean those notebooks that look more like a hero sandwich. Before any vacation, I like to wrap up projects or units. This includes cleaning out notebooks, recycling papers we don’t need, and organizing the important ones. Students leave knowing that when they return in January, they are on top of things.
Tweens will be tweens and lockers are proof of that. They have a difficult time keeping their rooms clean. Lockers are no different than their bedrooms, their personal space. A periodic cleaning is not only suggested, it is mandatory. Some students’ lockers are like Narnia or The Black Hole. Once something goes in, it never comes back out. Others are an avalanche waiting to happen. As soon as the door is sprung open, an avalanche of notebooks, papers, and coats tumbles out into the hallway. I bet you have witnessed the same phenomena.
Today, we cleaned lockers before our holiday activities. We put recycle bins in the hallway and cleaned house. Organized notebooks and clean lockers are a great start to a new year. Coming back in January is like sleeping in your bed the first night after cleaning your room. When my sixth graders return in January, they have a positive attitude because they know where they left everything. The handouts are safely tucked away in their notebooks and the lockers are organized. Life is good!
Giving From the Heart
This year we had a celebration without gifts, or at least that was my goal. In the morning, we planned to watch the movie, The Lightning Thief, based on the Percy Jackson book. We all agreed that we wanted to invite the students from across the hall to join us in our festivities. I bought the ingredients for hot chocolate, and my classroom students graciously assumed the roles of hosts and hostesses. We enjoyed hot chocolate while we watched the movie. The movie was a hit. You know you made a good move when a student says, “Mrs. Blow, I am so glad we shared our hot chocolate and movie. It made me feel so good.” Teaching students to give is important. If you are looking for ideas, Scholastic published an article, "Get in the Giving Spirit," which has wonderful ideas for teaching children the value of giving. Although the article pertains to holiday giving, it is applicable throughout the year.
After eating pizza together in my classroom, my students surprised me with the most special gift I have ever received. Don’t get me wrong, I receive many wonderful, thoughtful gifts from many students. However, this gift was unique. They wrote a song and sang it for me. I was caught off guard, but I did manage to think to record them singing halfway through. The video below is their rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas"--the abridged version. It is absolutely amazing; however, I don’t think my technology coordinator will find it as amusing. They mock my SMART Board that has been tempermental lately.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the Christmas Extravaganza that we organize every year to give back to the community. Below are some pictures of the cumulating events where the entire middle school gathers to engage in activities. We raised a lot of money selling raffle tickets, so the lucky winner could throw a pie in the principal’s face.
My students and I wish you a peaceful and joyous holiday season and a New Year filled with health and happiness. I'd love to hear how your class celebrated the holiday season. Please post your stories below.