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December 12, 2016 Book Buzz: 3 Inspiration December Books With Activities By Brian Smith
Grades PreK–K, 1–2

    Here are 10 reasons that I love December:

    1. Gingerbread

    2. Holiday books

    3. End-of-the-year lists that remind me of all the things I loved that year

    4. Being cold

    5. Wearing my coats and sweaters

    6. Having some down time to read a book or two from my TBR (to be read) pile

    7. The holidays

    8. Cheesy commercials that come on in December

    9. Giving gifts

    10. My kinders in December because they are so excited about everything

    Here are three holiday read-alouds and three activities that your class will love. Plus, you can easily turn two of them into a gift that your students’ parents will treasure for years to come.

    The Gingerbread Man Cover

    Book and Activity One

    I love this version of The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth and illustrated by Barbara McClintock. I love the ending. Spoiler alert: the gingerbread man gets eaten by the fox! But I love that it’s a different ending than trying to cross the river.

    This is the book I start my gingerbread unit off with because it isn't an ending that many students are familiar with. This way I get their trust that this won’t be boring from the get-go.

    My favorite art activity that we do during our gingerbread unit is our gingerbread man finger puppet. The kids create their own finger puppet so that they can retell the story and have the gingerbread man run and run as fast as he can.

    Student's Gingerbread Man Finger Puppets

    Activity One Directions:

    • Students trace my gingerbread man pattern onto white card stock.

    • They then color their pattern brown and cut it out.

    • They glue on googly eyes (let’s be honest — googly eyes make every art project better!).

    • Finally, the students use puffy paint to paint on their gingerbread man’s icing details.

    • I cut out the finger holes because, well, I firmly believe that all children should go home with the same number of fingers they came to school with that morning!

    The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza CoverBook and Activity Two

    One of my favorite holiday books is The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza by David Shannon. (If you know Shannon, please tell him that you know his biggest fan: ME!) So, moving on. Mr. Merriweather begins decorating his house and doesn’t know when enough is enough. My favorite part of this book is that the borders of the pages get more and more crowded with lights and decorations as the Merriweather house becomes more and more decorated. I use this book as the jumping-off point for our fingerprint string of light holiday cards for our parent’s gift.

    Greeting Card Cover

    Activity Two Directions:

    • Take one piece of white construction paper and have students fold it from top to bottom. For this card, it works best to have the fold at the top where the student is looking at the paper horizontally with the opening of the card at the bottom.

    • Have four different, festive-colored paints out on the table. Squirting the paint on paper plates makes cleanup a breeze.

    • Students then dip their pointer finger in the first color and start their fingerprints lights at the left of the page.

    • Their middle finger is next followed by their ring finger and then their pinky. After each dip in the paint the student continues adding lights from left to right.

    • After all the lights are on the front the card and the paints have dried, have the student take a black magic marker and draw a line under all of the lights to connect them all. Have the student start at the left and draw their line to end of the page on the right.

    Bonus Tip:

    If you use a Sharpie for the string that ties the bulbs together, make sure that you have them take my Sharpie oath first:

    “I promise that I will only write on what Mr. Smith asked me write on. I know that Mr. Smith trusts me to use his Sharpie and I won’t write on myself, my friends, or any furniture. I am a responsible kindergartener.”

    (Of course insert your name and grade level.) Adding this bit of fun will make your students smile but also let them know that they can’t get all kinds of silly with the Sharpie.

    • When they finish the string of lights, have them write a greeting on the froGreeting Card Inside Messagent. Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays are the two favorites but any holiday greeting works.

    • After they finish the front, have them copy this sentence in the inside of the card. “May your days be bright. I love you!” Then they sign their name and write the year.

    • Tape the final project onto the outside of the wrapped mistletoe project described next! 

    Book and Activity Three

    Mooseltoe CoverI have such a special place in my heart for the illustrator of Moosletoe, Henry Cole. My kids love my Mustache Mondays that I do in my classroom, so during the month of December they get really excited when I bring out Moosletoe. A moose with a giant mustache? Game on!  It’s a great story and is just a fun way to introduce the idea of mistletoe which is the inspiration for this last activity. 

    I buy frames from my local Dollar Tree, and then frame and wrap the projects for the students to take home and give to their parents. This activity will need a parent volunteer (which unfortunately, kind of ruins the surprise) or another adult with the group as they get the first part of this completed.

    Mistletoes Finish Activity

    Activity Three Directions:

    • Give each student a sheet of white paper and ask them to take off their shoes and socks.

    • Have the adult helper paint the bottom of one of each child's feet green, one at a time.

    • After the foot is painted, get the footprint on the paper. Have the first child clean their first foot while you paint the next student’s first foot, and so on. Then paint each child's other foot and space it away from the first foot.

    • After the paint dries for both feet, give your student a red bingo dabber to make the polka-dots around the paper. You want to stress to your kids that they only want to put 8 to 12 dots on there.

    • Next, have your child take a Sharpie and write their name and date at the top of their paper. The bottom of the project is the end with the toes.

    • Finally, glue two red ribbons (one for each foot) from the top of the paper to the heel of each foot. Then attach a red bow where the ribbon and the heel meet.

    • Now it’s ready for framing and wrapping.

    Find me, dad2ella, on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

    I can’t wait to see you next time.

    Here are 10 reasons that I love December:

    1. Gingerbread

    2. Holiday books

    3. End-of-the-year lists that remind me of all the things I loved that year

    4. Being cold

    5. Wearing my coats and sweaters

    6. Having some down time to read a book or two from my TBR (to be read) pile

    7. The holidays

    8. Cheesy commercials that come on in December

    9. Giving gifts

    10. My kinders in December because they are so excited about everything

    Here are three holiday read-alouds and three activities that your class will love. Plus, you can easily turn two of them into a gift that your students’ parents will treasure for years to come.

    The Gingerbread Man Cover

    Book and Activity One

    I love this version of The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth and illustrated by Barbara McClintock. I love the ending. Spoiler alert: the gingerbread man gets eaten by the fox! But I love that it’s a different ending than trying to cross the river.

    This is the book I start my gingerbread unit off with because it isn't an ending that many students are familiar with. This way I get their trust that this won’t be boring from the get-go.

    My favorite art activity that we do during our gingerbread unit is our gingerbread man finger puppet. The kids create their own finger puppet so that they can retell the story and have the gingerbread man run and run as fast as he can.

    Student's Gingerbread Man Finger Puppets

    Activity One Directions:

    • Students trace my gingerbread man pattern onto white card stock.

    • They then color their pattern brown and cut it out.

    • They glue on googly eyes (let’s be honest — googly eyes make every art project better!).

    • Finally, the students use puffy paint to paint on their gingerbread man’s icing details.

    • I cut out the finger holes because, well, I firmly believe that all children should go home with the same number of fingers they came to school with that morning!

    The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza CoverBook and Activity Two

    One of my favorite holiday books is The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza by David Shannon. (If you know Shannon, please tell him that you know his biggest fan: ME!) So, moving on. Mr. Merriweather begins decorating his house and doesn’t know when enough is enough. My favorite part of this book is that the borders of the pages get more and more crowded with lights and decorations as the Merriweather house becomes more and more decorated. I use this book as the jumping-off point for our fingerprint string of light holiday cards for our parent’s gift.

    Greeting Card Cover

    Activity Two Directions:

    • Take one piece of white construction paper and have students fold it from top to bottom. For this card, it works best to have the fold at the top where the student is looking at the paper horizontally with the opening of the card at the bottom.

    • Have four different, festive-colored paints out on the table. Squirting the paint on paper plates makes cleanup a breeze.

    • Students then dip their pointer finger in the first color and start their fingerprints lights at the left of the page.

    • Their middle finger is next followed by their ring finger and then their pinky. After each dip in the paint the student continues adding lights from left to right.

    • After all the lights are on the front the card and the paints have dried, have the student take a black magic marker and draw a line under all of the lights to connect them all. Have the student start at the left and draw their line to end of the page on the right.

    Bonus Tip:

    If you use a Sharpie for the string that ties the bulbs together, make sure that you have them take my Sharpie oath first:

    “I promise that I will only write on what Mr. Smith asked me write on. I know that Mr. Smith trusts me to use his Sharpie and I won’t write on myself, my friends, or any furniture. I am a responsible kindergartener.”

    (Of course insert your name and grade level.) Adding this bit of fun will make your students smile but also let them know that they can’t get all kinds of silly with the Sharpie.

    • When they finish the string of lights, have them write a greeting on the froGreeting Card Inside Messagent. Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays are the two favorites but any holiday greeting works.

    • After they finish the front, have them copy this sentence in the inside of the card. “May your days be bright. I love you!” Then they sign their name and write the year.

    • Tape the final project onto the outside of the wrapped mistletoe project described next! 

    Book and Activity Three

    Mooseltoe CoverI have such a special place in my heart for the illustrator of Moosletoe, Henry Cole. My kids love my Mustache Mondays that I do in my classroom, so during the month of December they get really excited when I bring out Moosletoe. A moose with a giant mustache? Game on!  It’s a great story and is just a fun way to introduce the idea of mistletoe which is the inspiration for this last activity. 

    I buy frames from my local Dollar Tree, and then frame and wrap the projects for the students to take home and give to their parents. This activity will need a parent volunteer (which unfortunately, kind of ruins the surprise) or another adult with the group as they get the first part of this completed.

    Mistletoes Finish Activity

    Activity Three Directions:

    • Give each student a sheet of white paper and ask them to take off their shoes and socks.

    • Have the adult helper paint the bottom of one of each child's feet green, one at a time.

    • After the foot is painted, get the footprint on the paper. Have the first child clean their first foot while you paint the next student’s first foot, and so on. Then paint each child's other foot and space it away from the first foot.

    • After the paint dries for both feet, give your student a red bingo dabber to make the polka-dots around the paper. You want to stress to your kids that they only want to put 8 to 12 dots on there.

    • Next, have your child take a Sharpie and write their name and date at the top of their paper. The bottom of the project is the end with the toes.

    • Finally, glue two red ribbons (one for each foot) from the top of the paper to the heel of each foot. Then attach a red bow where the ribbon and the heel meet.

    • Now it’s ready for framing and wrapping.

    Find me, dad2ella, on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

    I can’t wait to see you next time.

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