I totally forgot to tell you about our class Christmas Party! I know, Christmas is already over…but one more post on the topic won’t hurt! My main goal at class parties is to keep it very simple! I like to have a special snack, read a story, play a game, and, if time allows, perhaps do a simple art project!
Our snack for the Christmas party was orange slices, juice boxes, and Ritz Crackers with a strawberry cream cheese spread (this was optional – they could choose to leave their crackers plain, spread on plain cream cheese, spread on plain jam, or do the mixture). The children really enjoyed preparing and eating this snack! We only get to eat in the classroom on party days – so this was special for them! And to top it off, they got to eat on the carpet (and we never get to eat anywhere but tables!) – this excited them even more!
After snack we had our gift exchange. We ask that each child bring a wrapped book to exchange with a friend. Of course, I always bring extras for those children who I know will not bring one. I first explain that when they choose a book – they may not take the one they brought (their name is on the book so I can check to make sure they took a different one). Then I call them up one by one to pick a book. After everyone gets a book, we opened them together as a class. After they’re opened, we go around the carpet and everyone told what book they got and thanked whoever gave it to them. A good time! I only had 2 children cry this year about not being able to take the book they brought home – not too bad – and they both calmed down fairly quickly and were happy with what they got!
Afterward I read, “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and a letter from Santa that he wrote and mailed to me! The kids are always super excited about this part and I have to tape the letter to the door so they can show their parents! 🙂
Lastly, we played a game which I think is called Jesus in a Manger. It’s pretty much like the Farmer in the Dell but with different words. Here’s how it goes:
Jesus in a Manger
Jesus in a Manger
Jesus in a Manger
The following verses are: Jesus picks Mary; Mary picks Joseph; Joseph picks a Sheppard; the Sheppard picks a Wise Man; the Wise Man picks the Star; and finally, the Star shines Alone – all repeated the same way as the first verse! The kids loved this game and we played it over and over again because everyone wanted a turn to be every part! I also find it’s a good way to review the Christmas story with them – because the first time we go over the game (before we actually play) and we talk about all the characters and what role they played in Jesus’ birth! Overall, it was a fun-filled day! 🙂
I work at a christian school – so during the holidays I get the honor of teaching our youngsters about the true meaning of Christmas. I was surprised that not one child in my class could tell me why we celebrate Christmas. It was surprising because most of the children in my class learned it last year – or so I thought. I mean, I just assumed the teacher in the 3’s class had gone over this – I guess she hadn’t or they just plain forgot. I suppose I’ll never know.
Here’s how our conversation went:
Me: “Can anyone tell me what holiday is coming up?”
Various Children (yelling): “Christmas!”
Me: “That’s right! Now, can anyone tell me why we celebrate Christmas?”
Various Children (yelling out random answers all at once): “Snow!” “Presents!” “Santa!” “Candy!” You get the idea.
Me: “Okay, one at a time! Let me give you a hint: It’s someone’s birthday. Raise a quiet hand if you think you know the answer.”
Girl A (raises her hand, I call on her): You know Ms. Eliot, after Christmas it’s my baby sisters birthday and we get to have a party and she is gonna get presents and we can eat cake and we can play games and my cousins will come and my aunties…”
Me (politely interrupting): “That sounds really fun, but her birthday is after Christmas. Does anyone know whose birthday is on Christmas?”
Boy A: “My moms? I think she has a birthday!”
Me: “Everyone has a birthday, but no, it’s not your moms. It’s Jesus’ birthday!”
After this announcement they got excited and a little chaos ensued – but it’s all good. I went on to read a book about the first Christmas which we discussed afterward (and have read similar books everyday since). Working with young children always give a fresh excitement to this time of year – gotta love it! 🙂
This mornings bible lesson was about angles. We learned how angels protect us and they are messengers from God. We talked about how in the Bible God would use angles to tell people special messages – like when God wanted to tell Mary about baby Jesus coming. We talked about this for awhile – the children asking questions and us answering. Then, as a review, Ms. Bennet asked the class: “What do angels do?” Most of the children shouted “Protect us!” – which of course was correct. No one remembered the other answer that could have been given so Ms. Bennet asked: “Who delivers messages from God?” No one said anything immediately, and then one little girl yelled, “Fairies!”
I’ll admit it – I lost it here. I just started laughing out loud – couldn’t control myself. It had been a rough morning and this was the comic relief I guess I needed! But I broke my No-Laughing-At-Kids-Answers Rule. I like to respect their answers even if they don’t make sense – but it just came out! I stopped as soon as I realized everyone in the room was staring at me – but I could tell Ms. Bennet was trying to hide the fact that she wanted to laugh to! I love that they can give the most random, cute answers! Just another moment in the life of a preschool teacher! 🙂
On Wednesday and Thursday my my class made crosses for Easter. I cut them out of white construction paper and the children used liquid watercolors and Q-tips to paint them. I loved the end result! The liquid water colors really looked vibrant and they reminded me of stained glass! Very beautiful! I had Ms. Bennet hang them from the ceiling in our room.
On Friday we had our Easter egg hunt. It rained so we had it in our room. The children were taken to another room to play with toys and do an art project while I stayed behind to hide eggs. I wrote their names on the eggs so that I knew they would all have the same amount. They could only put the eggs with their name on them in their bag. It went very well. And it helps me to see who can recognize their name and the names of their friends. Our two rules for our egg hunt are (1) You can only take eggs with your name on them and (2) You cannot tell your friends where their eggs are. Everybody had fun!
We also had a special easter egg shaped cookie for snack and we drank our juice from special easter cups! They were very excited about that! We then played Pin the Tail on the Bunny. They did really well with that game and were very good at waiting their turn! To round out the day we read the book “The Legend of the Easter Egg” which talks about the ture meaning behind the Easter egg and tells about the first Easter. We also read, “My Easter Basket: And the True Story of Easter” a cute and simple way to tell the true story of Easter to young children. My children really enjoyed reading and talking about both books! In fact, we read each one a couple times throughout the day!
All in all, a great end to a so-so week! I wish everyone out there in Blog Land a very Happy and Blessed Easter!
Today was chapel day. This is the time each week where all the classes gather in the church sanctuary to sing songs and hear a Bible story. The past couple of weeks we have been learning about Moses. So the children learned how the “bad king” wanted to kill all the baby boys and how Moses’ mother put him in a reed basket and floated him down the river. We also learned how the kings daughter found and raised Moses.
This week the chapel teacher was telling the story of how Moses found the burning bush and how God spoke to him through the bush. She explained to the children how God told Moses to throw his walking staff on the ground and how God turned that staff into a snake to prove to Moses it was actually God speaking. Then, to make her point, the chapel teacher asked: “So, who turned Moses’ stick into a snake?” The sanctuary was silent until a little girl in my class yelled (very loudly): “Satan!”
Yes – you read that right – Satan! All of the teachers turned and stared. There was a mix of shock and horror on their faces and at first no one knew what to say. Then the chapel teacher said, “Well, no – that’s not right. I think you might be thinking of a different Bible story.” And she continued on with the lesson.
After the shock had worn off, however, I found the entire situation quite funny! I know exactly what my little friend had been thinking! I started to laugh (as quietly as I could) and had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard! There was also a mixture of disappointment (for not listening to the story in chapel) and pride (from remembering a story we’d learned a month ago) going through me.
You see, about a month ago, we taught them all about Adam and Eve. We talked about how Satan had turned into a snake when he talked to Eve. This is what she was remembering. Her only reference of snakes in the Bible was this story. In one of my first posts (Bad Snake) I talked about how some of the children got a little confused while learning about this topic. But I was somewhat proud of her for remembering and being able to reference this fact a month after we’d learned it!
Perhaps this exact moment was not the right one…but believe me – this will be a chapel that is not soon forgotton! 🙂
During our daily bible lessons we’ve been learning about Adam and Eve. One day we learned how Satan had talked to Eve while he was in the form of a snake. The next day we learned how Eve blamed Satan and about how we shouldn’t blame others for our actions. We discussed how God want us to make the right choices and Satan wants us to make the wrong choices. We wrap us our discussions usually by reviewing what we talked about and asking for any questions. Here’s how our wrap up went:
Ms. Elliot: “So who should we listen to?”
Ms. Elliot: “Why?”
Children: “So we can be good!”
Ms. Elliot: “Who should we NOT listen to?”
Children: “The snake because he’s bad!”
I couldn’t help but smile at this response. I tried to explain how Satan is not a snake – he just made himself look like one to talk to Eve. We talked about this for awhile before I realized time was getting away from us and I had to take the children to snack. On our way to snack I had a short conversation, related to our discussion, with a girl in my class, let’s call her Kitten:
Kitten: “Ms. Elliot?”
Ms. Elliot: “Yes, Kitten?”
Kitten: “My brother always listens to the snake! I think the bad snake might live somewhere in his room!”
Ms. Elliot: “Is that so? Do you remember how we said Satan isn’t really a snake? Your brother just makes the wrong choices. There are no snakes in his room.”
She looked at me as if I were insane! I smiled and reminded myself how young they are and with time they will begin to understand these kinds of abstract ideas.
So all last week when a student was caught making the wrong choice, I had at least one child say something like, “You need to listen to God and be good! Don’t listen to the bad snake anymore!”
You gotta love them!
*Picture found through Yahoo Images*