I had my first ever Polar Express Pajama Day this year! I wanted to do something different for our Christmas party and I wasn’t sure what until another teacher asked if I wanted to join her class for a pajama day and movie. I agreed and after thinking about it I suggested that we should combine pajama/movie day with our Christmas parties…she agreed! So our first annual Polar Express Pajama Day was born!
The children were super excited…before the movie stated they had to find their spots on the carpet and get their tickets punched. I found printable polar express tickets online here and copied them on goldenrod paper. This alone, made the kids super excited and our day hadn’t really started yet! I was amazed how quietly 22 3 and 4 year olds sat waiting to get their ticket punched.
We started the movie. During the hot chocolate scene the children got another surprise….they all got a cup of creamy homemade hot chocolate that I had made that morning in my crock pot! It was a bit of an ordeal getting to work early and finding a place in the classroom next to an outlet (I only have 2 outlets in my room) but well worth it! It was sooo yummy!
We finished the movie and at the end the school secretary came in and said we got a package in the mail from the North Pole! You should have seen the looks on the kids faces! It was priceless! I opened the package and inside we found a letter from Santa and a bell for each child! (Okay, don’t tell anyone but I wrote up a letter and the other teacher got bells from the Dollar Tree) Just like the bell in the movie! The kids actually cheered. It was awesome.
We both agreed to do this every year…I couldn’t have asked for a better morning.
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! 🙂
Last week was very hectic – thus the lack of posting! We had our class Christmas party, our employee Christmas party, and we made, wrapped, and took home our parent gift! Lots to do! But we got it all done and tried to have a good time in the process! 🙂 We made these hand-print reindeer ornaments I found on the Let’s Explore blog for our parent gifts this year! They are really cute (and I’m sure the parents will adore them) but, to be honest, I did all the work since it had to all be hot glued! I generally like gifts from the kids to be more hands-on – more personal – but I let the ball slip on this one! I couldn’t help it! They were extremely cute and simple to make! It was well worth the effort! 🙂
I like my room to look festive for the holidays – and this year – for the first time – we have a Christmas Tree! I finally bought one and I took it in and we all helped decorate it the Monday after Thanksgiving! The children were super excited! I’d never had a tree before because I didn’t have space for one near one of our two outlets (and we are not allowed to use extension cords). However, I rearranged my room over the summer and I finally had a small table where I could place a 3 foot tree! 🙂 I really love how the tree makes the room feel more homey and brings in a little extra color and sparkle!
I have also hung silver, glass bulbs from the ceiling. To do this I tied a length of string string to a tack and tacked in into the ceiling. The other end of the string is tied to a paper clip and I used an ornament hook to hang the bulb from the paper clip! They look lovely hanging around the room – they reflect the light and act kinda like tiny mirrors – some of the children have noticed if they stand under one that’s hung lower they can see their reflection! I love the looks on thier faces when they discover this fact! 🙂 We also have the children’s art hanging all around the room (stockings, Christmas trees, candy canes, etc).
The only problem I have at the moment is we don’t have a gift for our parents! I totally let that get away from me this year and now we will only have a week to make, wrap, and send home 20 gifts and I have no idea what we are going to do! So, as you can well imagine, I’m a bit stressed right now! Any ideas would be helpful and much appreciated! Thanks!
Over the past couple days we’ve been learning about the meaning of the candy cane. We’ve read The Legend of the Candy Cane a few times (the children keep requesting it) and I’ve done a little flannel story I made talking about the meaning behind the candy cane – a very basic telling of the story. Then we marble painted red paint on white paper and then sprinkled red glitter on it and I’m cutting candy canes out of those.
After we’d gone over the meaning of the candy cane, I gave each child one to take home so they could tell the story to their families – which some have done based on what the parents have told me! It’s always a joy to see the children so excited about learning something that they go home and share it with the ones they love! It’s awesome! 🙂
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! 🙂