Our plane got in around 9:30 last night, so I got to ring in the new year by waiting for an airport shuttle and then walking to our car in 20 degree weather. In TOMS and a lightweight cardigan. Not cool, Michigan!! So thankful for some time away, but also thankful to be back home. Today will be laundry, grocery shopping, taking down the Christmas tree, putting UP the Christmas cards that came while we were away, and more laundry. And then more laundry after that. Ahhhh...post-vacay joys. :)
Anyhow, I can't shift my thinking to this new year quite yet. I first have to wrap up December! I know this post is overdue, but better late than never!
1. Once again this year, we made handprint reindeer ornaments for parent gifts. I love the way these turn out every year. They are easy and cute as can be. Those wiggle eyes and red pom poms just transform these plain brown handprints into Christmas adorable-ness! And the jingle bell is just icing on the cake. I love these. Little handprints are precious!
I just have each student decorate a small paper bag (this year I provided some Christmas shape cut-outs which was fun) and we staple them inside. Easy peasy! A keeper gift, for sure!
2. We looooved spending the month of December completing our RAKs at school. Every single student and staff member got loved on! Jingle Joy was a hit - the love for him was really one of cutest things I've seen in my 12 years of teaching! I hope that it is something my students will remember for a very long time!
Each morning, the students came in looking for Jingle Joy. They knew that they couldn't touch him when they found him because that would ruin the fun for everyone else. This day was a favorite. The whole class laughed and laughed when they found him!!
He always had a note to the class tucked into his scarf and we had so much fun reading them every morning. He would always reveal our top-secret mission for the day, and give the class a bit of a "pep talk" -- kindness, giving, and joy were themes of the month!
I asked parents to provide items for our RAKs, and I have a talented mom this year who sent in the cutest bags ever that she fancied up with glitter. Each one was different. They were beautiful!
The filled bags looked like this. A pencil for every student. A Sharpie for the teacher, a note, and lots of Hershey's kisses on the bottom.
All those sharpened pencils meant that I spent a LOT of time with THIS during December.
And every time I was dreaming of THIS...
Ha! This may have to become part of my classroom before next December! :)
Those little notes we tucked inside looked like this...
Each day, I randomly selected two students to complete our special delivery. Everyone got a chance to help once. One friend was in charge of the bag, and the other friend was in charge of Jingle Joy. They knew the routine. They did their best to be discrete in the hallway, then they set the bag down by the classroom door, did a little knockknockknock and RAN AWAY!!! The ONLY time it's okay to run in school! Ha!
When they returned to the classroom they gave a little delivery report before we put Jingle Joy down for his afternoon nap. Such a highlight of each day!!
Not every day was a delivery day. Some days we completed other acts of kindness. Like making thank-you cards for moms and dads.
I just know that my students will come back to school next week wishing Jingle Joy was still there. He was a wonderful addition to our month of December!
3. We had our classroom Christmas celebration (which really just involves a special snack and book exchange) on the Thursday before break. I love getting the craziness out of the way so that Friday can be calm, quiet, and relaxed.
Our special Christmas snack this year was a big hit! The kids loved decorating their Christmas trees with sweets! A rare treat at school!
4. We did a school-wide Holiday Cheer Week the week before break. Friday was PJ Day and Hat Day. Two of my kidlets wore antlers like me! We had to get a pic of the "Antler Club". Ha!
5. We also took some time that day to open my gift to the class. I hadn't done this before, but this year I bought a class gift. 24 new things to use during Choice Time. We sat in a circle and everyone got a rip of wrapping paper. Then, we passed the open box around and everyone pulled one thing out. This was really fun!
December is always a busy month, but I just love the feelings of excitement, love, and joy that fill the classroom!
Whew! Now that December is wrapped up, I'm ready to press on into this new year!
I was tagged on Instagram to share some resolutions for 2015. The longer I teach, the more I realize that getting a front-row seat to watch children learn and grow is just MAGIC. Don't you agree??
New Year's Day always makes me sappy! Ha!
Thanks for hanging out with me here, and inspiring me to keep learning and growing myself! Welcome, 2015!