I am in love with these nutcrackers! I did a drawing lesson following the directions from the amazing blog, artprojectsforkids.org. She has a whole Nutcracker Series. The kids then traced pencil lines with sharpie (one with reluctance... "but Miss Brooooowwwn, I'm not allowed to use sharpies!" Her parents have trained her well)! After sharpie tracing, they erased any pencil lines that were left over. We used my shiny tempera paint for big parts and cray pas for face, beard, hair, eyes. This project followed a reading and discussion of The Nutcracker, listening to the music and attending a puppet show version at the Dallas Children's Theater.
Have I mentioned that I LOVE the Target dollar section? There is so much inspiration to be had on those shelves. So, my latest finds are these cute, plastic Christmas-themed jars and these packs of tiny plastic ornaments! Each item is only $1 so that even a poor private-school teacher can have fun stuff in the classroom! Here is how I am using both in the classroom:
I got one of each jar - trees, gifts and gingerbreads. I filled each with different amounts of candy canes. This is going to be a station this week in which the sweeties estimate how many candy canes in each jar, then count them. I created this response page to go with the center (that you can download for free here).
As for the ornaments, I will use them along with my Christmas Math (on sale in TN) sorting mat and graphing page. The kiddos will first sort the ornaments by color. Then, they decide how to share each color equally among two trees. They will record their findings on the response sheet.
One of my fellow Kinder teachers came up with this cute project. The kiddos trace three different sized hearts and cut out from anything you choose. My colleague used fabric, I used wrapping paper and scrapbook paper. For those of you in a Christian setting, there is a sweet poem that goes with it.
One more precious idea I want to share tonight and then I'm calling it quits for the evening! I got this idea from Pinterest - a mom wraps 24 Christmas books (that she already has) every year and puts them under her child's tree. The child gets to unwrap one to read at bedtime each night as a sort of Advent calendar. I adapted this for my classroom. 15 days of school until Christmas break, 15 kids in the class, 15 books under the tree, 15 names on the tree. Every day I choose a different child to take his or her name off the tree and unwrap a book to be read during snack. It is a great incentive for good behavior and they are always so excited to see what we be unwrapped!