I don’t know about your kids, but mine are getting fidgety as all get out!!! If they’re this bad this week, I can’t even think of what they’ll be like next week! So, I am hoping that my Christmas Centers packet will help keep them at bay! They really loved the Halloween Centers packet, so here’s hoping! Plus, not all of my kids celebrate Christmas, so this gives them a chance to try out something different (just as my non-muslim students did with my Muslim Holidays Centers packet). Here are some of the activities in my Christmas Centers packet, which you can download for FREE at my TPT store.
Reindeer Words – my kids are working on long and short vowels, so this is an easy tie in for me!
Present Patterns – what students don’t need to work on patterns? On the back of this page, they’ll create their own patterns too!
Christmas Tree Facts – Putting those reading skills to work this holiday season!!
One of the things I love most about teaching is collaboration. I love sharing ideas with other people and hearing how they are teaching different things. This holiday season, I decided to collaborate with 49 other TPT Teacher/Authors, and wow did I get a lot of good ideas from them! Rachel Lynette from Minds in Bloom helped us put all of our ideas together into a Holiday E-Book that you can download for free at her TPT store. When you download yours, don’t forget to take a good look at page 14 – here’s a sneak preview! Happy Holidays – hope you enjoy this freebie!
As we approach the Holiday season, I started thinking about all of the books I like to read to my students this time of year. So, I decided to do this week’s Top 10 post on the Holiday Books I like to use for Read Aloud.
10. The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer – This is a great non-denominational book, that links science to the holidays.
9. The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore – The classic holiday book! I love to talk about the images created in your head while reading this book – great for visualization!
8. Hanukah Moon by Deborah da Costa – We’re familiar with books about how Christmas is celebrated around the world, but this is the first book I’ve read that talks about how Hanukah is celebrated outside of the US. This cute story about how a girl celebrates Hanukah with her aunt in Mexico. Great story for diversity!
7. Home for Christmas by Jan Brett – I love Jan Brett any time of the year, but this cute Christmas story about Rollo the troll who learns that home is the most important place to be is always a favorite of my kids.
6. Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanza by Donna L. Washington – Love, love the character lesson here about helping others. It also connects to Bre’r Rabbit, which connects in with folktales.
5. The Legend of the Poinsetta by Tomie dePaola – Another folktale link, this “legend” stresses that it’s not the gift you give but the thought behind the gift that’s important – a fact too often left out of Christmas celebrations.
4. Light the Lights! A Story About Celebrating Hanukah and Christmas by Margaret Moorman – Candles are a way that so many Winter Holidays are celebrated. This book talks about how both holidays celebrated by the little girl include candles. As a mom of bi-cultural children, I love books that talk about how it is okay to celebrate many holidays.
3. The Little Christmas Elf by Nikki Shannon Smith – Great holiday story about not giving up. I actually have fond memories of reading this story when I was a little girl!
2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss – I’m a big Dr. Seuss fan, and this is one of his best. I love the message behind this book and the message that community is more important than material things.
1. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg – The quintessential Christmas story! I love to read this book and hand out bells on ribbons to each child, proving that each child believes!
What holiday books do you use for read aloud? Post us a comment to let us know!
We are continuing to learn about Muslim stories and holidays in my room. Last week, my students completed their Muslim Holiday Packets, which were a great success. This week, my students will participate in what is called Zakat, or giving to charity. On Eid al Adha, when a family sacrifices a sheep, it is expected that they will give 1/3 of their sheep to friends and family, and 1/3 of their sheep to charity. Personally, I think this is an important tradition for my students to learn about, so we are going to do our own sharing with friends and charity, but on a smaller scale. On Wednesday of this week, I will be making no bake cookies with my students. We will give 1/3 of them to the other 1st grade class, and 1/3 of them to the orphanage near our school. Because I teach at an expensive private school, many of my students are a little spoiled (or a lot spoiled), so I am looking forward to talking with them about the importance of helping others. I know many people in the US are doing similar activities with Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives. What do you do with your students to promote the idea of charity?
Here are some pictures of my kids work on their Muslim Holiday Centers:
I must start off with a big thank you for all the birthday wishes. I hope you enjoyed your birthday presents. In addition to all of the amazing birthday wishes, I also received some amazing feedback from all of you, which is sometimes the best present of all. If you missed out on the big giveaway, check out my Facebook page to see what everyone received.
For those of you who are unaware, I currently live and work in Morocco. Morocco is a Muslim country, and we just celebrated one of the biggest Muslim holidays, Eid al Adha. You can read about my personal experiences with this holiday on my personal blog – Journey to Morocco. (Warning, there are a few graphic pictures of sheep sacrifice, which is an important part of the holiday.) Because of Eid I was off Monday and Tuesday, but we are in school Wednesday – Friday. Also because of Eid, lots of kids did not come to school today, as they are still traveling with their families (6 in my class alone!). I knew this would happen, so I did not want to do the classic weekly center packet that I do for my class. Instead, I decided to get a jump start on our Social Studies topic for this month, which coincided nicely with the holiday – Muslim Stories & Holidays. (We follow the AERO standards for Social Studies because we are an overseas school.)
So, I decided to make a Muslim Holidays center packet, which is what we are doing this week. I started out the day by letting kids write about how they had celebrated Eid. (Not all of my students are Muslim, but all experienced Eid in one way or another, even if it was just seeing all the sheep around the streets.) Then, I read the book called Celebrating Ramadan. It is a good book to talk about Muslim Holidays, especially Ramadan, but it is also a good overview of Islam overall. We reviewed some of the topics we had touched on last week, the Quran, prayer etc. We also talked about some new topics, like the lunar calendar, and traditions we have during the big 3 holidays: Ramadan, Eid al Iftr and Eid al Adha. You can find a link to this book on my Shelfari profile.
Once we finished the read aloud (and specials), we began our center packets. These packets could be done in a few different ways, but since we have 3 days, I decided to do one section each day. Today, we did the Ramadan section. My kids decorated prayer rugs, made prayer rug patterns, wrote about waiting, drew pictures of common Ramadan words (sunrise, sunset, quran etc.) and read a small paragraph about Ramadan and answered questions. They did really well with it, and I was excited at what they could tell me at the end of the day (especially those who come form non-Muslim homes.)
Tomorrow, we will talk about Eid al Iftr, the celebration at the end of Ramadan by counting with crescents, drawing our Iftr feast, writing about charity, reading a recipe and talking about traditional Foods. On Friday, we will talk about Eid al Adha (the one we just celebrated) which is often called the Celebration of the Sacrifice, and commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for god. Friday’s centers will be to subtract using sheep, to create a sheep, to write about sacrifice, to sort the long E words (for a sheep) and to read an abbreviated version of the Quran story.
I know most of those who read this blog won’t be teaching about Muslim Holidays to satisfy your Social Studies curriculum. However, if you would like to use this packet for a Word Celebrations day or to teach your students about other cultures, feel free to grab it HERE from my TPT Store for FREE.