Holiday season in the classroom

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Aliceacc, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 11, 2009

    No, this isn't another one of the "Can I do Christmas in my classroom?" threads.

    I thought we could share with each other the things we're doing for others, in and around our classrooms.

    For the record, I'm in a Catholic high school. But for the sake of argument (or, actually, avoiding them) could we assume that anyone doing anything Religious in nature is teaching in a religious school?

    1. On the day we do Christmas door decorating, each of the kids in my homeroom will write a Christmas Card to an American Serviceperson as part of the Red Cross' Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign. (Coincidentally we call our homeroom the 9H Heroes, so it's particularly fitting.) Here's the info:
    http://www.redcross.org/email/saf/

    2. I'll also offer all my classes the opportunity to participate in Macy's Make a Wish program. http://www.wish.org/help/macy_s_believe Macys will donate $1 to the Make a Wish foundation for each stamped letter to Santa they receive. There's a Macys about 2 miles from here, so I'll be more than happy to donate the letters. I'll offer it as an alternative homework one night during the holiday season. I teach about 280 kids... that's a nice little donation to Make a Wish with practically no effort on my part.
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Nov 11, 2009

    We do a large food and toy drive; the items collected are donated to the local food bank and the toy drive spear-headed by the Salvation Army. We'll we looking at making this a class competition this year.

    We do a "mitten tree" in the front hall. The mittens collected are donated to a local charity and some remain in the school for our needy students.

    Our classroom doors are decorated with either a "Winter" or "Peace" theme. I'll be looking for some of my grade 7 and 8 students to volunteer to help me make the hundred or so white doves that go on my door every year.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 11, 2009

    Tell me more, please???? I'm just starting to think about our door. I think I LOVE your idea about doves and Peace.
     
  5. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Nov 11, 2009

    We do snowflakes for Soldiers. All of the classes make snowflakes and one of the teachers mails them to soldiers that are overseas. It goes to a troop that is from our state.
     
  6. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Nov 11, 2009

    Oh I love the snowflake idea, Jaime! We are doing cards for soldiers, but I love adding the "snow". Even though troops from our state are not used to having that at Christmas. :D I am also the 4h leader. Our club is going to do care packages for soldiers, but it will be in January when we send them. We are asking so much of our parents right now, I just couldn't add another request.
    My class always hosts an estimating contest. I decorate the door with pictures (after the class chooses). For example last year it was a snowman. We draw him on bulletin board papers and put a specific number of cotton balls on him. The prek-1 guess how many to fill his head, the 2-3 guess the middle ball, and 4-6 guess the large ball. We do an estimating jar each week in our room, so they love making it big like this. I buy small prizes (usually the $1 M&M tubes) for the winners.
     
  7. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Nov 11, 2009

    How many do you usually put on each? Does your class guess or do they know?
     
  8. glen

    glen Companion

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    Nov 11, 2009

    We will participate in a drive for the local food pantry, bake coookies and make cards to bring to the Cancer Center, and the 8th grade will surprise the pre-k, K and grade 1 students with a Breakfast with Santa, complete with elves, angels, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

    We're a Catholic School, also, so we have a strong focus on charity during this season.
     
  9. glen

    glen Companion

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    Nov 11, 2009

    What a great idea! I think I'll add this one to our list of activities to help the community during this holiday season.
     
  10. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Nov 11, 2009

    It depends on the shape, but for the little ones I usually do 10, and then cover part of one line for the older ones, to give them a benchmark. My kids have no idea how many, we do a private guess for the whole picture in the room, but they don't take part in the school-wide since they run the game. When it's over, my kids work in shifts to fill in the picture and count the cotton balls. They love it!

     
  11. MissJennifer

    MissJennifer Companion

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    Nov 11, 2009

    The father of my one of my students is currently serving in Afghanistan - so yesterday, we honored him and other servicemen and women in our Veteran's day assembly. Our whole school (only 60 kids) made him cards that are going to be mailed out this next week.

    We are also just finishing up our drive for Operation Christmas Child. (http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/) (We are a small Christian school) Not sure how many shoeboxes our school collected, but there's quite a few sitting in the office! :) The kids really enjoyed putting together gift boxes to send to kids in other parts of the world. Many of them wrote letters and included them in the box - so who knows, maybe we'll get some international penpals out of it too! :)

    Other than that, I'm thinking of possibly drawing a few names off the "Giving Tree" at the mall, of children approx. the same age as my class (4 and 5) and having our class "adopt" them. My class is young, but it's still important to teach them about helping others and service to others. :)
     
  12. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Nov 11, 2009

    MissJennifer, I thought of doing the Operation Christmas Child thing in my class too, but it was just too late to fit in. Next year (depending on where I end up) I would love to do that.
     
  13. MissJennifer

    MissJennifer Companion

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    Yeah unfortunately it's fairly early in the season - but the kids were really excited about it and we had a decent response from the families! I'm hoping we hear from some of the kids - the rep. we had come and talk to our school said they will often write if you include an addressed envelope! :)
     
  14. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Nov 11, 2009

    Is it OK to put a Christmas tree in a classroom? Because I just did.
     
  15. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Nov 11, 2009

    My response to you, Doug, is that aside from getting into arguments about people of different faiths...

    It's just too freaking early for Christmas trees!
     
  16. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Nov 11, 2009

    I am in a Catholic school also and we will have a Christmas tree and an advent wreath. Since the week before Christmas is exams, students can choose to wear jeans and a school t-shirt instead of their school uniform. The "cost" everyday to not wear the uniform is 3 can goods for the local food pantry.
     
  17. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Nov 11, 2009

  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 11, 2009

    Again, folks, could we possibly keep the discussion on what we're doing for others this holiday season?
     
  19. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Nov 11, 2009

    I wasn't trying to throw the discussion off track and I'm sure it can continue as you had planned. In fact I plan on implementing the giving tree idea. Being a third year teacher I want to know if I am going to encounter any resistance with my Christmas tree that I have just set up before I can even start thinking about the giving tree idea.
     
  20. gutterballjen

    gutterballjen Comrade

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    Nov 11, 2009

    Doug, the Christmas season doesn't start until black Friday!
     
  21. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Nov 11, 2009

    My apologies... I wasn't intending to take the discussion off track, just wanted to state, jokingly, that it's too early for Christmas... the first part of my post was not well thought out.
     
  22. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    Nov 11, 2009

    Alice both of those ideas are things I would like to do this year. I have a couple questions. For the Macy's letters what are you going to do about the kids that don't believe in Santa. As you teach older kids I am assuming that is a lot if not all. I have some believing and some not and don't know how to handle it.

    Also, for the cards can they be handmade cards but without glitter? It didn't say anything about handmade cards but didn't show any so I was just wondering. Thanks for the wonderful ideas!
     
  23. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 12, 2009

    I'm in high school, so the Santa thing isn't an issue. They ALL will want to write the letters for fun, and as an act of charity. WHat you might consider is attacking the issue head on: whether or not you believe, send a letter and help some sick child's wish come true.

    I'm guessing that the Red Cross doesn't want to deal with ANYTHING inside the cards-- that's why they say no letters. So I think handmade would be fine, as long as there are no inserts. But why not send an email to the American Red Cross and ask?
     
  24. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    Nov 12, 2009

    Our families are having such a difficult time financially this year, even more so than other years, that we are doing a craft night where families can come and make gifts. We are providing all of the materials. We have a place to make gift wrap as well.
     
  25. Kindergarten31

    Kindergarten31 Cohort

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    Nov 13, 2009

    We do a canned good drive for our local Salvation Army. We also do a "Santa's Workshop" with a large senior residence near our school. The wonderful, crafty ladies there make all types of little crafty things, buy some inexpensive things and the children can bring money to purchase these items as gifts for others. The children get cute stuff for not much money and the Senior Center makes alittle money to help with their Christmas gifts for those with no family. Our Kindergartens also hold a "Pajama Night" where everyone comes in their 'jammies and us teachers show the parents how to best read a book with your child-at the end each child gets to pick out a new book to take home with some hot chocolate and cookies--but we ask the parents to donate new pajamas for needy children. It is a great program!

    At the end of the day on the last day of school before winter break, I ask the classroom teachers to send me any of the wonderful gifts they received that they just cannot use (one more mug, candy, toiletries, figurines) and I take them all to the nursing home where my Mom is and they wrap them and give them to the residents who have no families and get no gifts. The nursing home staff is so appreciative because they do not have a large budget and it is so sad when people do not get any gifts on Christmas. And I always get alot of stuff from our generous teachers.
     
  26. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Nov 13, 2009

    This is a wonderful idea!
     
  27. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Nov 13, 2009

    My school does a canned food drive and a toy drive that we donate to the Spark of Love toy Drive in our area. For a very small school, we actually get a lot of donations and our local Fire Department is so nice. When they come to pick up the donations, they park the fire truck on the playground and play with the kids for an hour. We also send letters to soldiers. The students have always enjoyed that.
     

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