Christmas silhouette window decorations

Christmas Silhouette Window Decorations

Christmas Silhouette Window Decoration Crafts

I love decorating my classroom windows with the look of stained glass for the holidays and the black contrast of these silhouette decorations with the brightly colored “stained glass” really create a stunning display.   If you would like to create these Christmas silhouette window decorations with your class, follow these steps.

Print the silhouette patterns onto cover stock or construction paper. Cut them out around the outside and the inside with scissors and an exacto knife.
I have included the silhouettes I used at the end of this post.  I posted them as individual JPEG pictures so that you could resize them to fit your needs.  Insert them into PowerPoint or your favorite editing program, size and group accordingly, and print.

If you are not able to print onto heavy paper or do not wish to print all of the silhouettes, make one pattern and trace it onto sheets of black construction paper. Cut out each silhouette.

tracing Christmas window silhouette onto black construction paper

You can choose to use either wax paper or contact paper.  I have used both with my younger students. Honestly I don’t have a preference, it basically depends on what I have available. If you don’t wish to have your students use glue then the contact paper option is best.

Trace around the outside of the silhouette pattern onto either the wax paper or the contact paper and cut it out.

If using wax paper, give each student watered down glue, a paintbrush, cut up tissue paper squares, and a wax paper cut out.  Have them paint some glue onto the wax paper and then place various colors of tissue paper on it.

how to create a Christmas silhouette window decoration

If using contact paper, give each student cut up tissue paper squares and a contact paper cut out.  Have them place tissue paper squares on the sticky side.

directions for creating Christmas silhouette window decoration

Have students completely cover their cut out patterns with the tissue paper squares.

directions for creating Christmas silhouette window decoration

Add glue to the back of the black silhouette and place it on top of the tissue paper shape. Younger students may need help placing the black silhouette in the exact location.  Trim off any excess around the edges with scissors. Display in a brightly lit window.

Christmas nativity silhouette window decoration

Christmas  silhouette window decorations


Silhouette Patterns

Christmas  nativity silhouette window decorations

Christmas candle silhouette window decorations

Christmas gift silhouette window decorations

Christmas tree ball silhouette window decorations

You can use any simple silhouette pattern you wish for these window decorations.  I found most of these at this website and then tweaked them a bit in PowerPoint.

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Nativity Craft with Popsicle Sticks

STEM Toys for Children Ages 4-8

STEM Toys for Children Ages 4-8

During this time of year I am often asked by parents for Christmas gift recommendations for their children.  Since students LOVE doing STEM projects and science, technology, engineering, and math concepts are a vital part of their learning development, I put a list together of the STEM toys that I feel are appropriate for children ages 3-8.  Feel free to share this list with your parents or add the link to this blog post in your holiday newsletters or parent notes.

Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set by Learning Resources

With this cute Code & Go Robot Mouse Set children as young as preschool age can begin to learn coding, analytical thinking, practice if-then and cause-and-effect logic, and spacial concepts all while having fun. They begin by building a maze (lay the foundation, put up walls and arches, place the cheese wedge). Then, they use the coding cards to create a step-by-step path for the robot mouse, Colby. When they feel they have figured out the correct path, they program the mouse and watch him race to find the cheese.  I not only love all of the educational concepts that children will learn with this toy, but also the fact that they get practice learning from their mistakes and then using logical thinking to correct them.

Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar

This is another STEM toy for children as young as preschool that helps them begin learning coding in a fun way. Children easily snap together the segments of the Code-a-pillar to program his path – forward, left, right, or pause.  Then they have fun watching him move along their programmed path with his motorized head, blinking eyes, lights, and sounds. For more of a challenge, they can set up included targets somewhere in the room and use trial and error to see if they can program it to hit them. Not only will young children have fun learning the beginning skills for coding but they will also be learning sequencing, analytical thinking, problem-solving, trial and error, and cause and effect.

WowWee COJI The Coding Robot Toy

This another cute toy that promotes learning coding for children ages 4-8.  Children program Coji using emoji symbols. It also includes games and activities that further develop coding skills.

Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit

I have always been a fan of the Snap Circuits line of toys and this Jr. version is perfect for younger children ages 6-8.  It uses young children’s natural interest in building toys to teach them the basics of electricity. The pieces easily snap together and can be used to create a number of projects. Children will learn how to create working circuit boards similar to the ones found inside TVs, radios, and other electronic devices.

Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! Super Set

The object of this set is for children to connect the colored gears to build movable structures and see if they can keep the gears turning.  Children will have to use fine motor skills, counting, sorting, design skills, problem-solving, and critical thinking to figure out how to align and order the gears so they’ll all turn in unison and not get jammed up.

Kano Computer Kit

I know this one is on the expensive side and parents may feel like they can get a better computer for the price, BUT this kit is really more about children as young as 6 learning how the basic parts of a computer work together and “building” a computer on their own. Once your young engineer builds the computer they can use KANO to learn coding, play games, on Kano’s OS, and use a number of other free apps available through Kano.

Wonder Workshop Dash Robot

This one is on the expensive side also but I included it because it is a program that many schools are using and is one of the best robots for children as young as kindergarten. It also has apps for varying ages and ability levels so children can use it for years to come. Dash is a cute little Bluetooth-enabled robot on 3 wheels that responds to voice cues or app-based commands from an Android or iOS device. Younger children can use the Path app to draw a route for Dash to follow as well as drop in picture commands for sounds, dance, flash lights, and other actions. Kids learn how to map their 3D environment into a 2D drawing. Older children can use the more advanced apps to program and code behaviors and challenges.

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Christmas Student Gift Ideas & Gift Tags

Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Sale 2016 Save 28%

Relax on your couch and save 28% on everything in my Teachers Pay Teachers store during the Cyber 2016 sales event November 28-29.  Use promo code CYBER2016 during checkout!

Make the holiday season less hectic by easily creating personalized, cute Christmas student gifts with this set of EDITABLE Christmas student gift tags.

Christmas Student Gift Tags

Trim trees and learn ABCs with this fun holiday learning center!  Students decorate Christmas trees in a variety of ways while practicing letter recognition, matching uppercase and lowercase letters, letter sounds, beginning sounds, and visual discrimination with Christmas Tree ABC.

Motivate students to learn their alphabet letters with these unique Alphabet Letters Brag Tags.

Encourage and reward students all year long with these editable Student Gift Tags for Rewards, Incentives, Testing, & Growth Mindset.

student gifts, student gift tags that reward, encourage, & motivate students

Shop for winter and holiday resources.

winter and holiday teacher resources discounted

Reindeer student gift bag & Christmas student gift tag

Christmas Student Gift Ideas & Gift Tags

We are planning ahead to Christmas (it will be here before you know it!) figuring out the theme for our big Christmas pageant we put on for parents, planning the Christmas party, and deciding on Christmas gifts for the students.  I’m usually asked to create the gift tags for the student gifts we choose (and I love doing it!).  I’ve put together all of the ideas I have done over the years and decided to share them in case you need a new idea or two.  These are gifts that are easy to create (because the holidays are hectic enough) and they won’t break the bank.  If you are like me and have to buy for multiple classes, you probably need items that are not too extravagant.  If you like the printable tags attached to the gifts you can find them here.

Reindeer Gift Bag and Christmas Gift Tag

I have used several versions of a reindeer gift bag for student gifts over the years but this one is my favorite.  I think the candy cane antlers are just too cute!  Any small student gift or treat can be placed inside the bag.  To create the bag, simply fold down the top of a brown lunch bag several inches, cut small holes on each side for the candy canes and slide a candy cane in each hole (I secure the candy canes on the inside of the bag with tape to prevent them from moving), glue on 2 googly eyes, a pom pom nose, and draw a mouth. The “A little gift for a DEER student” tag can be attached to one of the candy canes or to the bag itself.

Reindeer student gift bag & Christmas student gift tag

Gift Tags for Playdough Student Gifts

Playdough is a popular and wonderful gift for young children.  You can choose to make your own or buy the packs of small cans.  They are reasonably priced and you can find the multi-packs at stores such as WalMart or they are also on Amazon in a variety of amounts (10 pack, 24 pack, 36 pack)

Have a “Dough-lightful” Holiday Christmas Student Gift Tag

These round playdough Christmas gift tags can be attached to the top of small playdough cans or attached to a bag containing playdough.

playdough Christmas student gift tag

Wishing You a “Dough-lightful” Holiday Christmas Student Gift Tag

This playdough gift tag can also be attached to a small can of playdough or attached to a bag of playdough.

playdough Christmas student gift tag

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas Student Gift Tag

Our students LOVE Jolly Rancher candies!  I attached this Holly Jolly tag to a small bag filled with Jolly Rancher candy and they loved it!

Christmas student gift tag for Jolly Rancher Candies Have a holly jolly Christmas

Christmas Student Gift Tags for Books

One of my favorite Christmas gifts for students is to give them a book and I know a lot of other teachers feel the same way.  Because I’ve given books as gifts many times I have several gift tags for them.  The tags can be placed inside the front cover or on the outside of the package if the book is gift wrapped.

Get Wrapped Up in a Good Book Student Gift Tag

Christmas student gift tag for a book

Season’s Readings Student Gift Tag

Seasons Readings Christmas student gift tag

Warm Up With a Good Book Student Gift Tag

Get Wrapped Up in a Good Book Christmas Student Gift Tag

Christmas Student Gift Tags for Glowsticks

Another favorite gift of students are glowsticks – they think they are so cool and magical! Since we have given these as gifts several times I have 2 different versions of gift tags for them.  Simply tie them to the glowsticks!

May Your Christmas Be Merry & Bright Student Gift Tag

Christmas student gift tag for glowstick

Christmas Bulb Student Gift Tags for Glowsticks

Christmas bulb student gift tags for glowsticks

Christmas Student Gift Tag for Crayons

A popular gift for young students is a box of crayons. They love opening a brand new box and creating something special. Attach this Wishing you a COLORFUL Christmas tag right to the box!

Wishing You a COLORFUL Christmas Student Gift Tag

Christmas student gift tag for crayons

It’s Snow Secret! You’re a Great Student! Gift Tag

I’ve used this cute tag for a number of different gifts – snow globes, snow dough to name a few. It can be attached to any Christmas gift to add a special holiday message.  It can also be used throughout the winter season as a reward or motivator.

student gift tag for Christmas gift

Wishing You an EXTRA Special Christmas Gift Tag

Attach this gift tag to a pack of EXTRA gum for an extra special Christmas treat for your students.

Christmas student gift tag idea

If you liked the tags pictured above and would like to use them for your student gifts they are available here.

Christmas Student Gift Tags

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Five Kernels of Corn Legend Thanksgiving Craft

Thanksgiving Craft for the Five Kernels of Corn Legend

Every Thanksgiving I like to share the legend of the five kernels of corn with my students.  If you are not familiar with this story, a quick Google search can fill you in with the details. The short version is that during the harsh winter of 1621 the Pilgrims suffered many hardships.  When their food was rationed out to everyone oftentimes each person only got 5 kernels of corn to eat.  Even after things got better for the Pilgrims they would continue to place 5 kernels of corn on their plates as a reminder of the hardships they endured.

I wanted to create a craft that would not only relate the story to my students’ lives but also serve as a reminder of the story.  For years my preschoolers had made simple Thanksgiving wreaths from paper plates so I had the idea to combine that craft with the 5 kernels of corn legend.  This is the craft I created.

You need:

paper plates
tissue paper cut into squares (preferably Thanksgiving colors)
glue (I used watered down glue and paintbrushes)
crayons or markers

Thanksgiving craft materials for 5 kernels of corn legend

Have students decorate the border (ridged area) of a paper plate with tissue paper squares.  If you are learning about patterns you can require them to glue the squares on in a particular pattern or you can just let them glue on the tissue squares however they wish.  Then have the students count out 5 pieces of candy corn to represent the five kernels of corn from the legend and glue them on their plate (they can eat any extras!). Lastly, have them write something for which they are thankful by each corn kernel and draw pictures of each.

The 5 Kernels of Corn Legend Thanksgiving Craft

You can also choose to have students write the words only.

Thanksgiving craft for 5 kernels of corn legend

I also send the story to parents along with the idea of placing 5 pieces of candy corn next to each person’s place setting at their Thanksgiving table.  Each person can pick up each piece of corn and name something for which they are thankful.  I always get a great response!  I hope your students and their families enjoy this activity as much as mine.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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How to Set Up a Meaningful and Fun Thanksgiving Math Center

Meaningful & Fun Thanksgiving Math Practice

I was looking for a way to make common core math standards practice more meaningful and fun for students and it hit me – combine a favorite game concept with learning math! My students love playing Stuff the Turkey during Thanksgiving week – they toss stuffing ingredients into a paper bag turkey. I wanted to capture the fun of the game with the real-life concept of stuffing and cooking a Thanksgiving turkey.  So I created a Stuff the Turkey math center and small group activity.

I not only needed to have a meaningful learning center that students would want to use but it also needed to be differentiated because my students have a wide range of learning levels. This is what I came up with and it has worked wonderfully so far!

Stuff the Turkey Math Center

I made the turkey for the center similar to the turkey we use for the stuff the turkey game using brown paper lunch bags, scrap paper, and white tissue paper.

Thanksgiving turkey for math center

I had students help me make the stuffing by wadding up pieces of scrap paper.  We used green for celery, brown for bread, and white for onions.

Thanksgiving math center stuffing pieces

When setting up this Thanksgiving center I wanted it to be realistic so I added a few kitchen props – a turkey baster, serving dish, pan, tongs (for fine motor practice) – along with the paper bag turkey, stuffing pieces, recipe cards, center directions, and exit ticket pages.

Thanksgiving turkey differentiated math center

I used this in my small groups first so that I could explain how to use it before putting it in a center.  I told students that they were in charge of stuffing and cooking the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner this year and there are many different recipes out there for turkey stuffing to try.  Each recipe is different as far as what ingredients it uses.

Read the recipe card

The first thing students do is read their recipe card.  Each recipe card is different according to the skill on which it focuses and the skill level.  I color coded them so I could easily keep them straight and differentiate for my students.

Counting to 10 and Counting to 20

The first set of cards focuses on counting skills (common core standards K.CC.A.3, K.CC.B.4, K.CC.B.5).  Some students still need practice with numbers 1-10 while others work on the “tricky teens” 11-20.  Students read the total number of stuffing pieces and put the correct amount in the turkey.

Thanksgiving stuffing math center counting card

Addition to 5 and Addition to 10

The next set of cards focuses on addition (common core standards K.OA.A.1, K.OA.A.2, K.OA.A.5).  Some students work on addition to 5 while others are ready for addition to 10. Students combine the 2 ingredients shown on the recipe card by counting out each ingredient and adding them to the turkey.

Making 10

The last set of cards focuses on making 10 from numbers 1-9 (common core standard K.OA.A.4).  Students have to figure out the missing ingredient on their recipe card. The recipe calls for 10 total pieces of stuffing, however the recipe card does not show how much bread to add to the recipe to make 10. Students use the turkey and stuffing pieces to solve the problem. The different colored ingredients make it easier for students to visualize the math problem.

Thanksgiving math center make 10 card

Stuff the Turkey

After students read the ingredients needed for their recipe they count and add the correct amount of stuffing pieces to the turkey.  I place a set of tongs at the center to give them that all important fine motor skill practice!

Thanksgiving math center fine motor skills

“Cook” & “Baste” the Turkey

This step is optional but I add it in to help make the center more realistic and fun for students.  They lay the turkey in the pan and use the baster to pretend to baste the turkey.

Thanksgiving turkey math center

Serve and Count the Stuffing

After the turkey is “cooked” it is ready to serve.  Students remove the stuffing from the turkey by dumping it in the bowl.

Thanksgiving math center

Students then count the total number of stuffing pieces their recipe made. The fact that the stuffing pieces are different colors helps students visualize the addition problem and the making 10 activity.

Thanksgiving stuffing counting math center

Record Findings on Exit Ticket Page

I tell students that they need to “take notes” about how much stuffing each recipe they tried made by completing an exit ticket page.  These pages are also differentiated according to my students’ skill levels.

I made two differentiated counting exit ticket pages – one that requires students to match the number from their recipe card to a number on their exit ticket and fill in the ten frame and one where they are required to write the number from their recipe card and fill in the ten frame.

I also made differentiated addition exit ticket pages – one that provides the two numbers from the recipe card and the student is required to just write the sum and one that requires the student to write the entire addition equation.

The exit ticket page for making 10 requires students to fill in the missing number (ingredient) to make 10.

Thanksgiving math addition

Students enjoyed this center so much that they also use it in our dramatic play kitchen area – learning through play is the best!!

If you would like to use this fun and meaningful Thanksgiving math center with your students it is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store – CLICK HERE.

Thanksgiving Math Center for Common Core Standards

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Free Thanksgiving Student Gift Tags & Treat Bag Toppers

Free Thanksgiving Student Gift Tags & Treat Bag Toppers

Our Thanksgiving party is one of my favorite school celebrations.  It is a day filled with fun activities and culminates with a wonderful school feast prepared by parent volunteers.  I like sending a little something special home with my students as well as putting a little “surprise” by their place setting at our class table.  I wanted to share the gift ideas  I use as well as give you the free printable Thanksgiving gift tags as a thank you for following my blog.

Thanksgiving Treat Bag Toppers and Gift Idea

This is the treat that I send home with my students after our Thanksgiving celebration. I have used several different sayings and toppers over the years but the treat has remained the same because I think it’s adorable and the students always love it!  I simply fill Ziploc bags with Bugles snacks and either Trix cereal or Runts candies and staple a Thanksgiving treat bag topper on it.  Quick and cute!

free Thanksgiving Treat Bag Topper

free Thanksgiving Treat Bag Topper

free Thanksgiving Student Treat Bag Topper

free Thanksgiving Student Treat Bag Topper

Click here for these free Thanksgiving student treat bag toppers.

Thanksgiving Student Gift Tags and Gift Ideas

As I mentioned above, I like to place a little something special at each student’s place setting at our class table during our school feast.  My favorite idea is one that I found recently on Pinterest – a turkey leg treat bag.  I fill this festive and fun treat bag with popcorn but it can be filled with any candy or treat.  Click here for the instructions, bone pattern, and gift tags for these Thanksgiving turkey leg treat bags.

free Thanksgiving student gift tag & student gift

Another option is to fill baggies with popcorn or Bugles and Runts candies and attach Thanksgiving student gift tags.

free Thanksgiving student gift tag & student gift

If you would like to use these free Thanksgiving teat bag toppers and student gift tags in your classroom CLICK HERE.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Free Thanksgiving Student Gift Tags & Treat Bag Toppers

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