Saturday, December 10, 2016


Your kids are going to love this “Santa Hunt” that Sara Lensing adapted from “The Cool Bear Hunt.” It would be great to have the children draw a story map after you've done this several times.

Santa Hunt

Get out your backpacks.
Open ‘em up.
Let’s put in some cookies for Santa and his reindeer.
And, let’s put in a thermos of milk in case he gets thirsty.
Oh. and don’t forget your Christmas lights in case it gets dark.
Zip ‘em up and repeat after me.
(Children repeat each line.)
We’re gonna find Santa (March and slap thighs.)
Before Christmas day.
He has a big, round belly (Extend arms.)
And a long, white beard. (Pull down from chin.)
Look over there! (Point.)
It’s a Candy Cane Forest!
Can’t go over it. (Arms over head.)
Can’t go under. (Arms down low.)
Can’t go around it. (Circle arms.)
I guess we’ll go through it. (Open palms and shrug shoulders.)
Slurp, slurp, slurp! (Pretend to suck on candy cane.)
We’re gonna find Santa
Before Christmas day.
He has a big, round belly
And a long, white beard.
Look over there!
It’s a hot chocolate river.
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under.
Can’t go around it.
I guess we’ll swim across it. (Stroke arms as if swimming.)     

We’re gonna find Santa
Before Christmas day.
He has a big, round belly
And a long, white beard.
Look over there!
It’s a gingerbread house!
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under.
Can’t go around it.
I guess we’ll go through it.
Yum, yum, yum! (Pretend to eat gingerbread.)
We’re gonna find Santa
Before Christmas day.
He has a big, round belly
And a long, white beard.
Look over there!
It’s Santa’s workshop.
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under.
Can’t go around it.
I guess we’ll go through it.
Shhh! (Finger over lips.)
Get out your Christmas lights. (Pretend to get out lights.)
Turn them on – click.
Let’s set out the cookies and milk.
I see a big, round belly.
And a long, white beard!
It’s Santa!
He-he-he! We can’t let him see us!
Tip toe! (Tiptoe.)
Quick! Go through the gingerbread house! Yum, yum, yum,!
Swim across the hot chocolate river!
Go through the Candy Cane Forest! Slurp, slurp, slurp!
Go home.
Open the door.
Shut the door.
We found Santa.
Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 9, 2016


December 9th is Christmas Card Day. Sir Henry Cole created the first commercial Christmas card in 1843. Until recently, sending holiday cards through the mail was a traditional “must.” Ecards are easier and less expensive, but it’s still special to send and receive a paper card. It’s also a good way to motivate children to write and read!

Here is a simple card children will enjoy making for any holiday or special occasion. Once they learn how to make this basic card you can put the materials in the writing center for an open-ended activity.

Materials: construction paper, copy paper, markers, crayons, scissors, pencils, glue, wrapping paper, stickers, catalogs, etc.

Directions: Demonstrate how to fold a sheet of paper in half and then into fourths. Remind children to put the greeting on the front and be sure and sign their name inside.
Holiday Dictionary
Prepare a folder with holiday words children might use in making cards.

Recycle Cards
Ask parents to send in old holiday cards.
Cut off the front and punch holes around the edges to make sewing cards.
Cut into puzzle shapes.
If cards have a relief children can do crayon rubbings.


Thursday, December 8, 2016


Santa’s not the only one making lists this time of year. I’ve been making lists of things to do (gifts to buy, cards to send, goodies to make) all night long! There’s something about making a list that makes me feel better – maybe a little more “in control.” Not that I’m going to check everything off the list; it just feels good to write things down.
Making a list is something children will enjoy doing, and it is a perfect way to motivate children to write. Younger children could make lists of 3-5 things, while older children could do lists of 10 or more. In addition to writing a list, children could draw pictures or dictate items.

So, what can they make a list of other than who’s been naughty and nice or what they want for Christmas?  Check out my "list" of ways you can use lists all year long.
List of people they love and what they would like to give them.

List of favorite songs.

List of signs of winter.

List of their favorite books.

List of their favorite subjects at school.

List of their favorite animals/pets.

List of their favorite sports or games.

List of what they can do if they finish their work early.

List of the things that make them happy.

List of how to be a buddy/friend.

List of nouns, verbs, things that start with a sound, shapes…children could make a list of almost any skill you are working on.

Lists could also be included in units of study by having children keep a list of things they learned, facts, etc.

Can you a make a “list” of things to add to this list?

I’ll be checking my list twice,
So better not be naughty –
Just be NICE!

By the way, I found two adorable websites with lots of activities and ideas:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


If you want children to write, then you have to give them a book that they will be excited about writing in. Here are some simple books to capture children’s interest any day of the year.

Winter Book
Purchase seasonal pencils at the dollar store. Fold 3 sheets of paper in half. Punch holes about 2” from the top and bottom on the creased edge. Insert the rubber band through one hole and slide the pencil through that loop. Insert the other end of the rubber band and slide the other end of the pencil through that loop. Use for descriptive writing about weather. Winter feels like…. Winter smells like…. Winter sounds like… Winter tastes like… Winter looks like….

*You could also use these for children to write signs of winter or to record daily weather.
Napkin Book
Purchase napkins from the dollar store. Cut paper the size of the napkin and staple inside to make a book. Use the picture on the napkin as a writing topic or just place these in the writing center for an open-ended activity.
Candy Cane Book
Take two sheets of paper and cut them in half. Fold in half. Punch holes about 1 ½” from the top and bottom on the creased side. Insert a rubber band in one hole and insert one of the candy cane in the loop. Insert the other end of the rubber band in the other hole and insert the other end of the candy cane.
*If your school does not allow outside food then let the children make their own candy cane out of a popsicle stick.

Peppermint Stick Writing
After reading a holiday story give each child a candy cane. Have them close their eyes and savor the candy cane. Next, ask them to write descriptions about their candy cane.

*You could also have them write stories about visiting candy land.

Sticker Story
Let each child choose one or two stickers.  Have them put their stickers on their paper and draw a picture incorporating them. Then ask them to write a story about their drawing.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Since December 7th is LETTER WRITING DAY, I thought it might be a good day to write a blog about it. With texts, emails, etcetera, letter writing is almost a lost art. However, it’s something children should be exposed to and it is a meaningful way to practice informative writing.

Children will easily remember the parts of a letter with this song to the tune of “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes:”

     Head, greeting, body, closing, signature.
     Head, greeting, body, closing, signature.
     These are the parts of a letter.
     Head, greeting, body, closing, signature.

*Point to your head as you say “head.”
Point to your mouth as you say “greeting.”
Point to your body as you say “body.”
Point to your knee as you say “closing.”
Point to your feet as you say “signature.”

*Let children write letters to their friends in other classes and deliver them at the end of the day.

*Write letters to your governor, the President, children’s favorite authors, movie stars, famous athletes, etc.

*And, yes, you might even be at a school where they can write letters to Santa!  (You can download these free from several sites.)


Here’s a simple way to make a letter/envelope.
     1. Write your letter.
     2. Fold in the top two corners as shown.
     3. Fold up the bottom.
     4. Fold down the top triangle and secure with a sticker.
     5. Turn over and write the name of the recipient.


Monday, December 5, 2016


Here are some holiday jokes to make you smile.  Write one on the board each day to use for choral reading, double meanings of words, and phonological awareness.                          

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Holly who?
Holly – days are here again!

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Dexter who?
Dexter halls with boughs of holly.

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Mary who?
Mary Christmas to you!

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Avery who?
Avery merry Christmas to you!

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Wayne who?
Wayne in the manger…

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Oakham who?
Oakham all ye faithful…


Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Rabbit who?
Rabbit up carefully – it’s a present.

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Donut who?
Donut open until Christmas.

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Olive who?
Olive the other reindeer.

What’s red and white and goes up and down?
Santa Clause in an elevator.

What did the ghost say to Santa?
I’ll have a boo Christmas without you.

Who delivers presents to dogs?
Santa paws!

Who delivers presents to cats?
Santa claws!

Why did the elf go to school?          
To learn his ELFabet!
Why do rappers like Christmas so much?
Because of all the wrapping!

What did the reindeer say when he saw an elf?
Nothing. Reindeer can’t talk.

How do you scare a snowman?
You get a hair dryer.

What do snowmen eat for Christmas?
Frosted Flakes.

What goes, “Oh, oh, oh!”
Santa Claus walking backwards.

What do you call the wrapping paper leftover from opening presents?
A christ-MESS.

What Christmas carol is a favorite of parents?
Silent Night.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


Save your money with "one of a kind" wrapping paper and cards.

Wrapping Paper – With tissue paper, paper plates, paint, and cookie cutters you’ll be all set to create your own wrapping paper.  First, fold a paper towel and place it on a paper plate.  Pour paint on the paper towel.  Let children dip the cookie cutters in the paint and print on the tissue paper.
*Recycle paper grocery sacks to use as wrapping paper.
*Let children paint with pine boughs on newspaper to create wrapping paper.
*Use fruits or vegetable prints to create one of a kind wrapping paper.

Gift Tags – You’ll need card stock, an ink pad, fine tip markers, and ribbon to make these gift cards.  Cut cardstock into 2” x 5” rectangles.  Fold in half.  Children press their thumb on the ink pad and then print on the front of the card.   Let them add details with markers.  Punch a hole and tie on a ribbon.

Greeting Cards  - Let children use fingerprints or handprints to make “one of a kind” holiday cards.  They can also make a colorful collage by gluing bits of wrapping paper to a blank card.