Category Archives: Christmas

Christmas classroom activities that focus on learning

Christmas classroom activities that focus on learning – Readilearn

As Christmas draws near, keeping children focussed on their lessons can be a challenge for teachers. But it’s not impossible. It is not necessary to fill every moment with Christmas themed activities, but a few interspersed throughout the day can be motivating and lift everyone’s spirits. Activities that promote children’s learning should always take precedence over time fillers.

To assist teachers keep the focus on learning while children would rather be thinking of Christmas and holidays, I have prepared a range of lessons and suggestions for use in different subject areas. Many of the lessons and suggestions integrate learning across curriculum areas. All readilearn Christmas themed activities can be found under the Cultural Studies tab in the subcategory Christmas.

Focus on the children

A great place to start is always with the children and their family’s traditions.

Begin with a survey to find out which children in the class do and do not celebrate Christmas. While you will already have an idea of which children do, it can be an interesting way to begin the discussion of different cultural traditions celebrated by children in your class.

The main ingredient in any of these discussions should always be respect, and it is important to find ways of making classroom activities inclusive.

How many school days until Christmas?

Advent Calendars that count down the twenty-five December days until Christmas are great for families to use in the home but not so suitable for school. What about counting down the school days until Christmas? Twenty-five school days would mean starting at least five weeks before school finishes, which might be a bit soon, so choose another number which suits your program. Fifteen (three weeks) could be a good number. (Note: If, for inclusivity, you didn’t wish to count down to Christmas, you could count down to the holidays.)

A countdown calendar

Schedule opportunities for the children to present information about their family traditions as part of the countdown.

Continue reading: Christmas classroom activities that focus on learning – Readilearn

Fibonacci sequence in nature

Counting on daisies

Did you know that the number of petals on a flower, like the numbers of many other things in nature, is often a number from the Fibonacci sequence?

In the Fibonacci sequence, each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89.

Daisies commonly have 34, 55 or 89 petals, though those numbers may be an average rather than specific to an individual flower.

The game “He loves me, he loves me not,” is played by stating each phrase in turn while removing a petal from a daisy flower. The phrase accompanying removal of the last petal is considered to be true. The result would obviously depend upon the type of flower chosen, as well as the number of petals on the particular flower.

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills has challenged writers to in 99 words (no more, no less) include white flowers in your story. This is a repeat prompt, but one that has an ability to be emotive. Humor, drama, irony — go wherever the white flowers lead.

The prompt led me to incorporate the two snippets of information above into an is true/isn’t true story on a topic often hotly debated by young children at this Christmassy time of the year.

daisy

You can count on it

“Is too,” he screamed, running away, blinded by tears.

Across the enormous park, he plonked himself down in a patch of wild daisies, and began pulling them up, ripping them apart.

“It can’t be. They don’t know anything.” Fists clenched against doubt that threatened annihilation.

As tears subsided to sobs, his petal removal became more rhythmical, purposeful: “Is true. Isn’t true. Is true. Isn’t true …” He crushed the remains, then plucked another: “Is true. Isn’t true. Is true …” Nooo!

He started again: “Isn’t true. Is true …”

“I knew it! Santa is true! White flowers don’t lie.”

(To read my response to the previous ‘white flowers’ prompt, click here.)

To read others’ thoughts on the topic of “Is it true?” click here and here.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

readilearn: Wishing you happy holidays – Readilearn

If you are looking for activities to keep the children occupied during the holidays, check out the readilearn Christmas collection. Many are suitable for use at home as well as in the classroom.

Three free resources provide additional suggestions for keeping the children engaged in mathematical thinking, and reading and writing activities while they are having fun. Don’t let the year’s learning slide away during the holidays.

Continue reading: readilearn: Wishing you happy holidays – Readilearn

Only in Australia

Only in Australia - Australian Coat of Arms

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenges writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the phrase “only in…” It can be used to tell a story about a profession, a place or situation. Go were the prompt leads you.

This is my response. I hope you enjoy it. (Composed in the pool this morning.)

Only in Australia

The carollers woke her Christmas morning. After the preparation whirlwind, she’d collapsed into bed, only to continuously toss and turn, re-making each list and checking it twice. She groaned – please, just a few minutes more. The carollers insisted. She tumbled out of bed and stumbled to the door. They eagerly accepted her gifts. Breathing in the day’s freshness, she had to decide – bed? Nah – the pool! As each stroke soothed and each lap refreshed, she welcomed the day’s events. When a cockatoo’s shriek punctuated the chorus, the kookaburras laughed. “Only in Australia,” she thought. “It’s good to be home.”

And now for a little more, if you so choose:

Note: I’ve been kindly shown that some of my ‘only in Australia‘ statements are not quite correct. As I am not one for spreading falsehoods, I have added, in pink, corrections of which I have become aware. Thanks especially to Pauline King and Debby Gies for getting the ball rolling.

Only in Australia do you see people wearing thongs and singlets in winter (“thongs” are flip-flops worn on feet, singlets are sleeveless shirts). (I now know Canadians also refer to flip-flops as thongs.)

Only in Australia are there mammals that lay eggs (the monotremes – echidna and platypus. One species of echidna is found in New Guinea).

Only in Australia are the emblem animals eaten (the meat of kangaroo and emu – both on the Australian Coat of Arms – is available in supermarkets and from restaurant menus). The animals were chosen for the coat of arms as neither can walk backwards – a symbol of a forward-moving nation.

Only in Australia can you see these biggest things:

The world’s largest living organism The Great Barrier Reef. Hopefully it will remain that way for generations to come.

The world’s largest monolith – Uluru.

The world’s longest fence – the dingo fence, built to keep dingoes out of the fertile farming areas on the eastern coast,  over 5 500 km.

Only in Australia will you find the world’s oldest living culture.

Only in Australia could you visit a different beach every day of the year and still have more to see.

Only in Australia could you attend a cockroach race, a cane toad race and a boat race on a dry river bed.

Only in Australia would you not see an active volcano. (Australia, the world’s largest island or smallest continent, is the only continent without an active volcano, though there are many dormant and extinct volcanoes.)

Only in Australia do you have to travel overseas to travel internationally. (This is definitely not true – of course overseas and international travel are synonymous for any island nation, of which there are many, including New Zealand.)

Only in Australia will you hear “Fair dinkum” and “True Blue”.

Only in Australia, do we abbreviate everything, including names (is that why our years pass so fast – we abbreviate them too?) (Apparently, this habit is also prevalent across the ditch in New Zealand.)

 

And if you still want more, check out these 88 Crazy Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Australia.

And watch this video:

Or come for a visit!

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed finding out a little more about Australia. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

 

readilearn Lessons for the interactive whiteboard – Christmas – Readilearn

I loved the addition of the interactive whiteboard to my classroom about ten years ago. I embraced the use of computer technology from when I bought my first home computer in 1985 and first used computers in my classroom in 1986. The interactive whiteboard was a way of making use of the technology inclusive. Instead of one or two children taking a turn on the computer while the rest of the class were engaged in other things, we could all be involved at the same time, if desired.

I used the interactive whiteboard with the whole class for introducing topics, brainstorming ideas and explaining concepts. It was great for modelled writing lessons and collaborative reading. I found it particularly useful for demonstrating the processes to follow in the computer lab.

I used some purchased software, but also spent a lot of time creating activities to teach or practice particular concepts or skills. Versions of many of these lessons are now available here on readilearn.

Continue reading: readilearn Lessons for the interactive whiteboard – Christmas – Readilearn

Smorgasbord Christmas Posts from Your Archives – 10 reasons for including Christmas in the classroom by Norah Colvin

I’m honoured to once again be featured among Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Archive Posts. This time it’s about including Christmas in the classroom. Thank you, Sally. 🙂

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Today we continue with the series of posts from the archives of educator Norah Colvin.  Norah talks us through making a very special Christmas decoration.

10 reasons for including Christmas in the classroom by Norah Colvin

The end of the school year in Australia is fast approaching; assessment is almost done and reports completed.

After a hectic year, thoughts are turning towards Christmas and the long summer holidays.

However the teaching and learning in the classroom doesn’t stop until the final farewells on the last day of school.

These last few weeks of the school year allow a little more flexibility and time for spontaneous explorations of children’s interests after the curriculum’s imposed learnings have been achieved. Sure, skills still need to be practised and extended but the pressure is not so relentless.

As the thoughts of most children are on Christmas and what they will do during the…

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readilearn – 6 Fine motor Christmas activities for the classroom and home – Readilearn

In this post, I welcome early childhood educator Johanna Clark to the blog with ideas for developing fine motor skills in fun Christmas activities that are suitable for both the classroom and home.

These activities supplement existing readilearn Christmas activities and suggestions that can be provided to parents to keep children engaged in reading, writing and mathematical thinking over the holidays.

Johanna Clark is an early childhood educator, with a background in early primary teaching. She is passionate about developing children’s early literacy and fine-motor skills in the years before formal schooling begins to build a solid foundation for learning. She believes in creating a classroom that children love coming to every day, and that helps all children to succeed.

In her spare time, she can be found reading or crocheting (or both!). She also combines her teaching and creativity by designing handmade, educational toys for her small business and Etsy shop, ‘Jo and Co. Design’. She specialises in crochet dolls and felt travel games.

She has two small children who love testing out her new toy designs and raiding her picture book collection!

Over to you Johanna.

Whether December in your classroom means the end of the school year or the end of the calendar year, it’s always fun to work some Christmas-themed activities into the schedule. It’s a great way to discuss students’ own experiences and expose them to different ways of celebrating, both around the world or in their own community.

Fine motor skills are so important to develop, in pre-school settings, the first 3 years of schooling and beyond! They allow children to build their hand-eye coordination, concentration and finger/hand/arm muscles. All of these skills are needed for pencil grip, using scissors and other general life skills such as buttoning, zipping and using cutlery.

So why not combine fine-motor skills and Christmas?

Following are some ideas for Christmas themed fine motor activities that can be used both in the early years classroom and at home. Most are suitable for small groups or independent work and some can even be used to decorate your classroom and share the festive spirit!

Continue reading: readilearn – 6 Fine motor Christmas activities for the classroom and home – Readilearn