19 December 2013

Holiday Cheer & Book Talk Thursday

Hey Friends!

Today was a really fantastic day! 

Earlier in the week I decided to make cookies for those people who deserve a little something special! My list included 8 second grade teachers (yes, there are 9 of us total), 3 administrators, cafeteria staff, front office staff, my hallway custodian, my husband's workers, the garbage man (or woman), and the mail person.Seriously should have counted how many cookies I made. It was a lot. (Shout out to Hubs...he helped.) I spent Tuesday and Wednesday evening getting them all ready. Last night, I got all the cookies packed in their containers, attached the cards to the tops, and had everything ready to go for this morning. Oh, and wrapped 21 books for my kiddos. I wasn't in bed until midnight. Seriously, what.was.I.thinking?

This morning I got everything into the car, garbage out and cookies on top of the can (I really hope someone saw them before just dumping it - what was I supposed to do?), cookies in the mailbox (I put the flag up), and hubby's cookies in his car. I delivered cookies during my planning, and I must say, enjoyed every last "stop." I also learned, I am turning in to my grandma. Couldn't be happier with this one!

Anyway, today was our class holiday party, and going into it, was a little nervous that it was just going to be total chaos. Good news? It went amazingly well! Bad news? It was, indeed, total chaos. I set up six different center rotations (more on these in another post), book and candy cane exchange.  Parents signed up to volunteer, bring in supplies, and food via Sign Up Genius. Side note - if you aren't using sign up genius, you're missing out. It's quite possibly one of my favorite things ever! All in all, this was the best class holiday party I've experienced so far!

Over the next few Thursdays, I'm going to share some of my absolute must-reads for the holiday season. Books I would recommend to parents, grandparents, and teachers! 

The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck (picture book version) is a heart-warming story, that in many ways most of us can probably relate. The main character, Eddie wants a bike for Christmas. Unfortunately for him, he receives a sweater his mother made instead. Eddie is beyond disappointed. However, his grandpa tells him that sometimes a sweater isn't just a sweater, and that he still remembers the sweater his mother made for him. Eddie is still not amused, but as he drifts off to sleep begins a magical journey. Through his journey, Eddie begins to understand what his grandpa meant, and learns that true meaning of a gift is one given with careful thought, and lots of love.

I read this book to my students each year, and we talk about times when we've been disappointed by gifts, and times we've been really excited about gifts. I ask my students to think about a time when they've chosen a gift for someone else. Usually the class has lots to say about this, and we share many stories of the excitement we felt choosing the perfect gift, and waiting in anticipation for the recipient to discover what's inside. I ask my students to imagine the person opening the gift and being very unhappy. With the help of The Christmas Sweater,  my students begin to understand that there's two people opening a gift, and that being a gracious recipient is really quite important. Such a valuable lesson!

Happy Reading!


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