Christmas calendar - kid photos, kindness elves with a twist, an EASY Christmas tree Math activity, gingerbread houses, and a break...

Hello Friends,

A few weeks ago, I shared with you my idea for a calendar gift that did not involve hand prints. I thought I would share with you the finished product pages from one of my students. We made a few changes from my previous post. I have to say that even though there is no paint mess with these pages, it STILL takes a long time to create. I would suggest starting it MUCH earlier than I did. We did one page a day for 3 weeks and that was a bit crazy. I think next year, I will start it earlier and only do a couple months a week.

I LOVE using Kindness elves in my classroom! This year, I changed it just a little. Instead of moving the elves around each day, I took photos of the elves in various places in my classroom. 

Then I imported the photos onto notes that were left in the place where the photos were taken. The elves left a note on the first day telling the kids that they were in the classroom, but they could not see them until they started seeing KINDNESS in the classroom. Here is the first note: 

Here are a few examples of the notes they left:

On the day before they left, they showed themselves to the kids congratulating them on all the random acts of kindness that they saw occurring in the classroom. On the LAST day, they left the kids a few classroom gifts; one of them being this classroom book about paying it forward...

We made these Christmas tree math ornament trees. The kids colored the ornaments with red and yellow oil crayons and then used green water paint for the tree. They added construction paper gifts and did the math story problem. Easy peasey! You can click the photo below for the words and Christmas tree.

I have been doing gingerbread house making with my class for over 20 years and with my family for that long or longer!

But even after doing them for that long, we still have building malfunctions. This little guy's roof caved in and it needed some repair work!

So, that's it for now, my friends.... I will be taking a short break from blogging, Facebook, and all things school for awhile. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Until next time,


Kid's Art Calendar - not handprints

Hello Friends,

We have been making handprint calendars as a gift for the parents of our kiddos for many years. They are really, really cute.... BUT....... painting the hands of an ENTIRE classroom takes a ton of time.... So...... I decided to come up with a way to still do the calendar, but in a way that my students can do independently with no paint.....

Now..... there is no way AT ALL that my kiddos could have done these pages independently even a month ago. But, they have been following step-by-step directions since school started and have become pretty confident at following them by themselves. So........ this is what I came up with.... they are doing pretty good, so far..... ☺

The background paper is 8 1/2" x 11" construction paper. I gave my students card stock "tracers" to ensure that the shapes were large enough to fill the paper. They used oil crayons to add details (for every month but January.)  All months were made from paper cut-outs except November. November is simply a traditional hand turkey that is colored with oil crayons.

I'll post some of the pages that my kiddos do soon...

Until next time,


Looking for an easy Advent wreath for your kids to make?

Hello Friends,

 (I am revising this post since doing it with my kiddos.... A few suggestions I have.... first of all, it took a LONG time for my kiddos to color all the candles. Next year, I am going to print the candles and the wreath base upon colored paper rather than have them color everything.  This will save TONS  of time... 😉)

Well.... as usual, once Thanksgiving is over, the time flies for the next 4 weeks. I always have so many plans for the Advent/Christmas season and it never fails, Christmas break is here and we have only completed a few of our projects!

One project that I like to do with my kiddos is the creation of an Advent wreath. I have tried many different styles; some I have even shared here on my blog. BUT.... the problem has always been that they are either too messy, too complicated, or take too long. So, this year, I am going to try one that does not involve paint or hot glue! I thought I would share it with you; just in case YOU are looking for something less messy this year, too....

SUPPLIES: (for each student)

1.  Chinette Classic White 10 3/8 inch dinner plate
2.  Templates (found HERE)  
Please note: This document is set for PUBLIC sharing. If you get a message asking me to share this document with you, you are probably trying to download from your school network. Try downloading it on your personal/home network. Many schools block downloads from outside their network.)

3.  Purple, pink, and green crayon, marker, or paint
4.  Glue
5.  Clear tape
6.  4 wooden craft sticks
7.  Green tissue paper (optional)

Color the candle templates. They are all purple EXCEPT for JOY which is pink. Color the bottom under the dotted lines green.

 STEP 2:
Cut out the candles. Roll into a cylinder. Secure with clear tape.

Cut on the vertical lines from the bottom to the dotted lines. Fold the tabs on the dotted lines.

Color the circle template green. Cut out and glue to the bottom of the plate.

Place glue onto the bottom of the tabs. Place the candle upon the circles. Continue this way until all candles have been attached to the plate.

Color the holly leaves. Cut them out. Glue around the base of the candles.

Color the candle flames. Cut out four flames and attach to a craft stick. The sticks are placed inside each candle. They can be added to a candle for each Sunday in Advent.

 STEP 8: (optional)
Add rolled up pieces of green tissue paper to the edge of the plate.

There you have it! A not VERY messy Advent wreath. It IS a little messy if you add the tissue paper to the edge, but I like the look of it, so the mess is worth it!

Happy Advent, my friends!

Until next time,

Let's Make a Saint!

Hello Friends,

October and November are months when we think about saints in my Catholic school. I have been making paper saints with my kiddos for years and years. Throughout those years, I have worked to refine the project into something that is easy to create, but also educational and fun. FINALLY, I think I have a resource that will work for most early education Catholic school educators.

My students have been making these saints since mid-September. I now only have to show them an example and give them the materials that they need. They are usually able to complete them independently.... now...... When I first introduced them, we had to do them together step by step. Here are a few examples of student made saints...

I like to give my students a little information about the saints. There are MANY books and websites that can be used for information! I created a small poster for each saint with just a few facts about each one.

If you lack the time to create a paper saint, I have included coloring pages for each saint.

 If you are interested in this resource, you can find it by clicking the image below. One thing to note..... Because this project has been a work in progress for many years, I have made a few revisions to the labels and symbols since taking the photos. What that means is that the symbols you see in my blog photos might not match the ones provided in the resource.

So... that's it for now, my friends....

Until next