Winter and Holidays in Kindergarten

Oh hey there! From the little world of Kindergarten! Where germs are a plenty! And, where I with my un-seasoned immune system was sick for, well, a while! But I'm alive and well!

I wanted to share with you all winter and holiday things that have been happening in my classroom. 

We celebrated the beginning of winter this week with all things snow - including these shape snowflakes that I designed to wrap up our math unit on shapes. 
A photo posted by Katie (@voraciousteacher) on

The Shape Snowflakes are a FREEBIE in my store until the end of my vacation so grab them now!

 We also did all things Gingerbread!

We started actually last week by reading Paul Galdone's book. Then this week we continued by reading Jan Brett's Gingerbread Baby, Richard Egielson's The Gingerbread Boy and Gingerbread Cowboy (I really wanted to use Gingerbread Girl too but it's not out yet! I may have pre-ordered it.). As we read each version, we discussed how the books were similar and different. Students then wrote their own page for the story to create our own class book.

Students made their own Gingerbread people using the Gingerbread Glyph from Little Red's Schoolhouse to have them create opinions about the text represented by which colors they chose to use in their gingerbread man (or woman in my case ;)). They came out super cute.

A photo posted by Katie (@voraciousteacher) on
We finished with a little science experiment testing to see if the Gingerbread Man would really dissolve if he fell in the water. He would! I loved hearing their justifications for their predictions and then hearing their observations when he was in the water.

Students created these little reindeer decorations for their families. Let's just say this was an 11th hour project idea (as in I was creating the model for it 20 minutes before they came back from lunch and realizing it left a lot to be desired)! Definitely wasn't quite as cute as I thought it would be but now I know for next year! 

Students filled up the Fuzzy Heart Jar and voted to trade it in for a Holiday Party where they could dress up (other options brainstormed included a field trip to Chuck E Cheese...I quickly explained that we'd have to justify the field trip for being EDUCATIONAL to the principal...sorry Principal for having you ruin all our fun!).

They had quite the list of things they wanted (a tree, presents, maybe even a visit from the man in the big red suit ... kidding.. kind of :p). 

Student: We should have a tree.
Me: Hmm...I could make a paper tree.
Student: No, like a real tree. To put presents under.
Me: Presents?
Student: Yea, the presents you're getting us. {Ahh! Thank you for letting me know!}
Me: So where should I get the tree? It's kinda close to the holidays and most places are sold out.
Student: You can bring in yours.
Me: Then what would I do for a tree?
Student: Buy a new one.

This is an exact transcript of a conversation I had during our brainstorming session. Gotta love kindergarten!
So here was my compromise: the tree we ended up with in the right corner. I called it a "Winter Tree" and their present was a new box of crayons {they are ROUGH on their crayons!}. 

They also read about the three holidays using mini books. I got the top too books from Reading A-Z and the bottom one I found on TPT. It was REALLY hard to find a leveled book on Kwanzaa that was at their reading level. Even this one I had to remove a lot of pages. We read the Kwanzaa book together on the carpet since it was above their reading level, before they went and read the other two books in partnerships. Then they chose a symbol of each holiday to illustrate and write about. 

For our holiday party they of course had to create the decorations. I had three stations  - paper chains, snowflakes and paper lanterns. One of my students is really talented at making lanterns so I had her help teach the class. I absolutely loved doing this for a couple reasons.

One, I feel like there isn't a lot of time in my regular everyday schedule for things like this. I know, I teach kindergarten. But the day is so structured that it's hard to find time for activities that allow choice and creativity - unless they're directly connected to the curriculum.

Second, I loved seeing how well they did rotating from center to center.  We even paused in the middle for our morning break and when we came back, they went right back to their station and knew which ones they had left to do. It's these opportunities for independence and student choice that I feel like I haven't been doing enough of in my classroom.

Third, I loved that the lantern idea genuinely came from a student. She was making one during reading (I mean, during free choice) one day and instead of being mad, I was really impressed! She said she had learned from a Youtube video. Being able to then incorporate it into something the whole class was doing and giving her the opportunity to teach others this skill she had learned was clearly empowering for her. I want to be able to give my students these opportunities a lot more often! I also wish there was more time where I could let them explore and demonstrate what they already know, beyond academics. Sigh, things to work on!

A photo posted by Katie (@voraciousteacher) on
And now I am officially on Winter Break and I am SO excited. I'm honestly a little surprised it's already the end of December - they say time flies only when you're having fun! All joking aside, I am having fun, it just takes a lot of energy and I'm looking forward to ten days with no alarms! 

Happy vacation!


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