Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quickie Christmas Activity

This post was inspired by the need to find some easy activities for my students to do this week (and because lots of people are gooling for Christmas and Smart board activities) and evolved into more. A Christmas Carol is a terrific theme for some awesome differentiated learning activities. Everything I've put together here could be created in a couple of hours or is simply downloadable/printable/playable and could be done fairly quickly. Maybe when I have some time (she laughs maniacally) I'll further develop this into a real unit. Meanwhile, if you have ideas to share, please do....

This has been a big week for my program. My new high school student has been visiting with her teacher. Today we had a video party with another class in the building (the "alternative learning" class) where we watched the "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever." Well, really, the movie played and everyone ate the snacks the other teacher brought. My kids showed off some of things they can do and the ALC kids gained an appreciation and understanding of others. It was a pretty cool experience and one or two of them want to come back and play video games (after he saw my wii one of the boys, who had kind of sat off in a corner and not said anything at all, asked if he could bring his playstation, which was in his back pack, and come play with the kids; that led into a discussion of how "my" kids play video games, what games they like, etc.; now we have a "date" for Friday and I think a ready-made incentive opportunity for this struggling student). Tomorrow and Friday my new student and her para are spending the day with us while the teacher packs up and moves all the stuff from her program. On top of all that, one of my favorite paras ever decided the job she had left us for was not for her. Her first day back was yesterday (yay for us!), but this, among other things, necessitated a long overdue team meeting. I've been writing progress reports and planning for the upcoming program changes. We've also been trying to consolidate, down-size, and generally make space for all the stuff we're getting from the other program. Oh, and we have a birthday party to throw tomorrow.

Because I knew the adults were going to be pretty well tied up, as far as programming goes, I needed to come up with some activities the kids could do with minimum assistance but that were still meaningful. Then Kate posted this article about Speakaboos including the link to A Christmas Carol. Perfect! Then I remembered that Pete's Stuff had a sensory story about Scrooge (for another fun Christmas activity from Pete try Norbert the Green Nosed Reindeer). And I found an AWESOME unabridged recording of the book on itunes read by the phenomenal Jim Dale (who reads the Harry Potter series, my kids' favorite audio books; mine too). So we're using the sensory story and Speakaboos on the Smart board during morning meeting and then letting the kids listen to the audio book at times when the adults are tied up with the multitude of other things going on right now. If we have time on Friday we'll watch the movie too.

Other activities you could quickly put together to do with this book:

Make a "humbug" (scroll down to "undirected craft time)

Recreate the characters with paper sack puppets

Make paper chains for Jacob Marley

Make a Christmas wish list for Tiny Tim (we would use Boardmaker PCS and pictures from toy catalogs)

Discuss the emotions of the various characters (happy, sad, scared, mad, etc.)

Compare Christmas traditions from the Victorian Era with today (presents; family get togethers; Christmas trees; crazy shopping days; dancing; etc.). If I were to do this with my students I would create representations of major traditions using Boardmaker. Then we'd create a chart or Venn diagram on the Smart board and help the kids decide if the activities should go in Christmas past, Christmas present, or both.

Vote on your favorite character from the story and make a bar graph using pictures (Scrooge, the ghosts, Jacob Marley, Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchitt, etc.)

Make Victorian bonnets or top hats

Use some of these ideas for Victorian Christmas crafts

Or play some Victorian era Christmas games

Gee, all these ideas, that I found and/or came up with in about a 15 minute search, make me wish that we had time to do them! Maybe next year...

1 comment:

  1. Holy Moley!!! You are awesome! As an excellent example of creative genius, you're an inspiration for teachers and homeschoolers to take advantage of a current theme and use it maximally for learning. Good job!!!
    Judy Armes