12.28.2011

classroom christmas party: gingerbread style

Merry {late} Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to all my bloggy friends!
I hope you are enjoying your winter break as much as I am.... isn't it wonderful?!

I know Christmas has come and gone, but I really wanted to tell you all about our classroom Christmas party.  It was so fun and I am definitely doing it next year. I also have amazing parent volunteers, so I didn't have to do a lot to get everything ready. My parent volunteers are the best!

For the party, each student invited a grandparent or special guest {we got neighbors, brothers, dads, moms... etc} to come to our classroom and decorate a gingerbread house. We sent out personal invitations and we had a great turn-out. 

Since I have to be organized and I need to be in control {I can't help it, I have to} I put up a little agenda on the white board. This schedule helped my students know what options they had when they finished an activity. I didn't want them saying... Ummmm I am not sure what to do next... You know what I mean? 
The party lasted just a little over an hour, and everyone kept busy the whole time.


This is my adorable niece with her daddy:


The best part about everyone having their own special guest, was the one-on-one attention each student got. This is especially helpful when decorating gingerbread houses. I couldn't have done it without all the adults. 
I didn't have to worry about the mess or anything!

A wonderful parent volunteer put all the houses together with a glue gun and graham crackers {my room mom}. She also divided up the candy ahead of time {that the students donated} and put them in baggies for the kids. Another mom made royal icing and put it in baggies, too. On the day of the party, everything was ready to go. It was totally stress FREE--which I love. I only had to worry about taking pictures! ;)


Most of my students used ALL of their candy. Seriously. 
On some of them, I couldn't see any sign of graham crackers!
They were so proud of their creations and I heard my students saying, "This is the BEST party ever!"


When they were done with their gingerbread house, they cleaned up {another bonus of having one-on-one attention from an adult} and played a few Christmas games. I could tell that my students felt important when they taught their special guest the rules and how to play each game. 


After the games, they got to read a Christmas story. This was probably my favorite part, which is saying a lot, because this whole party was fun. I just loved seeing them snuggle with their guests and read a book!


Another wonderful parent volunteer made *delicious* cookies and my sister donated punch. This whole party wouldn't have been possible without the parent volunteers-- like I already said, I am a lucky teacher!


I also had my gingerbread Sensty going... It smelled like we baked the gingerbread! Yum!


With the help of the special guests, my classroom went from super messy and crowded to clean and empty. 
The adults loved coming to school with their special student and they were more than happy to help out with everything. The only thing I love more than a clean house, is a clean classroom!


Since this party, I have had so much positive feedback about how fun this party was. Many grandparents didn't even want to leave when the party was over... they were enjoying themselves too much! 
I think the adults actually had more fun than the kids. 

This is definitely going to become a tradition in my classroom from now on!

To tie this party into the curriculum, we wrote the invitations and thank you cards {I took pictures of them at the party and they sent those with the thank you cards}. They also tracked who won the Christmas games on a data worksheet {math} and I snuck in reading time at the end when my students read to their special guest.
So... not only was this party super fun, but it was educational, too!

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On Another Side Note:
Santa brought me this Ipad 2 for Christmas! I can't wait to use it in my classroom next week. For those of you who use one in your classroom, I would love to hear how you use it and which apps you like. I have seen a lot of things on Pinterest and online, but I am not sure what is actually appropriate/useful for the classroom.


Have a good week, friends! :)

{BTW, I am working on a few units: Fractions & Valentine's Day Fun. I will try to get them out to you soon!}

21 comments:

  1. What a fun holiday party that everyone can participate in! I wish I taught at the elementary level so I could still do things like that. I was able to do some Polar Express things with my 6th graders which was wonderful too though. That is too neat that you have your niece in class. I am hoping that I will get to have my God daughter when she is in 6th grade!

    Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher

    P.S. I am jealous of your Ipad. I have been lusting over one for several months now. Unfortunately, Santa did not bring me one. :(

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  2. Hi Lindsey:

    This sounds like an AWESOME party (and I am drooling over those cookies!)

    I love the organization of it all... and the "after" picture just makes it all the better!

    Wishing you a wonderful New Year...

    Kim
    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

    PS Your white board Welcome and Agenda are so perfect, I thought they were SmartBoard graphics!

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  3. Loved your party, wish I was there! I have an iPad 1 in my class and I teach 2nd grade. I gave the kids a few simple rules with it and away they go with it. They are very respnisble with it. Wish I had more. I search the free apps every couple days. My kids love word monkey. It's a spelling game good for any age level. I have also downloaded many stories that can be read or read to thm for a listening center. Everyday Math has all their games that we do along with the workbook on here. You have a camera in yours, so you can skype with another class in a nother district or state. Keep exploring, you'll love it.

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  4. That looks like a great party! How fun would it be to be one of your students!?!
    Jennifer
    First Grade Blue SKies

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  5. What an awesome idea to decorate Gingerbread Houses!!!! They look adorable.

    I'm jealous of your ipad...

    Lindsay
    My Life as a Fifth Grade Teacher

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  6. I love your cute party idea!

    And I'm totally jealous that you can have a Scentsy! My principal banned them a couple years ago... sad!!

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  7. I absolutely love your party idea!! I did something similar where we build gingerbread houses and did games, but I REALLY like how you invite special guests to join in the fun. Definitely going to add this element to my party next year! Thank you so much for sharing!!

    Apples and Papers

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  8. I got an iPad 2 for Christmas as well, and I've been searching for the best apps to use in my third grade classroom - if you find any good ones, I'd love it if you'd share!

    Love your blog! Happy holidays!

    Katherine

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  9. Can u teach me how to be just.like.YOU? Wish we could be teammates! U let me know if there is ever an opening on ur team k!!

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  10. OF I love this idea!! Definitely keeping this one filed away for future reference! Thanks for sharing!

    Classroom Confetti

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  11. Hi Lindsey! What a great idea for a holiday party! I can't wait to try it out next year! How special!!! And I'm sure the kids will remember that forever! I was wondering.... Did you have any students who didn't have a special guest...? Also, you should check out the iPad blog http://sfsipads.blogspot.com/ for ideas on how to use your new iPad in the classroom. :) Check out the post from Nov. 18th on Evernote- I love Evernote because it lets me put all of my notes on students in one spot. (I used to have a million post-its and notes and crumbled up pieces of papers with anecdotal notes everywhere...now it's all in one spot!) And, you can even add pictures of student work and add video of students reading and put it in their virtual Evernote notebook. I hope that helps. I can't wait to see your valentine's fun unit. :)

    Sandy from http://soaringthroughsecond.blogspot.com/

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  12. I LOVE your party idea - thanks for sharing it! I know my students all love having fun together, but I think they would really enjoy one-on-one time with their special visitor, especially since the holidays are such a busy time of year! How do you handle students who don't have a visitor? I would love to try your idea, but it would definitely be during a year when I have parent volunteers. Happy Holidays - thanks for taking time from your break to blog.

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  13. oh my gosh! I love that Whoville hair!!! So awesome!

    You put on a great party - great job! So awesome that you have so much parent support and involvement!

    I got an iPad for Christmas, too. I teach special ed so I'm debating whether I want to keep it to myself or use it for work, too....decisions, decisions!

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  14. Such an interesting blog on 'Classroom Christmas party'. I just loved it.

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  15. How fun this looks. I always do houses on my own but may reconsider. Where is the cute bingo game with spinner from?? One of your packets?
    Thanks for sharing your great photos!

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  16. love the cute Woo Hair - beautiful

    Jeannie
    http://kindergartenlifestyle.blogspot.com/

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  17. We use iPads in our classroom. I've found lots of great free apps in the education section of the app store. Especially for word work and math. I always put the apps in the dock of the iPad that I want the kids to do for that day/week. That way they aren't scrolling through the pages looking for the ones they are supposed to be on. Tumble books has a bunch of books now that are compatible with I-pad. You can save them to the iPad so that that students do not have to log in. You can create a whole folder of tumble books. (click add to home screen when you have loaded the story on the tumble book site and rename the link) I've also used the magnetic letters app for the kids to do making words activity. There's also some cool and easy to use recording apps. The kids can record themselves reading and listen to it and it'll also save for you to listen to later. Hope that helps!

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  18. I make gingerbread houses in my classroom too, but we invite our sixth grade buddies to come make them with us.

    I also got an iPad for my classroom just before winter break! I loved reading the app suggestions!

    Your blog is darling!
    Rebecca

    firstgradeabcs.blogspot.com

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  19. Hi Lindsey - I was wondering where you can get the little plastic spinner thingy for the wheels. I loved your ideas here too! Thank you!
    Carlen

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  20. All people decorate their houses very well at Christmas.. house needs to be decorated with a Christmas tree, garlands and other embellishments. Extra decorations can be put up depending on the theme for the party. Christmas Parties in Kent

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thanks for the love ♥

 
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