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    Here they are!!!
    By Emily

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    Maryellen, I hope you don't mind that I am posting these, but it seems that there is an overwhelming desire for them on this board!! I found them very useful and I'm sure others will as well!

    Christmas Centres
    We run our centres for ½ hour a day, followed by ½ hour of sharing the writing. The centres continue this way for 5 days, till everyone gets a chance at each centre. We invite parents to join us if possible, as having an adult at a centre sure makes it run more smoothly. Before starting centres we brainstorm and illustrate a Christmas Word Wall. We do some activities to familiarize the children with those words – sorting them (can be green, not green, food/decorations, other, senses, etc) and by alphabetizing them.
    Here are our Christmas Centres;

    Christmas Counting book; They use the Christmas Word Wall to complete a counting book that goes; I knew it was Christmas
    Because I saw
    Three________________ etc
    Each sentence has its own page, they illustrate as well. Most get up to #5 or so.

    Christmas card Writing; They choose a card from our collection of recycled Christmas cards. We mount it to the top half of a colored sheet of copier paper, with lines copied on the bottom half. They write sentences to describe the picture or to tell what is happening.

    Reindeer story; We brainstorm a KWL chart about reindeer. The children write sentences, making up answers to questions like “What do they eat?” “Where do they sleep?” What do they do for fun?” “What sound do they make?”. This is written on a lined sheet cut exactly to fit a precut brown construction paper triangle. We make the triangle into a reindeer face by folding two corners down for ears, tracing our hands on tan paper for antlers, and cutting eyes. The nose is a large circle sticker. In the week after centres are over we usually have time to add a simple body, legs and tail from brown construction paper rectangles.

    Listening Centre; Listen to a Christmas Listening Centre then order 6 pictures from the story. In the week after Centres are finished we’ll print sequencing vocabulary under each picture as an introduction for future story writing. (first, next, then, soon, later, finally)

    Christmas Computer Clues; On the computer (we use KidPix) the children will draw and color a Christmas item. Our Word Wall gives them ideas. We print it in color (a rare thing) and they cut out the picture and glue it inside a folded cardboard card that has been covered on the front with Christmas Wrap. Then they compose 3 clues so classmates can guess what they’ve drawn. (for example; its red and white, it hangs on a tree, you eat it) One of the adults will copy their clues onto a tag which we attach to the folded card like a to-from tag on a gift. They read it to the class, some classmates guess, then we display them in the hall for others to read.

    Another 5 day book we like to do involves illustrating a poem about using their 5 senses at Christmas. I don’t have the poem here, but it was a pretty simple one. Each day we brainstorm one sense (things you can feel, or hear, or taste, etc, around Christmas time.) Again, the Christmas Word Wall is used for ideas. We illustrate one idea a day. At the end of the week we have a bulky 5 page book about 5 Senses at Christmas. There is often a Christmas Story book that goes with each page well, so we’ll read it then. Some examples are;
    Smell; cut out and decorate a gingerbread man on brown paper, cover with glue and sprinkle with cinnamon or ginger.
    Sight; cut a tree out of green, glue into the booklet and decorate with stickers, glitter, beads, sequins. Use glitter glue for a garland and add a shiny gold star on top.
    Touch; color and cut out a Santa face (from a coloring book master) and add cotton balls or quilt batting for beard and hat trim
    Hearing; color and cut out a reindeer (same coloring book) glue it into the book and add a small gold jingle bell on a ribbon round his neck
    Taste (last) decorate a drawing of a candy cane using a pattern of stripes in red, then tape on a mini candy cane. They get to eat the candy cane after they’ve read the story to a parent.

    Well, that’s what we do for Christmas Centres, each small group of children will do one a day til they rotate thru all 5 in a week. If there is a Jehovah’s Witness child, their parents are informed and the child can either stay home til 10:30 (centres and sharing activities are over) or join us for the same centres adapted to be signs of winter. Two teachers worded together to create them and we have saved the adapted pages year to year, so we have them when needed, and don’t have to re invent the wheel.

    Hope these ideas help
    Mary Ellen

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