December 31, 2014

Jumping Through TIme!

I’m going back to then, which was only about 10 days ago!  Yes, all the waaaaaaaay back to then!  Why, because I’ve procrastinated!  Yes, I have!  I’m really good at it too!  So, where did I leave off-oh, yes, then!  I’d like to step back in time to the fun we had in class learning about then and now!

I actually have to go back to earlier in December first.  We had an awesome time learning about the history of the Christmas tree.  Remember I said I’d share a great idea I had for a hall display.  Here it is!  (Pin it for next year!) 


We started with a tree in the hall.  Nothing fancy.  In my packet I put some printable ornaments from then.  We started there.


 I then created some now ornaments (I will be updating the packet to include these for those who purchased it!)




This is our final product!  It came out AWESOME!  I got lots of complements from other teachers about how great it came out.  The kids loved looking at it too! The great thing about it was that the kids could use the tree as a visual to help them with their Venn diagram. 





They loved completing the time line also.  We’ve learned a lot about Queen Victoria because of this unit!  She’s responsible for many of the elements of our holiday (making it stylish!) including having a Christmas tree in the palace and sending Christmas cards!  Who knew!


Anyways, we had some real fun with ornaments too!  Here are two that we made with the St. Nicholas/Santa Fresh Read included in the packet.  They are great fun to make!

Hand Santa


Trace your hand with your thumb pointing out and your fingers together.

Glue the red paper across the thumb area.




Cut around the hand to create the hat.

Stretch a cotton ball out.

Put glue on the beard area. Glue the stretched out cotton ball there.

Take a second cotton ball and pull off a ball.  Then stretch the rest out. Put glue on the band and the end of the hat.

Glue the ball on the end.  Glue the stretched out cotton ball on the hat to form the band.

Punch a hole in the hat and add string.  Then they can hang!

Totally cute "now" Santas!

St. Nicholas Ornament


I found this on a Scandinavian site.  It is super simple.  A large triangle, a smaller triangle for the face/beard, and a medium triangle that is rounded for the hat! Super simple but a "then" ornament! 


Here's how they looked on our tree!


By far the best parts of our study included presentation of materials by our very own.  First, one of my students was able to share Hanukkah with us.  First we read the material and completed our learning.  During this time we used her as our primary resource.   The next day she brought in her book and talked specifically about what her family does.  The kids asked great questions and she shared great information!  It was AWESOME!


And, to celebrate in a different way than normal, our Christmas party was really Then and Now centers!  The kids had a real blast!!  It was so great!  My wonderful, former teacher, homeroom mom ran the station for quill pens!  Her sister-in-law works at Old Williamsburg and this is her actual job, to use quill pens and write tickets, etc.  My homeroom mom was given a set of quill pens and she dug them out of her stash to bring them in to use! The focus of the center was to learn to write like in the past, because they would write Christmas letters to friends. It was truly amazing to see the difference in kids’ handwriting.  Those that struggle to form letters with pencils did incredibly beautiful handwriting.  (What are we doing wrong today then!)  The kids worked diligently to create the letters and really loved this part of the first station. 
My AWESOME Homeroom Mom!


 I even had to try!  Big letters created splashing. You use sand to blot it up.  Small letters were easier and faster to form.  Cursive was much easier than print!

To complement this, we created modern day Christmas cards with stickers and glue! 


Our next center focused on a ball and stick game that was individual.  You had to catch the ball on the big end, the small end, or the stick in the middle.  Not an easy task!


While one player was doing this, the rest were playing holiday bingo!  Good stuff!


Our third station consisted of making an old-fashioned snowman clothespin.  The kids loved adding details to this one!


After they finished this, they created a modern plastic foam ornament with their picture on it! 

Our final center was trying out food from then and now.  For then, my homeroom mom cooked up some Wassail (spiced ciderish drink) in a crockpot right in class!  The kids were able to taste this drink and decide if they would like to drink this all the time!   Many said yes!  The other part of this center was to create a decorated cookie with sprinkles and the like!  Needless to say, it was one of their favorites! 


Overall, I’m really pleased with how great this unit is going.  I say going because I’m nowhere near finished!  I still have Jingle Bells and Skating close reads to go.  These are the most wintery to do after break.   I found this awesome video on Pintrest to go with Jingle Bells.  I think it will be a great way to introduce transportation in the past to my kids. It gets the point across well! 

I’ve also learned a few things about kids’ beliefs about "then".  They have no concept of how important fire was to people in the past-that they were not “kept” from it.  What I mean is that I’m sure they were afraid, it was something to be afraid of.  However, not like kids today.  They don’t understand that children handled fire, that it was used all day, every day, for many things.  The conversations about the candles on the tree alone were enlightening.  So, I’ll be creating something for fire too!  But, for now, I’m madly creating “The Sandy Day”, 
I'm going to the beach on Friday! 

a fun winter project for those of us who don’t have snow or anyone who would just like to have a fun compare and contrast unit for snow and sand!