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December in our Classroom

Is there a teacher out there who breezes through December?  If so, I need her tips because December kicks my butt every year.  This year, things seemed to be crazier than normal.  As a Fine Arts magnet school each grade level gets a month each year to showcase what we’ve been learning and applying it to the fine arts.  It’s amazing.  I wish I had photos to show you of our planning and projects and performances because I was blown away by what the kids did.  We chose to do our Showcase on what we’ve learned with Sound and Light {as part of our science standards}.  Students created instruments out of household objects with each group using a different way to make sound {pluck, strike, etc}.  In music each class learned to play different instruments and performed different songs.  In art class the students became photographers and took pictures of each other, experimented with the shadows and contrast, and then created Warhol like portraits.  They also did a really cool shadow 3-D project.  Oh, and the classes learned step routines.  That might have been my favorite part.  The entire thing was amazing and so worthwhile.  But, it was exhausting and the last week of school was basically dedicated to rehearsals and wrapping things up.  And my Christmas to-do list didn’t happen nearly as much as I had hoped.  We did get a few things done though to help us celebrate Christmas in the classroom.

I found this idea for these Subway Art coasters from Runde’s Room and loved, LOVED the idea.  It was a great way for me to incorporate the arts in our classroom and was an affordable gift for students to take home.  You can head over to her page to see the step by step directions but here’s a few snapshots of us working on them.

After showing students Subway Art and discussing characteristics like style, thickness, direction, and color, students began writing on their square piece of paper.  We had some common words on the board so that students could spell them correctly.

Then students went over some of their pencilings with black Sharpie so the black parts would come through clearly.  After that, the cards were shrunk, each student got 4 copies, and students colored their designs.

Then, in between the chaos of Thursday and Friday, students Mod Podged the designs onto ceramic tiles.  I helped put additional coats on as well.  I loved this project and look forward to doing it again, hopefully when we aren’t so rushed.

I used my Ellison AllStar Machine for a fun craft project for students as well.  I love having my own Ellison machine in my classroom and I love using all of the dies that are out there.  My school has letters and a few other dies, but I never knew all the possibilities that are out there.  Students designed their own fun envelopes and were able to give two sets of IOU coupons out as gifts as well.  As an Ellison Blogger, I shared how we created the envelopes over on the blog.  Check it out.

You can read about how we created it, and download the IOU tags for you and your students by clicking on either picture and heading over to the Ellison blog to check it out.

On Friday, I wanted a fun treat for my kids.  This was a big hit last year and so I thought I’d do it again.

It’s just mozzarella string cheese and Sharpies.  Easy, fun treat.

I also had hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream and we watched a couple movies as well.  I pulled students to the back to work on their coasters, and students worked on their coupons and envelopes throughout the day.  No matter how ready I thought we were- we still ran out of time!  I forgot to pass out the students’ books and so they’ll be there when they get back I guess.

I hope your last week was a little less crazy than ours, and I hope you got to end last week instead of this week!  Happy Holidays to you and yours!



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