Celebrating Christmas & Other Holidays Around The World

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It’s been a little while since my last blog post.  I’ve suddenly hit a cleaning/organization craze.  I consider myself to be somewhat of an organization nut but every now and then, I’ll get some divine inspiration and ideas that I must do immediately.  A few weeks ago I finally succumbed and jumped into the Thirty-One craze after being on the lookout for a new teacher bag.  I must say I’m in love!  I ended up buying two of the Organizing Utility Tote bags (one as my school/home bag and the other as travelling bag).  Oh my gosh, they’re awesome!  In the past I’ve always had so much stuff thrown on top of each other that I never can find exactly what I’m looking for.  With my new bags this isn’t the case!  The organizing pockets on the outside are perfect for holding pens and markers, my personal belongings, etc. while the heavy-duty stuff goes on the inside.  No more messy and torn papers for me!

As you can see in the photos, I’ve also been on another shopping trip…this time for school supplies!  Ever since I first came across Sarah Cooley’s amazing idea for turning Candy Land into a sight word game, I have wanted one.  I finally got around to buying the game a few weeks ago when I came across it on sale at Wal Mart for less than five bucks!  I saw that they are going to be selling it even cheaper ($3.88) come Black Friday, so you might want to grab one for yourself!  Of course, the teacher in me also had to have some new flair pens and thin Mr. Sketch markers!  There’s nothing quite like new pens and markers is there?!?!

Phew!  With all of that being said, here are a few Christmas-themed activities and sets I’ve been working on recently:

First up is my second set of clip art, and I’m SO stoked about this set!  I’m still incredibly new to creating clip art, and I can’t begin to tell you how happy I was with how this set of Christmas Ornament Balls turned out.  I had a clear vision in my head of exactly how I wanted them to turn out but thought I probably didn’t stand a chance of that happening, but it did!  I hope some of you might enjoy them as well.  They’d make a cute decoration for a newsletter, parent letter, or classroom activity.  The set contains 29 individual png files. There are 28 color graphics and 1 black line graphic (for black and white sheets). Each graphic is 300 dpi for clear printing!  You may use the files for any personal teaching use or in any teaching product you intend to sell or give away as long as you give credit to me. Easy instructions are included in the zip file.

Purchase on Teachers Pay Teachers Here.

Last but definitely not least is my Celebrating Christmas & Other Holidays Around The World Unit!  This is one of my favorite units to do, and I’ve put together a packet of some of the activities and crafts I have done in the past along with some new ones as well!

(Previous Cover)

I have done Christmas & Other Holidays Around The World several different ways before.  I’ve done it solo with a class spread out over a week, split with grade level teachers (each teacher takes a country) over two weeks, and split with grade level teachers (each teacher takes a country) all in one day.  Personally, I prefer splitting it with grade level teachers each taking one country and spreading it out over two weeks.  It’s so much fun for the kiddos to get to “visit” each country, and the teachers only have to plan one activity.  Doing it over two weeks is great as well since it’s not rushed and you get to really focus on the countries and activities.  Doing it all in one day is such a rush, and in my experience, there is ALWAYS a class that shows up early and has to wait and one that gets to spend only about five minutes at one or two countries!

With that being said, I always begin my unit by looking at maps and discussing the process of travelling to different countries.  Then, my kiddos have to fill out a passport application and be approved before being granted a passport.  Each students gets their own passport to carry to each country, and when they arrive, the border control (a.k.a. “the teacher”) stamps their passport with either a stamp or sticker.  I also have my kiddos make a suitcase to take with them to each country, and prior to departure, they fill out a map by coloring and labeling each country they will be visiting.  It makes for a fun and educational geography lesson!

Exactly what the students do at each country depends on the individual teacher but usually involves reading a book, listening to music, a short lesson, sometimes a food sample, and a craft. 

Here’s a look at what the finished suitcase/craft collection looks like:
If you’re interested in doing this with your class, I put together a packet that includes all you need to do this with your class! 

Included are passports, airline tickets, emergent readers, fluency sheets with comprehension questions, crafts (with templates included), country welcome signs, and book and music suggestions for the following countries: China, England, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Israel, Mexico, and Sweden.
Here’s a look at what is in the unit:
*Beginning the Unit Ideas
* United States Passport Application
*Canada Passport Application
*Australia Passport Application
*Blank Passport Application
*Passport Ideas and Instructions
*7 Passports, including a blank template
*Passport Labels for included countries
*Christmas Around The World Journal (Holidays Around The World also included) – 2 Templates – This is a handwritten journal for students to write about what they learned in each country.  Another template includes an opportunity for students to both write and draw about what they learned.  This is not a book for students to store their crafts in; it is a written journal only.
*Suitcase Template and Instructions
*Plane Ticket (In color and black and white & one for Christmas & one for Holidays)
*Book and Song Suggestions for included countries
*China Paper Lantern Craft and Welcome Sign (Touches upon Christmas and (very briefly) Chinese New Year)
*England Christmas Cracker Craft and Welcome Sign
*Ethiopian Drum Craft and Welcome Sign
*France Shoe Craft and Welcome Sign
*Germany Tree Puppet Craft and Welcome Sign
*Holland Shoe Craft and Welcome Sign
*Italian La Befana Broom Craft and Welcome Sign
*Israel Hanukkah Menorah Craft and Welcome Sign
*Mexico Poinsettia Craft and Welcome Sign
*Sweden St. Lucia’s Day Candle Crown Craft and Welcome Sign
*Emergent Reader for Each Country
*Fluency Sheets with Comprehension Questions (2 Levels of Differentiated Sheets For Each Country.  Comprehension Questions are a multiple choice (3 questions) and written response.)
Purchase on Teachers Pay Teachers Here.
Purchase on Teacher’s Notebook Here.

I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Happy Thanksgiving, and if you will be hitting the stores come Black Friday, happy shopping!