I started with our usual greetings, welcome song, and introduction. I knew with it being the last day of school before Christmas and the day of special Christmas activities that the kids would be more hyped up, so I did several extra verses of our "story song" to try to get them more settled and focused.
For our first story, I chose The Three Bears' Christmas by Kathy Dival and Paul Meisel. This is a cute re-telling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears with a Christmas theme. Instead of porridge, it's gingerbread bear cookies; and instead of Goldilocks, it's Santa who has been in their house nibbling their cookies, sitting in their chairs, laying in their beds, and leaving presents! The story is cute and I like how there are little clues throughout the story that become more and more obvious as you go along. It's interesting to see when the kids start picking up on them.
Next we did the "Rudolph, Rudolph" rhyme and feltboard:
|Rudolph, Rudolph pattern from Library Quine|
You can't guide Santa's sleigh if your nose is BLUE.
Rudolph, Rudolph, you're such a silly fellow.
Who will know it's you if your nose is YELLOW.
Rudolph, Rudolph, your way cannot be seen,
Through the wintry weather if your nose is GREEN.
Rudolph, Rudolph, Santa gave a wink.
But what will he say if your nose is PINK?
Rudolph, Rudolph, it's time to fly at night.
But you can't get through the snow if your nose is WHITE.
Rudolph, Rudolph, it's time to go to town.
But you can't help Santa if your nose is BROWN.
Rudolph, Rudolph, Santa has his sack.
But you're not ready if your nose is BLACK.
Rudolph, Rudolph, the children are in bed.
And now you can get on your way because your nose is RED!
*Poem found at Crafty Chic Mommy
And of course we had to follow that by singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer".
Since the kids were really getting wound up, I decided to skip the second book (Shhh! by Julie Sykes and Tim Warnes) and go straight to the last book, Click, Clack, Ho! Ho! Ho! by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin as it is shorter and more simple, but still funny. In this book mischievous Duck is up to something on Christmas Eve. He climbs up the telephone pole and zip-line's across to the roof, where he falls in the chimney and gets stuck. All the other animals zip over to the roof, and try to help Duck get unstuck, but they all end up stuck, too! Finally Santa arrives and saves the day. The story is simple, and the kids will enjoy predicting that the other animals will get stuck, too, and being tricked into wrongly predicting Santa will get stuck as well.
Then we ended by singing a couple of rounds of "Jingle Bells", with bells of course. Then I told them about the magical reindeer food I was leaving with the teacher for them to take home at the end of the day and save until Christmas Eve, sang the closing song, and gave them all hand stamps.
How It Went
Things went as well as could be expected, considering it was the last day of school before Christmas and they had special activities planned, and this group is generally less disciplined and much more chatty and squirrely than last year's class anyway.
I was surprised at how quickly one girl caught on to the fact that it was Santa in the three bears' house. She spotted the first clue, just a tiny glimpse of Santa's sleigh up in the corner of the page, and when the bears saw their door open, she knew right away it was Santa. It took the other kids a little longer to figure it out. They liked this story, but not quite as much as I hoped they would. I think they have to be really familiar with the original story to fully appreciate it, and only 4 or 5 of them said they knew the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Just like with every other group, the "Rudolph, Rudolph" activity went over really well, and just like most every other group, they guessed it was a turkey when I had just put up the face without the ears, antlers, or nose. I find that really interesting, as I really wouldn't have thought of it that way, but that response was very consistent. I guess the head could kind of look like a turkey's tail, with the darker colored snout looking like a turkey's neck and head. Some guessed it right when I added the ears, the rest got it with the antlers. One little boy guessed "moose" which made sense as he was wearing a shirt with a moose on it.
They all really liked the silly antics of the Duck in Click, Clack, Ho! Ho! Ho! and how everyone else got stuck. Not everyone is this group was fooled; however, and some correctly guessed that Santa would get them out and not get stuck himself.
They had a great time with the jingle bells, though at first I realized some were just singing random songs while shaking the bells, and not actually singing "Jingle Bells"! I've never noticed that happening before. Then, once I got them all on track, they didn't want to stop, continuing on with another round after I had stopped. Which was perfectly fine with me; I enjoyed just listening to them and appreciated the enthusiasm!
I remember last year I saw a noticeable improvement in listening skills and being able to sit quietly after we came back from the winter break, so I hope the same happens this year. I feel like there are just so many more great books available to them once they get to the point they can sit still and listen for 5-10 minutes and I don't want them to miss out. I don't mind the interruptions to ask a question or make a brief comment related to the story, but when they are constantly moving around, talking to each other, and interrupting with comments unrelated to the story, it makes it difficult to read anything other than the very short, simple books that don't really have much of a story or more complex language.