Counting Down to Christmas Vacation! - Week #16

Here are FIVE great ideas to help you welcome the holiday season in your pre-K, Kindergarten, or first grade classroom, and a sleigh FULL of free downloads to go with them!  There are downloadable instructions for Christmas Guided Drawing, a Christmas Tree matching sets activity to practice the numbers 0-30, a Sight Word Santa game, a Counting by Tens Christmas Tree Hat, and three different Christmas themed worksheets, including a graph, a counting worksheet for 10-30, and a Christmas tree color words worksheet.  Boy, oh BOY!  I hope you enjoy all of this, and have a wonderful holiday!

1. Christmas Guided Drawing Directions

Back by popular demand, here are the instructions as a free download and some pictures for a Christmas themed guided drawing picture. Remember, the kids draw along with the teacher in a following directions and visual perception type of exercise that results in a fun drawing!

My kids always wind up including these little drawings as illustrations for the sentences they are learning to write. I also use these same drawings to illustrate my Christmas themed words on my word wall. Enjoy!

2. Christmas Tree Matching Sets 0-30
I decided that I wanted to make a holiday themed matching sets activity that went all the way from 0-30, so I came up with the idea of putting a number on the star at the top of the tree and putting that number of ornaments on the tree. You cut the top of the trees off, and the children have to count the ornaments and match up the correct tree to the correct star. I am including the file as a free download this week!

We have been working on this concept using manipulatives for quite a long time, especially using the egg cartons and holiday erasers, farm animals, or spiders, etc. However, it is still quite difficult for the children to count out that many objects correctly when they are merely pictures of the objects and not the real thing! Still, it was very good practice for them. It seems to work best to do it in small groups with an aide or another helper so that they can practice counting up the groups of tens in the ten frames, and then counting on from there. I recommend only keeping the cards for 21-30 totally separate and getting them out only when you are sure that your students have mastered 0-20. The cards are large, so if you are sure your students have already mastered matching sets from 0-10, just give your students 11-20 only and there will be more space to work in and less confusion!

3. Sight Word Santa Game
We have been working on our sight words, of course, and one thing the kids always love to do around Christmas time is to sing the "Here" song (which is sung to the tune of Jingle Bells) from Sing and Spell Vol. 1 and shake some jingle bells while they sing.  I have six jingle bells to shake, so sic kids can shake them at a time, and we just take turns.

Another way to practice sight words is through this new game I made up called the Sight Word Santa Game.  Remember that Turkey Tails game that I posted? Well this is just about the same thing, but with Santa on the cards rather than the turkey! I am including the file for you as a free download this week, too!

Here’s how to play:

To Prepare: Duplicate and cut apart the Sight Word Santas and the present. Mix up the Santa cards.

To Play: Have your students make a circle, all sitting on the floor. Once seated, scatter all of the Santa’s on the floor. (I have been thinking about playing this game off of a pocket chart instead this time- but the Santa’s might be too tall to stay put. We’ll have to wait and see!)

Have the children hide their eyes while you hide the picture of the present underneath one of the Santa’s. Ask them to lift their heads up when you are done hiding the present.

Then have the children chant, “Santa, Santa! Ho, ho, ho! Santa, Santa, where did it go?” Chose one child to tell you the sight word Santa that he or she thinks the present is hidden under. Once he or she says the word, that person may lift up that card. If the present is hidden under there, then that child is the winner of that round. If not, then another child gets a turn to guess. Play continues in this fashion until the present is found. If you wish, you may let the child that finds the Santa be the next one to hide him. However, be aware that this likely means that every single child in the class will want a chance to hide the present, so in a whole group situation, this may not be advisable because the game would be too long. Have fun!

4. Count by Tens Christmas Tree Hat
We have been learning to count by tens, and singing the Count by Tens song from the Musical Math CD.  So to further reinforce that, I decided to make an art project about  it!  So here’s another free download for you! We are giving you the instructions for the Christmas Tree Hat and the template for tracing. You can thank my husband Greg for getting the template done for me, or this wouldn’t have happened! In the past, I have always just had my students make this hat without any numbers on the ornaments. But this year, I had too many art activities for the time that I had, so I decided to turn it into a math activity instead. Actually, you could have the kids write any numbers that you would like on this hat! But I decided to have them write the numbers from ten to one hundred, counting by tens. After completing this hat in just one day at our math table center, I decided that next year I would break it into a two day project. So this is what I would recommend:

Day One: Write the numbers on the squares of paper so that they are ready to go. I wanted my students to use a fine tipped black marker to write the numbers so that they would show up better on the construction paper, so we needed to have some extra papers for them to use if they made a mistake writing the numbers, since marker cannot be erased. Then when they are finished writing the numbers, they can cut the corners off of each square of paper, and practice putting them in order if there is time. I would have them put their squares in an envelope with their name on it to save for the next day.

Day Two: Cut out the pre-traced hat.  Put the numbers in order on the hat, and check with an adult to make sure that they are ordered correctly. Then glue them down. After that, when the hat is done, they can read the numbers back to an adult. Then the adult can staple the strip onto the back of the hat and fit it to the child’s head.

5. Christmas Worksheets: Free Downloads!!!
Here are the latest in some holiday worksheets that I constructed for my class and coworkers this week. I hope that they are useful to you!

Christmas Graph Worksheet: This little graph has got a Santa, some elves, some reindeer, and some presents to count.

Christmas Counting Worksheet: These worksheets give kids practice counting out quantities from 11-20. They count bells, ornaments, and gingerbread men!

Christmas Tree Color Words Worksheet: This color-by-number worksheet helps kids practice the color words and also the numbers 11-17.

I hope that you enjoy all of these little "gifts!"  It was my pleasure to make them and give them to you! I hope that they make the holidays a little more merry for you and your students!

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  1. THANK YOU!!! I LOVE the guided drawing activities....actually, I LOVE them ALL! Thanks for all your hard work that you have done! I would love to see what you have planned for January/winter soon! :)

  2. Heidi...Congrats on your nominations!! You certainly deserve to win!

    Your blog is extra fun this week. Thanks for all the freebies. As usual, I can hardly wait to go back on Monday to begin implementing all your ideas.

    Keep up the OUTSTANDING work. Good luck on the voting (how many times & how often can we vote?) & have a well deserved, peaceful, healthy break.

    You are LOVED!!

  3. To Bethany and Theresa,
    You are both so welcome! I'm so glad that you like my ideas- but especially glad to hear that I am loved!!!
    In answer to how many times you can vote, you can only vote once from each IP address, I think. So basically, just once from home, and once from work, etc., as far as I understand it.
    Thanks so much for all of your support!

  4. Thank you for these wonderful resources! I just "discovered" you this year...and after the most recent PO goes through, I will have most everything you have to offer. I don't know who is having more fun this year, me or my students! We sing all the time. "How do you make 13 Mrs. Kaylor?" and we all sing the song.... We sing in the hallway, the cafeteria, lining up to go home...THANK YOU so much! Keep it coming. (BTW, I have been teaching for almost 40 years...and you have rejuvenated me! :))

  5. To Buena,
    That's so WONDERFUL to hear! It truly gives me chills to read that you are rejuvenated and loving teaching! I love my job, too! My husband and I have been discussing whether or not I should job share next year, and even as much as I need the time, I am having trouble with the idea of letting go!
    Thanks so much,

  6. Of course i voted for you! You share such wonderful ideas!

  7. Heidi, Thank you for all you do for children all over! You are an inspiration! I love all your work! I found you a couple years ago with your word wall songs and my children and I loved them! I couldn't wait to share them with my colleagues! Then I went back and ordered your alphabet songs...they were just as awesome! Then I found your blog and I look forward to every Saturday morning over a cup of coffee looking through all your neat ideas! Such talent! Maura
    P.S. I will certainly vote for you!

  8. I went to the Indianapolis Kdg just because you were scheduled to be there. I introduced syllables last week and this was our song. (If your happy...)
    There are syllables in a word, hear the beat. (clap, clap, clap)
    There are syllables in a word, hear the beat. (clap, clap, clap)
    We can count them as we go.
    We are very smart you know.
    There are syllables in a word, hear the beat. (clap, clap, clap)

  9. To Anonymous:
    I hope you enjoyed the conference!
    Your syllables song is cute! I have one on my Little Songs for Language Arts CD, too.

  10. Heidi,
    We used your Christmas tree color word page but my kids pointed out to me that there was no color for number 18! They colored it brown since it was the trunk. I'm sure a quick change by you will fix it easily.
    Pat S.

  11. Uh oh! I just fixed it on my computer, and I'll have my husband upload the corrected copy as soon as he can, hopefully today. I can't believe that none of the kids in my class noticed that! (But I'm not surprised that I didn't!!!)

  12. Love, love, love your reindeer and elves bulletin board. Do you, by any chance, have a tutorial for that? They are just adorable!

  13. To Mrs. Yazzie:
    Yes, you can find the directions and templates for the Rudolph and elves projects on this blog entry here:
    Have fun!

  14. Heidi...I have seen your name on other sites I have followed for a few years (especially Mrs. Levin's) and I have always thought I need to check you out! Well..this year a colleague gave me one of your CD's to listen to and I have become an instant fan! Thank you for your inspiration and your love for teaching!


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