Creative Snowflakes

This post, from The Art of Education blog, gives some great suggestions for a simple art challenge for the students who might be so inclined.  I would extend the topic even further by having the students brainstorm other possible ideas for illustrating an entire page:  ladybugs, flowers, holiday candy, cars, etc…

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S.C.A.M.P.E.R. the Holidays

One of the creative thinking tools that my students learn is S.C.A.M.P.E.R.  It is an acronym to help people to remember different ways inventive ideas can happen:  Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Another Use, and Rearrange.  It was originally developed by a man named Roger Eberle.  The holidays lend themselves to this type of thinking, as the students are already feeling a little loose and silly – willing to take risks with unusual ideas.  Here is a link to a first grade teacher’s activity in which her students had to think of ideas for the putting candy canes to another use.  And here are some other ones I’ve used:
Substitute other materials for making a “snowman” for a place where it never snows.
Combine two holidays and draw a picture of a family celebrating them.
Adapt Santa’s sleigh to another environment – like the desert or outer space.
Modify (Magnify or Minimize) a holiday dessert.
Put flying reindeer to another use for the rest of the year.
Eliminate presents from a holiday. What could be done to celebrate instead?
Rearrange the holiday calendar. What months would have which holidays, and why?
If you prefer having pre-made sheets, you can purchase PDF’s of these in my SCAMPER Through the Seasons pack on TPT. Here are some examples from my third graders:
This student made a snowman out of globes, and the hands are from a clock!
This student asked me if Santa’s new environment had to be “real.” When I said it did not have to be real, he chose a computer game as the environment.

Rain Deer Orchestra

Rain Deer Orchestra is just a fun site that can easily be differentiated for various music levels.  I am not sure why the site designer chose that particular way to spell the title, but it’s the songs that are important.  Go to this site, and you can tap on the noses of the reindeer to play music.  There are a couple of songs that have prompts to accompany them for those students who are just learning, and there is the option to “free play”.  For the middle-of-the-road students, or as a class lesson, the teacher could play a few notes, and then ask the student(s) to predict which reindeer would make the next appropriate note.

Text Snowflake Creator

This is a neat Java-based site that allows you to design your own snowflake with text.  Teachers could have their students create short messages in their snowflakes: a sentence from a book character’s point of view, what they would give the world as a gift, their favorite things about winter, etc…, and decorate the classroom bulletin boards with the print-outs.  I found this link on KB Connected, where you can also find a link to over 100 holiday related websites.

The History of English in Ten Minutes

The History of English in Ten Minutes is a series of short animated videos from Open University.  They are humorous and quick – so quick that you may need to replay them a few times in order for them to sink in.  They are slightly irreverent, and aimed at the 12 and up crowd, so please preview them before showing them to a class. I like the Shakespeare one since my daughter has been recently studying the famous playwright:

Open University also offers 7 videos in their series 60-Second Adventures in Thought, which includes interesting philosophical topics such as The Grandfather Paradox.

The Centered School Library

If you are a librarian, or know a librarian who needs a Christmas gift, you should definitely “check this out!” This book, written by our very own school librarian at Fox Run, Cari Young, is a great resource for anyone who is interested in creating a library that is truly an inviting place to learn.  The Centered School Library includes ideas for twelve learning centers that incorporate library skills and are guaranteed to engage your K-5 students!

Mrs. Sunda’s Literature Links

If you are trying to allow some of your students who are reading at a higher level to work independently, you might find these literature units helpful.  There are only 6, but they include discussion guides written with Bloom’s Taxonomy in mind.  Another great thing about these materials is that they were created by students.  Not only could some of your students work through the units, but they could use them as examples for developing some of their own.  While you are visiting Mrs. Sunda’s site, check out some of her other links.  Many resources are given for teachers, including a link to a detailed article explaining the process behind the literature units.

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