Video segment about me, by the school district

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Holiday Magic

Playing Bells
Happy Holidays, everyone!  I don't know about all of you, but the last month has been very intense for me.  There has just been a lot of testing.  So, I'm not going to talk about the testing but I will talk about some fun things that really lifted my spirits and made my students very happy.  Hopefully you can use some of these ideas if you're still teaching before Christmas, or even afterward in the long month of January.

I purchased some bells at a conference and then completely forgot about them.  I do things like this ALL the time because I have too much stuff and I'm just a little ditzy.  Organized, but ditzy.  So I took them out and placed them on the shelf in my classroom, and wow!  When I started playing "Doe, a Deer" and "Jingle Bells", teachers would come in from other classrooms to see what was happening.  The music teacher came in.  Now, the funny thing is I believed he was one of my students, and thought "Oh my gosh!  I have a prodigy on my hands!"  After he played the song, he said hi to me, and I have to say I was a little bit disappointed that it wasn't one of my students.

These bells are SO easy to play.  My students started picking up how to play "Jingle Bells."  You just tap the top of the bell and it rings.  It's a little more challenging to play them as a completely blind person, because of course I'm doing it by ear and not by the color coding at the top of each bell that also matches the disc you can buy.  But it worked beautifully and my assistant, who also plays the flute, played "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and "The First Noel."  I guess the great thing about these bells is even if you're not musically talented you can look at the screen and just follow the colors.

Another really nice thing that happened was a little girl who couldn't count to 8 came over and played the scale with me.  I showed her how to count as she tapped the bells, and the second time we did it she counted by herself.  She doesn't have much English, and this is the first time that she's counted to 8 and back down again with the bells.  Sometimes music really does act as a bridge to other subjects.

Sight Word Christmas Tree
We practiced sight words with this Christmas tree that I made a few years ago.  But if you didn't see that post, here are the ornaments again if you'd like to make the tree.

I also laminated it and added velcro to it so the children could play with it in ABC and Word Center.  It's really amazing to see children who know their sight words use this tree to help those who are having a little trouble.  If you'd like to purchase some easy-to-use sight word coloring sheets, take a look at this product.  I used them all week and the kids said they were super fun.

We were also working on solid shapes and I found that using real objects is so much better than using pictures.  It's just more hands on and the children can actually roll and slide the objects to see how they move.  I think there are so many things we have to do that are just flat; it really excludes those kinesthetic, 3D learners.  I sat the children in a circle and assigned each child a 3D shape.  Then everyone sorted the real-life objects.  Here is a free solid shape book where the kids can color each solid shape on its own individual page.

The last thing I'd like to tell you about is a really awesome solid shape video where a girl, with help from a fairy, is decorating a Christmas tree with solid shapes.  It talks about faces, corners, and angles, and it's really perfect for kindergarten.  It's just so festive and it's a fabulous connection between the holidays and mathematics.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.


  1. Sharon, What a great post! I love the bells. The children will always remember that. I am going to find that shape video, too. It sounds great. I hope you have a beautiful Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year, my sweet friend!

    1. Thanks, Carolyn! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. The video is just so magical. I hope you like it.