All Things Elf02 December 2015
Nine years ago my mother came home with a box from Hallmark for my nieces and nephew with the little weird looking elf and book inside. She also had one for me and I looked at her confused thinking, "Mom, I don't have any kids yet." She explained that I could keep it and use it later when I have my own children but that it was going to be an amazing an memorable tradition for her grandchildren. I took it home and began thinking of ways that I could use this weird looking elf and book in my classroom of 2nd graders of which were my children! That year my 2nd graders named Frank our Elf and the name has stuck for 8 more years. Frank has become a yearly tradition that siblings of my former students hope for when they come into my classroom each year. Other teachers watch the magic of Christmas touch the lives of my students and they too find how fun including and elf in their classroom during December can be. This post isn't meant to stress you out as a teacher giving you yet another things to add to your list to do with your students, but it is a fun way to focus on positive classroom management and continue a fun tradition each and every year. You can create your own traditions and ways to have a classroom elf. There are so many different things you can do with a classroom elf and I hope this post gets you excited for the classroom elf tradition to be used in ANY grade level!
Each year I reach out to my student's parents and ask for a $5 donation. Parents don't have to donate but I give them the option to help out with the classroom elf tradition. I've found most parents are willing to donate when you give detailed explanations of what you are using the money for. As you can see in the picture above I purchase small prizes to be given out each day. Depending on the amount of money donated by parents you can pick things up at the dollar store or get expensive items needed for the classroom including games, play dough, books, etc. When I explain the needs of our classroom, most parents are interested in donating to help out!
Since I don't have my own children, I look forward to the shopping for my little students because it's so fun to buy and wrap and prepare for this fun holiday classroom tradition. As you can see above I number the prizes so I remember what each one is once I wrap them. I plan out my presents by using the classroom elf planning calendar. I've also included where the elf will be hiding each day too as we go along so I don't forget year to year. The planning calendar is a freebie you can all download by clicking the image below. Please use my example of different presents I picked up for our elf prizes sent by Santa if the children are behaving well!
You can do so many things with your classroom elf and below you will see a few of my examples that my kids have loved. I've also including my Pinterest board that has other amazing elf ideas to incorporate into your classroom this year.
The best part about having a classroom elf is that you can do it however you want and your kids will love it no matter what you do!