Why Have An Elf On the Shelf In The Classroom?

How to Make an Elf on the Classroom Shelf Educational! 

There's been some controversy about the Elf on the Shelf. There's some question as to the benefit of having one in the classroom. I decided to post about what our elf did in the days prior to our winter break - check it out:

In order to get an Elf in our classroom we had to write Santa and persuade him to send us one:

Santa sent him the next day - wrapped up in an icy cold box. The children immediately deduced that the box had to be from Santa because it's cold at the North Pole (and our Oklahoma weather was warm at the time)!

He picked some fun hiding places around the room - and the kids were always so excited to find him each morning - it really set the tone for the rest of the day to start with that enthusiasm!

You can see that he chose to hide by the letter "I" - coincidentally, that is a letter many of my students didn't know when I assessed them. By the end of the day, that statistic had changed :) 

The day that he chose to hang out on our Reading Center canopy, the number of children who chose that center skyrocketed, and they came back all week, even once he had moved to another place! The children explored so many of our books and had great conversations comparing books, "reading" them to each other and having my assistant read to them!

His hiding place on our Smartboard speaker wasn't as inspired - he slipped down behind the board twice! The kids were convinced of his magic when he managed to get himself back up while we were out to recess though!

He always left a note, sometimes in his hiding place like when he was on the rocket, sometimes just under a table or on a chair. Finding the letter was part of the fun! And his letters always mentioned classroom behavior - positives & negatives (without naming names!) and encouraged kindness and following procedures.

He also always sent a present:

The kids loved this notepad and special pen! They practiced writing their numbers, letters and names in their spare time all week!

These "magic spheres" helped reinforce that 3d shape term, and encouraged sensory exploration! Note that putting a lid on the box was not a good idea - they soon turn moldy without the air circulating!

The kids loved this "Gift of the North Pole" and used their inferring skills to figure out that the white powder must somehow turn to snow! Although it was too squishy to create much with, they enjoyed scooping it into our buckets and making small towers!

He also brought us 2 floor puzzles - Llama Llama, and Pete the Cat! Coincidentally, my kiddos were ready to move on to puzzles with more pieces and these are 2 of our favorite book characters....
He also left us red and green crystal growing kits! Following the directions, measuring the amount of water and observing the results was all great fun (and hit some key concepts!)

I'm so happy Chippy came to visit us - and that we were able to incorporate so much learning into his stay! I've also created a set of 24 notes for an Elf to bring to the classroom! This pack comes with a writing paper with lines and space to draw, and the Elf Request letter pictured at the top of this post. You can grab Letters From An Elf in my TPT store!



Lisa Morrow said...

Such cute ideas! I'm now teaching PreK and I would love to use the "magic" spheres, fake snow and crystals. Where did you purchase them (and what are the "magic" spheres actually?)
Thank you,

Jennifer K. said...

@Lisa Morrow
Hi Lisa! The "magic" spheres and crystals were purchased at the Dollar Tree - they have some small science kits that are fun and you can't beat $1! The spheres are actually water beads, usually used for flower arrangements. The snow powder is also sold at the Dollar Tree in a science kit, but the amount is very small, so I purchased a container from Hobby Lobby instead. Hope that helps!

Jennifer @ Herding Kats in Kindergarten

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