Trying Something New

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting Slice of Life Tuesday.  Please check their site for other slices.  

I've been wracking my brains for an idea of what to have my students make for their parents for Christmas.  From the time I started teaching in the mid 80s, I've always carved out time for my students to make something for their parents.  It's usually not Christmas themed, since I often have students who don't celebrate Christmas.  We've made ornaments, calendars, and for the last few years, I've had my students write I Am From poems.  I decided it was time to do something different this year, but I wasn't sure what it would be.  

I found these cute time capsule ornaments (made with fourth grade memories).

I thought about something with handprints or thumbprints.

Maybe coasters made from white tiles and Sharpies?

I even dreamed about it last night!  It was not a happy dream.  

Then, I started to think, "Maybe they don't want to make an ornament for their moms and dads."  Maybe they don't want to write.  Maybe some will want to make an ornament and others will want to make a book.  Even though I think a gift is thoughtful, doesn't mean my students share my thinking.  Knowing them, they probably have a better idea than I do.

Then I had another thought.  Was I crazy?  We've been doing so much with Google 20% and giving kids choice in their learning. What would happen if I gave kids choice in creating a gift for their parents?  What would happen if I brought in all of the unused craft items in my basement and put it all out and let the kids make whatever they want to?  What will they dream up?  What will they create?  Raising 3 creative children means that I have a lot of stuff still in my basement. 

There will be no rules, except that you have to clean  up your mess and share supplies.  If I have the supplies in the room, you can use them to make whatever you can imagine.  
So, Friday afternoon is going to be a mini Santa's Workshop in Room 114.  I'm excited about the possibilities.  Yes, it's going to be messy, but I've learned that messy is good.  That's when the best learning and creating happens.  

I'll keep you posted on how it goes.  I already know what my Saturday celebration post will be.  


  1. Wow, that's going to be great Julie. Are you going to document it?

  2. I look forward to seeing the results- I'm sure they'll be fantastic!

  3. I sure will. I was hoping you'd come take pictures for me Bonnie. :)

  4. Please Julie, with all of the craft supplies in our basement, room 114 can be Santa's workshop for the entire school. :)

  5. After reading BK's comment, you should have kids who are capturing the work digitally-or let them decide how the document it! Can't wait to read your Saturday celebration! Sounds awesome-Would love to be a fly on the wall!

  6. KUDOS to you for giving students choices and responsibility to create from their own hearts. Keith, who I suspect shares your home and basement, may think of this as a cleaning activity for the basement...I know that it is really about empowering students. You will shop for a few things....and likely bring back ALMOST as much as you took to school,.

  7. How fun! I want to come! I can't wait until Saturday when we see the creativity!

  8. You are definitely fostering creativity! I look forward to read your Saturday post!

  9. You will all have a blast - plus you will get that basement craft are cleaned out. Perfect! Take pictures!!

  10. Ooh, that's an awesome idea! Your students (and their families) are so lucky! I hope you post about what they end up making! :-)

  11. Exactly right, Julie. One of my important questions always to those teachers I work with is 'have you asked the students what they think?' I bet you'll have a wonderful time-hope you share the results!


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