Exams have come to a close. Final grades have been submitted, and report cards will be printing soon. Teachers have been scurrying to get their end of the year paperwork completed and to update all student files. Students have been singing away with Christmas carols for the end of the year Christmas pageant at "noche navideña." In the interim between exams and the last day of school, it has also given us a few days to enjoy the season that is upon us.
I actually like the fact that the school year ends in December here. As a child, with all the fun that was had before Christmas break, it was hard to transition back into school mode after the New Year. It is officially summer time here now, so students are still getting a summer vacation and won’t return to school until February.
My first art project was more something I wanted to do to decorate my classrooms. I had planned this during my trip home, as I became jubilant to see the gardening section of Walmart had been transformed into Christmas! I found just what I wanted: the small stockings, and also purchased a few small stocking stuffers like Christmas pencils and erasers.
|5th grade's stockings and lovely candy cane that a student brought in|
|6th grade's stockings|
It's quite comical to watch the students, because I don't fill the stocking up everyday. (Don't make enough $$ to do that) I think I left the stockings hanging for a week without putting anything in them, so the kids finally believed me that they were just decorations. Then I started putting small gifts in somedays. It's funny to see who is the first to realize that the stockings have been filled, and they get so excited getting the stockings down to see what their small treat is.
|yes I let my children climb on the windows...|
My second art project, I actually did by myself here at home two weekends ago. For the Christmas pageant, my fifth grade class is going to sing Jingle Bells. The music teacher asked me if I could make a “one horse open sleigh” to use as a prop. Sure, why not? I mean I don’t have anything else to do, like grade exams or anything. But actually, I enjoy crafts and such, so I honestly didn’t mind. I was really surprised to find glitter here in Cóbano, but I thought it would be a nice added touch to the sleigh. Four pieces of poster paper, a silver sharpie, green glitter, Elmer’s glue, hot glue, and several cotton balls later, this is what I came up with:
|Miss Hill's one horse open sleigh|
This past week I have dug into my suitcase of art supplies/ Walmart purchases I need to have on hand since I can’t easily buy them here or if I can they are outrageously priced. Our first project to decorate the room, was actually a time filler when I finished my last math lesson early. I taught the kids how to make paper chains. I used to love doing this as a child, not only to decorate my room, but to tear a loop off each day in anticipation of Christmas.
|our BEAUTIFUL entrance to the fifth grade classroom|
When all you are provided with is construction paper, you learn to become resourceful. No, very resourceful. Unfortunately, the school supply of construction paper ran out about a month ago. But, luckily for me, I had three packs with just a few sheets left in them each. I wanted to make the handprint/ footprint reindeer, but I only had 4 sheets of cream colored paper, which I thought I could use as the antlers. But no dark brown.... Until I realized that I could tear off the back cover (brown cardstock more or less) of each pack of paper. Genius. Lucky for me, I had one student absent the day we made the deer so I didn't have to fret with fitting 7 footprints on 3 pieces of paper. I'm glad I had purchased those "googly eyes" during one of my visits home, and a scrap of red felt that I had, came in handy to make the red noses. I think they turned our pretty cute!
As I was un-decorating the classroom with bittersweet emotion of the end of the school year, I had yet another resourceful idea. I had draped a ribbon from one window to the next and used paper clips to display my students' Flat Stanleys. It was time for Stanley to come down, but that silver ribbon would just be perfect. After all, a sleigh can't fly on its own...
One of my favorite projects, and I really don't know why, is our class Christmas tree. I traced each students hands and we cut them out. Why two different colors of poster paper, you ask? Because i found a dark green scrap at school, but purchased a lighter green color to add some life to the tree. I love how the fingers are like the needles. Maybe I like this so much because it is quite representative of my students. This exact tree can't be duplicated, because these are the hands of fifth grade. You're probably noticing the last dark green handprint just below the star. No, the child was not making some sign with his hands, as they were traced: he only has four fingers on one of his hands. He's not ashamed of this; rather, he takes pride in the fact that this makes him unique. For that reason, I decided his handprint should go right below the star so it stands out!
I also have a student who celebrates Hanukkah, so we needed to add some Hanukkah decorations to the mix. I know the popsicle stick star of David is something I did in preschool, but my students don't get the opportunity to paint very often, and I just happened to have a bag of popsicle sticks in my suitcase.
Another cool craft (or at least I think it is cool) that I found online is a paper plate menorah. I had a few paper plates left over from a previous activity, we have crayons, and I found just enough red and yellow crepe paper at school to make this work. The candles are actually made from the leftover silver poster board I used to make my sleigh's runners. I liked this craft because I have never seen it before, it was quite simple to make, and the students enjoyed it. Since the majority of my students celebrate Christmas, they really enjoyed learning about Hanukkah and how it is celebrated.