Thursday, December 1, 2016

Holidays Around the World: A Trip with Mooseltoe!

It's December 1st, and that means it's time for a Holidays Around the World celebration in first grade! I'm using Rachelle Smith's Holidays Around the World unit to take my students on a trip a day to learn about traditions and customs from 8 different countries. Her unit was a huge hit last year, so I've been pumped to give it another go! We visited America to learn about Christmas traditions today, and will explore India, Israel, Mexico, Germany, France,  Greenland, and Italy before it's time for winter break. The unit actually includes 13 countries, but unfortunately, we just don't have the time to make use of all it has to offer! These are some pictures of last year's bulletin board:








Each country includes an accompanying craft or game. However, for Christmas in America, I put my own little spin on things: Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini! If you've never read this story, you've been missing out on a classic. Moose's Christmas preparations are perfectly perfect, until he realizes... he forgot the Christmas tree! Moose turns his "moosetache" into a perfectly perfect Christmas tree to save the day in this silly holiday story. Don't have a copy handy in your classroom or library? Check it out on YouTube and you'll discover it's worth a read!



After my students got their passports stamped and we took off for America, we settled in to read our story (I should note that I teach at an American school in Japan, so flying to the States was actually a pretty big deal for us;)). We discussed the story elements and completed this graphic organizer together:

The kids just about lost it when I showed them the Mooseltoe craft that they would be creating after they finished the graphic organizer. You would've thought I'd told them Santa himself would be stopping by for lunch.



It's been a looong time since they've worked so quietly and efficiently on a craft activity! It might have helped that Ernie the Elf arrived in our classroom this morning...


(The P.S. says, "I'll be telling Santa all about our adventures." Then there's a P.P.S., "Sorry for the sloppy handwriting. These markers are too fat for my little elf hands.") :)


It took about 30 minutes for everyone to finish assembling Moose. Then, the REAL fun started. I put out trays of sequins, bows, stickers, ribbon, and tinsel, and the kids went to town decorating Moose for Christmas. Thank goodness for dollar stores (again, I live in Japan, so our dollar stores are really 100 yen stores:))!

Cups with a small amount of Elmer's Glue helped to minimize the mess
I went a little nuts at the dollar store!





I must say, I think Moose looks "perfectly perfect" on this year's new Holidays Around the World bulletin board! If you agree, you can snag this activity for free from my Teachers Pay Teachers store, Little Owl's Teacher Treats. Feedback would be much appreciated... and if you create your own Moose in your classroom, use #mooseltoe or #littleowlsteachertreats on Instagram so I can check them out! Would love to see Moose in action! 

Beautiful map courtesy of Rachelle Smith's Holidays Around the World unit (and my school's poster printer).



This kiddo insisted that upside-down antlers and googly eyes made it "look like a real moose." 





Happy Holidays and happy crafting, everyone :)

Erika

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