So much went on over our Christmas unit but I have to share a few resources…
Snowflakes are all sorts of awesome. So we had to look into them a little. For books we used:
The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
My Brother Loved Snowflakes by Mary Bahr
Snowflakes Fall by Patricia MacLachlan and Steven Kellogg
Snowfllakes by Martha E.H. Rustad
For Christmas this year we went from nursery rhymes to Christmas carols. Origins and meanings are so interesting! To help us out I found two books:
The Carols of Christmas by Ideals Publications
Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins
We read a few favorites… The Gingerbread Man, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, A Porcupine in a Pine Tree (a Canadian 12 days of Christmas), Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The list goes on.
What I really wanted to share was the idea of finding out a little history about the things we say and sing. Delving into the history of Christmas Carols made us stop and think about how long they had been around, why they appeared, how symbolism has changed. Christmas is a great time to look at the root of things, and to revisit old favourites. For more examples look at our Nursery Rhyme Posts. (a delayed one with that too, they will be linked)
We have always based a lot of our curriculum around the seasons and holidays and Christmas has always been a month long unit for our family. This year I took a bit of a different approach. While the little ones still did the group binder with its worksheets, drawings and colouring pages the twins were in charge of their OWN notebook. Surprisingly enough, with some whining and complaining we still managed a project that we ALL feel proud of. Lots of independent mini reports were written up and even ideas of things to paste in their books on their own were brought forth!
Of course I have a long list of resources and I am going to share them for my benefit as well as others… Movies first!
the Muppet Christmas Carol, I found a great worksheet set thanks to IPA Productions that deals with the original story for the twins that tied in nicely with the movie. We used the movie as an accessible medium to introduce the story and then they read the condensed version in these worksheets HERE. There is a cute colouring page for the movie HERE from Coloring Wallpapers.
Veggie Tales – Saint Nicholas, A Story of Joyful Giving
Veggie Tales – It’s a Meaningful Life
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Books! (sorry no links… but hopefully with name and author you can stumble upon them… this post is simply too late as is!)
The Legend of Saint Nicholas by Demi. This was a great introduction the origins of Santa without ruining the magic for anyone as the book ends with the tradition being continued on after Saint Nicholas’ passing by a boy in the village who was chosen to continue his work.
Christmas by Trudi Strain Trueit
Christmas Around the World by Emily Kelley. We love this book, each of the twins chose THREE countries and summarized the traditions they have into on brief paragraph that I spell checked and then they copied into their notebooks.
Christmas by Natalie M. Rosinsky
O Christmas Tree by Jacqueline Farmer
Christmas by Alice K. Flanagan
Celebrate Christmas by Deborah Heiligman
A Short History of Christmas by Sally Lee
Merry Christmas Everywhere! by Arlene Erlbach and Herb Erlbach
Twelve Days of Christmas in Minnesota by Constance Van Hoven
Christmas Traditions Around the World by Ann Ingalls
Christmas Trolls by Jan Brett… this was a random mid unit find at the library. The art is AMAZING!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
What Star is This? by Joseph Slate
City of Snow, The Great Blizzard of 1888 by Linda Oatman High
The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear by Stan and Jan Berenstain
A Child Was Born by Grace Maccarone
The Heron Christmas Carol by Frances Tyrrell
My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
What is Christmas? by Michelle Medlock Adams
The Christmas Story by Jane Werner
A Very Shiny Christmas by Debbie Guy-Christiansen
A Pussycat’s Christmas by Margaret Wise Brown
Santa’s Snow Cat by Sue Stainton
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Barbara Shook Hazen
Santa is Coming to Texas by Steve Smallman
A Porcupine in a Pine Tree by Helaine Becker
Christmas Is… by Gail Gibbon
A Kenyan Christmas by Tony Johnston
The Nutcracker by Bethany Snyder
The Gingerbread Man by Dawn Bentley
Recordable storybooks read by Gammie – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Night Before Christmas
And a lovely British book mailed by a friend of Favourite Christmas Stories from Brown Watson publishers
Hanukkah, while not the most important Jewish holiday IS the one closest to Christmas and the best known generally so we did cover it briefly. Here are our books.
Hanukkah by Rebecca Pettiford
Hanukkah Around the World by Tami Lehman-Wilzig
Hanukkah by Lisa M. Herrington
Chanukah Lights Everywhere by Michael J. Rosen
You can find some terrific printables on Teacher Vision HERE and a Hanukkah mini book thanks to Family Education HERE.
Of course we covered Polar Express, both the book and the movie. The little ones did parts of a lapbook I had purchased years previous but we supplemented with worksheets… pages from a party kit by Houghton Mifflin Books HERE, Scholastic.com had some resources HERE, and activities and lessons by Busy Teachers Cafe HERE.
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
We covered a lovely range of topics from symbols to world traditions and including Santa Claus and reindeer. A supplementary fact page about reindeer HERE thanks to Kids Play and Create. I also have some resources I have acquired from Currclick:
The History of Candy Canes HERE. We also watched how candy canes were made on The Kid Should See This HERE
What can be better on a Monday than videos… and one of them a CRAFT video? My loyal fellow crafter Gavin and I were right on top of that! I like this project as it gave him a start at braiding with something that holds the shape. He got a little frustrated but did a GREAT job! And the supplies – pipe cleaners, SIMPLE! then I folded two he twisted together to make our bow and attach it and BANG tree ornament and proud crafter!
My crafting buddy
Our second video was a Trinity favourite and I think another that Activity Village (both of our videos are from the site) posted LAST year. It really is short but soooo cute!
Gavin continued his artistic trend with the newest Art for Kids instructions – BABY JESUS! Absolutely ADORABLE!
A beautiful Baby Jesus with artist (Gavin)
The close up
Trinity and Emanuel channeled some artistic talent as they worked on what we are calling our “gingerbread house” since we started our gingerbread man unit with the traditional story and some workbooks. We figured foam would be easier (though this kit not much!).
Working on the house
With gingerbread men comes many many printable pictures… Trinity was all over that!
Colour by numbers thanks to Activity Village – link on right for the site
We also read the boardbook we have for gingerbread men… coloured our Advent stuff, worked on finishing any unfinished previous week sheets and of course practiced our songs. I am hoping to do up the video by Friday and post it on youTube!
The Gingerbread Man
I had a special evening OUT of the house. We had all miss remembered Joe and Faith’s flight return (thinking it Tuesday when it was Monday) so Nana and Baba and cousins headed to the airport after I left leaving Ken solo. But yours truly was out for the evening with Shandai (a besty from my high school days in Canada) and her roommate Emily. Both of them are SUPER crafty ladies and an inspiration.
We went to Applebee’s for dinner (thanks again Shandai) and the 5.00 burger and sat and chatted forever. Then we went to JoAnn’s and shopped for ages, just trolling the aisles talking craft and seeing what there is to see. I picked up some super soft purple yarn for a special project and since I had coupons got a couple dollar Christmas items for the kids to craft with and TRACING paper for a project for later this week.
Poor Ken finally succumbed to the cold that has been kicking ALL our bottoms on Tuesday. Sore throat, sore body, you name it… so our errands consisted of the two of us heading out late afternoon with Ken driving and me doing the rest. I think I am finally done sending what packages I can before Christmas. Oh and a run to Target to ALMOST finish the random items. I REALLY need to find that Christmas dress for Echo…
So much to do we are tired out!
I had that new package of pipe cleaners so Gavin and I created wreaths of many shiny colours. I love the braiding practice. Gavin even got EXTRA fancy with his bow piece!
The tracing paper has come in handy AGAIN… a method learned from their cousin Gabriella of tracing pictures is VERY popular around here. Gavin decided to go with a page out of our Christmas colouring book. With the Pringles I picked up at Target we can make our pin hole cameras this week as well… Probably by Thursday since we still have a tube to eat.
The gingerbread men pages continue as does our book reading. We had an advanced copy of the Christmas themed Scaredy Squirrel book – Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas… you can find our family review HERE. We absolutely adore this series and are so blessed to have a signed copy of one of the books thanks to Karyn. Our binder is filling up.