Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Advent

Advent started on November 30th, so for all you fellow Catholic School Teachers out there here are some of my favorite ideas for celebrating Advent in my classroom.
First I like to display the stable on my prayer table and add one figure to the nativity scene per day. One child opens the box and places the figure in the scene. It is a nice way to identify all the characters in the Christmas story.
The manager activity helps to reinforce social skills and kindness. Every time a child does something kind or helpful, that child gets to add a piece of straw to the manger. The Children are supposed to do so quietly but in the beginning they need some encouragement from the teacher that it's okay to add a straw.




The advent chain offers a multitude of skill practice. The students create an ab pattern with red and green construction paper strips. The chain can be any length desired. I like to have the students make the chain the same number of links as children in the class. Then I help the students number the links and send a class list home with the chain that corresponds a number to the name of the child in the class. Then when the student removes the link they pray for that child. The star on the top includes the rhyme: "Each night after prayers are said, take off a ring and hop in bed. When only the star is left to shine, you'll know that it is Christmas time!" I also have a chain in the classroom and we do the prayer chain together so that each child knows that they are being prayed for.




The living Advent wreath is my favorite activity. I got this idea from Mary Jo Thureson. You need a green garland or 2 depending on the size of your class. I made "candles" by laminating 3 blue and 1 white 11 x 16 sheets of construction paper and tying yarn through to make them able to hand around a students neck. I also made flames. Each morning we gather in a circle and four students are the candles and we add the number of flames based on the week. When we are in the wreath we say a special Advent prayer or sing "This Little Light of Mine."