Easy Christmas Crafts for Children

S. Evelyn CimesaDecember 18, 2015 Crafts

 

It’s that time of year. The trees are adorned in twinkling lights. Little snowflakes are dancing in your hair. Christmas music hums outside of every store. And there are parades and parties and presents galore.

But it’s still early, and we haven’t finished our advent calendars yet. And we have a festive group of children who are so excited by the magic and music and mystery woven into the holidays.

We bring out the sparkles and glitter. Those translucent “stained glass” colouring sheets. And, sometimes, we bring out popcorn, candy, and marshmallows to make little ornaments and garland.

Every year, I try to bring a few new crafts to the classroom. Here are some that made this year’s Christmas craft shortlist.

 

1. Galaxy Jar

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The Galaxy Jar is perfect if you want to share the wonders of the stars with your children. It’s also great if you want portable Christmas lights. I love this project because it doesn’t require a lot of supervision, or a lot of guidance.

After the initial instructions, the children complete their craft autonomously.

Tutorial: http://bit.ly/1YNsNoX

 

 

 

2. Sock Snowmen

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This craft combines my favourite part of Christmas (snowmen!) with crafts. These little Sock Snowmen are so much cuter than their snowy counterparts, and they last a lot longer, too! This Christmas craft will take more guidance and assistance, but the students will really enjoy being able to create something a little more challenging.

Tutorial: http://bit.ly/1gWFubp

 

3. Owl Ornaments

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Almost every Christmas tree has an owl. They appear on greeting cards, in wreaths, and even as just general decoration. They’re iconic to the season, and they are everywhere.

Children can collect their own pine cones for this Christmas craft, and bring them in. Some may have difficulties with drawing the shapes for this craft, but you can remedy that with cardboard stencils.

Tutorial: http://bit.ly/1N0yXtr

 

4. Button Wreath

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Over the last few years, I’ve abandoned wreaths altogether. They’re messy and sharp and I’m just much too clumsy to fret over them. But I love these little Button Wreaths! They’re really easy to make, and the kids can personalize them by using a variety of buttons. With so many colours and sizes and styles to choose from, they’ll create something that is uniquely their own.

Tutorial: http://bit.ly/1PEL6es

 

Five Ways to Encourage Creative Thinking

Leonard Judge | December 11, 2015 Creativity


Defining creativity is not as straightforward as one might think.

What is it really? Where do we begin and what are we aiming for when we attempt to encourage creative thinking in children?

A common definition for creativity is simply to use one’s imagination to think about and develop original ideas.

1. See things in new ways

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When considering strategies to help children in early childhood education environments to think creatively zoom in on ways to help them to think about old things in new ways.

This really is, after all, the goal of creative thinking. We are encouraging them to develop new connections in the brain and stretch the limits.

Bring something to the classroom, that everyone knows and understands well and help the children to think about it in a new way.

Example: Apple
It’s a fruit; we can eat it. What else can we do with it? We can crush it and drink it. We can take out its seeds, plant them, and the apple will become a tree one day. It’s an apple, but it is also a sphere. What about its colour? Are apples always red? The goal — see something common in new and creative ways.

2. Have open-ended group discussions

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Have plenty of classroom meetings in which you talk about open-ended subjects. Ask for answers and make sure you encourage and accept all answers as relevant.

Use these discussions to solve problems. Your goal should be to allow students a safe place to say what they feel freely and without threat of censor.

 

3. Use traditional creative tools

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Painting, writing and even reading can encourage creativity. Fill your room with the tools of creative endeavour and provide ample opportunity for children to express themselves in this way.

 

4. Use the Socratic teaching style often

Dec11_Blog4Lead your children to where you want them to be, but help them to get there on their own using their creative minds.

Sample question: What if you saw an elderly woman in a department store unknowingly drop a $50 bill and walk away? You are the only person who saw it. What would you do?

 

5. Use magic

Dec11_Blog5Many children respond well to magical, ‘let’s imagine’ exercises. You might ask students to imagine what they would like to be if they were not human. You can also suggest something and then listen to the children’s responses.

Example: If you were not a human but a bird, what would that look like? What would that feel like? What are the problems of being a bird? What are the benefits? How would your life be different if you were a bird? What do birds need to survive? How is this different from and similar to what you need?

4 Ways to Encourage Creative Writing in the Classroom

Scott PatersonDecember 4, 2015 Creativity

 

“But I hate writing stories!”

If you’ve heard this from your student, don’t despair. You may even identify with them. Perhaps you hated creative writing in school or felt you had nothing to add.

Creative writing can be really difficult for students if they have a lack of inspiration. Here are four ways you can encourage creative writing in the classroom.

1. Cater to their interests

Y8CKB0O8C2Every student is really interested in something. I used to get my students to write down their three favourite things at the beginning of the year, and I would find ways to incorporate them my classroom lessons.

Example: You have students that are interested in space.

Creative Activity: Pick a planet or moon and research it. Now write a story that takes place there.

 

2. Write what you know… sort of
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We are always told it’s best to write about what you know. You hear that all the time. But it’s really not necessary, especially if you want to your students to be creative.

Most students know how to use Google, and how to perform basic research. So combine both research and creativity into one assignment.

Example: You’re teaching students about Egypt. You assign a specific topic to each student. (i.e. A student that likes soccer gets assigned a similar sport that Egyptians play)

Creative Activity: Research your assigned topic and incorporate it into a story.

 

3. Prompts

83HPrompts work really well with children, especially if you have a designated writing time in your classroom. I used to allocate 15 minutes at the very start of the class to creative writing.

Luckily, there are many books of prompts available. This is one that I used for high school students, and this is one I used for kindergarten – grade 2. Visual prompts, like images, work really well too!

Example: Imagine you could make things disappear. What would you make disappear?

 

4. Weekly Journals

OV26AOMUMIJournaling works really well with younger students – they have a natural affinity for storytelling. This activity doesn’t need much guidance: you can designate a time for students to write or draw in their journals during class time.

Don’t fret if they just scribble everywhere during the first few entries. They’ll write stories or draw non-abstract concepts when they are ready!

Creative Activity: Have the students design their own journal covers!

4 façons d’encourager la création littéraire dans la classe

Scott Paterson4 Décembre 2015 Créativité

 

« Mais je déteste écrire des histoires! »

Si vous avez déjà entendu ceci de la bouche de vos étudiants, ne désespérez pas. Il est même possible que vous vous identifiez à eux. Peut-être méprisiez-vous la création littéraire à l’école ou peut-être sentiez-vous que vous n’avez rien à ajouter. La création littéraire peut être très difficile pour un étudiant sans inspiration. Voici quatre moyens pour encourager la création littéraire dans la classe.

1. Faites appel à leurs intérêts

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Chaque étudiant est réellement intéressé par quelque chose. J’avais l’habitude de demander à mes étudiants de dresser  une liste de leurs quatre choses favorites en début d’année, et je trouvais des moyens de les incorporer dans mes travaux en classe. Exemple : vous avez des étudiants fascinés par l’espace. Activité créative : choisir une planète ou une lune et en faire une recherche. Maintenant, rédiger une histoire qui prend place à un de ces endroits.

2. Écrivez au sujet de ce que vous connaissez… plus ou moins

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On se fait toujours dire qu’il est préférable d’écrire au sujet de ce que nous connaissons. On entend ça tout le temps. Mais ce n’est pas nécessaire, particulièrement si vous voulez faire appel à la créativité de vos étudiants. Plusieurs étudiants savent utiliser Google et comment effectuer une recherche de base. Combinez donc la recherche et la créativité en une seule tâche. Exemple : Vous enseignez l’Égypte. Assignez un sujet de recherche spécifique à chaque étudiant. (Un étudiant qui aime le soccer pourrait se voir assigner un sport similaire que jouaient les égyptiens) Activité créative : Rechercher un sujet assigné et l’incorporer dans une histoire.

3. Questions à développement

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Les questions à développement fonctionnent très bien chez les enfants, particulièrement si une période d’écriture y est réservée. J’avais l’habitude de dédier 15 minutes à la création littéraire au début de chaque cours. Par chance, plusieurs livres de questions à développement existent. J’utilise celui-ci pour les étudiants du secondaire et celui-ci pour les enfants de la maternelle – niveau 2. Des indicateurs visuels, telles des images, fonctionnent à merveille également! Exemple : Imaginez que vous puissiez faire disparaitre des choses. Que feriez-vous disparaitre?

4. Journal hebdomadaire

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La tenue d’un journal fonctionne très bien avec de jeunes étudiants – ils ont une affinité naturelle pour la narration. Cette activité ne demande pas trop de supervision : vous pouvez réserver un moment pour que vos étudiants écrive ou dessine dans leur journal pendant le cours. Ne vous tracassez pas trop s’ils gribouillent lors de leurs premiers essais. Leur art se précisera quand ils seront prêts! Activité créative : Demandez à vos étudiants de concevoir leur propre couverture de journal!