One of my favorite ways of celebrating the holidays in my classroom is by incorporating Elf on the Shelf! My students LOVE their elf (and I won’t deny that I love it too).
There are so many ways you can use your elf to reinforce academic skills in the classroom. Our class elf always appears the Monday after Thanksgiving vacation. I place the elf somewhere out in the open with the Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition book and a letter typed up by the elf. The book was written for this tradition to be used in the home, so I change up the words a tiny bit to match it to our classroom environment. Luckily my student are the age where they can’t tell that I am adding a few different words to the book.
The first instruction (which is given by the book) is to name your elf. Since I have an entire class, we have a great time coming up with name ideas and then voting from the top 3. Voting is one of the academic skills we need to teach, so this activity is perfect! My 3 year olds always come up with some interesting names. Last year, the name of our elf was Ahkey. I don’t have any idea where that name comes from, but my students liked it enough for it to have the majority vote. This year our elf is named Alfred! The top 3 names to choose from were Alfred, Cy & Brooks. I like that Alfred won because now we can call it Elfred as well.
Other academic skills I hit with Elf on the Shelf is positional language and concepts of print. I move Alfred every day at the end of school (after the students have left) or in the morning if I forgot the day before. The students LOVE coming in and searching for him. They like to be the first ones to find him. It is important to add that I always type up a note from our elf to sit next to him. We read the note at large group. Each time, I go over some of the concepts of print (directionality, capitalization, etc).
At large group I pick a different student each day to tell me where Alfred is hiding. It is difficult at first because of course they just want to point, but I keep asking questions that lead the students to use positional language. By the end of our Alfred’s stay, the students will be pros at positional language! I also like to ask what the elf is doing.
Here are some examples.
On top of the tree.
Inside the shelf. Under the nap mats. Next to the clock. Above our schedule. Wrapping presents. Practicing his scissor skills.
Above the flag. Above the word wall.
In the easel. Next to the paper. Writing an anchor chart.
In the fine motor bucket. On the shelf. In front of our shape charts. Decorating the tree.
On top of the microwave. Reading a book.
Behind the dolphin sign. Next to the Book of the Week pocket chart. Above Mrs. B’s desk/ computer.
Inside the treasure chest.
I also make sure to hang all of our elves letters on the wall behind the christmas tree. The kiddos enjoy looking at them!
Hope y’all enjoyed getting a little look into my classroom during the holidays. You can by your own Elf on the Shelf here.