Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas Ornaments

In case you are new to Faith (or have never visited our cafeteria in December), we have an ornament tradition.  The whole school creates international ornaments.  They are usually centered around a tradition in a particular country.   Since I've only taught science for the last few years, I haven't had any part in the Christmas ornament making- Mrs. Pless (she taught reading) has done it for all of fifth grade for the last few years.  So I was excited to get crafty again!
I like to tie the lesson in with literacy, and I knew I wanted to do something new and different.   I scoured the internet for idea.  I came across "Julehjerte " which is a Danish Christmas tradition.  It is a woven heart basket created by Hans Christian Anderson.  The directions seemed simple enough.
Well.... I should stress the SEEMED simple enough.  They were everything but!  It took me a few HOURS to figure out how to do this!  First, I finally realized that the pattern was not right.  I made a new pattern and I was still having problems.  I kept weaving it, and it wouldn't open!  Uggh!  I eventually found a video tutorial and I was able to do it.  I was very nervous about teaching it though!
I began with the literacy component.  I went to our library at school and looked for Hans Christian Anderson books.  The checked-in selection was pretty slim.
I ended up reading The Princess and the Pea.  (Not very Christmasy, I know!)  I read it to them, but I didn't tell them why.  Boy did that spark their interest!  They spent 2 days trying to figure out why I read them a book about a princess!
I finally shared with them why I read the book.  I showed them my ornament, had them select some colors, and they had to trace the pattern.  Simple enough?  Nope!  About half of the class accidentally cut their pattern in half.  (It was supposed to have a fold.)
The next day, we traced patterns again.  On the third day, we began weaving.  I went through the directions step-by-step once.  Then I walked them through step-by-step as they tried to weave as well.  I wrote all the directions on the board, and walked them through again.  I still had exactly zero completed ornaments.  I worked with a few students who were close.  Once they were done, they became my helpers.  We worked together (over 2 days) to get everyone done.
They did turn out very cute, but my simple ornament took 4 DAYS for us to complete.  (Somewhere between 3-4 hours overall!)  So much for simple!

 Finished ornament
We had to label the ends so they knew which piece to weave when@

 The inside


Coming up: 
Fractions: Multiplying and Dividing
Science: Weather

Change to routine:
We will have a new Wordly Wise lesson every other week.  All students should ALWAYS have words to study- except the day after a test!
We will do phonics pages every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.