Monday, November 24, 2014

Classroom Elf on the Shelf

So I'm totally NOT one of those people that find the Elf on the Shelf creepy. 
I find it magical, adorable, and way to fun not to have in my classroom!! 
This year will be the 4th year that Freddie the Elf comes to visit! :) His time in our classroom is without a doubt the biggest memory my students have from the year. My first group of kids are now in 3rd grade. Each year, they run to my classroom to ask questions about Freddie and if he has returned. I love it. They love it. And that makes me happy.

I've had many questions about Freddie. 
"How do you get started?" 
"What do the parents think?" 
"Do your kids actually believe it?" 
"How much work is involved?"  

Let's get started answering those...

Elves are Christmas related- how do you get away with that?
First of all, I send an email to my parents in November asking if any of them object to having a "holiday elf" in our classroom--- see what I did there? It's a HOLIDAY elf- not a CHRISTMAS elf. {Calling Freddie a holiday elf is essential as I have many Muslim students in my class.} 
In all of my years teaching, I've never had any objections!

How do the parents feel about it?
I then send out a SignUp to my parents using for parents to secretly sign up for a date to take Freddie home for a one-night sleepover! Y'all, it's absolutely hilarious to see the record timing your signup fills up- the parents LOVE it because their child LOVES it!! I encourage parents to not tell their child when they will be taking Freddie home, I like the students to be surprised when it is their turn. 
More on what the students do with Freddie at home a little later.... 

Then comes the delivery...
Every year, the night before Freddie arrives, I wrap him in a shoe box with bubble wrap and lots of marshmallows- snowballs- and glitter.
I've heard of other teachers wrapping the Elf on the Shelf box instead of a shoe box. The only reason I don't do this is because the book mentions reporting back to Santa, and I try to talk about how Freddie is a Holiday Elf- not Christmas.
 I put the box in the freezer and slap on the North Pole delivery label I created.
My principal usually takes part in the delivery. He rushes from the office and interrupts our class by busting open the door screaming "SPECIAL DELIVERY!". He dramatically has us feel how cold the box is and how freezing his hands are (after dunking them in ice water)... I, of course, am super dramatic about opening the package, which in turn makes the students FREAK OUT! 
Every year, I type up a letter to enclose inside the delivery box, along with some special magic gloves that students must wear if they hold Freddie.  
If you notice, Freddie wears a green felt vest. I had a sweet room parent make this vest for him his first year in my class. This was to help families not get him confused with other elves they may have at home! :)

Usually on Day 1, Freddie just hangs out and observes. He may make some mischief with our classroom calendar, or something easy like that.
Day 1 is also when I start the Freddie Sleepovers. After looking at the sign up, I announce who Freddie will be going home with that afternoon. There is usually one or two kids with a super sad face- but I quickly remind them they will have a chance a different day! 

At home, the kids are able to play with Freddie (if they are wearing the magic gloves), take him to the grocery store, or have Freddie watch them play at basketball practice. They are also asked to take pictures of Freddie and his adventures, and send the pictures back to class for the students to share with everyone. 

For the sleepover, your elf will need a bag of some sort. You can be really cute and creative like my sweet friend, Nicole. She sewed me a sleepover bag for Freddie including a draw string and clear pocket in the front for me to include an "If Found" label...
This label, along with the North Pole label, is included in my Classroom Elf Kit in my TPT store!
 Every day, your students will return the elf to class. Place your elf in an area of the room for him to do so some good observing. When your students leave for a long period of time, (specials, lunch, recess etc.) place your elf in a different part of the room and participate in some fun! 

Every year, I always have students that want to bring their elves from home to come and hang out with Freddie for the day. Too cute!! 
This particular day, another teacher I work with made some "elf donuts" at home for Freddie to deliver to the class!! 
Oh. Em. Gee. 
Have I said how much fun this is?? 

One last suggestion I have to share with you...
While having a classroom elf is loads of fun- some days I'm just not feeling the holiday spirit. 
When the kids come in screaming "WHERE'S FREDDIE!!???" - it get's real old real fast
So, to solve this problem, I had Freddie write a letter to the kids saying they were hurting his elf ears with their screaming. Next time they come into class looking for him, they need to come in quietly, and when they spot Freddie- use the secret signal of showing "elf ears". 
Y'all- it was magic. No more screaming.

After they spot Freddie in his new hang out spot. I choose a reporter to record the sighting in the Freddie Files binder. 
They draw a picture of the sighting, and record what we saw Freddie doing. I change reporters throughout the day and by the end of the holiday season, I have a binder full of Elf Files the students can read in our classroom library! 
(Another option would be to have your kids have their own student Elf Files recording journals.)

All in all, having a classroom elf requires some work and sneakiness. BUT, like I said before- it'll be a memory your kids will never forget. Isn't that what we want as teachers?? 

Now you want a Holiday Elf in your classroom? 
I created a pack to help other teachers get started with this holiday fun in their classrooms- check it out by clicking on the picture below!

What does this pack include? 
•Classroom Elf Ideas- stuck on what to do? See the list of ideas!
•Elf Files Binder cover/pages for you to create your own classroom documentation of elf sightings
•Optional student Elf Files Mini Journals for each student to document their elf sightings
•“Name That Elf” Graph to vote on classroom elf name
•Parent Letter to send home with your elf when students take him home.
•North Pole Delivery label and “If Found” badge to attach to the bag or box you send home with your elf 

Head on over to my TPT store to grab yourself a copy!! 

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to do this!!! Your tips are awesome.


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