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Mom of seven Mom of seven is offline
 
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Need something different for Christmas gift exchange
Old 10-15-2011, 03:03 PM
 
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I know that this is early, but I would really like to do something different for our Christmas exchange. Last year I had a student who voice her disapproval of the gift she received and I thought It don't want that to ever happen again. I thought of cans of food for our community cupboard, but our middle school does that. If I could tie it into reading or social studies, or possibly a community service learning project that would be great.
What do some of you do that is different from the gift exchange? Thank you!


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lovetheu.p. lovetheu.p. is offline
 
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gift exchange
Old 10-15-2011, 04:26 PM
 
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The holidays are a time of giving.

Every year we adopt a needy family in our community. There is a local organization that sets this up.
It makes us all feel better and reinforces our social studies core democratic value of common good.
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mug exchange
Old 10-15-2011, 04:54 PM
 
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Last year, we did a mug exchange - everyone brought in a holiday mug filled with candy or pencils (Total spent not more than 10.00). You could change it up and ask everyone to bring in a mug and put in a book from scholastic (you could even supply the books using bonus points). A paperback would fit into a hot choc. mug. Then you can serve hot chocolate and everyone can read their new book.
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salvation army..
Old 10-15-2011, 05:08 PM
 
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check with them. My state has a program where we fill the provided stockings with small toys. my class does this each year.
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Readers' Theatre
Old 10-15-2011, 07:03 PM
 
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We always do RT the two weeks before the holidays. One is Red-Headed Robbie's Christmas which emphasizes the idea of giving and putting others first as well as disabilities. It opens the door to some good discussions about. I think I got it from www.thereadinglady.com. Maybe you could do this early in December and use it as a launching point for your project.


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Gift exchange
Old 10-15-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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Our community has an organization that sets up giving trees, or angel trees. I either pull from the trees presents that I know the kids would like to shop for or call the coordinator and ask. I usually ask for toys for younger kids than what I am teaching. Going through the ccordinator is my preferred mode as I don't want a sibling of a student to receive a gift.

The kids each bring in an agreed amount. We then divide into groups and head down to the local store. What a great experience! Those kids are better shoppers than most think!

This has been a great success and eliminates the politics of a gift exchange.
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angel tree
Old 10-15-2011, 08:07 PM
 
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We have gotten a couple of names from the Angel tree for the class to provide a present for. The kids brought money and then either a room mom or myself would buy the presents.
We knew the coordinator and checked with her to make sure we got names of children that were not in our school system. We brought them to school and wrapped them in the classroom. The kids in the class really enjoyed this.

We had a suggestion last year ( a different school ) to bring gloves to exchange. This was to prevent the very example you gave. After a lot of discussion, it was decided that we would not do a Christmas exchange for the kids anymore. I thought the glove idea was a great one.
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stocking stuffers
Old 10-15-2011, 10:24 PM
 
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Instead of a gift exchange we stuffed stockings for each other. (The stockings were actually white paper bags that we decorated). The children spent a maximum of $6 (or whatever your limit is). With that $6 they were to purchase 10 stocking stuffers all the same for the 10 boys in the room, (if the child was a boy), so that would be items that were about 60 cents each. If the child was a girl they brought 9 items all the same for the 9 girls in the room. In an earlier newsletter I had lots of suggestions for them, from holiday pencils to home made ornaments to purchased treats. On party day, I took the child along the row of boys or girls bags to drop in their item, then they went back to the fun and games while the next child walked with me. If a child didn't bring anything, no one even noticed. I stapled the bag closed and it went home at days end. No one even batted an eye, but in the end every boy got the same thing, and so did every girl.
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Old 10-16-2011, 02:40 AM
 
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Neat idea, Bertie!

Last year my class made dog biscuits for the local humane society. They only required a few ingredients, which I had donated. Children brought in a cookie cutter or two for us to borrow for the day. Not everyone had to pay money toward something, which was one of my goals. I don't work in an overly affluent area. It required a lot of reading directions and cooperation. The kids really, really loved it, and the humane society loved getting the donations, too.


A few years back, my team collected items that were sent the pediatric unit at Hershey Medical Center ( large hospital). We did this for the 100th day, and the goal was for each class to collect 100 items. We well surpassed it. The Center gave us a list of items that were needed- crayons, stickers, puzzles, bubbles, small toys.

Other Ideas....
Book drive for a homeless shelter
Socks, hats, and mittens collection
Samaritan's Purse- Operation Christmas Child http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/
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Old 10-16-2011, 07:43 AM
 
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Last year my class made dog biscuits for the local humane society. They only required a few ingredients, which I had donated. Children brought in a cookie cutter or two for us to borrow for the day. Not everyone had to pay money toward something, which was one of my goals. I don't work in an overly affluent area. It required a lot of reading directions and cooperation. The kids really, really loved it, and the humane society loved getting the donations, too.

I love this idea!
We are near a retirement home and last year my students wrote Happy Christmas, Kwaanza, Channukah cards to them.


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Mom of seven Mom of seven is offline
 
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dct5600
Old 10-16-2011, 11:10 AM
 
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Thank is a great idea! I like the idea of supplying the books that way it keeps the cost down.
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:13 AM
 
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The glove idea is good. You could also do hats or scarves.
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Question about the doggie treats
Old 10-16-2011, 03:42 PM
 
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These are wonderful ideas. I have a question about the dog biscuits. Did you need to bake them? Did you do this at school?
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We do a book exchange.
Old 10-17-2011, 11:10 AM
 
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Each student brings in a wrapped, paperback book that is appropriate for a boy or girl. We sit in a circle and I read a holiday story about a snowman. Each time I say the word "SNOW" in the story, they pass their book to the student at their immediate left. Parents usually provide hot chocolate. At the end of the story, the kids unwrap the book they ended up with. I always buy a couple of extra books for the kiddos who can't buy them. I always talk with the students ahead of time, and tell them they cannot complain about the book they end up with because it's a very ungrateful thing to do. Funny thing is, the kids usually end up buying the book/s I've been reading aloud to them. I read the "Humphrey" series, and most end up buying one of the books from the series!

Last edited by NarrativeC; 10-17-2011 at 11:12 AM.. Reason: added sentence
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Have you heard of the Left/Right Game?
Old 10-17-2011, 03:29 PM
 
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We played it for the first time last year. Each student was asked to bring in a wrapped, regular size candy bar. Then I read a holiday story to them with the words 'left' and 'right' in it. Each time I said left, they had to pass the candy bar left, and each time I said right...well, you get the picture. They had alot of fun, and it was inexpensive. I can't find the story I read (it was about an elf), but here is a classic that might even be better.

http://www.santalady.com/xmasgame/lftrt.html
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I love this Left/Right game!
Old 10-18-2011, 08:47 AM
 
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I think I'll try reading this instead of the snow story I usually read. I'm sure the kids think it's a blast!
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Old 10-19-2011, 09:35 PM
 
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Try Books Exchange. It was a great success in my class for the passed 3 years.
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