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Should I still do the Elf on a Shelf?

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Should I still do the Elf on a Shelf?
Old 12-01-2013, 03:41 PM
 
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I have a student that doesn't celebrate Halloween or Christmas and I try really hard to respect that. For example, I didn't put much up for Halloween and if it was a strictly Halloween and not fall decoration, I waited until the week of the holiday before I put it up. I didn't do many Halloween activities and he always had the option to do something else instead. I talked to him about it each step of the way. He's a very vocal boy who isn't afraid to tell me what he can or cannot do.
However, I struggle with some of my Christmas traditions that I like to share with my class. I love that Christmas is such a magical time for first graders and I truly love the playfulness of it all! The Elf is one of the traditions. Would you still do it?
Also, how do you start the Elf? I was thinking of wrapping it and then having it delivered to my class from an office staffer.
Thoughts?


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This is not going to be popular, but
Old 12-01-2013, 04:50 PM
 
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I don't think the Elf has a place in any classroom. It is very much tied to the celebration of Christmas, a religious holiday. In addition, I think of it as being something special to be shared within a family, not as a classroom management system. I have students from many different religions and cultures. It is a tricky thing to be respectful of each others traditions. Maybe the child's parents could offer you some advice about what would be a solution for your class?
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Old 12-02-2013, 04:32 AM
 
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Quote:
I don't think the Elf has a place in any classroom. It is very much tied to the celebration of Christmas, a religious holiday
*nodding head in agreement*
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Old 12-02-2013, 05:32 AM
 
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I don't think the Elf has a place in any classroom. It is very much tied to the celebration of Christmas, a religious holiday.
Also nodding in agreement.

I do celebrate Christmas but I don't really like the idea of a teacher holding Santa over my child's head for a month. If a parent wants to do it that way, fine, but that isn't "the magic of Christmas". If you want the magic of Christmas, string some white lights and turn the lights off. Voila! Baking gingerbread would also be another way to celebrate that would include everyone.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:35 AM
 
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I see no reason for 24 children to miss out on something because one does not participate in it. Why not just have a snowman or penguin play the elf's role in your classroom instead? Move him around, have him get into a little mischief or leave little treats. You don't have to connect it to Santa at all. They can still have the fun of finding him each day, and you can still do any of the academic activities, like writing journal entries from his point of view, writing him letters with ideas of things he might do, etc.


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I personally
Old 12-02-2013, 08:20 AM
 
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think the elf is just creapysepecially when he does bad stuff. I taught in a Catholic school so I spent Christmas with the religious aspect and that was hard, too. In a public school I think you need to be careful.
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Elf on Self
Old 12-02-2013, 09:57 AM
 
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I would continue to do Elf on the Shelf. That one child could be given alternative but equally fun activities to do during the same time. I get tired of being encouraged to teach about all the other holiday traditions (which I do) but not being able to celebrate a tradition that has always been part of the USA culture. I respect all of the other celebrations and encourage families to explain/demonstrate how their family celebrates during the holidays. I also expect others to be respectful of traditional USA celebrations. Yes, I still do a Santa Christmas countdown in my room.
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Yes to the elf...
Old 12-02-2013, 03:24 PM
 
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I am with Koppsrus. My standards even spell out that I should be teaching about traditions in the United States. Christmas has many traditions, Santa and his friends are a part of it for many. Sorry I just don't want to be a part of a country that cannot celebrate and learn about all sorts of traditions. We all are trying to be so careful that we don't step on anyone's toes- it just gets silly. While I was in school we had Santas galore; my family did not celebrate using Santa and did not encourage Santa belief at all . I was not harmed one single bit because I colored some pictures of Santa and sang "up on the housetop". I turned out mostly fine.
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Old 12-04-2013, 06:31 PM
 
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I don't think the elf is appropriate for the classroom, either. If my own kids had that happening in their classrooms, I wouldn't be happy about it. I think it's something special for our family. My family celebrates Christmas, but I just don't feel comfortable talking about it at school.

I have never done anything that is Christmas with my students. I've always had a few students who don't celebrate, and I try to be extremely sensitive to their cultures/beliefs. This year I have a student from Israel (son of visiting professor- Jewish) and one students who is Muslim. I just don't think they need to learn about Christmas. Besides, I think there is plenty of Christmas everything everywhere. And I don't think any young children need the additional stimulation, honestly.

I use the month of December for in depth study and comparison of all the gingerbread stories. We read several different versions, compare, etc. We talk about candy, learn about how candy is made, and do some other things that are related to cooking/candy/fairy tales/gingerbread.

We also study how animals get ready and survive during the winter, which is a really fun unit. The month of December is festive and fun, but not Christmas-centered in my class.
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Old 12-04-2013, 07:21 PM
 
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No to the Elf. I plan to complain to DD's K teacher about this at conferences tomorrow. I am really upset that she has told the students that the Elf is going to "report" on them to Santa. That does not belong in a public school classroom. I know of other parents who are upset, too.


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Old 12-04-2013, 09:17 PM
 
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I agree with the other posters who have said Elf on a Shelf is inappropriate and does not belong in the school setting. My family believes in Christmas and Santa visits; however, I would not be okay with Elf on a Shelf in my son's classroom. Some parents do this at home and it's a big deal and don't want that taken away because it's done at school. Some won't care. And some will care because they just don't want their child participating in something like that.

Obviously I know nothing about your school's population. That said, Christmas is NOT a magical time for every first grader. That is certainly true of my school's population as we have students who are homeless, live in shelters because of domestic violence, have little money to buy presents, etc...
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Old 12-07-2013, 05:53 AM
 
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I agree that an Elf should not be in the classroom, even if all the children are Christian. Call me a scrooge, but I don't focus much on religious holidays.

Holidays are for families and friends at home. The only time religious holidays are discussed is when children have conversations and during our sharing circle if a child chooses to share something about their life/holiday, etc. Also, if they choose to write about it during writing workshop.

We have standards to teach and there isn't much room for holiday activities.
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Old 12-07-2013, 05:59 AM
 
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I'm sure the Elf on the Shelf is NOT a tradition the people who wrote the standards were considering. It's a money maker that was invented in like 2005.
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I do the elf on the shelf.
Old 12-07-2013, 04:06 PM
 
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It's not tied into behavior. I just hide him somewhere different every day. The kids like looking for him. Some kids choose to write about him during Daily 5 writing. Other than that, it's not mentioned. Not that big a deal. Just fun.
If I had a parent complain, I would probably quit, but the kids all love looking for it in the mornings, and I just don't see how it's hurting anyone.
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Elf on the Shelf...
Old 12-10-2013, 08:21 AM
 
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my personal opinion is that:

*he is creepy!! The newer ones at least have a cuter face and don't look so demented.
* he exhibits traits of behavior that I have worked long and hard to eliminate from my first grade classroom, mainly being a tattle tale and creating mischief.
* he represents only one aspect of one religion. It is not just the nonreligious or those of a different religion that are bothered by him, but many Christians I know do not like this fad.
*by not having him in my classroom I do not feel that I am making any of the other students miss out on anything.
* I love creativity and he must be a lot of fun every morning, but I don't want any more distractions to the kids this month.
* I have taught a long time and I have found so, so many "magical times" for first graders that doesn't involve anyone's religious beliefs.
* he has only been around a few years, so I am not sure how much of a tradition he is, and how much of a new fad he is.

I know some teachers love him and it brings smiles to kids faces, so on the other hand he might be a positive thing.
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:18 AM
 
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I think of it as being something special to be shared within a family, not as a classroom management system.
*firmly nodding in agreement*
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Eh
Old 12-11-2013, 05:46 AM
 
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I guess it depends on how the teacher does it. Last year I saw a teacher do this with her firsties and it was very cute. She did say the elf was going to report them to Santa, but only because they were such good children and such a big help to her. This made the children laugh and smile and clap, it was adorable. Also there were a few Muslim kids in the class but their parents were ok with it.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:05 AM
 
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I think it depends on your class and the parents. Will this parent make your life miserable, if so don't do it. Maybe call this parent and ask them. That is what I'd do.
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Old 12-15-2013, 03:19 PM
 
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I am a new parent, but I feel strongly that this is something to be shared with the family. I watch my friends post on facebook and see their joy at creating this magic for their own children (who are older than mine) and I would hate for them to be hurt when their child's teacher is doing it too....what if the way the teacher does it is different than at home....wouldn't that cause the child to ask questions about why the elf is the same but does different things and acts differently at home?

This is such a popular thing for families today....let them have their fun at home.

One year I read Jack Frost and told my kids (who were awful) that Jack Frost was watching and he would reward kids who showed good behavior. Wouldn't you know....every time we went to specials or home for the night, he left a small gift on the desk of a different kid who had been behaving. I would much prefer my child's teacher to do something like that.

There are just some things that should be for family only. I would be crushed if my child's teacher read him The Night Before Christmas before I had a chance to do so. I think some people feel the same about the elf.
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I understand
Old 12-15-2013, 08:51 PM
 
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The whole argument about the standards but I think there is a difference between talking about traditions and celebrating them. My family doesn't celebrate holidays and for the whole month of December my daughters have to deal with with Christmas celebrations. I get a little upset when they are sent to the office or to another room when her teacher is doing Christmas related things. I have always believed and tell the parents of my students it is my job to teach their children the core subjects anything else can be taught at home.
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no elf
Old 12-16-2013, 05:58 AM
 
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I agree that elf on the shelf is a family only tradition. Each family who has one makes up their own "rules" and traditions and you don't want to confuse the kids with this. Really, we don't need to bring each new commercial thing into the classroom.
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Kindness Elf
Old 12-27-2013, 06:33 PM
 
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I saw a super cute idea for a Kindness Elf as an alternative to the Elf on the Shelf. Each day a little Kindness Elf will deliver ideas on something kind to do for others (donate toys to the children's hospital, make a card/cookies for an elderly neighbor). I think next year I may begin this tradition with my students and adapt the ideas to things we could do at school (thank you notes to the cafeteria ladies, do something nice for the principal...). I think it's a great way to place the focus onto the giving aspect of the holidays!

http://theimaginationtree.com/2013/1...dness-elf.html
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Old 12-27-2013, 08:49 PM
 
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so cute! I love that idea!!
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