Monday, December 1, 2014

Favorite Advent Videos

Looking for some great Advent videos to use in your classroom/youth group/Bible study?

Here are some of my favorites:

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ideas for Advent

Here are some ideas for you to use with your kiddos this Advent:

Seeking our Savior: An Advent Detective Journey based on Scripture, showing how Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in Christ.  Printable coloring book, Scripture cards, mini craft projects, and a leaders guide.

 Advent Jeopardy Trivia games here and here.

 Party Like a Saint- A December-Saint-Themed Advent Party with crafts and games.

What if they had email?  Youth Group Advent lesson idea putting the Christmas story in a new perspective.

 A Stocking For Jesus: Activities to go along with the book, including some Advent printables.
A Nativity Photo Booth, putting all of those Nativity play costumes and props to good use!

Advent Prayer Ring- Great for Youth Groups or Bible Studies:

My Gift- An Epiphany Readers' Theater:

Printable Advent Candles for an Advent Wreath:

Friday, November 28, 2014

Kids' Advent Wreath- Free Printables

*** Update: Click here to get the printable in Spanish and here in Dutch!

This year at our CCD Family Advent Night, we decided that we would focus on the meaning of the Advent Wreath and have the kids make their own to take home.  I will post pictures of how we make that work for a group, but I wanted to make sure to share the printables before the first week of Advent. Here is how I put them all together:

1. Print out the three page printable.  I like to have kids color before cutting, so they don't have to worry so much about staying in the lines or tearing edges while coloring.  I colored the flames and the holly with marker to make them more vibrant, and colored the actual candle with crayon so that the words would be more visible.

Side Note: Do you know the Christian meaning of holly?  The prickly leaves remind us of Christ's crown of thorns, and the red berries symbolize the blood He shed.
 2.  Then cut out the candles.
 3.  Next, wrap the candle printables around a toilet paper tube.  (Note: if you or your school are not big on using toilet paper rolls, you can use paper towel rolls cut down or a cylinder of card stock.)
I first taped the printable on the little tab (which has a reminder about which Sunday of Advent it is for) and then taped the opposite edge.  There is also a Scripture verse on each candle from the Sunday readings this year.
 4.  The candle flames can be lit or unlit.  Here is the Hope candle lit...
 ...or you can gently fold and push the flame inside the tube...
 ...where it isn't visible.
 I also made a Christ Candle to use during the Octave of Christmas.

5. The candles could just be set on/in an evergreen wreath on a table, or you can make a wreath to put it all together.  I used a paper plate- green would have been great, but white is what I had.  I traced a glass to make the circle in the middle and then drew four Xs that were about 1 3/4" in length.
6.  The I cut out the circle and the Xs.  I would recommend this job for adults or older kids only.  Scissors work, but an xacto knife is better.

 7.  If you have a green plate, you could stop here, or you can add the leaves as decoration.  One of the printables has holly & berries that you can use.
 I also cut out some simple leaves from green paper:
8.  Glue the leave and the berries on the plate, not covering up the Xs that you cut out.
 9.  Next, add some glue on those Xs and put the candle on top of it.  To stabilize it and make the glue stick, roll up a strip of cardstock (mine was about 8" long), put a little glue on it, and stick it on the inside of the Xs. Let it unfurl and it will help everything stick together as it dries.

 10.  Let it all dry and use it to count down the weeks as we wait for the coming of Christ!

Another cute idea: A former coworker sent me the pictures of her kindergartners making these wreaths and she added battery operated tea lights to them!  She said she used the rolled cardstock inside (that was holding the candle to the plate) tall enough that the tea lights could rest on at the top.  Love it!

Click here for the free printable:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Every Good and Perfect Gift

Here's a pretty printable for what I hope is shaping up to be a pretty day for you!

Click here for the printable:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Principal Appreciation Day- Thank You Banner

Yesterday, I posted an idea for helping your students show their appreciation to their principal.  Principal's Appreciation Day is Thursday, November 20, 2014.  It always falls on the Thursday before Thanksgiving.   Wanting to tell her "thank you" from my class, we decided to make a Thank You Banner, complete with gratitude notes on the back of the pennant pieces.

You could make the banner in many different ways, but here is how we went about it:

Cut triangles out of cardstock:
If you use 8.5"x11" paper, you can get two pennant pieces (with some waste) if you measure about 2 7/8" from opposite corners of the short side and connect the dots.  Something like this:

I cut enough pennant pieces for each of the students there that day to have.  I also needed one letter for each piece, so some of the pennant pieces were spaces or punctuation.  It all depends on what you want to say and how many students you have!

Each student took their card stock piece and traced it onto normal lined paper.  They cut it out, and then slid it up so that there was a border of cardstock along the two long edges.  They used this as a basis for cutting the top.
On this side the students wrote the principal a gratitude letter.  They included what they appreciated about her, what they have learned from her, etc. 
Then I assigned each student a letter, and they filled the other side with a large bubble letter.  The stars were "spaces"- my way of giving each of the students a part of the project.
I then stapled the pieces in order onto some pretty ribbon.  They would have looked nice sewn together as well- however I didn't have a sewing machine handy that day, so the stapler did the job.

This banner can decorate our principal's office for a while to remind her of how much we appreciate her.  It also would be a great idea for Secretary's Day or Pastor Appreciation Day!

You may also like the gift idea in this post:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Principal Appreciation Day- Gift Idea

The National Catholic Education Association Associate sets aside the Thursday before Thanksgiving as a day to recognize and appreciate the work that principals do in our Catholic schools across the nation.  This year's Principal Appreciation Day falls on November 20th, which is just a few days away.

I can't express how much I appreciate my boss.  Her leadership, hard work, and dedication to our school are an inspiration.  Just as a teacher sets the tone of a classroom, a principal sets the tone for an entire school.  Our staff and students traditionally recognize our principal with special "unannounced" visits to her office throughout the day with gifts and good wishes. 
Some of the typical gifts I have seen include:
-younger grades singing her a song
-spiritual bouquets, prayed and then written, signed, and framed 
-a special decorative plate created by a whole class
-collections of cards, letters, notes, and pictures
-giant cards signed by whole classes

Last year I wanted to try something different.  Our principal had just redecorated her office, so we thought a pretty piece of matching "artwork" would be nice.

First, I had all of the students create a list of ten adjectives or nouns that described our principal.
We then typed all of the lists (including all of the repeats) into a free online program called Tagxedo.  It is a lot like Wordle, but it has a huge amount of options when it comes to colors, fonts, backgrounds, and shapes.

We plugged all the words in, and then using the Smart Board, the class tried to come to a decision about our favorite layout.  We started with a heart:
But quickly moved on to this apple:
And kept experimenting with colors and layouts:
Until we created this one, which was by far the favorite:
I printed the picture in color and then matted it.  The kids and I all signed around the picture on the white mat and I added a little message with Happy Principal's Day, the date, and our grade.

We stuck it in a nice frame, wrapped it, and the kids enjoyed presenting it to her.
If you are looking for an idea to create a simple and inexpensive appreciate gift for Principal's Day or another important person, give Tagxedo a try!