Wow! What a whirlwind week: Christmas concert practice madness, a new role play area and a jaunt to Cardiff to see my hero, ABCdoes, in action. The biggest event of the week, however, was the arrival of the ‘Elf on the Shelf’ all the way from the North Pole!
The children were busy reading and playing games with their parents during my weekly reading morning when suddenly my head teacher burst through the door with a very fancy looking parcel. She explained that she had heard a jingle outside and when she looked out the window she saw a parcel sitting on the doorstep. Lo and behold, it was addressed to Reception!
I asked the children to come and sit down and told the parents that they could either head on home/to work, or stay for the grand opening. All of them stayed, camera phones in hand! The two special helpers opened the parcel which is when I appeared to suddenly realise who it was. I explained that this was the elf who had visited my class the year before. The children were SO excited. Their wee faces were a picture!
Parents then left and I read the story to the children. I did a quick brainstorm about what we could call him, but on getting suggestions like baby, mummy and dog elf (😂), I decided that they had been at the carpet for too long and suggested that they write their ideas down for me! I also explained that my TA would need some helpers to clear out the school role play area and that if they had any suggestions about what we could turn it into, to write it down.
Well, to say there was a writing buzz is an understatement. The boys wanted to make sure that nobody would touch the elf (because of the resulting loss of magic) and so were keen to write warning signs. They then independently accessed paper and started attempting to write a shopping list of things we might need for what they had decided the new role play area should be – Santa’s workshop. Meanwhile in the role play area my TA had a group of girls writing suggestions on the board about what we could turn it into…
By the end of the day I had a huge pile of shopping lists left on my chair! After the children left school for the day I cranked on the ‘Now That’s What I Call Christmas’ album and started to decorate the class and make Santa’s workshop. Both my TA and I ended up staying until 7pm because we got so carried away!
The next day the children were absolutely itching to get into the workshop. I had given my TA an EAD role play objective for the week so she stayed in the role play area with the children all week modelling language and the processes involved. There are so many skills to be developed in that one little area:
You might have noticed the postbox outside the workshop. It was for the rest of the class to post their Christmas wish lists. I set out 3 Smyths catalogues on the table along with some glues and pens and suggested that they cut out all the things they would like and have a go at writing a label underneath. The table was absolutely crammed and was equally popular amongst both boys and girls. Once they had finished the elves would check the post box and have a go at making the requested toy!
I also made sure to include lots of writing frames in Santa’s workshop – notebooks, writing frames from Twinkl, pound shop cards and envelopes, gift tags and some fancy pens!
The children absolutely adore their new role play area and I am getting such a high level of engagement and attainment. I would highly recommend that if you do have a Santa’s workshop in your class, plan for an adult to spend a few days in it modelling play possibilities and developing children’s skills.
I’ll leave you now with a few elf on the shelf pictures from the week…