10 Elf On The Shelf Ideas for the Classroom

Here are 10 ideas for using the elf on the shelf in your classroom.  Some of these you may have already seen on the Facebook, but I thought I’d include them for any new readers of my blog.

I’ve included a possible writing hook with each scenario as they often really lend themselves to encouraging writing and mark making.

1. Snowball fight

Writing hook: Lollipop sticks and small pieces of paper for children to make support banners for their elf e.g. Go Sparkle, Sparkle to win!Snow ball fight!

2. Toilet paper the classroom

Writing hook: Leave out the large road signs or suggest that the children write posters to the elf telling him to stop making such a mess!

Toilet paper the classroom3. Dinosaur attack.

Writing hook: Leave pieces of paper and sellotape nearby for the children to write signs and posters telling the dinosaurs to leave the elf alone.

Dinosaur attack

4. Elf School

If you follow me on Facebook you’ll remember the little elves I bought in Tiger. I think they look so sweet in my elf school.  The children actually squealed when they discovered them this morning!

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Writing hook –  The children already spend the day re-enacting the school day in their ‘school’ role play area and didn’t need any prompting to start teaching the elves the sounds they have been learning. One of the boys even started writing the school rules on the board!!

5. Poorly Elf

Writing hook: Usually the children suggest this before I do, but even so, make it easier for them by leaving some cards laid out on the table as a prompt. Poorly elf

6. Snow angel and mark making in glittery snow (salt)

Writing hook: I left some name cards in the tuff spot to encourage the children to come and write their names and other letters in the salt.

image7. Toilet paper the outdoor area/block off the door with tape

Writing hook: As above, Leave out the large road signs or suggest that the children write posters to the elf telling him to stop making such a mess!

Sleigh elf

8. Invite to make reindeer food and write a recipe

Writing hook: the recipe templates that have been left on the tuff spot. I’m going to encourage the children to write out the list of ingredients that they used to create their reindeer food.

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9. Letters to Santa/Elf School

Writing hook: Santa letter templates left on the table

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10. Big chalk writing

Really sorry but I forgot to take a picture of this! I set up the elf holding a big piece of chalk with the words ‘Hi Santa’ written on the ground. I encouraged the children to have a go at writing big words on the ground so that Santa would be able to see them from the sky!

There you have it, 10 ideas for using your elf in the classroom and encouraging some writing while you’re at it!

Only 3 more get ups people, we can do this! This will be my last blog post until the New Year. I hope you all have a fabulous, peaceful and restful Christmas.

Alison x

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Santa’s Workshop 🎅

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!

imageParents 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…

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The Elf On The Shelf 🎅


I know this is a very early Christmas post, but I wanted to give you all a heads up and some time to order your elf on the shelf, as some people end up having to order theirs from the U.S.

I first heard about the elf on the shelf from one of my favourite Northern Irish photographers Janine Walker.  She had recently adopted 3 wee boys and wanted to give them a magical Christmas. She had me captivated; I can only imagine how her boys felt!

Basically the elf on the shelf arrives in a box along with a story book which explains who he is. I make a big deal out of his arrival and go to town with the wrapping of the parcel!  I usually arrange for the head teacher or the school secretary to arrive  with the parcel when the children are sitting at the carpet for my morning session. They explain that they heard some bells tinkling and looked out the window and the parcel was just sitting on the doorstep, addressed to reception. You can imagine what the children’s faces are like at this point!

Elf on the shelfThe elf is sent from the North Pole to essentially spy on the children and report back to Santa every night. Each morning the children will find that he has returned from his nightly jaunt and will be in a different place around the classroom, often having behaved quite badly! You can find zillions of ideas on Pinterest. Check out my board here… http://www.pinterest.com/rockmyclassroom/the-elf-on-the-shelf/

The one important rule to remember is that the elf uses magic power to fly back to the North Pole each night. If the children touch him he will lose some of his power and might need to spend a night recuperating in elf hospital. Sad times.

imageOne of the first jobs you have to do is to name your elf.  In the past I’ve had Twinkle, Bompodomp and as you can see last years choice was Twilight Sparkle, which I realised afterwards is a character from My Little Pony!

imageIt is designed for use in the home but I introduced it to my class 3 years ago and it went down an absolute storm, needless to say behaviour is traditionally impeccable for all of December!! Here are some ideas for how I have used it in class…

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He raided Paws the cat’s sticker collection one night!

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The children all planted a magic bean (tic tac) in sugar, sprinkled it with magic dust (glitter) and left them over night. Just look what happened….

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I hope this inspires you to get your own elf on the shelf because it is honestly one of the most magical and rewarding things I’ve done since becoming a teacher. The looks on the childrens faces in the morning are just priceless. So many of my friends have bought them for their families and have had such a ball setting up various scenarios. My Facebook feed is constantly bombarded with elf on the shelf antics.

Anyway that’s all for now.  Hope you’re enjoying a few days off for Halloween. 

Have fun 🌟