Monday, December 3, 2012

Elf fun :)

So when I was little we had this elf that used to get tacked up to hang from the ceiling in our bedroom.  My parents told us that he was watching and listening and would be telling Santa all the good and naughty things we were doing.  He had no name, we saw him come out of the Christmas decorations box every year, we touched him to help put him up, and still we believed.  Even when we got older he still went in the same spot.  Once I became a teacher, he moved with me to my classroom.  I would hang him up in my classroom and I would tell the students the same thing my parents told me.  Then what do you know, 3 years ago I'm in a Hallmark shop (I think) and there is this family tradition kit, "Elf on the Shelf."  It comes with this elf that looks JUST like the elf we had growing up and there is even a book that goes with it.  I can't even believe it when it says how he reports to Santa every night to tell how we've been.  I think to myself, I HAVE to get this for my sister's family, it's just like what we had growing up!!!  Now I have 3 sisters and a brother, but my younger sister and I are the closest in age and we're the ones who went through the elf thing together.  He hung in our room.  The 2 of us are really close and every year I play Santa and buy a family gift.  I go over to their house while they're at her father-in-law's on Christmas Eve, let myself in, and put the gift under the tree so that way they have a fun surprise from Santa too (my sister knows who the real culprit is).  So I buy the "Elf on the Shelf" as their family gift that year from Santa.  The next year, my sister doesn't do anything with it because my niece is only 2 1/2 at the time and wouldn't get it.  I continue to do my thing in the classroom, no one knows anything about "Elf on the Shelf."  Then last year my sister and niece open up the elf and read the book.  My niece loves the story and the elf, but refuses to name it because she doesn't want it to come alive.  She wants it to just stay in her room.  lol  I put up my elf and all of a sudden there are kids who say it's "the elf on the shelf."  I tell them the story of the elf growing up like I have every year.  They ask me what my elf's name is.  I tell them that we never named him.  I also told them that he stays in one spot and doesn't move around, but he's still watching and reporting to Santa and that they can't touch him.  That brings us to this year.  My sister decides she's going to try again with the elf in the hope that my niece will do the whole thing since she's now 4 1/2 (really 4 5/6, she'll be 5 in Feb, lol).  My sister had gotten the movie the year before and they loved that as well.  So she decides to get the skirt and put it on the elf and tell my niece that Santa thought maybe she'd prefer a girl elf.  She gets this whole thing planned and my niece starts asking about the elf and where is it packed up in the basement.  They have to find him.  lol  My sister plays it off but is thinking in her head, "oh great"  lol.  So anyway Thanksgiving weekend this new girl elf comes to the house with a letter from Santa saying that he thought she would prefer a girl elf and to please give it a name.  Well that's enough for my niece who tells my sister, "THAT'S why we couldn't find the elf!"  lol  She does name her this year, Karen, after the little girl who helps Frosty.  Now my sister also has a small version of the elf that hung in our bedroom that she uses as an ornament every year.  Well my niece decides that they need to name that one too and see if it will get it's magic, so she names it Holly.  Why yes it did get magic too, and they have a fun time every morning looking for the 2 elves together.  That brings me back to my classroom where after Thanksgiving break a few of my students have had "the elf on the shelf" come to their homes and they are talking about.  I think to myself, okay this thing has really blown up this year, I think I'm going to have to go all in with the elf instead of my usual.  So Friday when I was switching my room over from November to December I got out my December box and took out the elf.  Now this elf is not new.  He's been around for at least 30 years (not sure if my older siblings had him or not) and he had some holes in his outfit.  I brought him home over the weekend and my mom and I fixed him up so he looks like new.  This morning, I put him in his spot along with a letter from my elf (whom I named Elfie, which my mom gave me a hard time about, lol  She didn't think I was very original, but I thought it was cute).  I also hung these felt-like snowflakes from the ceiling and put up Christmas lights around my cabinets.  When my students came in this morning, they were mesmerized by this and then lost it when they saw Elfie.  They were so excited and had a million questions for me.  I told them we would talk about it during our morning meeting and that they needed to do their morning work.  So it's time for the morning meeting and the kids can't wait to hear what I have to say.  I do my same shpeal about how the elf has been around since I was little and what he was like for me.  I then explain that he now has a name and so he has his magic.  I had borrowed the book from my sister and read it to the class to help explain for the half of the class that didn't know.  This makes one of my little girls say "oooh!  We have one on our tree, but we never named him!  That's why he doesn't move around.  When I get home today I'm going to name him to get him his magic!"  I read the letter from Elfie and tell my class that Elfie was the one who put up the snowflakes and Christmas lights, which impressed them a lot!  lol  All day the students were excited about Elfie so he did not help with behavior at all today.  lol  They were EXTREMELY chatty.  When my teammate's class came in to learn about the art of the week, my kids couldn't wait to tell them about Elfie.  When students from another 2nd grade class came to our room for our math group today, they again couldn't wait to tell them (to which those students went back to their class and shared the news, lol).  All day long that little girl keeps telling me how she's going home to name her elf.  lol  So once my kids are at PE, I e-mail her parents to give them a heads up.  lol  They are fine with it and will be going along with it.  lol  I e-mail all of my parents to give them a heads up so they know what their child is talking about and I've had some really great parent replies back about how great I am for sharing this and doing it with the kids.  So without further adieu, meet Elfie.
You can see the holes in his hat, as we didn't fix those, just his arms and legs.  He was hanging above my reading chair where my boggle board is.  You can download the stationary from here.  It's an editable pdf that comes with the font.  I made my letter a full size for the first one.  The photos below are the snowflakes from the ceiling and the lights that Elfie surprised the kids with.  

Sorry for the blur.  I was in a rush when taking the pics.  The art of the week is a gingerbread glyph we do every year.  I'll tell more about that in a later post some time.  Tonight, Elfie has written the class another note on the stationary for the spot where the students will find him tomorrow.  He's on top of the cubbies, next to the globe, pointing to the North Pole.  I'll try and snap a picture tomorrow.  My plan is to have a note every day (it's a good thing I bought more ink for my printer!  lol).  I also plan on making Elfie some earmuffs out of puff balls and pipe cleaners if the children are noisy again and writing something along the line of how it's hurting his ears and he won't be able to stay around if they are that loud, and maybe sitting on my classroom phone with a note that he's ready to call anyone he needs to.  lol  It should be fun.  Hopefully I'll take pics and let you know what happened for the day every night.  This way the parents will know too.  Are you doing "Elf on the Shelf" in your classroom or at home?  How's it working for you?  Any great ideas you want to share for an Elf in the classroom?


Stephanie Livers

Your vintage elf and family story is really great! Thank you for the elf stationary! My students will be very excited to receive a letter from "Jingle" tomorrow! Have a great week and wonderful Holiday season!

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