This is the time of year when the "holiday crazies" set in! You know the symptoms: excessive talking, wiggles, incomplete assignments, and there are days when it feels like all I do is conflict management . . . A.K.A. tattling! One of the things I've found to combat the "holiday crazies" is soothing music. I think the music from The Nutcracker is the perfect anecdote!
I love sharing the story, The Nutcracker, because there are so many different activities you can do with it that are hands on. A couple of my favorite activities are:
*Science station: Check first to make sure you don't have any students with nut allergies. Buy or ask for donations of nuts in the shell. Ask for a variety of nuts to make this center more interesting. You will surprised how many students have never seen nuts in a shell. Students will go to the centers and use their five senses to observe the nuts. Have samples of nuts out the shell for students to taste. One of the biggest surprises my students find is some nuts make a noise when you shake them. Who knew!!!!
*Nutcracker station: Buy or ask for donations of nutcrackers. Let your students handle and experiment with cracking a few nuts for a nutcracker. I usually put the metal type of nutcracker for them to experiment with, too. Then I print four copies of the first page below so students can look at a colored copy of the nutcrackers (put it in a page protector) that they are going to compare using a venn diagram. Sometimes I let them fill out the venn diagram worksheet with a partner. At the end of the week, we share our results in class.