Although it can serve as a fun activity for at home, it can also be an educational tool for students. How could you integrate the fun-loving elf into your classroom? I thought I would share some of my ideas below.
For the Younger Ones...
- Hide the elf somewhere in your classroom and keep a running log of where the elf was found. How could you document the elf's antics?
- Create your own "Flat Stanley"-type elf. Take a picture with your class outside of your school, share the picture, your location, and name of your elf on your website, Twitter, or other social media outlet to start building a library of elves. Ask your online community or PLN to share their elves, where they are from, and other holiday traditions from their area. (Great Social Studies activity!)
- Use your elf as a teacher for the day. Take a picture of your elf and use a tool such as Blabberize to make directions for students or to present content in different ways.
- Integrate your elf into teaching writing in the Common Core. What the Teacher Wants has some great free printables for writing activities for the elementary level. (Great ELA activity!)
- Read the "Elf on a Shelf" story using a document camera and project onto a whiteboard or interactive whiteboard. Engage students in the text and have them make notes as you read. (Great ELA activity!)
- Create a character map of your elf.
- Write a story about your elf.
- Have your elf appear with a container "elf kisses" (Hershey Kisses). Have the candy in a clear container and have students estimate how many are in the jar and then count them at the end of the activity. You could use a Google Spreadsheet to record estimates to compare and graph. (Great Math activity!)
For the Older Ones...
- Play a holiday game. Happy Home Fairy has a game that would be fun for the last day of school before break. Want the elf to provide directions for this game? Check out my Google Presentation. This would be fun to project and then take pictures of your students as they are trying to draw. After the completion of the drawing activity, you could use a Google Spreadsheet to record points, make calculations, averages, and graphs.
- Look online for some Elf on the Shelf images. Select one to use as a writing prompt.
- Catch your elf making snowflakes (example). Using math vocabulary that you are currently studying, give directions to your students for cutting snowflakes (i.e., make a 90 degree cut, fold your paper in half, make perpendicular cuts, etc.). Take pictures of snowflakes and display the differences in snowflakes based on set directions.
- Elves have a kind heart! Research needs in your local community and put together a holiday gift basket. Take a picture of your class and elf and attach it as a card.
- Partner with an elementary classroom. Stage a picture with an elf each day and have the elf share a story, give directions, or teach for the day.
- Create an origami winter scene to make your elf at home. This would be a great way to incorporate different math vocabulary, or science ecosystems or habitats. Some examples: Christmas tree, star, Santa, and Santa hat).
- Give your students a challenge. Build a house for your elf. Give everyone the same number of marshmallows and toothpicks and see how many different types of houses you can create.
A special treat, for your viewing pleasure :)