After the story and improv, we asked the students to make "gifts" for Santa using certain STEM toys. We had three different kinds of toys, so we separated the students into three groups and gave them the choice to work independently or as a small group. As this was the first time using these toys, I expected most students to work independently (and they did). What I was blow away by was the creativity that they applied to come up for gifts for Santa. We had everything from a vacuum robot to clean up after the elves, a scooter for Santa, to a device that would help Santa cut wrapping paper. I was able to walk around the room and talk with kids, but one of the best moments was when I sat down and started building with a couple of students and having them help me find solutions to how I would put a star on my Christmas tree. They were so eager to jump in and help!
I love it when we get to visit our K-2 Special Education friends. They are some of the best listeners for stories, least inhibited with improv, and excellent thinker-builders. Today was no exception!
We started out with the amazing Kelly McGee reading the story, The Elves' Night Before Christmas. The kids love it when he reads to them because he reads with such emotion and uses different voices - the adults are always entertained too! After reading the story, he led through a short improv game, "Santa Says" (a spin on "Simon Says"). It provides them with great practice in listening and following directions - plus when it relates back to the story it is even more fun!
We let the kids rotate to different groups after a while of building if they wanted to explore some of the other toys. They did a great job of respecting what each other had built and did even a better job of sharing with the class what they created after time was up. There are some future engineers in that room!
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