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Digital Learning

A Day of Giving Back

On December 13, I will be joining in with a group of amazing TpT sellers for a day of giving back. All profits from sales in my TpT store will be donated to a cause near and dear to my heart: Adopt a Family. For many years, I adopted a local family at Christmas time who was struggling to make ends meet with my class. We would have a fundraising day which was built around displaying project work we had completed, and would serve breakfast and lunch while entertaining parents, friends, and school and community members in exchange for money to spend on clothing, gifts, and even paying an electric bill for the family we had adopted.

It was never hard to find a family in need, especially during the holiday season. We got referrals from a local social service agency, or sometimes we were alerted to the needs of a family in our midst by a caring friend. The family always remained anonymous, and the gifts were delivered by someone who represented us. My students brought holiday joy and relief to many homes over the years. The joy and warmth they received in return was priceless.

I have continued this practice during my recent retirement, and this year I am reaching out to help a five year old girl who is living with her disabled grandmother.  She needs so many of the basics: shoes, socks, boots and a jacket for the winter besides a few toys and books to brighten her Christmas. As a grandma myself, their story has touched my heart.

I hope you will help me to help this sweet little girl by checking your Rainbow City Learning wishlist or browsing for a new idea to try. Whatever you purchase from my store on the 13th will go directly to help my adopted family for this year.

With gratitude and hope, I wish you a bright and joyful holiday season!

Look for a store profile like mine for other charities which will benefit from our Day of Giving Back.


My Favorite Things

Found a fun linky this morning and decided to join in the fun! Thanks, Southern Fried Teachin'! 

1. My favorite holiday song has always been "Little Drummer Boy". I love visualizing that biblical scene as the song plays. My favorite version is Bob Seger's. (Probably a little weird!)

2. Favorite holiday guilty pleasure food? Peppermint Bark! I even tried learning to make it, but it just doesn't taste the same unless the snow is slowly sifting to the ground outside as I crunch down on it!

3. My favorite holiday tradition is wrapping gifts. I dread all the shopping and deciding, but love the quiet time at home when I can get creative with wrapping papers, ribbons, and star wire!

4. My favorite holiday book is "My House Has Stars". It is a great reminder that even diversity can show wu show much we all really have in common. So many of the holidays celebrated by different faiths this time of year have the same values associated with them.

5. My favorite holiday act of kindness is to "adopt" a family in need. Finding a family in my community to help with buying Christmas gifts, clothing, or even with some grocery gift cards or electric company bill credits makes my holiday complete each year.

6. My favorite holiday memory is opening gifts with my children when they were small. We always tried to add a few surprises among the ones they had requested, and I loved watching their eyes when they unwrapped those surprises!

7. My favorite holiday gift as a child was a turquoise transistor radio. (REALLY dates me, but the truth!) That radio and I were forever after inseparable, kinda like me and my iPhone now!

8. My favorite holiday craft is baking cookies. I love adding frosting and decorations to them!

9. My favorite holiday movie is "It's a Wonderful Life". All actors to this day must measure up to Jimmy Stewart for me to enjoy their performances. Nicholas Cage often comes close to Jimmy's performance.

10. I like to shop online for holiday gifts. No parking issues, no crowded stores, and I can do it in my pjs! Aaaaaahhhh.....

11. I would love for Santa to bring Peace to all of us on Earth this year. Without Peace, all other gifts are meaningless. 

12. My favorite product to use throughout the year, to fire kids' imaginations, give them so many uses for building sets they may have received for the holidays along with tons of recyclables, and to consistently answer the question of "I'm done. What do I do now?" is my Maker Place Start Up Kit. I hope you'll check it out!

May all of your holiday wishes this year come true! Sending love and light to you from Rainbow City Learning!


Our Homes Have Stars

Our homes all have stars. All across this beautiful land of ours, and all across the world. If you 're reading this at night, go outside and look up. I'll wait.....

If you're reading this in the daytime, be sure to check it out tonight. It's a beautiful display, and a beautiful reminder that "We are more alike, my friend, than we are unalike." (Maya Angelou)

The holiday season is upon us, starting earlier and earlier each year, fueled by the world of commerce. It's a very difficult time of year for many of the children in our classrooms who celebrate holidays other than Christmas. If you have a diverse group of learners in the faiths they follow as well as in their learning styles, I hope you will find some of these suggestions useful.

I found this beautiful little picture book a long time ago, and have loved sharing it with my students each year at the start of this festive season. It is a narrative by eight different children from all over the world, telling about their life and family inside their homes. You will see many parallels in their daily lives, and will also see that they (and we) all exist under the same beautiful sky, in the same universe.  If you don't already have this book, it will make a beautiful addition to your teacher toolbox. I promise!

A long time ago, in a wonderful school where I spent most of my career, a mom asked if she could come to school to make latkes and explain the celebration of Chanukah. She did. Then a parent who was also a minister asked if he and his wife could visit and explain the the manger and the true meaning of Christmas. They did.

Before long, three grade levels in my school joined in each December in a celebration of the similarities and differences in our faiths called the Holiday Carousel. We set up stations in as many classrooms as holidays with presenters, and students traveled from room to room to learn about each of the holidays their classmates were celebrating. We learned about Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Chinese New Year, Diwali, Japanese New Year, and Pongal, to name a few! Parents could bring in trees, menorahs, kinaras, lanterns, and any other symbols of their holidays. Each group of parents also brought in holiday foods (prescreened for allergies of course!) and a craft symbolic of their holiday. Teachers and our principal pitched in to fill any gaps when parents were unavailable to present. Other parents also filled in. One year, a Jewish teacher and a Jewish parent presented Kwanzaa, for example. Another year, a teacher and three Chinese students presented Chinese New Year. We did it all together, and loved every minute of it!

Over the years of our Holiday Carousel, I developed some resources to help my students to prepare for and reflect on the Holiday Carousel. I have been a busy little teacher bee in my TpT store this week, trying to bring more of those resources to you, teacher friends, in a format that will be simple to print and use at this very busy time of year. I hope that you will find some of them to be just what you were looking for!

I wish you joy, peace, and contentment this holiday season!

For more December tips from some amazing bloggers, please check out the other December Teacher Talk posts below!