I am happy to say I survived round two of classroom parties this year and they went off without a hitch. I have a bit of party paranoia because when I taught first grade and did all my own party planning, a child asked, literally in the middle of the party, "when are we going to have our party?" From that, I concluded that my parties must be pretty lame. Last year, I had wonderful parents who took over all of the planning and that was awesome, but this year I am back to doing it myself.
Despite my lame parties, I kind of like planning them myself a bit better. Or, at least planning myself then enlisting parents to help orchestrate what I want...
True parties are fun with sugary snacks, games, prizes, and music.
Yet, with that fun often comes overly-excited children who forget all about listening and following directions.
That's when the parties become not so fun for me and more of a source of stress that makes me really happy when I get to put the kiddos onto the buses at the end of the day.
This time around, both parties were pretty calm. The kids had fun, but I didn't feel as stressed out.
Here's a few things I did that worked:
1. I emailed parents two weeks ago with a list of things I needed (hot chocolate mix, mini marshmallows, cookies, and parents to help during the party). Parents emailed me back and I got multiple volunteers for all things needed.
2. I planned the activity myself so I would know exactly what to expect (more about what we did later) rather than trying to recruit a parent to take on that responsibility.
3. I found a snowman themed book to read so that we could call it a "winter" party instead of a "Christmas" party so that my students who don't celebrate Christmas could still participate and be comfortable.
4. I directed parents to do what I needed while I read so that snack would be out on the table when the story was over (parents tend to sit around and watch unless specifically asked to help...go figure).
Those things worked for me this time.
Sure, a story during a party might not seem too cool, but the kids enjoyed it and they still kept their ability to listen in tact. Score!
They also really liked the game I made up even though it was a game that involved practicing their letter sounds. We have been playing a "mixer" game for several weeks now where each child gets a letter card. They find a partner, tell their partner what sound their letter makes, listen to what their partner says, then trade cards and find a new partner. They love this game. '
For the party, I printed out snowflake clip art and wrote letters in the center (each snowflake was on a half sheet of paper). We played the game in the same way as we do with our phonics letter cards, except every minute or so, I would say "freeze," prompting the kiddos to crumple up their papers into snowballs and I would count to three then we'd all toss our snowballs in the air and make it snow. We had a talk prior to starting about now throwing "snow" at each other and there were no issues. They LOVED it. We followed that up with some hot cocoa and cookies and we were good to go.
Maybe it's the costumes that come along with Halloween that make those parties more difficult, but this time around I thought both groups did really well and I even had fun during the parties. I didn't take any pictures (oops!), but I am fine with that because I will be on maternity leave at the end of the year and therefore won't be doing an end of the year slide show this year. I am not about to ask my sub to put that together for me, so it is what it is.
Mr. Sneaker and I are heading to CT for the holidays and we leave on Tuesday. I am so excited to see my family including my nieces (one of which I have not met yet) and my SIL who is also preggo.