I’m sure I’m not alone when I say Christmas is my favorite time of the year. And when it comes to kids, the majority of them probably agree. Sure, the kids are excited because Santa comes and brings them presents, but also because there’s a festive feel in the air. People tend to be happier and smile more during the holiday season. Fun activities abound during the season between Thanksgiving and Christmas such as parties, baking cookies, decorating the tree, reading favorite Christmas books, singing Christmas carols and so much more.
I was inspired by my own happy family experiences growing up and also by my husband and now 9-year-old daughter to write my debut children’s book titled, “Ornaments of Love”. It’s a story about a mom and dad who get too busy over the Christmas season to find the time to decorate the tree with their 10 year-old-daughter, Ayana. As the story evolves, the family is pulled together by an unexpected, serendipitous event.
As a teacher, why not integrate some of the fun and excitement of the holidays into the classroom setting? Below are some ways of utilizing the “Ornaments of Love” story with this purpose in mind:
English Language Arts: Poetry related to family theme or holiday-(Can be about Christmas or a different holiday if the child doesn’t celebrate Christmas i.e. Hanukah/Ramadan/Chinese New Year, etc)
Christmas (2 syllables)
Family time (4 syllables)
Presents, Decorations (6 syllables)
Laughter, Smiles, Cookies, Music (8 syllables)
Happy (2 syllables)
I love Christmas time (5 syllables)
Believe, Joy, Hope, Love, Faith, Peace (7 syllables)
Celebration time (5 syllables)
I am Poem
I am (two special characteristics) (happy and excited)
I wonder (something you are actually curious about) (when we’ll decorate the tree?)
I hear (an imaginary sound) (Rosie bark)
I see (an imaginary sight) (a bare Christmas tree)
I want (an actual desire) (to decorate the tree with my family)
I am (the first line of the poem restated) (happy and excited)
I pretend (something you actually pretend to do) (that they’re decorating the tree right now)
I feel (a feeling about something imaginary) (lonely)
I touch (an imaginary touch) (an ornament)
I worry (something that really bothers you) (that it will be this way each year from now on)
I cry (something that makes you very sad) (because I want to do this with them)
I am (the first line of the poem repeated) (happy and excited)
I understand (something you know is true) (that they’re busy)
I say (something you believe in) (that I want to spend time with them)
I dream (something you actually dream about) (of many happy Christmases)
I try (something you really make an effort about) (to decorate this tree by myself)
I hope (something you actually hope for) (that they’ll come help me soon)
I am (the first line of the poem repeated) (happy and excited)
Acrostic-(A poem, word puzzle, or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words.)
M e as a baby
T welve days of Christmas
Character analysis-Open Mind Portrait
Students considers the thoughts that each character in the story is having.
Student creates a portrait surrounded by characters’ thoughts in thought bubbles.
Writing Prompts– Here are some creative writing prompts and journal ideas teachers can use during the month of December:
-A wonderful Christmas or Holiday memory
-If I owned a toy store
-What does ‘Peace on Earth’ mean to you?
-A letter to Santa about a friend who has been very good this year
-Why we should have the Christmas spirit all year long
-What I want to do over the winter holiday
-My vacation at the North Pole
-If I could give a gift to the world, what would it be?
Ornament Hunt Game-For homeschoolers or teachers who have Christmas trees set up in the classroom, teachers can have students write a description down for each ornament that will be going on the tree. While the children aren’t in the room, the teacher can hang the ornaments on the tree and when the students return, they can play a game finding each ornament and checking them off their lists.
Social Studies: Celebrating Christmas around the world: “Ornaments of Love” can be used as one example of how Christmas is celebrated in the United States. This provides a gateway for learning about how other cultures around the world celebrate Christmas. This can also open a discussion about cultures that don’t celebrate Christmas and what holidays they do celebrate.
Science: Investigating Christmas trees
-Have students look at a real, mini Christmas tree and describe the color and branches. Discuss how the tree’s leaves stay green in the winter because Evergreens are adapted to survive the cold weather, how most Evergreen trees do not have regular leaves, how they are needles or really hard leaves, with a thick-skin, and how they have an ‘antifreeze’ chemical in the leaf to keep it from freezing.
-Explain how they produce chlorophyll year round, which helps with photosynthesis and therefore keeps the Evergreens green all year long.
– Have the children smell the tree, feel it and describe the texture. Show them the roots and talk about how the roots absorb the water. Have them measure the tree: the height, width, length of the branches and width of the leaves. Older children can produce a graph of the data. Look at the leaves through a magnifying glass and discuss what they find.
-Students can design and create ornaments out of various materials available in the classroom.
-Students can create an original cover for “Ornaments of Love” with the cover including the title of the book and the author.
-Coloring Pages: The teacher can copy coloring pages from the “Ornaments of Love Coloring Book” and have the students color them. Colored pencils or crayons can be used and students can practice the art of shading darks and lights within the pictures.
-Students may break into groups of 3-4 (Ayana, Mom, Dad and Rosie) and select a portion of the book to reenact.
-Students may select class members to represent characters in the story and interview them.
Ornaments of Love Description: A touching Christmas story with glowing illustrations, Ornaments of Love is a story to cherish for years to come. A beautiful tale of Ayana, an endearing ten-year-old who excitedly anticipates that special time of year when the entire family joins together to decorate and admire the Christmas tree.
But sadly this year is different. Ayana realizes that her mom and dad are far too busy with everything else to enjoy the tree with Ayana. Then, something unexpected happens and the family is brought together with tenderness and joy.
Filled to the brim and overflowing with charming moments, gentle humor, and timeless illustrations, this beautiful story is a wonderful reminder of what’s important not only during the Christmas season, but every day of our lives. Ornaments of Love is destined to become one of your favorite holiday stories. One that will remain in your heart forever.
Ornaments of Love Coloring Book Description: This beautifully designed coloring book is a companion or stand-alone book to the original Ornaments of Love picture book. It contains not only the complete story of Ornaments of Love, but also provides 21 full-size coloring pages for artists of all ages. The Ornaments of Love coloring book was created to bring families together at Christmas time. It provides families a perfect way to reduce holiday stress by spending quiet time coloring pages that showcase angels, bells, stars and much more.
Coloring pages range from easy to difficult, perfect for all family members!
Additional complimentary coloring pages are available to print online with the purchase of the coloring book.
Make this a special gift for your loved ones by also purchasing the original Ornaments of Love picture book with full color illustrations.
Three coloring pages are available on Sharlin’s website for preview: http://www.sharlincraig.com/
About the Author: Sharlin Craig, a Detroit native who now resides in southern California with her husband and daughter, is dedicated to writing inspirational children’s books that touch the spirit of her readers. A graduate of Oakland University, she’s taught music to children for several years while also writing music and lyrics. She’s combined her love for children and writing into authoring her debut children’s Christmas picture book, Ornaments of Love.
Sharlin believes that with the right surroundings and daily encouragement, children are boundless. She’s passionate about helping children feel understood and empowered through her books and hopes that her stories make them smile.
Don’t miss out on other blog tour stops!
Thursday, Oct. 27th: This Mom’s Delight (Review)
Tuesday, Nov. 1st: K&A’s Childrens’ Book Reviews (Review & Giveaway)
Thursday, Nov. 3rd: Amanda’s Books and More (Review & Giveaway)
Friday, Nov. 4th: Mamitales (Review & Giveaway)
Saturday, Nov. 5th: Christy’s Cozy Corners (Review, Guest Post-‘My Favorite Ornament Memories’ & Giveaway)
Sunday, November 6th:: Unleashing Readers (Guest Post-‘Integrating Ornaments of Love into the Classroom Setting’ & Giveaway)
Monday, November 7th: The Write Chris (Author Interview & Giveaway)
Wednesday, November 9th: This Mom’s Delight (Guest Post-‘Affirm Your Child’s Worth by Spending Time with Them’ & Giveaway)
Friday, November 11th: All Done Monkey (Post-‘10 Ways to Make the Holidays Special’, Review & Giveaway)
Monday, November 14th: Connie M. Huddleston (Monday Morning Indie: Review & Interview)
Thank you so much Sharlin for the guest post that will definitely be useful to many teachers coming this winter!