One book - Oodles of ways to spark the imagination by encouraging creativity in art, writing, and oral expression! –All in a classroom or library setting!
Tips on taking Santa's Zany... beyond just a read aloud in the classroom
Special Events and Culture:
- Introduce a Tea and Honey Party. It can be as formal or as informal as you like. Bring a variety of teas, maybe some more traditional and a couple of holiday blends, along with some honey. Then expose kids to traditions and tastes of other cultures of which they may be unfamiliar.
- Host a cultural cookie/snack exchange. After reading the book, send home recipes of traditional cookies or (other treats and snacks that cookies could have been changed out for in the book) from other cultures and have each child bring in a batch to share.
- Initiate a Christmas Caroling activity. After reading the book, discuss the practice of Christmas Caroling. Choose some songs. Make them funny if you wish. Go around to other classrooms and sing carols.
- Hold a Book Exchange. Have each child bring in an inexpensive book wrapped. (Be sure to bring in a few extras for those who forget!!) Put the kids in a circle each with a wrapped book. As the story is read, each time a rhyme ends, pass the books to the right. When the story ends, each child gets to open and keep the book in his lap.
Written and Oral Expression:
- In a group setting following a read aloud there are many topics of discussion that could be focused upon in verbal format and then flowed into a writing assignment if desired. (Most of these could also be presented in front of the class as well.)
- What details are in the drawings that that aren't mentioned in the story? (Hint- hunt for Matches the Mouse!!)
- What other zany and wacky things that could go wrong with Christmas if Santa’s suit were purple?
- What other things could have happened instead? Like could the milk and cookies be turned into carrots and celery? Why or why not? Could the candy canes be chocolate or sour instead of burnt? Would it have been a problem to change the story because of the rhyming?
- Launch for a theme of show and tell – bringing in their favorite holiday book, other books with Santa, or anything else related.
- Talk about cause and effect - consequences; how things relate, how this one change morphed Christmas, and how doing one thing differently day to day might have different effects in our own lives.
- Read the original The Night Before Christmas story (or any other version) and have a compare and contrast discussion.
- Find the words that rhyme on each page..guess the meaning of each word. Then find the correct meaning.
- Make up with some other reindeer names and tell why you chose them. Imagine what other special talents they might have, what they eat, or where they might go! Download your own Zany wacky reindeer worksheet.
- Discuss or write about what Santa would do if the story was not a dream...but true. How would he deal with the problem?
- Discuss why the mouse is in the story. What is his/her's name. (Officially it is Matches, but kids can make up their own name!) Write a story line for the mouse. Extra difficult...make the story line rhyme.
- Holiday traditions- what books do families read year after year, what are the favorites?
- What other holiday traditions they keep in their families. Do they eat turkey or ham? Do they travel to grandmas or put up a tree? Do they light candles?
- Discussion of new vocabulary words like hue, zany, wacky, snatched, faint,distinctly,gasp,tint,dull,ruined,panic,swirl, glistening, leapt, sigh,exclaim and more.
- Writing poetry and rhymes
- What color of suit would they wish Santa would wear? Or what color do they think the reindeer should be?
- Writing and presenting an original jingle, song or rap relating to the book.
- Present mini plays reenacting a scene from the book. Elaborating if they would like.
- Presenting their own written story, poem, drawing, art project or other creation relating to the book.
If you have any other ideas you have used in the classroom or in a library setting with our book, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tea and Honey Party? Classroom or Library talks with DK Simoneau
Zany and Wacky in the Classroom or Library: DK Simoneau can come to your classroom or library setting. DK's talk is about 30-45 minutes (flexible) allowing time for questions. She spends a little time discussing different kinds of books and how sometimes they can be resources for events in life. She reads the book and has a lively discussion provoking imagination from the kids about other things they think might change with Christmas that weren't mentioned in the book. An optional ending to the event is to have a Tea and Honey Party to expose kids to a taste and tradition so valued in other cultures, yet that they might be unfamiliar. She had several other types of author visits to choose from as well. Contact DK Simoneau to find out more about school visits and other special events at email@example.com. (Talks are also available via Skype.)
- Have them do an art project of any kind to illustrate any idea of a zany, wacky Christmas. Use your own zany imagination-this book can spark all kinds of artistic expression and creativity. Some ideas follow:
- Santas with suits of a different color. Almost any normal Santa project you do can be converted into a purple Santa project. Or better yet, you could let the kids express themselves and let them choose what color they want their Santa to be. One I like is a Construction Paper Milk carton Santa. Here are two kinds.
- Similarly, blueberry blue reindeer might be fun! Or let them choose their own fun color. See a fun finger-paint reindeer idea here.
- Upside down snowmen and trees of all kinds. Any project you might normally do with snowmen or trees could be done upside down. One I like is the Name Snowmen. Just put the face and hat one on the bottom upside down! See here.
- Classroom quilts/collages. I love to see when everyone is assigned a particular theme- like making colorful santas' or upside down Santa's and have them put together in a quilt format.
- Patterning and Designs with Candy cane artwork to go along with the theme of the changed candy canes. See an idea here.
- Art and Writing worksheets, like "If I were a Zany Wacky Reindeer, I would..." Zany wacky reindeer worksheet.
- Baking: There are all kinds of projects in the classroom that would involve baking and this book. Here is a great idea for Santa's Just Not Right Christmas Cookies.