Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

The Elf on the Shelf is quickly becoming a holiday tradition. This article provides a few ideas on how to integrate the book, the whimsical toy, and a bit of holiday magic into your classroom.

The Elf on the Shelf: Fun for Everyone

The Elf on the Shelf is a fun, new tradition that seems to gain popularity every winter holiday season. Any classroom integration of Elf on the Shelf should begin with a reading of the storybook (by the same name) to ensure that all students are familiar with the toy coming from the story. It is important to note that the story is not tied to any religious traditions (apart from it being centered around Christmas). This is important to keep in mind when integrating the Elf on the Shelf into your classroom, as teachers need to honor and cherish each student's unique background and experiences. Also, a reworking of the basic narrative may be in order. Perhaps Santa Claus is not the elf's only employer. This is especially important when you have students that do not celebrate Christmas. With this in mind, the Elf on the Shelf can quickly become one of your favorite holiday classroom traditions!

The Elf on the Bookshelf

Each day, when students come into the room, your elf can be holding (or pointing to, or sitting on) a new book. This can be your holiday way of picking out a new book to read each day. Activities for the day can be tied to the book, and students can even be led in conversations about why the elf may have chosen that book. This can be a good way to talk about various themes in literature, and can easily be tied to learning objectives.

The Elf on the Desk

Instead of just being a passive player in the classroom, your elf can choose a new ''helper'' each day. Each morning, place the elf on a student's desk. This student will be the ''helper'' (or you could even call them the elf!) for the day. Their responsibilities can include helping to pass out papers, directing classroom activities, being the line leader, sharing something related to the holidays, or really anything else you can think of. Students will look forward to coming to school each day to find out who the elf has chosen!

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