Before you say “I don’t use Elf on the Shelf in my classroom,” hear me out.
As teachers, we all know one of the hardest things about a classroom is maintaining classroom management throughout the entire year. Honestly, that’s really hard. You can teach it at the beginning of the year, but if you don’t maintain it throughout the year, your behaviors will not be exactly what you wanted.
Come December, the kids are tired, I’m tired, and we are ALL ready for break. I need some awesome tricks up my sleeves so I can still keep their attention leading up to winter break. Since I don’t plan on standing on my head, or doing any dog and pony tricks- I figured the best thing I could do is…bring in Elf on the Shelf.
*Disclaimer* Now, I say this because it is extremely important that you honor all religions in your classroom. I have kids that celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. I can’t just leave the Elf all alone so I ended up getting a Mensch on the Bench. This did end up becoming a fabulous choice for me.
Seriously. I love that I have two of them now.
This is how it plays out in my classroom. The Elf is always naughty and will do naughty things while the Mensch tries to convince the Elf not to make bad choices. This doesn’t always work because the Elf will usually persuade the Mensch to make bad choices as well. (insert hysterical emoji)
Every day, the Elf (Kennedy) and Mensch (Theodore) both come into a new spot and will surprise us with different activities.
When they first arrive, they just hang out somewhere to “observe” what the class is all about. Then the following day, their shenanigans begin!! I use these guys throughout the entire month of December and every day we switch it up. Sometimes they get really creative and will trash the room. This has happened before. Once they crinkled up a ton of paper to have a “snowball” fight in the classroom. (Hey, we are in South Florida. We don’t know what snow really feels like.)
Here is that burning question. Do I see a change in behavior? Yes, I do. My favorite thing to do is whenever I don’t see a kid following directions, I whisper to the closest kid near me. “oh man, I hope Kennedy and Theodore don’t see this.” Next thing you know the news spreads like WILDFIRE! Everyone starts going “The Elf is watching! Quit doing that! You will get us in trouble!!”
I am pretty stern that you keep your beliefs to your YOURSELF about the Elf and the Mensch. I also tell them that they cannot touch them. If they do…they won’t be able to report back to the North Pole. I also say “I am not touching them for you. I am not sacrificing a present because you touched them.” Then they all start to realize that I believe in everything and maybe they should too.
The main thing is that I want to make sure that they are still kids. This is the season for joy and hopefully this will put some joy in their lives. Even if it is the last year that they believe.
*By no way am I endorsed or affiliated with Elf on the Shelf or Mensch on the Bench*
Do you use an Elf or a Mensch? Leave a comment below! I am always looking for great ideas to use in the classroom so let me know some of your favorite ways that you get creative!
Hugs & High-Fives,