Elf on the Shelf

One of my favorite parts of teaching first grade during Christmas is Elf on the Shelf!  My kiddos love, love, love our elf. His name is Bernard, and he arrived in first grade on Tuesday last week. (He would have arrived on Monday, but I couldn't get organized in time! Oops!). I even had a student ask me on Monday, "Don't all the elves come beginning in December?"  Thinking on my feet, I replied, "I wrote Santa a letter asking him not to send our elf until tomorrow, so we could make sure we were on our best behavior when he got here."  Luckily the kids all nodded in agreement at that, probably because they know the class as a whole has not been on their best behavior!

I love the conversations I overhear once our elf arrives. I heard one little boy saying to another boy in an impassioned voice, "He's not a toy, he's a real live elf!!"

Here's where Bernard has shown up each morning so far:


Unfortunately, Bernard's presence has not contributed as much as I had hoped to my classroom management, however. There are still a few kiddos who are frequently forgetting that the elf is watching!  So, I've decided to step up my Elf on the Shelf game a bit. 

On Tuesday, our regular elf, Bernard, will not be there.  In his place will be a girl elf, Bernice, with a letter for the class (I spent a good portion of today writing this letter in rhyming verse!):

I don't want the kids to be completely devastated when they hear that their elf has gone back to the North Pole (I'm hoping that having a substitute elf in Bernard's place will prevent actual tears), so I'm only going to make them wait until after recess to get Bernard back.  (I don't want to crush them, just give them a little wake up call to be more focused and attentive these last two weeks of school.)  We have music class right after recess on Tuesday, so Bernard will be on the piano in the music room when they come in. (I hope our music teacher will forgive me for the (hopefully only several) minutes of excited exclamations that will ensue when they see him!  

On Wednesday, then, both Bernard and Bernice will be in the classroom, and going forward they'll both be somewhere in the school until Christmas vacation. And now I can have the two elves interacting with each other in the classroom when I stage them at night, or, one of them can be in the classroom, and the other somewhere else on campus (either in the science lab, computer lab, or music room, if I think that my students need to be more attentive in any of those classes on a particular day)!  

I'm very excited about how I'm modifying my Elf on the Shelf routine!  I've never introduced more than one elf to a class, so I can't wait to see how the kids will react!  Stay tuned for another post next week on how it all turns out!