Lately I’ve been gathering some amazing ideas for Christmas for my job with the Canvas Factory and posting one idea every day on their Facebook page. I’ve come across some outstanding – and quite a few cheap – ideas for Advent calendars, and so thought I’d share a few ideas with you here 🙂
1. Wrap 24 books & put them under the tree for the kids to choose one each night before Christmas. They don’t even need to be new books – they could be ones you already have in the cupboard but haven’t read yet, or even second hand books.
2. I love this Christmas bucket Advent idea – you could have a different activity for each day and you wouldn’t necessarily need to number them either, so it’s a surprise for you too! Source
3. If you’re feeling crafty, here’s a beautiful scrapbooking Advent calendar using ‘library pockets’ or seed packets. Source
4. I absolutely adore this idea: giving experiences rather than things in an Advent calendar. For example ‘decorate cookies’, ‘drive around to see the lights’ and ‘write a letter to Santa’. Source
5. Here’s an envelope Advent calendar and inside each day is a story, an activity and a song. Fantastic idea to keep the kids busy! Source
6. One of my amazing friends made this beautiful Advent Calendar for me – it’s a square canvas, painted, with envelopes for putting activities, songs, book names or whatever we want in there. I love it!
Last week I travelled to Melbourne for a meeting of the Professional Development Facilitators for the Goethe-Institut and also to present at the Victorian German Teacher’s Conference. It was fantastic! In fact, I would go so far as to say that I came away completely inspired and fired up, ready to boost my numbers back up in German.
One of the fabulous workshops that I attended was by Tina Wilkinson on using ‘To The Boy in Berlin’ as a text in a middle school German classroom. It’s written by Elizabeth Honey and Heike Brandt and is centred around two main characters; Henni and Leo.
The blurb on Amazon.com says:
A funny, suspenseful novel, bursting with character and ideas: a quirky detective story about righting the wrongs of the past and fighting injustice in the present; a touching story of friendship, football and the power of the Internet.
Henni lives in Melbourne, Leo lives in Berlin.
Different countries, different lives, so far apart;
but sometimes the person furthest away is just the one you need
A postcard from Leo Schmidt? I can’t believe it. I’m trying to solve the mystery of a boy called Leopold Schmidt who migrated to Australia years ago. Leopold is long dead, but this new Leo is very much alive and kicking.
Emails fly as they explore the world according to Henni and Leo. It’s friendly and funny, but deadly serious, too. Without Leo, Henni would never unravel the dark secrets from the past. Without Henni, Leo would have to save his friend Felix single-handed.
Amazon suggests that this book is suitable for students from ages 9 and up, but as I want to incorporate German language and an investigation into internment camps during World War 1 in Australia, I am going to have a go at running it with my current Year 9 class, and possibly also my Year 8 class later next term.
You can buy an eBook copy of the book from Amazon.com here – if you download their free Kindle for PC here, you can actually read it using a normal PC without the need for a Kindle device. The novel costs $9.99 and will be well worth the price in my opinion.
As I don’t have a class set of these books, it would be great if my students could buy the eBooks, so that they have their own copy of the book to refer back to.
Here’s a little teaser though that I downloaded from the Amazon site – they have it there as a free preview and is publicly accessible. NB – this is all copyrighted material.
To The Boy in Berlin teaser (Year 9 students, this is your homework: please read it and add any information you find out about either Henni or Leo to your brainstorms)