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North Pole visitors bring class act to Estacada School District students for the holiday season

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Second grade students at Clackamas River Elementary School spend time with their elf, Cookie Cream.

In the season of holiday cheer and eagerly waiting for Santa Claus, several classrooms in the Estacada School District have received special visitors from the North Pole.

Hilary Tidd's fourth grade class at River Mill Elementary School and Angel Rutherford's second grade class at Clackamas River Elementary School have been participating in Elf on the Shelf. The popular holiday game originated from a 2005 book titled "The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition" written by Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell. There has also been an animated TV movie called "An Elf's Story: The Elf on the Shelf."

In Estacada, the elves move to a different location in the classrooms each morning. Per the rules of the activity, students cannot touch the elf, and the elf will not move when the students are awake.

Cookie Cream, the resident elf in Rutherford's class, recently joined students in wearing their pajamas to school. Students earned the pajama day as a reward for good attendance, and Rutherford noted that Cookie went shopping on "Elfbay" for his attire.

Students think that Cookie is having fun while visiting their class, noting that he's hidden on shelves and near their computers.

"Every day we come in, try to find him and see what he's been doing," said Isabelle Bailey.

Savannah Spencer noted that Cookie is a well-behaved elf.PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Cookie Cream the elf joined students in Angel Rutherford's second grade class during pajama day.

"He's sneaky and tries not to get into mischief," she said.

Cookie has also inspired students in their academic pursuits. For example, during independent reading time, some students were researching books about elves.

Rutherford appreciates seeing student excitement about Cookie and other elves.

"A lot of them also have elves at home, and they get

to share their stories," she added.

Engaging in the 'elfcapades'

Another ambassador from the North Pole named Snowy has been spending the season with Tidd's class. During Snowy's visit, students have been participating in the 'elfcapades,' in which they completed acts of kindness for others in the school community, including writing positive notes for their principal and school custodian.

Like Cookie, Snowy finds a different place in the classroom to spend each day. Students noted that his most surprising locations have included hanging from the classroom's Christmas tree, a map and a holiday wreath.

"He was hanging down (from the wreath) like he was staring into my soul," Genevieve Huserik commented.

Xander Bevercombe enjoys trying to find Snowy each morning.

"His hiding spots are pretty easy to find," he said.

Students also appreciate the fun that Snowy facilitates in their classroom. During his stay, students have made ornaments for their classroom's Christmas tree and created paper snowflakes.

"(Snowy) lets us have treats and do fun stuff like make snowflakes," Axel Ramos-Aguilar said.

"He brings fun to our classroom," Isabella Winter added.

For Tidd, the best part of the project is the positivity that the elf brings.

"It's great to be able (facilitate) acts of kindness," Tidd said.

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