With the holiday season approaching the air in our classrooms becomes filled with excitement. It is important that we enjoy the season with our students. I have compiled a list of classroom management tips and engaging lesson ideas to help teachers and students enjoy the holiday season while maintaining a focus on curriculum and instructional time.
Keep teaching and stick to your routines. Even during the last week before school breaks for the holidays I assign small tasks for homework and keep students accountable for their learning. Instructional time is important. Keep going to the library for weekly book check out, quizzes and tests must still occur. Students need to understand that learning does not pause for the whole month of December
Reserve The Movies
During my many years as a teacher, I have seen teachers break out the holiday movies very early in December. Reserve movies (if you are permitted to show them) until the last week before school breaks for the holidays. I still show educational videos related to the Science or Social Studies curriculum during the month of December, but save any special videos for the last week.
Connect the holidays to historical events. One important event to share with your students is the Christmas Truce that occurred during World War 1 when British and German soldiers left their trenches and celebrated Christmas together. I have read the picture book Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon to my students. After the read aloud we have a class discussion about the events of the story, and continue our research about this event.
Students need to get up and move during lessons. I have created a free Interactive Christmas Writing Prompts resource that provides teachers with 7 different story prompts. I print out several copies of each writing prompt, and display each prompt around my classroom on a clipboard or taped to a hard surface. Students must rotate around to the different writing prompts and add one line to the story. Each line must build upon the previous. Students practise their creative writing skills in an engaging manner.
If you need a longer writing assignment for December try this Christmas Writing Assignment. Students will select the role of one character: Santa’s Elf, Christmas Turkey, Gingerbread man, Christmas Tree or Museum Curator and create a written product (brochure, postcards, infographic, etc) based on the character’s specific writing prompt. By using this fun Christmas creative writing choice board assignment, teachers can combine covering the writing curriculum and enjoying the holiday season with their classes. Students are provided with 5 different Christmas themed writing options using the RAFT format (Role, Audience, Format, Topic).
Tis the season to give, not get. This is an important message for our students to learn. Read the curated recap from our #2ndaryELA Twitter chat last year on Helping Students Think Beyond Themselves. Teachers shared what they do in their classrooms to help spread this message.
Don’t forget to spread the holiday cheer around your school with small gifts for your staff. During the school year, we see our co-workers for many hours during the day. A gift is a nice small gesture to share your appreciation for their hard work and support. If you have a large staff you might consider giving a small gift to your grade team as well as any support staff that are essential to your school life (i.e. Educational Assistants, Custodians, Secretaries). Some easy to create gift ideas can be found on this blog post.
Enjoy this holiday season with your students, colleagues, friends and family.
If you teach the younger grades, in addition to your middle/high school students, check out the blog hop below for some festive holiday ideas.