Celebrating the Holidays in the Secondary ELA Classroom

Middle and High School English Language Arts Teachers - enjoy the holidays by helping students think about others instead of themselves. Learn about fantastic ideas from other ELA teachers on how they celebrate the holiday season with their students while keeping a focus on the meaning of the season - giving not getting from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

Holidays in secondary classrooms can be a challenge because you don’t want activities to seem too young or boring. Check out what other teachers are doing to make holiday celebrations fun in their classrooms.

Q1: Does your school celebrate the holidays? With what types of events or activities?


  • A1: This year we are bringing back the Yule Log as part of our Winter Solstice celebration, celebrating nature instead of a denominational holiday because we’re an environmental school
  • A1: As a school, we have a holiday concert where the choirs and bands perform. Then we have a school-wide sing along on the last day before holiday break.
  • 1: Our school doesn’t officially celebrate Christmas or not celebrate Christmas – it’s more of a classroom thing. We’re reading A Christmas Carol.
  • A1: We also added a family gingerbread house making night.


Q2: Do you celebrate the holidays in your classroom? With what types of lessons or activities?


  • A2: I like to celebrate the season with educational activities more info in this blog post https://t.co/n0MjDk5UV6
  • A2:  I don’t have my own classroom right now but I love the idea of giving the gift of words as described in this blog post https://t.co/GLcVnxOJV4 (Tip #3)
  • A2: Lots more holiday ideas here https://t.co/DxyUCavj5i
  • A2: I love reading the play version of “A Christmas Carol”!
Q3: How do you keep students focused on curriculum during this month which is filled with special events and activities?
  • A3: I keep the same routines too plus I try to have more active things going on: https://t.co/AIRAr3mwyh
  • A3: I teach real content and keep up regular routines until the last day of school before holiday break.
  • A3: Using nonfiction texts tied to the holidays is a great way to keep things academic any time a holiday comes up. Students learn about the holiday and don’t realize they are also practicing readings skills https://t.co/WS8BWRtNJ7
Q4 & Q5: Share some resources for helping students think beyond themselves during the season of giving (e.g. blog posts, Pinterest ideas).
  • A4: At school we do a hygiene drive for the homeless of small soaps, toothpaste, etc. More ideas in this past chat https://t.co/LXvRTJAHG4
  • A4: Great lesson ideas for thinking about giving in this Twitter chat recap https://t.co/B14lKij5gr 
  • A5: Here’s ideas for different ideas some academic, some service learning-oriented for leading up to the holidays https://t.co/4mxsbgyloR 
  • A5: I’ve seen kindness chains made from paper and I think I am going to try that this year. 🙂
  • A5: I’ve also tried “Paying it Forward” with classes. One year we sang at an assisted living and made “grandfriends”.


Other Great Holiday Ideas

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