The holiday season can leave many people feeling stressed out – determined to have the perfect classroom, house, decorations, meal, etc. You name it and people feel that holidays are synonymous with perfection. My challenge to you this holiday season is to promote joy not only in your classroom but around your school. Don’t let yourself and your students get worn down this season and say YES to more JOY.
One of my favourite things to organize in my classroom or for my grade team is a cooperative games afternoon. Each class has their students assigned to a team. Each team is made up of students from all of the classes in a grade team or a school if you teach in a small school. The team rotates through different classrooms working through different cooperative activities. Students get to practice their collaboration and problem-solving skills. Some of my favourite activities are tarp flip, spaghetti and marshmallow tower creation, yarn spider’s web and spoon races (students must go through an obstacle course while holding out a spoon with something balanced on it). A quick Google or Pinterest search will provide lots of group challenges and games that can easily be adapted for classroom use. Some examples of cooperative games can be found here.
Holiday Craft Stations
No matter what the age of your students, they like to build/create things. Using the same teams as the cooperative games or arrange this on a small scale just for your class, have students rotate through different holiday-themed crafts i.e. picture frame making, ornament making, card making. Vary the activity by the age level of your students. Another Google or Pinterest search will yield fun and engaging activities.
Turn Curriculum Into Meaningful Holiday Activities
I really like to consolidate lessons with hands-on activities that teach my students multiple skills. When I taught math, I liked to end my unit on Circles and Cylinders by having students create felt ornaments or decorations. Students had the option to create a snowman, Santa or a reindeer. Each of these options involved cutting out circles. The students were required to measure the felt, cut it out exactly and find measurements for the different parts of a circle. After all the math was complete, students got to sew their ornaments closed and decorate their creations. For many of my students, it was their first time sewing.
School Mascot on the Shelf
I know a lot of teachers like to bring a Christmas representative to watch over their classes during the holiday season. Why not bring school spirit into your classroom by using your school mascot instead? All the same, activities you could do with your Christmas representative can still be completed with a small version of your school mascot.
Make Learning Fun
I have created several curriculum-related lessons that make learning fun during this holiday season. Check out this list and see which one might be a great fit for your students.
- Christmas Digital Escape Room
- Christmas Creative Writing Assignment
- Winter Creative Writing Assignment
- Middle School Christmas Activities Bundle