Tips To Enjoy Holiday Teaching

It's that time of year again, here are five tips to make them memorable with your class.

Take time for magical memories that have fallen off of our curriculum radar.  Remember, our job is to educate the whole child.  The activities listed below are cross curricular, and will create memories which will last a lifetime.

Have a snow day at school.  Pick a day when you know there will be snow, and schools will be open.  Let parents know in advance so students will dress properly to be outdoors and playing in the snow.  Then take your class outside for a nature walk, let them make snow angels, or build a snow man.  Bring them inside and read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

While your outside with your class, warm up water for Swiss Miss hot cocoa in your crock pot.  When you come back inside, let your students warm up with cups of hot chocolate.  It is a tradition I do once a year with my students, and they love it.  Exploring nature is hands on science for young children.  These are the memories students hold on to.

  • Write about your snowy day.  After reading the story and spending time outside, have students write about their own snowy day.  The memories will be fresh in their minds, and they can scaffold their writing off of the shared reading of the book.

  • Make snowy day scenes - Have students recreate what they saw outside by creating their own snowy day scenes.  They can use white glue on black construction paper.  Before the glue is dry have them sprinkle a little glitter on top.  These make the prettiest snowy day scenes.

  • Enjoy Poetry - Poetry may not be a huge part of the common core curriculum, but it is still very important to teach.  This is a great time of year to study the classic poem -  'Twas The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore.  Here is the full lesson which includes the poem.  If you can, play some soft Christmas music in the background.

    • Writing with a purpose is the best form of writing.  'Tis the season for gratitude. Have your class write thank you notes to your office staff, the lunchroom staff, your custodian, the school engineer (who keeps the building nice and warm), the school principal, the assistant principal, room parents and classroom volunteers, crossing guards, the list goes on and on.  Assign 2 or 3 students to create a lovely thank you note, and card for each person.  Students can work together and peer edit to make sure their note is truly special.  Then they can design their own decorations.  It's a meaningful activity.  One that students, as well as those being thanked, will remember.


    For more fun December ideas, check out the blogs below:

    November Favorite Things

    This month I am linking up with Teaching Trio for their Favorite Things Linky.

    In November, as Thanksgiving approaches I always begin thinking of everything I'm grateful for.  So, without further ado, here are my three favorites for the month of November!

    • Gratitude  I cannot have a November post without publicly stating how grateful I am for all of my wonderful customers, and followers.  I am grateful to all of you, and you are officially my first favorite of the month!

    • My second Favorite thing is being able to share amazing resources for free.  This month my favorite freebie is my First Thanksgiving Pop up book.  I do hope you all enjoy it!

    • My third favorite thing this month is family and spending time with mine.  I am grateful to have my family and friends, and so happy to be able to spend time with them all.

    Enjoy! And Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    Happy Native American Heritage Month

    November is Native American Heritage Month, and there are so many wonderful ways to learn about Native American heritage.  There are many museums throughout the country with authentic Native American exhibits.  One of my favorite exhibits is at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois.  My class visits the Pawnee earth lodge each year for an authentic hands on tour of a real Pawnee earth lodge.  Before and after our visit, we continue our studies of Native American heritage. Here are five great ways you can do the same in your classroom.  

    •      Use Drama - Have your students write out skits, or use reader's theater to recreate important moments in Native American history.  One fun thing to recreate would be members of the Navajo tribe creating a code which allowed the American army to successfully communicate across radio waves during World War II.

    •      Create Dioramas - After studying Native Americans, have students create visual representations of their favorite Native American group.  Students can then share their dioramas with the rest of the class.

    •       Totem Poles - Since Totem poles were originally similar to family crests, have students create their own telling their family's story.   I recently wrote a blog describing how to have your students make this totem pole, feel free to read it here.

    •       Writing - Have students write a story about what daily life was like for a tribe or group of Native Americans.  Have students write a story describing the family totem pole they designed in the above example.  There are so many creative writing ideas that go along with a Native American unit.

    • Create Pop Up Books - I love having my students create pop up books of our studies.  They are another engaging way for students to read and write more about their studies.

    • For More Fun Ideas, check out my full Native American Bundle that provides rich informational text to help students learn more about four different Native American groups.  The bundle also allows them to create these beautiful pop up books.  

    For more interesting ideas, check out the blogs below.


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