The holidays are a magical time of year, and there’s no better place to celebrate than in the classroom! There are so many fun activities that you can do with your students to get them excited for the new year and build anticipation for all of the fun you’ll have together after the holiday break. From making gingerbread houses to reading The Polar Express, there are endless possibilities for how you can teach around the holidays. I also have strategies for keeping your students calm this time of year. Here are just a few ideas to get you started…
Making Gingerbread Houses
One of the most popular holiday activities in classrooms is gingerbread house making! This activity is not only loads of fun, but it’s also a great way to incorporate some math and engineering skills into your lesson plans. Students will love getting creative with their houses, and you’ll love seeing their faces light up when they show off their finished product.
Depending on the age of your students, you can have them present their gingerbread houses to one another to make things even more fun! Allow students to share their creative or innovative designs. This is also a great opportunity for students to improve their speaking and presenting skills.
Polar Express Day
Another great activity that you can do with your students around the holidays is Polar Express Day! This day is about reading the classic Christmas story, The Polar Express, and then doing fun activities related to the book. To start things off, read the book aloud to your class (or have them read it on their own if they’re able). Afterward, you can do many different activities like writing letters to Santa, making Christmas cards for veterans, or decorating cookies. Here is the Polar Express Pop-up book activity I do with my students each year. The possibilities are endless!
The Night Before Christmas and Poetry
Take a day to read the classic children’s poem as a class. Then, have students create art and writing activities to go with it. This is a fun treat in a primary classroom.
Talk Up January and the New Year
Begin getting your students excited about returning to school in the new year before you head out for winter break. It can be hard for students (and teachers) to want to get up when it’s dark and cold outside in January and come back to school. If, however, they are excited about a new unit you’ll be starting, it becomes a whole lot easier. I you don’t already have a fun unit planned to kick off the new year, begin thinking of one now and talking about it with your class.
There are so many great ways that you can incorporate the holidays into your classroom lesson plans! From making gingerbread houses to reading The Polar Express, your students will love all of the festive activities you have in store for them. So get planning and excited for a holiday season (and new year) full of learning and laughter!
For more great teaching ideas check out this month’s Teacher Talk below!