Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Celebrating the Holidays in Your Classroom

As December nears and most schools just have a few short weeks until winter break, it's a great time to plan how and if you celebrate the holidays in your classroom. I am always a big supporter of celebrating the holidays in a class or school. I think that celebrating the holidays in your class or school help students who can't or don't celebrate elsewhere during the season have something to look forward to. Celebrating the holidays is also something students look forward to and planning celebrations can help build community. Here are some suggestions on ways you can celebrate the holidays this season in your classroom or school.

1. Sing Carols

There are different ways you can encourage singing this holiday season. At my school, students have a karaoke style party and sing for each other. Students are very supportive of each other no matter the vocal tone! At another school I worked at, the staff sang carols to the students. Not the normal carols, however. We adapted the 12 Days of Christmas song to be the 12 Days of School and each day one of us would sing something that "a student said to me...." and then say one of the common phrases heard around the school. It was a huge hit with the students and they talked about that song for months afterwards.

2. Cook Together

This is something Etc. is passionate about in her classroom. She loves cooking and enjoys sharing that with her students. Check out this article she wrote about cooking with your students. Measuring and calculating recipes could be a fun way to incorporate math as well or learn about social studies and the food & culture from around the world. Cooking also enhances and is a great way to do team building in your classroom. There are plenty of no bake recipes you can use in your classroom as well to make it easy or make a cooking contest among a few classes and have a competition! Here are three free bakeless holiday cookie recipes from Etc.'s store to help get you started.

3. Learn About Other Cultures

Since there are different winter holidays celebrated around the world and most likely in your classroom, this is a great time to get your students to learn about other cultures. Incorporating some fun lessons about the way other cultures celebrate help open your students' minds to new ideas while having fun. Check out this free download with descriptions of various winter holidays to get you started!

4. Help Your Students Give

The holidays are a great time to help your students give more this season. Your students could organize a canned food drive, make holiday cards for a local nursing home, or read holiday stories to younger students at your school. I have found that even students who are themselves in need still enjoy giving to others.

5. Exchange Gifts

Instead of drawing names and exchanging gifts, an easier way to have a fun exchange is to trade a well read book. Most students have at least one book they would be able to trade during the holiday season and getting a new book that another student likes is an easy way to encourage reading.

How do you celebrate the holidays in your classroom? Share your ideas or posts in the comments below and I would love to feature some of the ideas in the weeks leading up to the winter holidays.

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