Celebrating Holidays With Older Students can be done in the ELA classroom!
We high school teachers don’t handle the excitement of younger kids, but our big kids are excited about the winter holiday. Mine, especially, become excited about the end of the semester. They also stress about finals! They bring lots of emotions to class. It can affect classroom management, but all months of the semester matter.
Here are my three tips for celebrating holidays with older students.
I don’t ignore what happens outside the classroom. Students are excited about the holidays, and they struggle to focus in class. I’m sure elementary teachers experience a much more drastic change in student behavior than secondary teachers, but we still see some changes. I address the behavior, acknowledge the exciting times, and make some accommodations.
One such accommodation is making material that relates to the season.
As December rolls around, I spend time reviewing for finals. Finals contain grammar, and grammar review can be boring. I created coloring sheets for grammar to find a happy place with students – coloring and grammar make a good mix!
Coloring also relaxes students, and at the end of the semester, we could all use relaxation.
I continue my relationships with students. I never overshare with students, and I want to maintain professional relationships with them. I do tell them that I shop on the weekends, shop online, bake cookies, meet with family – all the stuff they do! I want students to know that the holidays excite me too! I just don’t overshare with them.
I plan to say good-bye. Not all schools have similar setups, but for me, the semester ends right before winter break and when I return in January, I have new students.
Not only am I sending students on winter break, but I am also telling them good-bye. I’ve handled this in different ways. When I had a writing class, I would leave a long note on the final writing assignment, telling each student how I’ve seen them grow and enjoyed having them in class.
I have also brought in snacks and given out small trinkets. The last few years, I have given each student a bookmark.
This stresses the importance of reading, and students seem less likely to throw these away than other items.
AND, as a thank-you to all my loyal blog readers, I am gifting these to you this season! You can download these student bookmarks, and share them with your students! Printable holiday cards are included.
You can print these on thick paper, or print them and adhere them to pretty scrapbooking papers. (This is what I do). You can also make a small hole in the top and string a ribbon. I normally print extra copies and allow students to choose which bookmark they like. The bookmarks are the perfect holiday/ good-bye present.
These are perfect for older students – and each bookmark needs colored! This is a boon for me because as students finish their finals, I need to keep them quiet for their peers. The bookmarks give students a quiet activity.
Finally, I hope these ideas calm your December chaos. I hope you and your students enjoy a wonderful holiday season.