Looking for classroom holiday ideas? Read on to learn how I manage the stress and excitement of the upcoming winter break.
I possess a single way to contribute to student and teacher happiness as winter break approaches:
Maintain standards and procedures.
Fancy? Nope. I’ll wave my arm around, happily admitting that is a dull and ordinary suggestion.
Chaos and excitement will engulf students as winter break approaches. Their town and houses are decorated. Food and toy drives abound. Students might be busy with their churches or other nonprofits. Plus, secondary students often take finals before winter break dismissal. They are overwhelmed.
You can be the calming presence for them. Continue with the procedures you established early in the school year. You and your students will be happy from that.
Still! I do acknowledge the holiday season. Here are classroom holiday ideas that will provide structure for students during the busy winter season.
- Write about the holidays. My students stress about finals and their grades. They are tired (I’m tired too), and we are all busy. Don’t ignore the holidays – you can’t! Power those thoughts into a writing assignment.
Provide students with writing options because many have conflicting feelings and experiences surrounding the holidays. Take that into consideration – not every student has family events that students will happily share. I use this narrative writing activity because it allows students to choose their writing topic.
- Switch-up review. My students take finals before they leave for winter break. I set them up for success with review opportunities. To relax, we color while reviewing grammar.
- Give a small gift. I don’t always see students again after final exams! We switch classes when we return in January, and this may be the last time I see those students that I’ve had since August.
Bookmarks are my favorite gift for students because they send a positive message about reading. These are free, and you can attach them to an inexpensive gift, like a candy cane or small container of modeling clay.
Secondary students might display a variety of emotions as winter break approach. The holidays can be fun, scary, overwhelming… lots of emotions!
Some of my students are working extra hours, as many high schoolers work retail. Some are excited for the holidays, and others may face contentious family situations. With secondary students, we teachers must remember that these students arrive with a variety of emotions for the holidays. Acknowledge the holiday season but provide that comforting and familiar structure your classroom offers.