December is an exciting month filled with holidays, treats, and gifts. But with all of that excitement in the air, you may find it difficult to hold your students’ attention for long—especially as it gets closer to winter break.
At Imagine Learning, we’ve put our heads together to come up with some great ideas to help you keep your students focused during the holiday season. Here are some of our favorites:
- Show your students how to create a holiday book that they can give as a gift to their families. This book could include pictures of the student and his or her family or journal entries about favorite family memories, holiday traditions, winter vacations, etc.
- Turn math and vocabulary worksheets into holiday activities by adding a snowflake, snowman, or holly graphic to each page.
- Assign each student a letter of the alphabet. Have students think of a winter word for their specific letter, then illustrate it. For example, “C is for coat.” Put the pages together to make a winter alphabet book.
- Show pictures of the different shapes of snowflakes to your students. Explain that no two snowflakes are exactly alike. Then have students cut snowflakes from construction paper and hang them around the room. You could also provide students with chocolate wafer cookies on which they can draw a snowflake design using marshmallow fluff or white icing.
- Teach children about similes and have them create their own similes to describe an element of winter. For example, “The snow is as soft as a pillow.”
- Provide students with a creative holiday writing prompt, such as: “As soon as I opened the door, a huge icicle fell from the roof, and . . . "
- Read a book about winter. Here are a few ideas:
- Dream Snow by Eric Carle
- The Snow Child by Freya Littledale
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
- Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft and Richard Van Gelder
- Why Do Bears Sleep All Winter? by Mary Englar
Many of your students may celebrate some of the December holidays. But even if they don’t, it can still be good to teach about these holidays—as long as your school district permits—so your students can learn about different cultures, beliefs, and traditions.
Here are some ideas for holiday-themed activities:
- Research and teach the history and traditions of the following holidays:
- Have students choose one of the December holidays, make a poster showing their research, and present it to the class.
- Play a game or make a craft:
- Christmas—Play a round of holiday horseshoes: place a pole or cone somewhere in the classroom, then have students toss candy canes until they hook them around the pole.
- Kwanzaa—Give each student an eight-inch black ribbon. Provide an assortment of beads in black, green, and red—the colors of Kwanzaa—and have students create their own necklaces.
- Hanukkah—Provide paper, crayons, and scissors for your students to make their own dreidel, then play the dreidel game. For template and game instructions, click here.
- Read a holiday book:
- Christmas—The Light of Christmas by Richard Paul Evans; The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
- Kwanzaa—My First Kwanzaa Book by Deborah Chocolate; Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis
- Hanukkah—By the Hanukkah Light by Sheldon Oberman; Hanukkah Haiku by Harriet Ziefert