When students come back from their Thanksgiving break, chances
are Christmas is quite the topic of conversation. Students who
celebrate the holiday may have already started to help with decorating
the tree, hanging stockings, or even developed the lists they
plan to mail to Santa. Here are some fun ways that you can incorporate
Christmas themes into your classroom. If your school does not
allow Christmas to be celebrated because of religious connotation,
some of these themes can be changed to a winter or holiday celebration.
1. Send a card.
Greeting cards can be used regardless of the religion, whether
it is to wish someone a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukah, or just
a great New Year. In the classroom, they can help develop grammar
and writing skills, spelling, handwriting, foreign languages,
art, or even computer skills. Depending on the skills you want
to focus on, you can have students draw or use computer art programs
for the artwork, as well as practice different writing styles
for the message. For instance, they can practice a style of poetry
you have been working on, include your winter-themed spelling
words, write in a foreign language, or use cursive writing instead
of printing. Consider spreading the good cheer by sending the
cards to a local hospital, nursing home, or orphanage.
2. Read a book.
Depending on the age level of your students and your core curriculum,
there are a variety of Christmas stories available. Older children
can read "A Christmas Carol" and discuss the themes behind the
three ghosts. Religious classes can delve into the original Christmas
story in the Bible. You can even read "The Night Before Christmas"
and discuss the poetry and older vocabulary words during that
time. For writing assignments, have students write a modern day
version of classic tales.
3. Design a budget.
Nearly everyone loves giving and receiving gifts for the holidays,
and most children have at least a general concept of money. Use
this opportunity to create basic math problems, design budgets
for how much they can spend per family member, or come up with
computer spreadsheets to track their holiday spending. You can
even bring in ads from various stores for children to price compare
favorite holiday items.
4. Wrap a gift.
If your students are ready to talk about sizes and shapes or
surface area, you can use gift wrapping as an illustration. Give
students different-sized pieces of wrapping paper and have them
measure the item and paper to see if it will fit.
5. Count the days.
For students that are just learning their numbers, counting can
be an excellent way to reinforce the concept. Create a calendar
counting down the days until Christmas, the last day of school
before vacation, New Year's, or other important winter events.
Have students practice counting by 5s, 10s, or backwards. Older
students can take this a step further and figure out how many
hours or minutes are left.
6. Bake Christmas cookies.
If you have access to an oven, baking can be a great way to talk
about measurements and time. Or you can have students bring in
a favorite family recipe and talk about how it was passed down
through the years. You can even look and see how different flavors
came to be used in cookies and where different spices originated
7. Deck the halls.
With many houses hanging twinkling lights up for Christmas, or
lighting candles for Hanukah, this can be a great way to start
a look into basic electricity and how it works. It can also be
a jumping off point for safety discussions like how to prevent
fires or disaster plans.
8. If the weather outside is frightful…
Then you have an excellent opportunity to talk about weather
and climates. You can teach students how to measure precipitation,
discuss factors like how cold it has to be to snow, or compare
and contrast the climate in different parts of the country.
9. Feed the birds.
If you live in a location that is quite inclement in the winter
time, you can use this as an opportunity to discuss wildlife and
pet needs. Make bird feeders or treats to hang in the yard. You
may also talk about the importance of bringing animals indoors
when it gets too cold outside. You can even use this as a discussion
how in some areas of the world the farm animals live in the house
with their owners.
10. Plan a trip.
For some students, the holidays may be the only chance they get
each year to see relatives that live out of state. This can be
a great way to introduce map reading skills, discuss different
climates, or learn to read airline schedules. Older classes can
use the internet to plan imaginary trips to far off countries
and discuss flight plans and what to pack for the weather.
The winter holidays can be a great way to incorporate Christmas
into your classroom. Beyond the annual Christmas party, these
are just some ideas that you can use to make Christmas last the
whole month long.