Really Good Teachers around the world are gearing up for the week before Winter break. If you’re stuck for ideas, check out what the teachers below do to bring a bit of holiday cheer to their classrooms. All ideas have been teacher-tested and kid-approved!
Holiday Activities for the Classroom
Christmas Read-Aloud Journey
Idea by Kelle, 1st Grade Teacher, Knoxville, TN
In my classroom, we spend three weeks on a Christmas journey around the world. Throughout our journey, we take our passports and have them “stamped” with a representative picture from each country we visit. While we are on our journey, we watch clips of videos from celebrations, eat foods, read books, sing songs, and create crafts. For example, when we visit Italy we read The Legend of Old Befana by Tomie dePaola and then create brooms. When we visit Germany, we sing O Christmas Tree and also listen to O Tannenbaum and then create our own Christmas tree. As we visit these countries, the students have a wonderful opportunity to learn about other cultures and their traditions. Our entire grade level participates in this project, so that means almost 100 students are involved every year!
Celebrating Christmas Around the World
Idea by Katie, 5th Grade Teacher, Van Nuys, CA
In my class, I engage students in a Christmas Around the World project. I have each student pick from among a list of countries and research on how people celebrate Christmas in each of these countries. Students use their research to create brochures divided into sections summarizing history, traditions, food, and decorations. They even learn how to say Merry Christmas in that country’s language. When the projects are complete, students take turns presenting their projects to the class.
Holiday Playwrights and Performances
Idea by Felicia, Teacher, Sweet Home, OR
When I taught third grade, I helped my students write a class play about winter. One year, our play was titled, Christmas Around the World. I divided my students into groups and had each group research and write a play about Christmas in a different country. In addition to writing scripts, students made their own props and their own costumes. After rehearsing, we performed our play for the entire school. The project was a fun way to explore skills and concepts related to Language Arts, Social Studies, and Performing Arts.
Connecting the Christmas Dots
Idea by Jennifer, 1st Grade Teacher, Egg Harbor, NJ
My first grade team teaches about many holidays around the world. When we teach about Christmas, we introduce La Befana (Italy), Las Posadas (Mexico) and Saint Lucia (Sweden). I help students draw parallels between the holiday traditions we study in class and the holidays they celebrate at home. We emphasize the sentiment and spirit of each holiday, rather than any commercialism associated with each.
What do you do to bring holiday cheer to your classroom? Share with us below or on the Really Good Teachers Forum!