Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas…oh my! It’s hard to believe that Back to School plans have already turned holiday-themed, but we are definitely in full swing. Although a busy time, the season holds great opportunity for fun and meaningful activities at home and in the class.
The following are “real class” examples from abcteach staff…
- • Use graphic organizers to compare/contrast books like “Coming to America” and traditional Pilgrim stories
- • “KWL” – Know, Want, Learn. Example: list what we think the Indians taught the Pilgrims, research what was actually shown, and then note what were the important details that students learned from this activity
- • Find a map of the Pilgrim’s community and practice mapping skills. Examples: “The church is north of ___. How many lanes south is the meeting place from the community garden? What is at the SE corner of the community?
- • List common items that we share with the Pilgrims, but only give the Pilgrim names. See if students can find out what we call these items today
- • Cook! It’s a great way to practice measurement, fractions, and following directions
- • Act out a play, engaging parents to help with costumes and practice. They don’t have to elaborate, just a few things out of construction paper (i.e. hats, collars, head-dresses, etc.)
- • Relive a colonial day. Create small group centers for cooking, making head pieces and collars, building long houses and tepees, making papooses and cradle boards, etc.
- • Book favorites: “The Night before Christmas,” “The Grinch who Stole Christmas,” and “The Polar Express” (for 3-4th grade)
- • Celebrate all December holidays, including those of different cultures, religions, etc. (i.e. make dreidels for Hanukkah); have students share their own holiday traditions
- • Make homemade gifts with students’ pictures and write holiday poems
- • Collect items for the homeless and sing carols at nursing homes
- • Help special needs kids create ornaments and make cookies with them
- • Dress up and go to a holiday play, then discuss theater etiquette
- • Brainstorm and set goals for home, school and community for the upcoming year
The holidays are also a great opportunity to teach important life lessons. My mom, a retired elementary teacher, used units about history and foreign cultures to encourage students to think outside their personal lives. She also found it ideal timing to strengthen the home/classroom connection. Parents, grandparents, even collegiate brothers and sisters, were invited to take part in the holiday festivities. In her eyes, it was a valuable window of opportunity: adults realizing first-hand the importance of their time in class, and students feeling the extra support of their home role models.
There’s no place like the home(room) for the Holidays! However you create that special learning environment, abcteach wishes you a safe and successful holiday season.
Posted by Lindsey Elton, abcteach team
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