This holiday time of year can wreak havoc on even the most organized and structured teacher and classroom. Excitement is high and productivity can waiver due to so many holiday distractions. So rather than AVOID all of the holiday cheer, I embrace the season with my students. We deck out the classroom with colored lights ($2.49 a package at Target), have plenty of candy canes on hand, and take time to learn about the different festivities celebrated by students.
Two of our favorite things this December have been getting involved in a Gingerbread Exchange with other schools all over the country, created by Pawsitively Teaching, and learning to play dreidel during this week’s Hanukkah stations.
The Gingerbread Exchange began right after Thanksgiving when we began creating unique Gingerbread to mail away to schools all across the US. We were given 21-school addresses where we shipped our Gingerbread Baby-inspired cards. We have been anxiously awaiting, then joyously opening each envelope that comes our way from each of the 21 schools we shipped our cards off to! Some of the states we have received gingerbread cards from are: California, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi, and Kentucky. We can’t wait to hear from our other new friends that we never would have interacted with without this festive exchange. Pure holiday joy!
While it is too late to join in the fun this year, be sure to follow Pawsitively Teaching so that you can get your class involved next year! Oh, what fun! We love starting off our morning meeting getting to open our gingerbread letters and having the chance to meet some kids in other classrooms around the United States.
Our work this week was learning about the history and traditions of Hanukkah. Students spent time rotating between 6-different stations. Each station had a different Hanukkah focus. We learned about the Menorah and completed a logic puzzle to learn about the Shamash and how the candles are lit, we read various Hanukkah picture books, we focused on the traditions of Hanukkah, we learned the history of how Hanukkah came to be, and we enthusiastically learned to play dreidel.
I went to Party City to purchase some wooden dreidels (59 cents each) and found the best You Tube video for explaining how to play. Check it out here…
In 56 seconds, the length of the video, your students will be hooked and begging to keep playing.
On our agenda for next week is learning about how Christmas is celebrated around the world, and diving into some descriptive writing. Here is some digital fun we will be having with our Chromebooks over the next week. To add some spirit to our descriptive writing, we will be completing North Pole Job Applications at the urgent request of Mrs. Claus!
As an ELA teacher, I work to incorporate high-interest writing exercises into our daily work. I find that the more interested my students are, the more attentive and focused they are in their work, and the better the work is while in progress and as a published result. With the excitement of the winter holidays, student attention can be tricky to maintain. In order to maintain a productive work environment, I make sure that I have plenty of “tricks” up my sleeve to get the very best out of my students from the beginning of December until they head out for the holiday break. Real world skills that students must possess are completing job applications and descriptive writing. This is why I created this…
This Digital North Pole Job Application Toolkit is the perfect resource to tackle essential writing skills and keep students enthusiastic and thoughtful about their work. Use it in its digital form with Google Slides, or print it out. Your students will LOVE it either way. This 4+day unit goes beyond traditional holiday writing exercises because it challenges students to write descriptively and navigate a job application that requires extended responses.
If you are looking for some fun ways to keep your students engaged and enthusiastic about their learning, you can’t go wrong with sharing in the holiday spirit. Best of luck navigating this exciting time! Look for more festive ideas and freebies coming your way! Happy Holidays!