Below are some of my favorite ways of spreading holiday cheer in the classroom! Most of the holiday activities relate to Christmas, but I also have a few games/read alouds for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as well!
Looking for a super easy way to make a festive display? The one outside my room took about 20 minutes total to tape/staple up to the wall. I wish I could die-cut letters and make cutesy gingerbread cookies on tinfoil pans to hang outside my room. However, I am the ultimate Pinterest FAIL. So I go a different direction.
Print out some letters and glue them up (I always make the letters purposely not line up... like in "kindness" and "shines." Then people will think I intentionally didn't make them straight! Little do they know that I like a straight-line bone in my entire body). Print off some cute clip art and glue up as well. A few of my little girls begged me to stay in a few minutes during recess to cut out the cute little kids- of course I said yes! I passed out a lightbulb to each student as morning work to decorate and cut out.
I am an advocate for character education in the classroom, so my "our kindness shines" display hits the nail on the head! On each lightbulb, students wrote one way that they could be kind to others. My heart absolutely melts at the light on the left.... "I will help people get up when they fall." It reminds me why I love teaching so much- children are unintentionally hilarious while being so sweet and wonderful.
I use literacy stations in my classroom, so the holidays are the perfect time to throw in some festive cheer during a review assignment. I look to my Christmas literacy worksheets to review synonyms, fact & opinion, alphabetical order, and how to do a dictionary.
My Christmas interactive notebook activities are super hands-on, which are perfect if your students are squirrelly right before the holidays. This noun/verb sort is perfect to get kids excited and engaged while practicing differentiating between their parts of speech!
One of my favorites in my Teachers Pay Teachers store is my new freebie! It is a color-by-number game for multiplication facts. Definitely check it out, it's no-prep and keeps the kids occupied for a while as they color the picture based on the products of each times table.
My newest math center game is a favorite in my classroom with my students - Stuck in the Chimney! It is a simple multiplication fact game, but somehow gets the kids engaged by making facts into a competition and with incorporating Santa Claus into the game.
I also have a Kwanzaa version (You Lost the Kinora!) and a Hanukkah version (You Ate All the Latkes!)
My hands-on Christmas interactive notebook activities include math items as well. You can see here that there is a fraction activity for kids. It also includes Christmas word problems and rounding. I always do a lot of review and spiraling back before the holidays. Kids are so jumpy and excited for the holidays, that it is tough to teach anything new. Getting that vital review time in is great during this time!
Read Aloud Ideas
My favorite read alouds follow! I make sure to read each one every year to my kids (do NOT miss the Hanukkah book, it is awesome and won a Caldecott! Definitely one of my favorite books ever).
- Hershel & the Hanukkah Goblins
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- How Santa Got His Job
- The Polar Express
- The Sounds of Kwanzaa
What festive things do you enjoy in the classroom before the holidays?