With the holiday season approaching, it’s good to add some fun into teaching to keep your students engaged and motivated. We’ve created 12 simple classroom activities and tips that you can carry out with your primary class to encourage them to be good.
|Fact||Father Christmas, St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas – whatever we call him, many countries around the world have a tradition that naughty children will only receive coal, twigs or even onions. But do children always know how to be good?|
|Classroom application||Classroom tip: Catch you being good
Watch out for good behaviour and praise it when you see it – much more effective than dealing with problems as they arise.
|Fact||Advent calendars count down the days to Christmas, and for children that usually means gifts! But is the festive period all about presents?|
|Classroom application||Classroom tip: Kindness calendar
Challenge students to carry out one act of kindness every day in December. They can plan this on a blank calendar and tick the kind acts as they complete them.
|Fact||Did you know that greeting students individually at the door improves learning and engagement?|
|Classroom application||Classroom tip: Christmas password
Have a Christmas themed password for children to give as they enter the classroom. Students choose a new password every lesson.
|Title||Frosty the Snowman!|
|Fact||The largest snowman in the world was actually a snowwoman! Olympia was over 37 metres tall and had trees for arms!|
|Classroom application||Classroom tip: Concrete poems
A concrete poem written in a shape that reflects the topic of the poem, for example a poem about a snowman written in the shape of a snowman. Challenge your students to write their own concrete poems about Christmas.
|Fact||Chinese New Year is the most important winter festival in China. Like Christmas, one of the main activities is putting up paper decorations.|
|Classroom application||Classroom tip: Collaborative Christmas tree
Each child draws around their hand, cuts it out and either draws a picture or writes a sentence about themselves. The whole class makes a Christmas tree display out of the handprints.
|Fact||Stars feature in many Christmas traditions. For example, in Poland the Christmas feast only starts when the first star appears.|
|Classroom application||Classroom tip: 2 stars and a wish
Give focussed feedback on written tasks by identifying two positive aspects of work and one area to work on. Works great for peer assessment too.
|Fact||Everyone loves getting presents. In Liberia, instead of Santa bringing toys you’ll find Old Man Bayka, who walks the streets asking for gifts!|
|Classroom application||Classroom tip: My gift to the world
Brainstorm things students can do to help make the world a better place, such as volunteer at a local charity or plant a tree. Challenge them to do one thing as a Christmas gift to the world.
|Fact||Famous fried chicken in Japan, caterpillars in South Africa, hot tamales in Venezuela and oysters in France. Christmas dinners vary greatly as you move around the world.|
|Classroom application||Classroom tip: Recipe for success
Students can make their own Recipe for Success by thinking about what they need to be successful in the new year.
Example (to be designed to look like a child wrote it):
1 cup of doing my best
½ cup of ideas
¼ cup of smiles
2 tablespoons of teamwork
3 teaspoons of listening to the teacher
|Title||Christmas Traditions Around the World!|
|Fact||Festive saunas in Finland, roller skating in Venezuela and Christmas cobwebs in Ukraine, no two countries celebrate Christmas in exactly the same way.|
|Classroom application||Classroom tip: Venn Diagrams
Students choose 2 countries and research how they celebrate during winter time. They record their findings as Venn Diagrams. They record the different traditions of the two countries in the sections on the left and right. Anything they have in common goes in the middle.
|Title||The Excitement of Christmas!|
|Fact||Anticipation plays a big part in the excitement of Christmas. Will Santa come? What presents I get? Who will win the annual family game of charades?|
|Classroom application||Classroom tip: Big questions
Start lessons by posing big questions to engage students’ natural curiosity and motivate them to find answers. Open questions work great, such as How do animals communicate? or What makes someone a hero?
|Fact||Forget the Grinch, Christmas is a time for feeling good and spreading happiness.|
|Classroom application||Classroom tip: Compliment corner
Allocate a space in the classroom as the compliment corner – a notice board or a big piece of paper. Students can write compliments to each other on sticky notes and put them on the board. Such as ‘I love the pictures you drew of your favourite hobby’, or ‘You’re so good at singing’.
|Title||New Year’s Resolutions!|
|Fact||The start of a new year is a great time to focus on self-improvement, but only 8% of people are successful in sticking to their resolutions.|
|Classroom application||Classroom tip: Self and peer reflection
At the end of each lesson, ask students to reflect on their learning. Support students by providing sentence stems such as: I learnt…I enjoyed …I’m good at…To improve I will…I didn’t understand…
Have you used any of these tips in the classroom? Let us know how successful they were in the comments!