It’s hard to believe the holidays are upon us again. As soon as Halloween ends, Technicolor lights, giant wreaths, and tons of other items embellish the streets, stores, and houses around the country as people express their holiday cheer.
All of the decorations, discussions, and holiday break plans can take a toll on students’ focus, so instead of attempting to distract and avoid these topics altogether in the classroom, why not integrate them into your lesson plans leading up to the holidays? This time of year is perfect to explore world cultures and world history, scientific concepts, and even creative writing. Here are just a few ideas that might spark some inspiration for you and your class this season.
Explore World History and Cultures
Many different holidays take place between November and the beginning of January. Take this opportunity to explore the origins of not only Christmas, but also Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the winter solstice. Explain where and when these holidays came into being and why they are significant to different cultures around the world. Make inclusion and diversity a central part of why you are talking about these celebrations.
Use Snow and Ice as a Launchpad for Science
Snow. Some of us love it; some of us would rather skip it. Either way, take advantage of the season by developing a lesson on how snow is formed and discuss the freezing and melting points of water and ice (depending on grade level). For younger students, toss out the fun fact that no two snowflakes are alike and follow it up by having kids cut out their own snowflakes to drive the point home.
Engage Students Through Writing and Literature
Read stories about the various holidays and what people do to celebrate. Then, encourage students to explore their own family traditions by having them write a short story or poem about what they do for the holidays, and then ask them to share their stories with the class if they are comfortable. Whether they celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, or no holidays at all, the class will surely be intrigued and want to know more about their fellow pupils’ traditions.
The holiday season is a time of excitement and anticipation. All that energy can make it difficult for students to concentrate on academics, so why not harness it and combine the enthusiasm of the season with your lesson plans? Channel it into learning more about the history behind each holiday, as well as learning more about classmates’ families and traditions.