During the holiday season, elementary school students highly anticipate their upcoming break from school and the celebration of Christmas. Whether they are teaching classes online or in a traditional classroom, teachers have the opportunity to channel this enthusiasm by creating entertaining lesson plans. By designing a well-rounded curriculum that integrates elements of Christmas, elementary teachers can engage students and add fun to the classroom. While discussing the holiday season in the classroom, public elementary school teachers should keep lessons informative and include the traditions of a range of ethnic and religious cultures.
Students learn a number of new math skills in elementary school, including gaining an understanding of patterns. To further explore symmetry, ask students to design their own snowflakes. Students can fold a paper, cut a unique design, then unfold the paper to reveal a festive and symmetrical snowflake. Other festive math lessons can include sorting and graph Christmas candy, creating color patterns with Christmas lights or making a classroom Christmas countdown.
Poetry lessons not only teach elementary students more about the language arts, but also give them an opportunity to use imagination and creativity. During the holidays, read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and "The 12 days of Christmas" to your students and then invite them to create their own Christmas poems, following the style of these holiday classics. Students can also write journal entries about Christmas themes or write out their wish lists, Christmas traditions or a summary of their favorite holiday movies.
Social Studies Lessons
According to GreatSchools.org, elementary teachers can raise cultural awareness by including diverse perspectives in history and social studies lessons. When studying Christmas in the elementary classroom, teachers should provide a lesson on holiday celebrations of different cultures, including Kwanzaa for African Americans and Hanukkah for the Jewish faith. The students can also learn about the different Christmas traditions of children around the world, such as buche de Noel (or yule log cake) in France, calling Santa Claus "Father Christmas" in England and the paper bag lanterns made by children in Mexico.
As students study different Christmas traditions around the world, they can mark the locations on a wall map, learning about world geography. Remind students to visit the official Santa tracker online to follow Santa's journey around the world on Christmas Eve. Teachers can read Chris Van Allsburg's famous story, "The Polar Express" and then ask the students to locate the North Pole on a classroom map. Additionally, students can construct a polar express train with chairs and festive decorations, write out tickets for the ride and act out the story in class.
While teachers sometimes mistake the holiday season for a distraction from learning, they can take advantage of the many stories, songs and characters associated with Christmas. By paying attention to the interests of students, teachers will be able to discover their students' favorite parts of holidays and blend these topics into lessons. Making lessons educational, fun and interactive not only provides students with positive learning experiences, but also allows them to focus on school during the exciting holiday season.
About today's guest blogger:
Lindsey Wright is fascinated with the potential of emerging educational technologies, particularly the online school, to transform the landscape of learning. She writes about web-based learning, electronic and mobile learning, and the possible future of education.