The holidays are here! It can be a stressful time of year to come up with fun and engaging academic lessons for your students. Holiday parties, programs, and other distractions can make it tempting to pop in a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer video. Since that is usually frowned upon I thought I’d share with you 5 holiday activities that incorporate technology and the 4C’s (Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity) for hours of fun.
Holiday Activities for the Classroom
1. Procedural Writing
One of my favorite things to do in the classroom is to cook (which is weird because I don’t cook much at home). I am lucky that I can still use my portable stove, but I know many schools have stopped this practice. However, there are a lot of great recipes you can follow that do not require you do use a stove or you might even be able to get the ladies in the cafeteria to help you out. Why cooking? This is a great way to teach procedural text to your students. Here are some pictures of one of my second grade classrooms creating Thanksgiving Pilgrim hats by following a recipe. As you can see, this doesn’t require any cooking.
While students are making the Pilgrim Hats, they use the app Explain Everything to create the recipe. There are a lot of apps you can use for this activity. Some of my favorites are:
- Snapguide (computer and iPad)
- Book Creator (tablets only)
- 30 Hands (iPad)
I have a lot of crafts and recipes I like to do for Christmas. Some of my favorites are making Applesauce Cinnamon Ornaments (they smell so good) and making Gingerbread houses out of milk cartons from the cafeteria.
2. Close Reading Activity
I LOVE our Holidays Around the World unit! We study different countries from around the world to learn how they celebrate the holidays. Each day we go to a different country to celebrate. I love using these cute passports and boarding passes to get students excited about the unit.
make the passports and take pics
I start by researching using these passages I wrote to learn more about each country. I teach close reading strategies to help students dig deeper into text. If you need more help of how to implement close reading strategies in the classroom, click here.
I use the Skitch app for annotating. There are a lot of extensions in Google Chrome you can use to annotate if you don’t have tablets but to be honest I haven’t found one I like yet. I’ve tried several with kids. If you have one you recommend, let me know in the comments.
3. Holidays Around the World
One of my favorite ways to have students share what they learned about each country is to add their findings to one of the following sites (this works on the iPad, too). I don’t have any student examples anymore. I let a class use my ThingLink account, and they deleted them all. oops! However, I found one online I thought I’d share until I can get a new student example.
4. Solving Holiday Word Problems
Have you always longed for a SMARTBoard in your classroom? Did you know you can still use SMART Notebook lessons in your classroom using SMART Notebook Express? It doesn’t have all the functionality of the real software, but it’s still worth trying. The reason why I tell you is because I love to use this software to help students solve word problems. I create a variety of different word types and add the pictures so students can use them to help solve the problem.
In this example, the present in the lower, right-hand corner is infinitely cloned in the real SMART Notebook software. Unfortunately, you can’t do that with SMART Notebook Express, but it’s still nice to have access to this great online tool.
5. Sight Word Games
I love to create games for my students to help them with sight words, spelling, and vocabulary to put in my centers. Of course, students get bored with the same old games, so I like to change it up a bit to fit the season. Here are several examples of some of my favorite:
Have students choose a word, write the word on a recording sheet, and then build the word with manipulatives. I call this Say, Write, Build.
Create holiday game boards, matching, and sorting games for students to practice their words. Some of my favorite sites and apps to use for sight word fun is Spelling City and Popplet Lite. You can also use these apps and games to teach students holiday vocabulary.
Bonus: I found this great post by The Techie Teacher full of Winter-Themed activities perfect for this time of year and beyond.
I hope these ideas are helpful to you during the holiday season. Don’t want or have time to plan out these holiday activities or make your own board games? I have added these units to my store to help you implement these activities with confidence and ease. Also, all of my sight word games are EDITABLE! You can add your own words and even differentiate for groups of students. You can type your word one time in the form field and it generates to all of the sight word games like magic. Click on the picture below to check them out!
Save big on the bundled set but you can buy each one individually. What activities do you love doing during the holiday season?