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Planning for the Holiday Season in your Elementary Class Made Easy

Planning for the holidays can be a bit of a headache. With all the different holidays, breaks, and general distractions, it is hard to keep students focused throughout the months leading up to and directly following the new year.

If you’re anything like me, you have a calendar with all the school holidays and breaks all written out and ready to go, but now you’re trying to figure out how you’ll fill all the time surrounding those breaks.

As a teacher, you know that the week leading up to a holiday is often difficult to navigate. With special events like costume parades, assemblies, and field trips, your class starts to feel less and less like your own.

As we considered what we could write that might be helpful as you begin planning for the holiday season, we realized just how many great resources we currently have hiding in our blog archives that are really helpful for teachers preparing for this season.

So, today we are giving you a run-down of 11 blog posts that will help you as you make decisions about the activities and lessons you will use this year to celebrate this season with your students.

Planning for the holiday season

Themed Activities to Consider

Before we begin planning for the holiday season month-by-month, these first four blog posts are all about non-holiday specific activities and lesson suggestions that are either themed by month or by activity style.

We chose to include these posts because each offers something specific that could be beneficial as you plan your activities.

#1 | Holiday of the day writing prompts

Every day is a holiday with these Holiday of the Day Writing Prompts for upper elementary. Recently we released a new line called Holiday of the Day Writing prompts. Using these writing prompts as part of your holiday season is the perfect addition to the typical holidays that are already celebrated. You can also edit the prompts to include some of the holidays that are popular among the diverse students in your class. This blog post tells you exactly what you can expect from these Holiday of the Day Writing Prompts.

#2 | Teaching Figurative Language with Picture Books

Holiday themed picture books are easy to find, so that is why this post is second on our list. Although not holiday-specific, this post provides several examples of ways picture books can be used to teach figurative language. This is a great way to incorporate the holidays into your lessons without having to deviate from your original plan too much.

#3 | 12 Months of Close Reads

If you have been around the Fun in 5th Grade community for long, you are probably very familiar with our themed close reads. In this blog post, you can see all the close read resources we have available for every month. For the months of October through January alone, we have 10 Close Read with Mystery Pictures resources that are on theme and ready for the classroom. Check out the blog post to see what Close Read with Mystery Pictures resources we suggest and to learn more about using them in the classroom.

#4 | 6 Ways to Make Close Reading More Engaging

Since we’re talking about close reads, and you have so many options to use them this holiday season, we decided to throw in this blog post where we discuss 6 ways to spice up your close reads. Combining these strategies with some of the seasonal Close Reads with Mystery Pictures from the previous post, you’re sure to have some awesome lessons waiting for your students as the holidays approach.

October Activities

This next set of posts is specific to October. In these posts, we pull out the fun and spooky nature of the Halloween season with some silly but educational activities.

#5 | Halloween Fun without the Party

Insert a little Halloween fun into each subject area using this post as your guide. In this post, we discuss some of the different ways teachers can celebrate the Halloween season in a fun, spooky way without actually having a party. Depending on what your school allows in the way of treats and parties, this blog post may be exactly what you need to make the end of October special.

Planning for the Holiday Season made easy

#6 | Halloween Glow Games

Have you ever considered how special it could be if you started using glow sticks and other glow-in-the-dark items in your classroom? Well, one teacher in our audience did just that, and they sent in pictures! Using her idea as inspiration, we have come up with a whole bunch of additional ways to use glow games to create a fun glow-in-the-dark experience in your classroom. Mix and match these ideas with our Halloween resources for the perfect one-two punch!

November Activities

#7 | 8 Ways to Use Leftover Candy in the Classroom

Halloween is over, and after all that celebrating, now both you and your students have tons of leftover candy that needs a new purpose. In this post, we have come up with 8 ways to use leftover candy in the classroom, and [spoiler alert] many of them don’t involve people eating any of it!

#8 | Thanksgiving Activities for Before Break

One of the hardships of the holiday season is all of the shortened weeks. Usually, during this season, we have conferences, Thanksgiving week, the week leading up to the winter break, and the week coming out of New Year, which are all partial weeks. Managing these short weeks can be a bit of a difficulty as many of your normal routines are thrown out the window. In this post, we are specifically looking at activities that could be beneficial as you prepare to go into Thanksgiving, but depending on when your fall conferences fall, they could work for that week as well!

December Activities

Although we have many December and Christmas-themed resources, we don’t necessarily have a bunch of December-specific posts, but the one we have is a good one! Check it out!

#9 | Holiday Fun without the Party

As we discussed earlier, sometimes holiday parties are not allowed in schools or are not preferred by teachers. In this post, we discuss many ways to celebrate the December holiday season without a party. Using some of the ideas in this post, along with the December Close Reads with Mystery Pictures and the Holiday of the Day Writing Prompts from posts #1 and #2 on this list, you’ll have a full portfolio of resources to draw on that will keep students warmed up as the cooler temperatures set in.

January Activities

Now we’re winding down, and the season is coming to a close, but one of the most important times for teachers to prepare for is that time right after the winter break when we welcome students back into the classroom for the second half of the year.

#10 | 5 ways to ease back in after winter break

We know that this may be too much to think about right now, so in this post, we’ve made it easy. We are spelling out 5 easy activities and lesson suggestions and ideas to help ease students back in after the hectic holiday season has finally come to a close. With resource ideas and lesson ideas, this blog post will help you wrap your mind around what you could plan for those first couple of weeks in January.

#11 | Reviewing Procedures After Break

Last but certainly not least, it is time to acknowledge that we are right around halfway through the year, and that deserves a celebration all its own. We know that as the school year moves on, our students get more and more comfortable in the classroom…almost too comfortable at times, and that is why we strongly recommend using that first week back in January to review classroom procedures and reinforce classroom rules and expectations. This is a natural time to do this type of review, and this post will help you consider what you may want to cover.

We want to wish everyone a happy and stress-free holiday season, and we hope that these blog posts will help you in planning for the holiday season by providing a nice array of activities, lessons, and tips to make these next several months some of the best ones of the year for you and your students. Happy Holidays!!

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