Comfort and Joy in the Holiday Classroom

Like many people, I count December as one of my favorite months!  I love Christmas time and I can’t wait to decorate, watch holiday movies, and bake cookies with my boys.  

While I know that the holiday season can be stressful for some, I don’t want that stress to carry its way into my classroom, so I do my best to create a December filled with comfort and joy for my students.  Here are my top three ways to do that:

  1. Design your curriculum to include literature that the kids love and find high interest.  Book clubs are great in December because they allow students to choose what to read.  If your curriculum dictates a novel study, choose a book that students will want to read.  I’m currently teaching All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brandon Kiely, and while it’s a gritty story that confronts racism head on, it is so engaging that my students come to class ready to have fantastic discussions.  Plus, the novel is ultimately full of hope, and what better time for hope than during the holidays?
  2. Make time for some special, out of the ordinary moments.  While my students are engrossed in All American Boys right now, they are also writing fictional narratives, with the novel as their Mentor text.  During Writer’s Workshop days, I have the digital fireplace blazing and soothing holiday instrumentals playing in the background.  During our final week before break, we will have a Writer’s Wrap Party, in which I’ll provide hot cocoa and treats, as the students participate in an Author’s Chair activity.  These small details show that I recognize the festive nature of the holidays and want them to enjoy their time in class, while still maintaining our established routine and rigor.
  3. Take the time to get personal with students.  I like to give my students little gifts that let them know I recognize their hard work and notice the efforts that they’re making.  This year I’ve taken the time to write personal notes to each of my students, with at least one detail that shows I see them--I see what they’re involved in and going through, and I care.  I created these notes that I’m using, and I’d love to share them with you!  They’re forever free on Teachers pay Teachers.

I hope that these ideas work for you!  I wish you a happy, healthy holiday season, and I appreciate you stopping by!

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