December, December! It's the last month of the year and I think a lot of us can admit we try to jam pack this month full of special occasions, learning, and class community building. Here are some of MY favorite ways to spread some cheer and grow our class community during this special month!
Host (a) special day(s)!
Consider creating a theme day, or two, for you and your students! Even if it's virtual!
My kindergarten team and I do a "Polar Express Day". We wear pajamas, drink hot chocolate, read the story, watch the movie, and take part in lots of fun cross curricular activities from this bundle on TPT.
Another day we take part in is Grinch Day. The students dress in all green and come in to school to find that UH OH, they've been GRINCHED! **Just upload a picture to PowerPoint - double click your picture, go to Picture format >> Picture Color >> Presets >> and choose green!
We also create Grinch hats that you can find here.
At the end of the day, we choose a grinch movie to watch! Make sure you get permission for parents from anything rated higher than G!
Teach and share about culture!
Check out my culture blog post here for the month of December. Here are some great resources to hone in on culture this month. Click on each picture to visit the resource!!!
Take a trip around the world with your students!
Purchase a Holidays Around the World Resource (or multiple) from TpT. Do your own research and make sure you talk about more than just Christmas. Use the crafts created from your unit to decorate your classroom!
Create a classroom holiday card to send home
Create a holiday card for your families to hold onto from year to year. Download a template...
choose a nice backdrop in your class room and add a few props. Then, take a picture of each student in front of that spot. Download student pictures to your computer, resize, and arrange them on the card. Print, cut, and you're all set to send a meaningful card home to your families!
Give a class gift!
The idea of a class gift can seem a little daunting and maybe too expensive. If so, my best advice to you is to purchase the one dollar books off of scholastic book clubs. Make sure you sign up as a teacher, then visit scholasticbookclubs.com
Last year I purchased the exactly quantity of one dollar books I needed. This year they came in packs of ten. All I do is wrap them, add a candy cane on the front, and WAH-Lah... a sweet and encouraging gift for all your kiddos.
Exchange brown bag gifts!
Again, gifts can feel daunting and unantaible for many families, but these brown bag gifts are an easy and inexpensive way for your students to give to one another. If you do happen to have a few families who cannot create and participate in the exchange, it is still inexpensive enough for you to create a few bags to throw into the mix for all of your students.
Heres how I do it. I send an announcement home to each family with a brown bag attached. They fill decorate their bag and then fill it with a few food, candy, and small non food items. Then on the last day before winter break, students pass the bags around while music plays. Whenever the music stops, they get to keep whatever bag they have in their possession.
Make a class gift for families to save!
Here is my gift from last year. Students each made their own Rudolph with some left over wood my dad chopped up for us. This year I plan to switch it up a bit, with less of a focus on Christmas, and more winter themed. There are TONS of ideas on Pinterest!
Do a kindness challenge!
It always a good time to be KIND, especially in December when a lot of us are running around all hectic and caught up in our own crazy. Here is a GREAT calendar from the Classroom of Kindness - FOR FREE. Click here or on the picture below! I love this calendar in particular because it involves families and not just students in the classroom. It lends itself to some HEART FELT share time during morning meetings.
Take part in a calendar challenge!
Check out getepic.com for this FREE December calendar challenge. My students have to complete and activity of their choice each week. They then share on their Seesaw class journals and we will talk about them virtually or in class (depending on our status!)
Build each other up with an SEL craftivity!
Browse Tpt for some community building holiday activities, or LOOK NO FURTHER because I have one right here! One of my FAVORITES: it includes a tree and some ornaments and is meant to be paired with the read aloud "A Wish to be a Christmas Tree."
Students are meant to "decorate" each others trees FULL of compliments! Click here (or on the picture above) to check it out!
Create a countdown to winter break!
Last year, my countdown was a picture of Santa and students glued a cotton ball for each day to countdown to Christmas Day. You can click here to download this Santa for free.
This year, I'm going to decenter Christmas a little more, and make a winter break chain countdown using winter holiday themed scrapbook paper! I'll post once I have it set up!