The holiday season is an exciting time for young students. They want to enjoy the upcoming break and the holidays with their friends and family. Unfortunately, it also means they face distractions from their studies. As a teacher, you want to develop student engagement strategies to help them keep up with the last few weeks before their final tests and the start of their break.
Embrace the Season
Rather than fighting the holiday season, tie their studies into the season. Use holiday themes and topics to help students stay involved in the classroom. By focusing your lessons on holiday themes, you encourage your students to enjoy the lessons and find the topics interesting. For example, you may explore the way snowflakes form during a science class, or you can use holiday traditions to explain about different cultures and the way they celebrate the seasons. You can also discuss historical context of modern traditions and festivities.
Use the seasonal changes and the upcoming holidays as an opportunity to improve student engagement. Take advantage of changing interests to focus on topics of discussion, new lesson plans or interesting classroom activities that keep your students in a positive mood while they still learn valuable lessons.
Write Holiday Greetings
Sending out greeting cards to friends and family is part of the holiday. It also gives you a plan of action for student engagement in the classroom. Encourage students to write greeting cards for their loved ones. Ask each student to write a specific number of cards and encourage them to work on their handwriting skills or to develop specific writing skills.
For example, you can use the greeting cards as an opportunity to teach about poetry. Ask your students to write a holiday poem or a seasonal poem. You can also encourage students to write greetings that focus on developing their vocabulary by requiring specific words or phrases.
Give Your Students a Project
By keeping your expectations high for your students, you will encourage them to channel the extra energy associated with the holiday season into a project or an activity. Set up a project based on the curriculum in your classroom.
A project helps your students focus on a specific task. It also informs your students that you still have high expectations. Make sure the project is age-appropriate and within your students' current skill set. For example, give young children a crafting project. Older students may have book reports or similar projects to help them stay on track throughout the weeks before their holiday break.
Allow your students to spread their cheerful mood and attitude by decorating the classroom. Encourage them to get involved in the decorating process and encourage them to put up interesting pictures, snowflakes or other crafts.
You can even set aside time for your students to work on decorating the classroom with their own projects. For example, tell your students to make snowflakes and teach them different ways to craft the snowflakes. They can then work on creating geometric shapes using the basic snowflake designs before putting up the decorations. By making the decorations part of your classroom experience, you encourage your students to stay involved and allow them the time to move around to burn some excess energy.
Teach Gift Wrapping
Wrapping up presents for the holiday is a useful skill that also makes use of mathematics and measuring. Teach your students to wrap up their own presents by getting wrapping paper, boxes and tape. You can also provide bows or string to make bows for an artistic effect.
Show your students how to measure the appropriate amount of tape for the gift. You should also ensure that they understand how to measure out the paper based on the size of the box. Use the lesson in gift wrapping as an opportunity to teach your students valuable skills in relation to measurements and mathematics. You can then tie the lesson into a math class to show your students the practical uses of the lessons they learn in school.
Involve Your Students With Movements
Movement provides student engagement strategies that help your classroom stay focused on the lessons. It also allows you to help your students burn off excess energy. Involve your students in different movements and encourage them to stay focused by getting up and working on different physical tasks. For example, you can set up a project that allows your students to build. Alternatively, you can ask your students to work in groups on a project that allows them to move around and talk to their classmates.
Keeping your students engaged during the holiday season is a task that involves some creative thinking. Focus on developing lessons that teach valuable skills while also helping your students learn the curriculum and burn extra energy.
Looking for other ways to keep your students engaged year round? Explore one of our other student engagement blogs below:
- How to Increase Student Engagement in Your Classroom
- How to Increase Student Engagement with Sticky Notes [VIDEO]
- Increase Student Engagement with Quote Boards