‘Tis the season for hot chocolate, snow, gifts, finals, and semester grades! I really love this time of year and love bringing some extra holiday magic to the classroom as well. My district has tightened up on what type of celebrations are allowed around the holidays, so I usually stick to winter themed ideas-which are still just as fun! I know this time of year can be crazy for teachers, so to help you bring some cheer to your classroom I’ve rounded up eight ways (holiday + winter themed) to celebrate the holidays in the secondary math classroom.
Paper Chain Garland
There are so many options here! You can create one paper chain to countdown until the end of the semester. You could also have students create paper chains that double as holiday décor to hang on the ceiling. But to really make it count (see what I did there? lol)… have the paper chains come from a practice activity that students complete. Here is an example of the type of activity I’m talking about!
Holiday Partner-Pairing Activity
Get Cozy by a Fire
Wrapped Presents Surface Area Activity
Have students bring in a gift to wrap. Then, have them calculate the surface area and tell you how much wrapping paper they will need. Next, they will wrap the gift (you may need to teach them how to wrap a present). So fun to watch them see if they were correct on how much wrapping paper they would need. You will need to supply wrapping paper and tape, but this is an easy opportunity to ask for parent involvement!
Student-Created Holiday Playlist
This is so much fun and allows students to share how they celebrate the holidays through music! I create a playlist (I use Spotify) for every class period and then let each student pick one song to add to the playlist. The result is such an eclectic mix of holiday and winter themed music. Students get so excited when they hear their song come on!
Elf on the Shelf
Bring the mischief of Elf on the Shelf to the classroom! Students (Yes, even secondary students!) will walk into class excited to see what the Elf is up to that day. It’s also really fun to let each class name their elf! Here are some fun ideas of ways your elf can create some mischief in the classroom.
Make it Snow in your Classroom
Snow is magical, right?! Bring the magic to your classroom with some cotton balls and string! If you have a window, string the cotton balls in front of your window so that students can look out and see “snow”. Or string the cotton ball garlands down from the ceiling in front of the doorway! This video shows one way to make the cotton ball and string garlands.
Celebrate the season with a little treat! It always surprises me how excited my students will get over a little candy cane! I mean, I’m talking the MINI candy canes. Just a reminder that it doesn’t have to be fancy to be impactful.