This post originally appeared on the blog Little Leaps of Learning.
But as any teacher knows, surviving that last week is no mean feat. We face several HUGE jobs like cleaning out our spaces and managing over-excited and over-tired children.
What do you teach during that last week?
I want meaningful lessons that are easy to implement and require no preparation. I want activities that the class can work on enthusiastically and independently while I tick a few items off my end-of-year checklist.
So here are my 10 easy, meaningful, no-prep activities that save my sanity during that last week before Christmas holidays.
Discuss Christmas Symbols
After discussing some Christmas symbols, we make our own Christmas cards from scratch. I put out all of my leftover craft materials – colored cardboard, scraps of Christmas wrapping paper, random bits and pieces from the year (foam shapes, ribbon, buttons, etc). Give them several types of adhesive (PVA, tape, glue stick). It’s an excellent way to use up any remaining material floating around.
I give them no templates or blackline cards to color in, but I do show them examples of how to make the symbols out of craft material. I am always amazed at what they come up with! Of course, this requires a lot of teacher demonstration and explanation. Here are some photos of simple cards to make:
One year, I had some clever cookies work out how to make pop up cards by cutting slots into the fold (the pop up trend caught on like wildfire!).
Talk about who to give cards to – family, teachers, or others in the class (always a popular option). Talk about the messages that are written inside the card. I usually dedicate a few hours to this and I find the children are engaged the whole time. Warning: allow ample time to clean up afterwards.
Christmas Spelling Activities
Christmas-Themed Persuasive Writing Task
Christmas Problem Solving Fun
Research Christmas Online
Christmas-Themed Reading Strategies
I give the students short text passages to infer what was in the present. There are also match-up cards to use in pairs or independently.
Find this resource by clicking HERE.
Why not incorporate some drama into that last week? I like to have my class learn and perform some Reader’s Theatre. A simple search on Teachers Pay Teachers will give you some easy Christmas plays. Alternatively, I use an Aboriginal Dreamtime story in that last week. I love using Tiddalick the Thirsty Frog (a Google search will bring this up). Give each student a part to learn. They then make their own masks and props. In the past we have collectively made a backdrop for the play on a huge piece of paper or on a blank whiteboard on the wall.
Sometimes it’s nice to give the class reign over the creative design elements :).
DIY Christmas Wrapping Paper
During the year, I seem to amass rolls of butcher paper. On the last few days I have my class make their own wrapping paper to take home. Give each child a large sheet and they can decorate with drawings, writing and stamps.
Check out this clever idea using lint rollers as stamp rollers:
Christmas Math Concepts
That last week is also the perfect time to revise important number concepts before a 6 week long hiatus! In my resource below, I give each student several numbers from 0-100. The idea being that the class collectively assembles a large hundreds chart (on the back of each present, students draw or write about what is inside the present).
Each day of the last week, we randomly pick a few gift tags out of the stocking and solve the number clues, revealing a number on the hundreds chart. We turn over the card to reveal the present that was gifted to the class by one of them.
This was an absolute hit with my class and an excellent way to review place value and number concepts!
Christmas Arts and Crafts
Every year, I purchase some of their $3 giant coloring-in-carpet rolls. It is over a square meter big and can fit 10 children around it comfortably. Pictured here (unfortunately not rolled out):
I let the students lounge on the floor around the large picture and they use up the last of the colored markers on it. They really seem to enjoy the time with their classmates before the holidays!
Looking for more ideas? Check out my ‘Christmas’ Pinterest board HERE.
Thanks for reading!
(Credit: Gingerbread clipart numbers by Artifex).
Alison from Little Leaps of Learning is from sunny Australia. She was a founding teacher at a new school and more recently taught in magical Oxford in the UK. She enjoys sharing good teaching practice that helps students make those little leaps of learning! You can follow along with her on her Facebook page, Little Leaps of Learning blog, Pinterest or Instagram.