A looming Christmas break, Christmas concerts, parties, not enough sleep, too few hours of daylight, a full moon, Friday the 13th and report cards?! Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up! At this time of year, many teachers end up feeling like the circus master trying to control the monkeys! Everyone could use a couple of fun activities to calm the beas…er, kids! So, in what has become a tradition for me (2017, 2018), here are some fun things to do with your students in these last crazy days before school wraps up for 2019!
Wintertime Magnetic Poetry (thanks Eric Curts!)
Start by making your own copy of this template, then share it out with your students through Google Classroom (or some other way). On one side of the template there are 100 alphabetical non-themed words and on the other side there are almost 100 themed words. In the middle is a winter scene. The idea is that kids drag the words to the centre to create a poem! They can use a word more than once by right-clicking on it and copying; they can edit the word boxes and there are some empty boxes at the bottom to create new words! Once they’ve finished they can download it as a .png or PDF and share!
Okay, this site is seriously fun! The graphics are colourful and cute and even though the big guy hasn’t started his ride yet, there’s lots to do here. You can count down the time until he leaves the North Pole (awesome Math puzzle!), play games, do some basic coding with elves, and if you click on the Family Guide button, you can learn about holiday traditions around the world, translate phrases into different languages, take a map quiz or a holiday traditions quiz, create your own elf, help Santa get ready for a selfie and more!
Also by Google, this site uses very basic block code (Grade 2 or 3 could manage but older kids would still have fun) to let visitors (no log-in required) create a fun, festive “emoji” of themselves or a friend! Once the kids are done they can download their emoji or take a screenshot of it!
Still on the emoji idea, Solvemoji is a fun site that uses emojis the create math puzzles. The link above takes you to their winter/Christmas puzzles. There are a variety of levels here and some of them are quite difficult! Students SHOULD NOT create accounts on this site – this is the sort of site that I recommend you use to project puzzles for your class to work on, or screen capture a number of them and print them off for your kids to puzzle on!
Yep, More Emojis! (thanks again, Eric!)
Make a copy of this word doc and share it with your students. Encourage them to tell a winter or Christmas story using emojis. When I was little we called these “rebus” stories and they helped me learn to read! The kids will have fun figuring out how to replace as many words as possible with little images!
A Dickensian Christmas
Okay, so I know “The Gift of the Magi” was not written by Dickens but it always reminds me of Dickens. It’s a wonderful old story with great, mysterious vocabulary to puzzle out. It could provide a springboard for talking or writing about “the best gift we ever gave” or “the best gift we ever got.” Or have your students come up with a modern version and write it or act it out!
Warm or Cold
Finally, sometimes it’s just nice to have a crackling fire in the background or to watch the snow quietly fall. Project one of these (fireplace or snowstorm) onto your wall, turn the lights down and give everyone a quiet activity to do (maybe one of the activities from Hour of Code?)