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Planning Holiday Learning

by Miguel Guhlin
holidays

As chill breezes cool their mornings, teachers’ hearts warm in anticipation of the holidays. Tap into children’s excitement about their special holiday by using the resources below to electrify your lesson planning efforts.

Christmas

  • A Colonial Christmas in Williamsburg: Acquaint students with how holidays differ today from the past.
  • Holidays Around the World: Use the ten activities featured to help students learn about customs of the season in various cultures. Items are organized by grade level.
  • Analyzing A Christmas Carol: Use resources offered to analyze Charles Dickens’ classic tale. Or see how one theater company puts together this famous holiday story.
  • Elf Yourself: Create an elf video with up to four friends. Upload a photo or use your webcam to import pictures of their faces. You will all soon appear as cheery elves dancing up a storm.
  • Portable North Pole: With a sprig of information, you can have this site create a customized video. You will receive a link you can share.
  • Trading Card Creator: Studying a holiday tradition, person, or event? Students can create an informational card, whether for fictional or real person, place, or object. When complete, they save it as a PDF and/or email it.
  • Celebrate Winter Holidays: Christmas: Learn to make no-bake Christmas tree ornaments, decorate a tree, and more at this site from Scholastic.
  • Santa Tracker: Follow Santa on the web or via the free Android app. You can also see where Santa is with the NORAD Santa Tracker.
  • Decorate Holiday Sheep with Google Slides: Let students practice their Slides skills as they decorate sheep for the season. Be sure to first Make a Copy of the slide before letting them begin.
  • Special Delivery: View this amazing Christmas video made by the Academy Award-winning studio, Aardman Animations (creators of Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep) using your Google Cardboard for 360 degree viewing.
  • Christmas Fun: This Google Site has lots of different resources, including apps, games, printables, SMART notebook files, tree decorating, and more.
  • Reindeer Cam: Se what a couple of Santa’s reindeer are doing before their big night with this live webcam. (Note: The site is somewhat slow to load, so be prepared.)
  • And don’t forget to join TCEA for our live Virtual Chat with Santa on December 12, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. CDT.

Hanukkah

  • Celebrate Winter Holidays: Hanukkah: Scholastic provides this site where students can learn about the holiday, make their own dreidel, and light the menorah.
  • All About Hanukkah: There are a ton of resources, including some Hanukkah music to listen to, at this website.
  • Play the Dreidel Game: This is an online version of the game for one or two players.
  • Hanukkah Word Search: Add this extension to Chrome and your students can complete several word searches with Hanukkah vocabulary words.
  • Create Your Own Menorah: Use Google Drawings or the free iOS app Doodle Buddy to have your students create their own menorah drawings.

Kwanzaa

  • Celebrate Winter Holidays: Kwanzaa: Students can learn the basics about Kwanzaa, light the Kinara, send a traditional Kwanzaa greeting, and more at this site from Scholastic.
  • Kwanzaa: The History Channel offers this excellent article for older students on the history and meaning of Kwanzaa.
  • Kwanzaa Lesson Plan: This lesson plan for students in grades 4-9 has lots of different cross-curricular activities included with it.
  • Seven African Folktales for Kwanzaa: These text-only tales would be a great starting point for students learning about Kwanzaa. After reading them, ask students to illustrate the stories.

All Three Winter Holidays

New Years

  • Before students leave for their winter break, give them time to set their own resolutions for 2017 using any technology tool, website, or app that they have access to. Encourage them to share these with someone else for accountability (family member or another student) and to craft a plan of how they will accomplish their goals in the new year. You might even want to share one of your resolutions with them.

Don’t let the holidays slip up on you unaware! Take the opportunity to deepen students’ understanding of the role holidays play in our lives.

This blog was updated on December 20, 2016 with additional resources.

 

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