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Winter Holiday Activities for the Middle and High School Classroom

Integrating the Holidays into Class

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Time is short for planning holiday activities; however, we do have time to plan a festive party, to write a few haiku , to turn them into special presents or Christmas tree decorations, and to create handmade or electronic, animated, musical Christmas cards.

It's Party Time!

While tips on party planning for young children are abundant on the Internet, little is available for teenagers. Perhaps this is because teens seem to prefer food and talking to everything else. Nevertheless, I have seen class parties fall flat despite delightful holiday food and good spirits.

Since holiday parties should have an educational purpose, this year I decided to create a cooperative learning activity which would provide some structure, yet ample opportunity for creativity. I wrote a planning form, putting the name of a committee at the top of each form, and then asked a student to pass them out. Students then self-selected groups among the following committee topics.

Reminders (This committee is responsible for planning how to remind everyone to do what they need to do and for running whole class meetings about the party.)

Groups formed, argued excitedly and completed the planning form which was the basis of their grade for the period. In each class the cultural exchange committee appeared lost until I promised to get them started in an Internet search.

Next week, these groups meet for 15 minutes and then present their plan to the whole group for discussion. I will give them one more 15 minute meeting two days prior to the party. Although I hate losing time from their writing lessons, the opportunity to practice cooperative learning skills is too good to miss.

Holiday Haiku Presents Because they are short, haiku are not as intimidating to young poets as other poetic forms. Your students may enjoy one period of holiday haiku writing.

I will give my students an opportunity for extra credit if they do any of the following options with their haikus:

Christmas Stories

Students may enjoy writing about memorable Christmases or writing their own Christmas stories which could also be mounted or published in a variety of creative ways.

Holiday Greeting Cards

Greeting cards are an old standby, but can be made more interesting even by students who are not artistic with popup features and free holiday graphics of traditional Christmas fare.

I hope I have given you some ideas to help you and your students
enjoy the beginning of the winter holiday
and that your vacation is filled
with love and happiness.

The original of this article was originally written by Diane Walker. Many thanks to her for her generosity!

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