7 ways to celebrate the season in the classroom

While it’s easy to get swept into the hustle and bustle, Along is here to help your students reflect on what the holidays truly mean to them. Because it’s more than just gifts and candy canes. The winter season is also a time to celebrate connections, inclusivity, and the community at-large.

Here are 7 activities that will encourage your class to think deeply about their favorite winter traditions.

  1. Share the history of the holidays

As you approach winter break, it’s important to give students an understanding of the different holidays that are celebrated: Chanukah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Three Kings Day, among others. This is a perfect time to practice and model inclusivity and recognize different backgrounds and traditions. You can even create your own reflection question in Along that asks students about how and what traditions they celebrate. 

You can also teach your class the origins of holiday practices that are still around today. (For example, did you know that decorating gingerbread houses became popular because of “Hansel and Gretel”?) By learning the rich history behind the holidays, your students will have a new appreciation for their favorite winter celebrations.

  1. Embrace the wonder

‘Tis the season of twinkling lights and falling snow. We can all agree that there’s something about December that fills us with joy and awe. Seeing the world with wonder is a classroom activity from Along that will allow your students to take a deeper dive into the “awe” that they feel during this time of year. Studies show that experiencing wonder shifts our perspective from ourselves to the larger community around us. 

  1. Build gingerbread houses

This classic classroom activity promotes teamwork and cooperation. Break your class into groups of three or four and let their creativity run free. Having your students work together to create a whimsical gingerbread house is a great way to spark friendships within the class. It also reminds students that most of their favorite holiday activities are centered on unity and collaborating with others. (This edible project also serves as an opportunity to sneak in a few engineering concepts!)

  1. Connect over “peace on earth”

“Peace on earth” is a common phrase that comes up this time of year. Through Along, you can ask your students to think about what that phrase means to them and how they can help bring that idea to life. Like experiencing awe, this act of self-reflection helps students see themselves as part of a larger community.

Need a thought-starter to prompt this conversation? Here’s a reflection question that you can ask your students in Along: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be? Why would you want to change that?

  1. Take the lesson outdoors

Sometimes a change in scenery is exactly what students need to leave the holiday fidgets behind. If you have a lesson plan that doesn’t require a classroom, tell your students to bundle up and get outside. While we know that fresh air is excellent for our physical health, learning outdoors is also helpful for your students’ mental wellbeing. According to studies, being in nature lowers students’ stress levels and improves their ability to focus. And as the forecast starts to predict colder temperatures and sprinkles of snow, the outdoors provides the perfect backdrop to learn about winter weather patterns.

  1. Look toward the new year   

Instead of having your students write down new year’s resolutions, how about asking them to imagine their best possible selves? This Along activity gives your students a chance to reflect on their recent accomplishments and feel excitement and hope for the future. After winter break, you can ask students to revisit this activity and remember their intentions for 2022 and beyond.

  1. Keep checking in

While most students look forward to holiday festivities, some might experience difficulty and stress during this time. Checking in with Along gives you a chance to provide emotional support to students who are anxious about the holidays. Visit our Along Content Library for reflection questions that encourage students to open up about how they’re feeling this season.

By encouraging your students to look at and celebrate the holidays in new ways, you’re providing the opportunity for discovery and growth. The conversations you have now can pave the way for a deeper understanding of this season for years to come. We hope your students enjoy reflecting on the holidays and that your season is full of wonder.