Creative Ways to Use Holiday & Seasonal Themes in the Elementary Classroom
Awesome bulletin boards, engaging activities, and just plain fun! Part of the joy of being an elementary teacher is getting creative with themes in your classroom. It’s more than just throwing up some cute clipart and red paper, however. There are so many creative ways to use holiday and seasonal themes in the elementary classroom.
Count on the holidays.
Whether it’s using conversation hearts on Valentine’s Day to count and sort or studying fractions on Thanksgiving with some turkey and pumpkin pie, math is applicable for every holiday and celebration. Adapt any holiday candy to your needs with count and sort activities. Practice fractions or the probability of getting a certain color with jelly beans during the Easter season.
Holidays pair perfectly with writing. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s and Father’s Day, and Birthdays – every holiday is an occasion for a card. Encourage your students to write cards often for people they love and care about. Journaling in words or pictures is also a great way to connect your language arts curriculum to the holidays or seasons. Come up with some writing prompts for daily or weekly quick writes.
For example, my Secret Santa Writer’s Workshop is one of my favorite resources I’ve created! It is a classroom community building service unit and writing unit. Students will each have their own “Secret Santa”, another student in the class who they will secretly be doing service for. Students will have 10 writing prompts to write letters to their Secret Santa. They will also have 4 accountability writing prompts in which they report their acts of service to their teacher. At the end of the unit, the students reveal their Secret Santa with a fun activity!
This activity is an example of a great way to incorporate holiday and seasonal themes into your writing units in a meaningful way.
Put it on the wall.
Celebrate in your classroom with bulletin boards for the season. Rather than change your decor every holiday, try to go with a seasonal theme. Put back to school on your Fall board with your students’ favorite books of the summer. Cover the walls with snowflakes as unique as your students as winter enters your classroom. Spring is a time of rebirth and a way for your students to put their class goals on the boards. Finally, the end of the year is an anticipation of summer, sunshine, sailboats, and sharing your students’ takeaways or favorite things they learned from the school year. Incorporate the seasons and allow your students to participate in creating your bulletin boards.
Remember that your students come from a variety of different backgrounds and religions. Celebrate their diversity and allow your students to share their own holiday traditions through writing and conversation if they feel comfortable. For example, have your students share what they eat at their Thanksgiving table. (Not everyone celebrates with turkey!) Understand that some children do not have mothers or fathers in their lives for Mother’s and Father’s Days. Talk about important people in their lives that serve those roles for them. Holidays are about celebrating the individuality of our students! Remember that some students may not celebrate holidays, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, so be sensitive to their needs and offer alternate activities if needed.
Include Monthly Routines Students Look Forward To
Whether it be switching out the decor or doing a themed craft every month, you can have a routine that the students can look forward to each month! My Month-To-Month sub plans are a great way to incorporate this. There is a set for each month during the school year and it includes themed activities- including reading prompts, a craftivity, a board game, and MUCH more! Your students will look forward to doing these activities whenever they have a sub… and if you end up not needing a sub that month, you’ve got some fun activities for the end of the month! The sub plans include both holiday and seasonal themes. You can save BIG by buying the bundle of the entire year (as of posting, it’s still a growing bundle at less than half the price!)
You can make the school year a lot more fun for your students- and yourself- by including holiday and seasonal themes in your classroom. Celebrate this school year year round with creative ways to use holiday and seasonal themes in the elementary classroom. These ideas will keep you engaged and save you time planning unique and special activities and displays for your classroom.
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