Ideas for Keeping Students Learning as Christmas Approaches

Author: Rich Atkinson

As a teacher, do you struggle with keeping your students focused as Christmas vacation inches forward?

While students may want to daydream about what they want for Christmas or look forward to all the fun activities they can have playing outside during their break from school, here is a solution to please you and your students.

By incorporating holiday themes into your lesson plans, you can meet your learning objectives while at the same time allowing your students to share about themselves and their interests. Holiday themes work for any subject.

What will you do? Provide something to eat, drink, or a craft project for an even more significant impact. The possibilities are endless. Here are some ideas to get started:

As you study math, You can count using “The Twelve Days of Christmas” theme for your elementary students. Eat ring pretzels in math class as you play “The Twelve Days of Christmas” song. Check out this story about what each of the verses represents in the song.

For middle school or high school math students, you can calculate how much it would cost to give the twelve gifts from the song today. Tell about Newton’s invention of calculus.

Study Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” or Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” for English class. Here is a wassail (the non-alcoholic kind with hot cider, juices, and spices) recipe for English class as you study Dickens or Shakespeare. Play the song “Here We Come A-Wassailing” (a.k.a. “Here We Come A-Caroling”) and drink wassail near the end of class.

Isaac Newton was born on Christmas in 1642. Discuss his Law of Universal Gravity and Laws of Motion in science class.

Study the history of Chemistry in December. What scientific discoveries happened in December? What famous scientists were born in December and contributed to science? Martin Heinrich Klaproth was born on December 1, 1743. He helped discover Uranium, Zirconium, Cerium, and Chromium.

Describe the history of Christmas music in band or music class, such as Handel’s “Messiah” or Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker.”

Clara Barton was born on Christmas in 1823. You can share stories about her in history class when you talk about The Civil War and how she cared for wounded soldiers on the frontlines.

In health class, share how Clara Barton began the American Red Cross in 1881.

May your students be focused, and you and your students have fun as you implement some of these ideas.

Rich Atkinson

Rich began his writing career with a community paper in Ohio.

He has worked for a magazine. Travel assignments have taken him outside the country to Haiti and Guatemala. In the U.S., he has journeyed to Atlanta, Boston, Milwaukee, and many other places for feature stories.

When not writing, Rich finds time to read and enjoys listening to authors discuss writing on podcasts and in YouTube videos.

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