There is a way to pair your students’ learning with the festiveness of the season. These CUAA alumni show how.

It’s that time of the year when students’ thoughts are firmly on their plans for the holiday break ahead instead of focused on anything within the classroom. What better way to keep your students’ minds on the matter at hand than to lean into the theme of the season?

A couple of CUAA’s alumni educators test-drove some holiday-themed classroom learning activities this year. Below, they share how the ideas turned out.

Kindergarten Classroom

Mrs. Kali (Hill) Nelson (B.S. Elementary Ed ’19)

Kindergarten Teacher at Fortis Academy in Ypsilanti, MI

What it is: “Snowy Senses” from Kristen Doyle’s Simply Creative Teaching website

What it teaches: At this time of the year, my kindergarteners are learning about the five senses, and we’re also beginning to focus on labeling in writing. This activity does a great job of tying in science, writing, and fine motor skills.

How it went: This is the first year I tried this activity with my students, but I’m really pleased with the results. It turned out very cute and the kids loved connecting what they learned in science to our reading activity.

High School Classroom

Miss Kara N. Gehrke (B.A. Secondary Education ’19)

Math Teacher at Alpena High School in Alpena, MI

What it is: Origami geometric ornaments

What it teaches: I like doing this lesson with students because it allows them to contribute to the classroom and also allows them to create something that they’ve been learning about. While creating the shapes, we can cover standards such as finding surface area and volume. It also helps to build class morale and a community atmosphere.

How it came about: My first year working with Alpena Public Schools we did door decorating contests where our students competed and decorated the classroom doors. I then started decorating my room every year after that with a Christmas tree, lights, wreaths, and tinsel. I decided to do the origami geometric ornament activity with my students this year for the first time because they wanted to be more involved in decorating the room. They were asking for ways they could contribute and help decorate. This is definitely something I will continue to do!

How to do it: Here’s a link to the instructions

What it is: Christmas tree plate stand (For “Geometry in Construction” class)

What it teaches: This project works for our construction and math units. After the project is completed students are able to find the circumference of the tired circular plates as well the area of the plates. We challenged students to figure out how many cookies they could lay out on the plate if each cookie had a diameter of 4 inches. 

How to do it: Here’s a link to the instructions

Want in?

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