The closer we get to Christmas, the less motivated students become as they start to get distracted by the holidays, their plans and switch off their brains. This makes it particularly hard for teachers to plan engaging lessons that actually teach anything because the focus just isn’t there. With that in mind we have come up with some pre-holiday classroom activities and ideas to motivate and encourage your learners’ participation until the final day of term.
Acknowledge The Holidays
Many teachers feel that if they create an area that doesn’t acknowledge the holidays then it will feel like every day work, however this isn’t the case and often has the opposite effect by creating FOMO in students. While you shouldn’t feel too much pressure to create massive lighting designs for your classroom, some decorations or mementos go a long way to acknowledging the time of year and showing that you can incorporate this into your learning.
Go Festive But Relevant
Don’t fall into the trap of making all the tasks Christmas activities for students for the sake of it. While incorporating the holiday and time of year can make content more interesting you need to ensure it is still relevant to your curriculum, for example if you’re working on script writing, set the task of writing a winning Christmas movie script so that the underlying work is still going towards the end goals once the Christmas period is over.
Keep Resources To A Minimum
Choose activities that use fewer resources that make ending the task simple and easy because pre-holiday classroom activities that require a lot of time and effort to get involved are doomed to fail. Plus, the more resources that need to be closed or put away, the longer you will be staying in the classroom rather than wrapping up and getting home in time to enjoy your holidays!
It can be hard to pre-plan for the holidays because classes and students behave differently so you may find that different activities suit some and not others. Have a selection of choices and let the students decide what they are “in the mood for” which makes a change from normal operating procedure but still keeps everyone on track.
Holiday activities for students that are popular are those that require collaboration and working in groups. At this time of year, learners want to be social so use this to your advantage by keeping morale and interest high and making content physical and practical rather than academic. If you know focus is low, choose groups that draw different learner types to use each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
If you can’t drum up the enthusiasm to teach students this close to the holidays (particularly on the last day of term) pre-prep instead. This could be outlining what you will be looking at or working on in the New Year so that students can keep it in the back of their mind over Christmas or setting new expectations. Getting learners to look to the future makes them see past the holiday slump to consider where they will be taking projects next which can often boost motivation and excitement, particularly if you entice them with fun activities or tasks to look forward to.
Even if you have work that needs to be done before the end of term, set your expectations, acknowledge the holidays and use some of these tips to boost engagement and push through.