How I Survive the Week Before Christmas Break


The week before Christmas break has always been a challenging one for me, as it is for most educators. But I think it can be especially tough on specials teachers. There are so many different activities going on, classroom parties, pajama day, assemblies...The list goes on and on. And usually (at least in my school) specials time is never canceled. Teachers need this time to plan, prepare and go to the bathroom! Which I totally understand and agree with. But when you pick up a class right after their Christmas party I can pretty much guarantee that a quiet storytime is not going to happen!

I'll be honest, there are times when I give in to the temptation of showing a Christmas movie. I think everyone has at one time or another. And I think that's fine once in a while. I usually sit with the kids and watch with them. I can never watch Prep and Landing or a Charlie Brown Christmas too many times.

So I thought I would share with you some of the things I do with my students during this week. I also have a fun freebie for you as well.

Kindergarten, first and second grades

During the Christmas season I never have a problem finding lessons and activities for the younger students. There are so many wonderful books to read, extension activities to do, even simple crafts that don't take up too  much time. Below are five of my favorite books to read this time of year. 


Third, fourth and fifth grades

Now onto the older kids. This time of year I have found that it's especially important that the students have a fun lesson to do, otherwise you lose them immediately. I have several SmartBoard games and task cards that I use. These can all be found in my TpT store.


Christmas Traditions Scoot Game - Freebie

But if you are looking for a free activity to use with your 3rd, 4th or 5th grade students then this Scoot game is for you. I actually made this last year for my 5th graders and forgot all about it! I stumbled upon it as I was planning for the upcoming week. And since my students really enjoyed it I thought yours might as well. 

It is a set of 16 task cards that you can use as a Scoot game. On each card is an odd Christmas or New Year tradition. Students need to read the card and decide if the fact is true or if it is a fib. They then circle their answer on the answer sheet. 

Some of the traditions I found are a little odd, but that's what makes it so much fun. Kids love anything strange, weird or gross. 

For those of you who haven't played Scoot before I'll give you a brief overview. 

  •  Place the cards around the room.  You will need to do this so it is easy for students to travel from each spot to answer the questions.  You can put one card on each desk or space or several cards together, whatever works best for you.
  • Make a copy of the recording sheet and give one to each student.  Arrange the students around the room so they each have a card to start with.  You can have more than one student at each card.  This all depends on the number of students in your class. 
  • Students will answer the card that is in front of them.  On your command they will “scoot” to the next spot and answer the next question.  They will record their answers on their sheet.
  • Remind students to look at the cards to see what number they are on.  They will not all begin at number 1.  The game is over when they are all back where they started.
When I have a larger or more rambunctious class I will make a set of cards for each of my tables and have students work on them in groups. It's a lot more printing and laminating but much more manageable depending on the class. 

You can also use these cards as bell ringers, for brain breaks or transition time. If you have to bring a class to the auditorium for a sing-along you can pull these out and ask the kids the questions while you're waiting. Click here or the image to download.

Lesson plan, activities

I want to wish all of you a very merry Christmas. I hope it is a joyous time spent with family and friends. And don't forget to take some time for you! You need this time to re-charge and rejuvenate. 

I would love for you to leave a comment! Tell me what you are doing with your students this week or your plans for the holidays or just say hi! 


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