7 Engaging Activities for December

December is straight-up crazy! The excitement and energy surpass any other month in the classroom. Balancing learning and fun is key! Here are 7 engaging December activites!

Festive Days

Get in the holiday spirit with some festive dress-up days. My advice–don’t overcomplicate it and it becomes easier for students to participate. Try to be general (green day) instead of specific (Grinch Day) so that it is more inclusive! And don’t forget to join in on the fun.

If you want to borrow this graphic, I have an editable copy for you here. In order to use the font I used, you will need to click “file –> download as a PPT” and download KG Blank Space Solid.

Readers’ Theater

Building reading fluency + having fun! My students obsess over Readers’ Theaters every year! I seriously think it’s one of the most memorable parts of our year. We always begin by doing a whole class read-through. Then, I have students sign up for their top two choices of characters to be. I try reeeeeally hard to give everyone a character of their choice but also explain that it’s not always possible. I make copies for each student to send home to practice and keep a copy at school (it’s a lot of copies but it’s worth it to not have the headache when students don’t bring it back to school).

We practice for a week or two and then invite another class to come watch. Here’s a free 5 part reader’s theater called “The Snow Family” by Designed by Danielle and another free one with 4 parts by The First Grade Bloom.

Holiday Books

Monthly-themed virtual libraries are always a hit with students! There are twelve books in the December library inclusive of many holidays and traditions.
 It is FREE and available in Google Slides or Seesaw. Click here to get your copy!
You could have students listen on their own during independent literacy centers. Or, you could incorporate it as a part of your day and choose a book to listen to as a whole class!

Design a Sweater

Designing a holiday sweater is one of my favorite activities every year! I love seeing students’ creativity. I make sure to provide ample time to work on them so they can be high quality!
 
 

Class Incentive

December is the perfect time to incentivize your students to reach a common goal. I’m sure your students will be antsy for the holiday break and distracted by…well..everything around them. Sitting down to discuss what you need from your students for the next few weeks, how they can accomplish the goal and what they will earn will be time well spent! You get what you put in to a class incentive.
In this incentive tracker, students earn lights on the tree. All of the lights are movable in edit mode. Changing out your incentive tracker isn’t just for looks. Students will be motivated by the novelty of each month’s theme. You can check out more of these monthly incentives here.
These are available for the whole class or individuals as well! For each desired behavior, a light or mitten is added. The goal and reward is editable! I’ve included 18 different ideas for virtual rewards. You can read more about those here. 

How to make it work virtually: During your next morning meeting or class meeting, have a candid conversation about behaviors you need to see over the weeks leading to break. You might say “I’ve noticed a lot of students logging in late to our lessons. What effect does this have on students and the class? What strategies can we use to make sure we are showing up on time?” Then, introduce the tracking system and decide on the goal and reward together. Including your class in these decisions will create a greater buy-in. You can screen share and display the virtual tracker at the beginning and end of each day. You could post a picture of it in your Seesaw or Google Classroom as well.

Interactive Games

If you’ve been following along here for awhile, you know I absolutely LOVE games! I think they are one of the best ways to learn, keeping students engaged and excited. I play games with my reading groups at least once a week. Playing games virtually looks a little different but I’ve created games for each month and they are a lot of fun! These December Memory games are perfect for a morning meeting activity, reward, brain break or Fun Friday!
How to make it work virtually: In order to play these games in Zoom or Google Meets, you will need to share your screen. Display the picture for a couple of minutes (set a timer!). And then show the question page. Work through each question and reveal the correct answer by moving the checkmark. You can only manipulate the interactive pieces in edit mode (not present). See my tip for the BEST screen sharing tip in Zoom here

Hot Chocolate

When I saw this simple idea from Kristen @ateenytinyteacher, I thought “How perfect!”. She sent home a packet of hot cocoa mix with a little tag to remind students to save it for a special Zoom meeting. You can get the tag for free here.

How to make it work virtually: Include the hot chocolate packet and tag with your next materials pick-up. You can grab a 50 pack of hot chocolate on Amazon for $13.99–perfect to split with a teammate! {affiliate link} You could even include a candy cane or a baggy of marshmallows for an added treat! You could model how to mix it all up and even turn it into a how-to writing activity! Or just ask that they have it ready to drink when you meet on your designated day.

Adding fun, holiday activities to the month of December will give everyone something to look forward to in a time where so much has been sacrificed. I hope you and your students can enjoy the holiday season in your online classroom with 7 engaging activities for December!

 

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