It’s true that teaching the few weeks prior Christmas is a little more challenging than teaching at any other time in the year. All the kids have CHRISTMAS on their brains! I decided this year not to fight that fact, but to join it with a trip around the world to learn how Christmas is celebrated in other countries!
On Monday morning as my 2nd graders came into the classroom, I greeted them with a boarding pass.
“Where are we going?” “Are we flying on a plane?” “Will we be back for supper?” “We’re riding on a real reindeer!” Those were the snickers I heard around the room as I signed their take home folders. I thought, “Oh no! They are going to be disappointed when they find out this is all pretend.” But they totally weren’t. I think they were just excited to see me pretend along with them.
Each morning I would play a window-seat plane takeoff clip on you tube, followed by a plane landing clip. Once we “arrived” in our new country, I would greet them in the native language as I passed out their stamp for them to glue in their passports.
Then we would read the passage about Christmas celebrations in our current location.
To tie this in with our reading curriculum we paused at the end of each paragraph and said, “Time-out! What’s the topic?” while making the time-out T with our hands. Then they shared the topic (in one or two words), or the topic sentence from the paragraph.
We’ve had a blast learning about these countries and their celebrations. In fact, one of my students said that her mom offered to let her play hooky from school to go Christmas shopping, and she declined because she didn’t want to miss our “trip!”
So far we have “traveled” to Canada, Mexico, Peru, Germany, and Italy. Next week we will go to Greece, China, Japan, and Australia.
I highly suggest this activity the last few days before Christmas. It’s a great way to learn about geography, diversity, cultures, and Christmas!
If you are interested in doing Christmas around the world in your classroom, you may want to check out my TPT product for this unit. It might just be something you could use.
No matter if you check it out or not, I hope you’ve been inspired by something in this post! May your last few days before Christmas break be pleasant ones!