7 Ways to Keep Your Students Motivated Until Christmas Break

I’m writing this post from sunny Orlando, Florida. I’m on vacation for Thanksgiving week with my family. It’s actually kind of cold here — a whopping 40 degrees this morning, but I’m happy to be on vacation.

However, my mind is simply on my next vacation — Christmas break. And I’m sure your students are super excited for Christmas, too. But, you’ve got to get through a couple more weeks of school. With sugar cookies, christmas presents, and family coming in from out-of-town, things can get crazy.

Luckily, here’s 7 strategies to keep your student’s eyes on the board and acing their exams, all the way through the holidays.

1. Reward your students

It’s just a short couple of weeks between the two holiday breaks. So, putting a reward at the end of the three weeks will motivate your students. The rewards could be anything from a popcorn party to a cookie party or inviting parents in for a hot chocolate throw-down.

2. Use arts and crafts to teach lessons

There are so many craft ideas during the holidays – reindeer, dreidels, menorahs, christmas trees — you name it.  Get your craft supplies out and make holiday cards, reindeer masks, or construction paper menorahs. Teach your students stories about the history of all holidays to make it educational.

3. Let students share stories from the holidays

I love story time. Get out the wide-lined paper and a pencil, plus some crayons and have your students draw and write stories from holiday time. Keep the stories PG of course. Some prompts could be, tell me about the best place you’ve travelled for the holidays, draw your whole family around the holiday table, make a list of what you love about the holidays, etc.

4. Make lessons holiday-oriented

Math gets more exciting when it’s about cookies taken from the cookie jar, how fast Santa’s sleigh is going, or calculating the speed of a dreidel. Incorporate the lessons into holidays to get your students excited.

5. Extend recess – let those kids run!

When it gets colder (in much of the nation), students often don’t get outside enough. And when you have pent up student energy, it’s got to be released somehow. Recess is the perfect way for students to unwind, play with friends, and be creative. And in the winter, I don’t think there’s a problem with extending it a couple minutes to get the “wintry mix” out of your student’s system.

6. Calendar count-down

“10 days until holiday break!” Can you picture your students screaming for joy? Here’s one way you can make it even more exciting: have a holiday reward on each of the ten days (or month-long calendar if you can make it that long). Maybe it’s a joke or show and tell. Or, you could give your class candy canes on the last day of school before break. Each day, your students will be excited to see what the countdown calendar has in store!

7. Make gingerbread houses

Personal favorite, right here. Gingerbread houses were awesome to build as a kid. We would take old milk cartons (not the crates), coat them with white icing, and decorate them with random candies. They would harden and we’d take them home. Do the same thing with your students for an afternoon before they go home — it works the creative side of their brain and well, it’s candy so what’s wrong with that?

How do you keep your students focused and motivated for a few weeks before holiday break? Let me know by leaving a comment below.