It’s almost that magical time of the school year… when candy cane sugar flows through students’ veins, and even the best-planned lessons are met with distracted, fidgety kids who forgot their pencils (though they did remember their candy canes). But you can still eke out a few more lessons before the year’s end by teaching holiday celebrations with these engaging lesson ideas and classroom activities.
Flocabulary has standards-aligned hip-hop songs and videos for students in grades K-12. We’ve got you covered with fun holiday classroom activities and lessons to share with your students.
Here are 5 engaging holiday classroom activities and lessons guaranteed to teach students something useful (and fun).
7 Engaging lesson ideas for teaching holidays in the classroom
1. Analyze A Christmas Carol
In this lesson about A Christmas Carol, students will review and analyze the changes Ebenezer Scrooge undergoes throughout Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Using excerpts from the novella, students will trace Scrooge’s evolution from miserly and selfish to caring and benevolent. Follow the lesson sequence, starting with watching the rap-infused academic video about A Christmas Carol, then Vocab Cards, Vocab Game, then Read & Respond, Quiz, and finish with Lyric Lab.
2. Celebrate the shortest day of the year
Winter solstice is the shortest day of the year. This year it is Thursday, December 21. Celebrate all things short and small with these tiny lessons on tiny subjects.
Read Hemingway’s famous six-word story, “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” Using Flocabulary’s song, Five Elements of a Story, review how even such a short story includes or hints at all five elements of a story. Then, students write their own 6-word story or rap using Lyric Lab.
Use this day to practice working with data by looking at the world’s smallest countries. But not just by geographic area—you can look at international rankings by smallest GDP, population, number of patents, and more. Ask: Are the same countries “small” at everything?
Ask students to think of the biggest thing on Earth. Then remind them–it’s made up of one of the smallest things: Atoms. Watch Flocabulary’s video about Atoms and have students present their favorite tiny element.
3. Take a mathematical look at the 12 days of Christmas
Some of your students might know all the 12 Days of Christmas words. But did they ever think about how much it might cost to send your true love everything from French Hens to Geese-a-laying? Here’s a two-part lesson to get them thinking.
Listen to the Estimation song. Ask students to estimate how much they think each gift would cost. Ask them to explain their reasoning.
Each year, economists measure the changing prices of goods by releasing a tongue-in-cheek report measuring the costs of the 12 Days of Christmas. They call it the Christmas Price Index. Look at this year’s costs, review percentages with students, and then have them calculate the percentage increases in costs for their favorite gift on the list.
4. Learn about different world religions
To help students appreciate diversity and find more ways to celebrate the winter holidays around the world, play Flocabulary’s Major World Religions song. Have students click through the lyrics to learn more about each, and ask students to research major holidays from each religion. As a bonus, you could have a class holiday party that includes elements from all the religious holidays.
5. Analyze the stories in holiday songs
Everyone has a favorite holiday song. And most winter holiday themed songs tell a story. Have students bring in their favorite holiday song or find a link to a version on YouTube. Then, analyze the song using the Five Elements of a Story lesson plan and worksheet.
For example, Frosty the Snowman:
- Plot: Frosty is a snowman who came to life but had to leave town before he melted.
- Character: Frosty the Snowman
- Conflict: It is sunny out, and Frosty needs to avoid melting.
- Setting: Winter in town
- Theme: Magic, Survival…
6. Listen to Flocabulary’s Year in Rap
Flocabulary’s Year in Rap is a great way to summarize the past 12 months of current events with your students. Check out the Week in Rap page starting December 15th for this year’s Year in Rap. Use Lyric Lab to have your students create their own 2023 rap!
And when it’s an hour before the break, and you need something else to do…
7. Watch your favorite Flocabulary videos!
Instead of showing a movie, let students pick their favorite Flocabulary videos from the past few months and watch them during class. They’ll review important concepts from the school year so far if nothing else!
Start teaching holidays in the classroom
We’re so excited to see you use these holiday activities for students. These tips will not only keep your students joyful and focused but they’ll also be engaged in their learning. Happy Holidays from everyone on the Flocabulary team!
Flocabulary has engaging hip-hop standards-aligned videos and lessons you can use for all K-12 Subjects. If you’d like to access the lessons mentioned here and more, sign up below!