12 Days of Holiday Ideas - How to Survive the Holidays in the Classroom

I love being a teacher during the holiday season!  It's a wonderful time of year to do special activities with the class, and I have a number of holiday traditions I enjoy sharing with my students.  Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing many of my favorite tried and true traditions along with some new ideas as well in my special blog series, 12 Days of Holiday Ideas for the Classroom!

Surviving the Holidays in the Classroom

I had to kick off this blog series with my absolute favorite holiday tradition!  I have talked about this idea before, but I know it will be new to many of you.  I also added a new little element that I have found helpful.

This idea is all about keeping your kids focused and working and you sane in the weeks leading up to the holiday break!  Every day I put HAPPY HOLIDAYS on the board.  

If the class is not following directions, not working quietly, not lining up without talking, whatever...I remove a letter.  Once letters have been removed, they can not be earned back.  If the class has at least one letter left at the end of the day, they earn a present for the class which goes under the tree. 

I will take away letters even if it's not the whole class but just a group of students who aren't doing what they should be.  Peer pressure can be a wonderful thing, and the students are great about encouraging their classmates to follow directions.  I have had classes lose a gift before, and  I make sure my kids know that gift is no longer able to be earned.  However, I don't believe I've ever had a class lose two of the gifts.  They are always much better behaved after losing one.  

Once in a while there is an issue of one or two students who really struggle with self control having the potential to ruin it for the whole class.  That's why I have sometimes used an individual Happy Holidays sheet.  I cross out a letter each time the student makes a poor choice.  The student may then lose the gift even if the class as a whole earns it.  This has been very successful with those students. I recently created this cute form to use for this purpose.

As the days go by, the kids get excited, seeing the presents begin to pile up under the tree!

In each gift is something written on a card that the whole class receives.  Some of the gifts are special privileges, some are activities, some are inexpensive gifts I can give everyone.  The gifts are opened a day or two before the last day of school before holiday break.  This allows me to plan all of the special activities they have earned those last couple days. Instead of dreading them, I actually look forward to them!  The gifts they earn end up being gifts for me too, as I don't have to do too much regular teaching (if any!). 

It is so much fun when the class finally gets to open the presents!  I draw name sticks to decide who gets to open them.  The student I draw comes up to get the next gift, opens it, and reads the card to the class.  I love seeing the excitement on their faces!

This is an easy idea to implement on your own, but if you would like to take a look at my Thanksgiving to Christmas Classroom Behavior Incentive, it is available in my TPT Store.  

Be sure to stop back by often in the coming days to see the rest of my 12 Holiday Ideas for the Classroom!

Click on the button below to check out Day 2!

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