November, December, April, May and June are months full of fun and anticipation for the upcoming break! It can be incredibly challenging to keep things running smoothly and continue the teaching and learning during this time.
Here you’ll find ten ways you can keep the learning happening while also remembering minds may be elsewhere. These are engaging activities to inspire joy in your classroom before break!
1. Act Out Scenes from Books
Have your students form groups based on books they have read and enjoyed. Then have them pick a scene from that book, decide who will play which character, practice acting the scene out and perform for the class! Click the image below for a seven page lesson plan and templates to make this happen!
2. Track Literary Devices in Movies
This can be such a fun activity packed full of learning. Show students a YouTube video providing examples of how figurative language/literary devices can be used in movies and then use a tracking sheet such as the one below while you show your own favorite!
3. Write for Individual Purposes
Some students enjoy writing sci-fi, others enjoy writing informationally and still others enjoy writing letters to family and friends. Let students write what they want for a week! Hold them accountable by asking who they plan to share their piece with. Grade based on observations of student behavior during their free write time.
4. Let Students Read What They Want
Some students enjoy reading magazines, others enjoy reading dystopian novels and still others enjoy comic books. Let students read what they want for a day or a week! Make sure students know you expect them to actually read in your class. Track their reading behavior and make it a grade. If they are off task and not reading take a point or recommend a different type of book.
Here’s another fun twist, let students build forts and read under them! If you do this though, you have to peek into the forts regularly. Monitor those kids!
5. Let Students Do Art!
Many students don’t have the opportunity to do what they are most passionate about…making art. I have students who love origami, drawing, calligraphy, painting, knitting, sewing, graphic art and more. Tell students to bring in their favorite artistic medium and the next day allow them to be creative. Here is a piece of artwork created by one of my talented drawers…
6. Make Time for Buddy Reading
Students are social! Let them read together! Allow students to form groups of two, three or even four. They can read online articles together from websites like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Dogo News, Classic Short Stories
7. Teach Discussion Skills with Movies
There are so awesome movies for kids out there that have a lot of valuable lessons for students. Instead of just showing a movie over the course of a couple days and then taking off for break…integrate discussion skills by pausing the movie at important moments to have discussions. Below are some of my favorite movies to show middle schoolers and links to the messages behind them:)
8. Pass Notes!
Students love to pass notes to each other sneakily. Why not allow it for a week? For the first ten minutes of class let students write notes to each other. Use an app like Team Shake to partner students up some of the days, to prevent the same students writing to the same people over and over.
9. Investigate an Essential Question
Have you ever taught using essential questions? Pose a question and let students investigate the answer online! Check out this page for support in teaching internet research skills: How to Research Online. Click the links below for entire units with lessons, student handouts, videos and more!
10. Throw a Holiday Class Party
This option is for the crazy teacher. Haha! Let your students bring the food, provide a movie, sit back and watch the chaos unravel or should I say unwrap:)