Utilise the children’s natural enthusiasm for Christmas to help them demonstrate their grasp and understanding of skills and concepts in all curriculum subjects. Lessons in art and design, English and music can allow the children to develop independent and co-operative abilities when completing a number of open ended projects.
Keeping the class busy in the run-up to Christmas will help avoid any over exuberance at this busy and exciting time of the year. Working in art and design, the children can practise selecting and combining materials to produce a range of ornaments to decorate the classroom. The class can show mastery of writing skills by getting them to produce different texts with a Christmas theme such as writing a letter to Santa or a recount of visiting the North Pole. In maths, the children can make their own puzzle booklets to give as a present to their classmates containing number problems with a Christmas theme.
Select a display board in the classroom to act as an advent calendar. You will need to select a number of areas on the board to act as windows to match the number of school days left before the end of term. Get the class to produce some Christmas pictures and illustrations to sit on top of each window. Place behind each window a target for the class to accomplish before the end of the school day such as everyone lining up quietly before leaving the classroom for assembly or the children have to tidy up the classroom at the end of the school day within an allotted time frame. Choose some children each day to remove each picture or illustration to reveal the class target. If the children manage to achieve the target before the end of the school day then one star can be placed on the class Christmas tree. If the children can earn enough stars before the end of term then the class can enjoy a Christmas party on the last day.
Help the children develop their singing voices and performance skills by teaching them a number of Christmas carols and songs which they can then perform visiting other classrooms around the school. If you do not have the requisite music skills to play the piano or keyboard for the class then you can use some instrumental tracks on a video sharing website to provide the backing music. Allow the children to make some mock lanterns in art and design that they can carry when singing around the school. The children can also dress up wearing woolly hats, gloves and scarves as they entertain all of the other classes with their Christmas carols and songs.
Allow the children to make some Christmas presents for their classmates. Working in maths, the children can build nets of 3D shapes which can then be folded together to make boxes to hold the gifts. Get the class to design and make their own wrapping paper by printing sequences of shapes. The paper can then be wrapped around the gift boxes and tied together with some coloured ribbon. Working in english, the children can compose special messages to place inside their gift boxes to one of their classmates. The messages can thank the recipient of the gift for something that happened over the past term and wish them a special gift for the future such as peace and happiness.
Avoid shop bought Christmas decorations and get the children to take an active part in producing garlands, baubles, wreaths and other festive ornaments to display around the classroom. Teach the children how to make some simple decorations by combining strips of cards to make a star shape which can then be decorated with glitter glue and foil paper. The class can then investigate how to make other shapes by combining strips of card such as snowflakes and trees. Show the children how to cut and then curl pieces of paper shaped as holly leaves which can be stuck around a circle of card to make a wreath. The class can then explore how to use other materials such as tissue and crepe paper to make Christmas objects to add to the wreath.
Reward the class for their hard work over the autumn term by holding a party to celebrate Christmas. As preparation for the party, get the children to invent some of their own games to play at the party by adapting some classic party games such as pin the antlers on the reindeer or musical snowmen statues. The class can also make some simple hats to wear to the party by making some Christmas shapes to stick on to a strip of card glued together to make a ring shape. During the party, encourage some children to shire their party tricks with the class. You should have some rap stars and magicians who would be eager to perform for the class. The children could also make some cup cakes or Christmas cookies in a previous lesson to share with the class during the party. End the party with a Christmas story such as The Night Before Christmas so that all of the children are calm and settled before going home.
In the lead up to Christmas, split the class into small groups and get them to design and make some board games with a Christmas theme. Provide some time each week for the children to work co-operatively to produce their board games. Utilise any spare moments during the school week when the class can work on their games. On the last day of term, the children can then swap and play each other’s games whilst you get on tidying up the classroom.