Regardless of your belief system, most adults agree that the month of December is about taking the time to celebrate family, friendship, health, and prosperity. Ask a grade 3 student what December means to them and chances are you will hear answers such as Santa, presents, and no school! Everything is relative! I still remember the feelings of excitement during the holiday season both at home and at school. Now as an adult, I get to see the excitement through the eyes of my own children and the students in my class.
While most children concentrate on what they want or are going to get during this season, I have made a commitment to have my students push that thinking to the side while they are at school and concentrate on putting the needs of others before themselves. Here are 3 simple ideas you can implement in your classroom that will get your students to give back this holiday season.
#1. Have your students make holiday cards for people in senior homes.
Let your budding artists showcase their talents and spread some joy this holiday season. Everyone loves to receive handmade cards made by little hands. If you are able, a little class trip to hand deliver the cards can make a world of difference to a sick or elderly person. The benefits for your students are immeasurable, too! Knowing and seeing that they helped to make someone’s day brighter will fill their little hearts with pride and joy!
#2. Have your students collect non-perishable food items and toiletries to donate to the local food bank or school-wide basket campaign.
Our school asks all students to donate items to give to families in need. We ask each class to donate specific items – for example, last year Grade 3 was responsible for bringing in personal health and hygiene items, while other classes were responsible for grains, canned goods, gently used clothing, new toys, etc. The teachers donate money so that fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat can be purchased. Our school population of 220 students usually donate enough items to help out 5 needy families from our school each year. It is a great feeling knowing that we are all working together to help those among us. For those schools that do not need a basket program, local food banks are always in need for donations during the the holiday season and throughout the year. Every little bit helps!
#3. Make it easy to have your students spread holiday cheer.
One very cute and easy way to get your students to give back is to set them up for it! One thing I love to do during the month of December is to print out some Positive Post-Its for my students to give out to their friends and family. I print out the Positive Post-Its and let my students play “Secret, Sneaky Elf” with them. It is cute to see some of the places where theses Post-Its pop up! Fellow students, teachers, support staff, and even family members receive these cute little notes of love and encouragement. Sometimes I see them posted in obscure places like on a teacher’s coffee cup or on the seat of a student’s chair! The clever hiding places that your students will come up with will keep you, your students, and their receivers entertained for the month of December!
To get your own set of Positive Post-Its to share with your class, click HERE.
‘Tis the Season! Let’s be a powerful example to our students and show them this time of year isn’t only about receiving, but about giving to others, too.
Have a great day!