As December approaches, many teachers are looking for ways to celebrate the Christmas holiday that keep both classroom discipline and budget in check. A holiday countdown calendar is one way to do that, provided you select affordable rewards and activities. Here is a way to incorporate a holiday countdown calendar into your current classroom routine, without breaking the bank.
First, use a classroom calendar with slightly larger squares, similar to the ones most elementary teachers already use. Those who teach older grades will still be able to incorporate this, it will just require a larger activity space. (Here’s a set of directions to make your own affordable classroom calendar.)
Second, find a source of smaller envelopes, such as the multi-packs of miniature gift cards you can buy along with classroom supplies from the dollar store. Attach one envelope to each calendar day you will be in class during the month of December.
Third, come up with a list of affordable or free classroom rewards, prizes or activities. Make sure you have enough to cover each of the days where you will need envelopes. Some suggestions include holiday pencils, free paper passes, watching a movie in the class, five bonus points to add to a future quiz or test, a classroom popcorn party, erasers or a no homework night.
Write each of these items on the card that goes with the envelope. If you bought a pack of miniature gift cards at the craft store, you’re all set. If you folded your own decorative envelopes, then you’ll need to print off some cards or slips of paper to use.
Pull out the reward, prize or activity at whatever time of day works for you to reveal what’s inside. You might even want to schedule a different reveal time for various days, depending on what’s inside the envelope. For example, a night off from homework at the end of the day, an afternoon classroom movie that you let the students know about just before lunch, or new holiday pencils at the beginning of the day.
Have you tried a similar advent calendar activity in your classroom? What types of activities or gift card ideas did you use?
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