It’s no secret that Christmas is my favorite holiday, by far. There’s just something about it that is completely magical to me, especially when I’m around my children and students. That’s one of the reasons I like to incorporate it into my routine as often as possible. If you’re not allowed to do Christmas activities, hopefully the Holidays Around the World updates may work for your classroom (scroll past math ideas).
One of my easy to implement, no prep activities includes a Christmas Choice Board full of fun math(ish) activities. I’ll be honest and acknowledge that one or two of the activities are a stretch to fit underneath the math umbrella, but they’re all definitely characterized as FUN! This could easily be completed in one day, or you could stretch the activities out over an entire week. I’ve done both, and it was just as effective either way!
There are teacher directions for each of the activities. There are also brief directions on the choice board and each of the recording sheets. Thankfully, the only prep required for any of the activities is to bring in two wrapped presents. I quickly wrapped two empty boxes, and I’ve been able to use them a couple years now. In the activity students measure how tall and wide the presents are and then compare the measurements.
There are a couple problem solving pages and a page where students write their own Christmas word problems using different operations. I love having students use different strategies to solve outside the box problems that require critical thinking. I’ve found that some of these strategies have to be taught explicitly, especially guess and check. That is always uncomfortable for my students.
I absolutely LOVE the Gingerbread House Geometry activity, where students design a gingerbread house. The catch is that they have to use different geometry features in their gingerbread house. I typically have students complete this activity on white construction paper, but one year I’d love to try having students use old tissue boxes to create a three-dimensional gingerbread house. In all my years teaching, I only had students make real gingerbread houses once, and that was enough for me.
There is a mystery number game and a fun problem solving activity where students calculate the cost of their shopping list. Students also decorate a Christmas tree using equivalent fractions. I love incorporating art and math as often as I can, so this is a great way to combine the two. Students use 24 balls to decorate their Christmas tree. With 24 standing as a whole set, students color each ornament either red, blue, yellow, or orange. This require students to slow down and reflect on the whole.
The Snowman Glyph is the activity that’s a bit of a stretch. I couldn’t leave it out though, as I recently found out that none of my students had ever even heard of a glyph! I felt like they were missing out on something fun. I may try to find a way to turn the glyphs into a graph lesson. We could look at all the completed snowmen and make a graph using that data. There is also a perimeter and area activity.
My students also like playing the Mystery Number game. Even though it’s already December, I feel that students can never get enough place value, especially place value tasks that require them to dig a little deeper. Students play this game with a partner. One student writes down the secret on the back of their paper and gives the other play a range of numbers to choose from. The other player should try to guess the mystery number one digit and one place at a time. S/he will say a number, and the other player will share how many digits were correct and the number of places that were correct. This continues until the student guesses the number.
Now for some really fun news! This year I want to incorporate Christmas paired passages into my Holidays Around the World Unit. Since I already have passages for 11 different countries that are written on three varying reading levels, I only needed to write questions that would extend my existing comprehension questions.
I paired 10 of the countries in my unit and wrote one page of paired comprehension questions and one page of extended response questions for each set of countries. The questions are available in my TpT Store for FREE!!!
In case you need a little something extra, I’ve created a FREE Christmas themed Multiplication Color by Number printable that you can download here!