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How to Keep Elementary Students Engaged in December

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Or is it? It’s only the beginning of December, but students everywhere are counting down the days until the holiday break. Let’s face it – some teachers are, too.
Finding activities to keep students engaged at this time of year can be a challenge. Here are some of my tried and true December Activities.
One way to keep student engagement up is to add in some holiday themed projects! There are a lot of quick and easy ways to do this:
  • Go shopping – Bring in some catalogs, give students a budget, and let them shop. This is great practice for adding and subtracting decimals!
  • Recipe Conversions – Have students find a favorite recipe and convert the measures of ingredients to feed a large crowd like your whole school or a local soup kitchen.
  • Cookie Swap – I created this project to work on multiple skills: converting measures, adding and subtracting decimals, multiplying fractions, and writing. Read more about the cookie swap project here or check out the resource here.
Another way to engage students is through writing. Yes, you read that correctly. Writing, but with a twist.
I love using quick writes with my students, so I decided to do a quick write with a twist. I came up with five different quick write story starters, typed them, and cut them into strips.
Next, I had my students count off by 5s. All the 1s went to one table, the 2s to another, and so on. Each student at the table received a different story starter. I set the timer for ten minutes (without the students knowing) and had the students copy the starter onto writing paper and continue the story.
When the timer went off I asked the students at each table to rotate clockwise. Then, they read what the student had written and continued the story until the timer went off again. We continued to rotate until each student arrived back to his/her original story. The students had a blast reading the stories and discussing how they turned out. Would you like to try a set for free? Fill out the form below.

The story starters or writing prompts, can be used in many ways. You can use the strips and have students copy them over or use the full sheets. I even created a digital version. Check them out here.

How do you keep your students engaged at this time of year?

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