The #1 Curriculum and Assessment Partner for Educators

[Teacher Tips] Surviving Holiday Chaos in the Classroom

[Teacher Tips] Surviving Holiday Chaos in the Classroom

Everyone likely has fond childhood memories of celebrating the December holiday season in school. Many of us remember cutting out paper snowflakes to tape to the windows, eagerly discussing holiday plans with our classmates, and daydreaming about all the fun things we’d get to do on winter break. What many of us don’t recall, but many educators currently fighting out the holidays in the classroom can attest to, is the battle to keep our attention during the last few days of school while the chaos of the holidays raged around us.

At Edmentum, we know all about what it’s like to try to teach a new lesson while visions of sugarplums dance in the heads of your students. So, to help, we polled current and former educators for their favorite tips, engagement tricks, and best practices for getting through the winter holiday hustle.

Read Aloud

“As a High School Intensive Reading teacher, I often had issues with students getting to class on time. I began to read aloud to students, one chapter in a really great book, every day. I began reading 30 seconds before the tardy bell rang. The on-time arrival of students increased dramatically. They loved being read to and they raced to be in their seats before the bell rang. Reading aloud was a great way to settle the students and begin each day on a positive note. NO drama! You were there, or you weren't.”

- Carmella D.

Embrace Imperfection

“I'd probably tell my former self to take it easy and not expect it all to go to plan. I would always get these picture-perfect ideas in my head of all these amazing holiday activities and crafts, and then when you try doing them with 22 hyped-up 2nd graders, you can imagine the results are far from perfect. If Carlos' 100s Chart Reindeer doesn't exactly look anything remotely close to a reindeer, IT'S OKAY! The kids are excited, engaged, and loving it so that is all that matters.”

- Vivian J.

Incorporate Spirit

“Keep students engaged while embracing the holiday spirit! Rather than showing movies and assigning holiday worksheets, allow students to complete some holiday theme problems like calculating the cost of the Twelve Days of Christmas or designing holiday ornaments using formulas, etc. Students love this, and it keeps the chaos to a minimum (hopefully).”

Mike Z.

Allow Excitement

“I think the biggest thing that helped me was to just embrace the elephant in the room that was the holidays and allow the kids to be excited. I just had to figure out how to focus that energy into learning still. Sometimes our workshops were noisier than usual, but as long as they were all engaged in an activity, I just embraced it!”

Katie S.

Use Incentives

“My room is divided into four groups and they compete for the group with the most [Study Island] blue ribbons. Each member is paid Classroom money (fake) to buy in the Shopping mall (small and large objects). I bought on Oriental Trading.”

Charmaine E.

Set Goals 

“I am encouraging students to get ahead now so they stay on pace when the holidays become a distraction. Also, reminding them of end dates and importance of working weekly to meet their goals.”

Angie T.

Use Song and Dance

“I use a lot of songs and dances to help the students remember certain things. I also use a microphone and sing what I'm teaching to them. I also pass it around for students to answer questions. They love it!”

Kirsten A.

Host a Classroom Competition

“Using Study Island- we have a Blue Ribbon competition in each class. We document how many Blue Ribbons they have before break and then again after break. My top 5 in each class gets a prize!”

Diane P.

Looking for more fun ways to survive the December holidays in your class? Check out this fun winter solstice classroom resources pack from Edmentum, stuffed with fun activities and lessons your students will love!'s picture
Brita Hammer

Brita started with Edmentum in March 2018 and currently serves as a Marketing Associate. She is passionate about providing teachers resources to help their students achieve in and out of the classroom. Brita earned a B.S. in Marketing from North Dakota State University.