Shannon McClintock Miller Blog
Shannon McClintock Miller photo

Shannon McClintock Miller

7 Ways To Stay Connected To Your Students Over The Holidays

December 12, 2018

The holidays are here and it is the time of year that we all start thinking about winter break being spent with our family and friends. We also think about our students and their families and the special things we can send them off with over the holiday to continue their learning in engaging, creative and fun ways.

Here are 7 ways to stay connected to your students, families, and community over the holidays too.

1. As a special little holiday treat, we created a new library bookmark to wish our families Happy Holidays. We attached these to a little bag of treats and will send them home with every one of our students the last week before we go on winter break. This is not only something special we can give to them, it is also a way to get the library information and resources into the hands of our students and families again during the year. \

The bookmark contains the library site (which is a short, easy to remember url we bought from GoDaddy, vmbulldogslibrary.com) that contains lots of learning and reading resources they use throughout the year. These are held in our library Symbaloo and lots of wonderful Collections by Destiny that we put together to hold resources for our students, teachers and families.

2. We created a very special Holiday Collection by Destiny they will find on the bookmark and library website.  This holds resources we have used at school in November and December, but also a few new ones to surprise the kids over winter break.  
 

Destiny Collection


And check out this Gingerbread Collection here. Please feel free to share it with your community or take it as your own and make changes.

Collections are especially helpful to teachers and families as they contain resources for learning, reading, writing, crafts, baking, STEAM activities, winter outdoor activities and more.

 

Gingerbread Collection


3.   We also created the Holiday Symbaloo, which is included in the Holiday Collection. We added a link to this Symbaloo and in every one of the classroom Symbaloo’s too. Symbaloo is what we use to organize all of the resources we use in the library and classrooms throughout the year, so this is a place we know they will definitely be visiting over winter break.

On the Holiday Symbaloo, we included lots of fun holiday themed resources including keyboarding, coding, reading, writing, research, Makerspace and a few others.  

PebbleGo


4. One of their favorites will be the PebbleGo articles that focus on the holidays and winter.  Within PebbleGo, students will be able to continue all their school projects over the holidays.  But more than that, they can start new ones based on what they are interested in. The best gift is learning and reading about what you want!  

Our students can also share the links with their family and don’t forget about the games.  We love to keep families involved over the break too, You could even go to Capstone Community to find some activities to send home with a link or on paper.

5. We also load up the Symbaloo and Collections by Destiny with lots of places to read online while they are at home or even on the go throughout the holiday season.  One of our favorite places is Capstone Interactive, which contains dozens of holiday and seasonal eBooks.

 

Diwali
Hanukkah
Christmas

In our family, we love to sing, cook, and do projects over the holiday.  The Cantata Learning stories and songs are especially a hit!  There are lots of learning activities, extensions and lesson plans on the Cantata Learning site that are paired up with these stories and songs , which families will find wonderful to use at home too.

6.   While they are using PebbleGo, Capstone Interactive and lots of other places to learn about so many things over the holidays, encourage families and your students to take it one step further and create a family project over winter break.  This could be focused around the holiday or any topic they choose to research together. Some ideas to share might be…

Create a family recipe book by having everyone share their favorite recipe over the holidays. Or create a family album for all of those holiday memories. These two projects could be done with a scrapbook or photo album.

Create a family tablecloth where everyone adds to it year after year with permanent fabric markers or paint.  Hand prints, personal messages, poems and more will make this tablecloth extra special and something you will want to use year after year.

For a little technology twist, Buncee can be used which has lots of templates, stickers and backgrounds that will make your family recipe book or photo album extra special, easy to share with others and something that can be added to year after year.  And of course, check out all of the cookbooks that Capstone has created too!

Story Corps

Buncee can also be used for a family history project.  During the holidays, children could interview family members sharing holiday traditions and special memories. You can even include video and voice recordings.  

We love visiting and adding to the Story Corps project too.  You can find it here.

7. One last bit of advice for the holiday….Enjoy.  Take this time to spend with your family and friends and to refresh your brain, soul and heart this holiday season.

Happy Holidays to all of you.  I hope you have a beautiful holiday season and make lots of new memories and traditions.

Padlet

If you have an idea or resource you would like to share, please feel free to add it to this Padlet I have started to gather even more holiday ideas.