When December rolls around, I feel a little like an electrocuted Energizer bunny. I’m a hot mess express with so much to do! You are getting ready for the holidays at home, there is so much to teach, and you are pretty sure your class is sneaking their advent calendar chocolate every morning. It’s bonkers. We are all a little sassier than normal, and it’s time to regroup. Meet the Countdown to Winter Break Kindness Challenge Chain Activity.
Why Use a Countdown?
Honestly, I used to be very anti- countdown to winter or holiday break. I didn’t like to remind my class how much school was left before we went home. I thought countdowns to holiday breaks encouraged students to feel like the school they had left didn’t matter and caused bananas behavior problems. When I thought of the kindness challenge chain activity, I quickly changed my mind. The countdown encouraged students to look forward to the break while being present in class and excited about spreading kindness. Let’s be honest. We are ALL counting down to winter break. You know what they say, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!
How does the Countdown to Winter Break Kindness Challenge Work?
Make this kindness challenge activity as easy or complex as you want. You could make one for the whole class or have one chain per student. Choose a topper for you to attach to your kindness chain. There are winter and Christmas options in color and black and white for easy coloring.
After you cut out the countdown to winter break topper, print out the kindness strips, cut them, and form a paper chain. You can make the kindness challenge chains with the numbers I already included, pick and choose and add your own numbers, or write some of your own ideas. Here are some of the options included:
- Give a friend a compliment.
- Make a card for a teacher.
- Thank a custodian for their hard work.
- Help a friend clean up their desk.
If all your students are making the kindness challenge activity together, save your sanity. Make a model under the document camera as you go. Have your class do one step at a time. It’s easiest if all your students have their winter break countdown chains in the same order and the chain hanging the right way.
A true game-changer is using the coffee shop ambience YouTube videos during these step-by-step activities. The music tends to set the mood and slow down those Speedy Susan’s. Also, if some students finish a step quickly, they can watch the snow fall in the video instead of rushing everyone else or going ahead.
There are a lot of fun and unusual ambience videos. Youtube even has some Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings scenes. I use these videos during morning work, quiet time, writing time, or when there is an activity when students may be over-stimulated.
Keep your classroom management and add some winter magic to your classroom this December with the Countdown to Winter Break Kindness Challenge Activity. After all, in such a busy season we could all use a reminder to slow down and be kind!