Last Updated on December 4, 2020 by Laura
In a normal school year, December brings changing schedules and lots of fun activities for our students. School librarians are always working at being flexible and maintaining that happy place in our libraries. But December 2020 is bringing unique challenges to schools as we face a holiday season unlike any other we’ve seen. It seems like the fun has been taken out of so many situations right now. How can we plan fun December school library activities while maintaining a healthy and safe space for our students?
Hour of Code
Computer Science in Education Week is the first full week in December. Whether you are distance learning, hybrid learning, or learning in person, now is the perfect time to participate in the Hour of Code. Coding helps our students learn to be creators of information rather than just consumers. We can also help our learners become aware of computer science careers. This is a great year to encourage families to get involved too! I’ve got a blog post explaining how I teach my youngest students about coding, and a free resource to help you get started in your library!
Take a look at some of those fun holiday or character book stack displays -my students were delighted every time they walked into the library to see them. They are very easy to create – scan your shelves for the color and size of books that you need. Stack them, add some simple paper cutouts and that’s it. Distance Learning? You can add one of these decorations to your teaching video background. You can also post photographs of your creations with a message in your online classroom or on your library social media page!
Spice Up Storytime!
Whether you’re reading stories aloud online or in person, you can make your December storytime sessions more engaging in several ways.
- Dress for the occasion: Students will notice a fun hat, headband, or prop that you have on hand – this helps set the stage.
- Add sound effects with the free Novel Effect app! They have lots of great books for December!
- Use the free books and videos available on Epic!
- Send home information on fun author events like this Happy Narwhalidays session with Ben Clanton and Emily Arrow.
- Keep some extra books and free resources on hand (check out these recommendations!)
Play a game
Learning is always more engaging if we make a game out of it! Last year I created a Christmas Picture Book Trivia Game with questions from 4 classic Christmas books. My 2nd – 5th graders had fun playing in teams as we answered questions about characters, setting, main events, central message, and details. This year, even if we’re in person, we have to keep our social distance, so students may need to participate individually. This year I created a digital version of the game that can be played at home, in digital centers, or as a whole group on the Smartboard. You can make your own game using your favorite Christmas picture books, or save time by using mine.
Do Some Research!
Research skills do not have to be taught in a long, involved, multi-step project in order to be effective. Last year I read part of the book Reindeer by Dee Phillips to my K-2 classes (available on Epic!). Then we looked at databases for more information (We used Abdo Zoom, Worldbook Kids, and Exploring Nature) I had them fold a piece of paper into fourths and write or draw one interesting fact in each quadrant. Our papers contained sketches, diagrams, labels, phrases, and sentences. This kind of lesson is simple and can be done virtually or in person. You could also have your students research a holiday like Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa in the same way!
December Library Activities Keep the Connections Alive!
However you decide to keep the fun going in your December school library activities, the most important thing is to keep your students connected to you, your library program, and one another. If you keep those connections a priority, you and your students will continue to make your library the center of your school!
Want more ideas?
Take a look at this fun bundle of December school library activities!
Be the light!