Happier Holidays: Empowering Your Students to Help Others
December 14, 2020
I’ve always loved the Holiday Season. The lights, the decorations, the music, and everything that comes with them. Sure, I can be a bit of a scrooge about when these should begin (play a carol before Thanksgiving and I’ll stuff your stocking full of coal), but once it’s here I can’t help but get swept up in all the magic.
If you were to ask me my favorite part though, it would probably be the quiet spirit of generosity which settles over everyone this time of year. We see it reflected in a hundred different ways. From the volunteers ringing bells for the Salvation Army, to Holiday specials like The Grinch or A Christmas Carol where an imbittered soul at last finds joy through acts of kindness. December is the month when we’re all encouraged to look outside ourselves and think about our neighbor. It’s a reminder that while this may have been a difficult year, we can still end it on a positive note!
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As teachers, we know that our students have the potential to create real change in the world. Whether it’s by taking a stand for an issue they care about, or lending a hand to someone in need, there’s no limit to what their curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking can accomplish. With that in mind, the educators at VAI have developed several strategies for empowering your students to help others this holiday season. You and your class can brighten someone’s day by taking advantage of these free lesson ideas and spreading Holiday cheer to the people in your community. Here are just a few ideas to help you start:
- Customized Cards: We’ve discussed before how writing letters can improve student language skills while also fostering healthy social-emotional learning. Why not challenge your students to brighten someone’s day by sending them a holiday card? Have your students use these card templates to begin their card creation. Consider having their kind messages sent to senior centers, veterans, or homeless shelters in your area.
- Calls to Connect: Make someone’s day a little brighter by connecting with adult friends in nursing homes over Zoom or teleconferencing with people in need of human connection! Support student conversations by using get to know you questions and/or virtual games. Although this may take a bit more logistical planning, creating friendships across generations can be deeply meaningful for students and seniors alike!
- Kindness Bingo: What are the holidays without a few games? Play a game of Kindness Bingo with your class and encourage students to make the world a better place – one act of kindness at a time. Use this Kindness Bingo Board to help students keep track of their generous acts and inspire others to do the same!
Despite all the hardship 2020 has thrown our way, we can still use December to laugh, learn, and encourage one another as we ring in the new year. Don’t miss the opportunity to brighten someone’s day this Holiday season. After all, December only comes once a year. Let’s use it to empower our students and give the world a happier holiday!