As you most likely know, being a teacher is often a thankless job. Students are usually so wrapped up in their own lives and phones to notice all the staff members that keep a school functioning. Every year, right before Christmas Break, when students are antsy and hopped up on candy canes and the anticipation of vacation, we take a class period to make holiday cards for the staff at our high school. We start the class period by learning some simple holiday phrases like “Feliz Navidad” and “Próspero Año Nuevo”. A list of those phrases is left on the board for students to refer to throughout the day.
Here are some ideas for your list:
Próspero Año Nuevo
Que tenga una Navidad llena de amor, alegría y salud
En Navidad y el Año Nuevo mucha alegría y felicidad
Mis mejores deseos para la Navidad y el Año Nuevo
Le deseamos una feliz Navidad
HOW IT WORKS
Each student makes two cards: One that is for a staff member of their choice and one that is assigned. I get a master list of all staff members, not just teachers, and keep track of who is getting a card made for them. Once students know who their choice is, I ask them to tell me so I can check that person off my list. Then I write the names of staff members who don’t have a card yet on sticky notes and students come up and grab a sticky note with a name on it for their second card. That way I can make sure every staff member gets at least one card and no one is left out.
Students can keep cards generic and only write the Spanish phrase and sign the card “La clase de español” or they can make them more personal by writing notes to their recipients in addition to the Spanish phrase. Expressing gratitude verbally can be hard, especially for teenagers, and I have seen some really neat notes from students to staff members that have made an impact on their lives.
DURING THE ACTIVITY
While students are happily making cards out of the materials provided (construction paper in various colors, cotton balls, pipe cleaners, scissors, and glue usually- NO GLITTER. I learned that the hard way my first year 😭. Read more about my material boxes HERE. ), we listen to Christmas songs in Spanish. We sing, we craft, we learn holiday vocabulary, and we have a lot of fun! I even like to put up a fireplace video I found on YouTube up on the projector screen to make the room cozy. Get it HERE.
T.A.s sort the cards and deliver them to their recipients. I have had staff members tell me getting their Christmas card(s) is the highlight of the year and they look forward to it every year. One person told me it was usually the only Christmas card he got each December. From anyone. 😭😭😭 I may or may not have rigged the process the next year so he got about five. 😊
Please note: Every school I have done this at has had 80+ minute periods and this activity definitely took up the whole period with pre-teaching vocabulary, actually making and decorating the cards, and cleaning up. If you have shorter periods, I would suggest planning on extending this activity to more than one class period.
Looking for other fun holiday activities? Check out these bundles of festive resources like task cards, conversation cards, Jeopardy-style trivia games, and Pesca! A bundle + making holiday cards and you would be set with engaging lesson plans for the whole week before Winter Break!
If you end up making cards with your classes, I would love to see how they turned out! Please tag me on IG (@laprofeplotts) or let me know on Facebook! As always, if you liked this post, please pin it so others can enjoy it, too! You’ll find the pin below. Thanks!
Need a gift idea for a colleague? Check out this list of fun gifts for Spanish teachers under $10!
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