Preparing for Christmas in an Upper Grade

'Ok, how is it already the 2nd week of December????? With only 2 weeks of school left before the break, I feel like I haven't even touched the surface of the list of my December ideas.
Here are a few things I have begun or will dive into this week....
One thing I have really enjoyed doing with my class thus far is opening our 'Digital Advent Calendar' each day.  A colleague and I were talking after school one day on how we can incorporate Advent more readily into our classrooms and how to bring back the true meaning of Christmas. He found a great site called "Busted Halo", which has many great resources for reaching pre-teens and teens. Each day we use the Advent Calendar as a launching point for a deeper discussion about Advent. Each window includes a quote from someone that is famous or part of history, reflecting on "waiting" and other various ideas. I also usually put on instrumental Christmas music and have the students partake in a independent written reflection (i.e. on what the quote means to them). It is 20 minutes of the day where there is a definite feeling of peace in our classroom. The students have really enjoyed our discussions and it's really hitting home for many of them.

To add a little fun into History classes lately, I have been writing up some scenerios and having the kids partake in some improv! They LOVE it. I choose names randomly and make groups of 3-4. It's been a hoot.

 To continue to improve their creativity (and the ability to think on the spot) I found some great Christmas Improv Drama Cards by Inspire Teachers during the TPT Cyber Sale that I have been sprinkling in our weekly drama classes. Great product :)
The kids have 30 seconds to talk with their group about the scenario and then it's show time. I have been thoroughly impressed with what they've been coming up with.

We are continuing to work on keeping our writing in order and detailed. This week we are going to convince our readers by using text evidence, with a little writing pack called "Dear Santa I Can Explain". The students are going to be asked to choose a villain from a book or movie that they are familiar with and convince Santa that they should receive gifts, after all. I am sure some of you are thinking--- "You're grade 6's and 7's will want to do this?!" Yes! That's why I love em'! They are still youthful and should still be encouraged to embrace the fun of Christmas :)

Behaviour/Classroom Management this month?
I purchased a roll of raffle tickets at the Dollarstore.
Throughout the day, I randomly give students tickets for various things (i.e. having their books out and ready without being told, being kind, using positive words, helping others, helping out, being a good leader etc.). Students have been saving these tickets for the Christmas Raffle I will hold on the last day of school. I will have various wrapped gifts for the students to put their tickets in. The more you earn, the better the chance :)

Lots more things on the go.... so stay tuned :)

Happy Weekend :)