What are the holidays like at your school?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by missrebecca, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    Dec 17, 2014

    Just curious! :p

    My school is unabashedly Christmas oriented, which makes me a bit uncomfortable. We had our annual Christmas concert yesterday and an ugly sweater day tomorrow. We're an elementary school, and most of our classes make presents for parents, so my class made cinnamon ornaments (they smell amazing -- but wow, they are time consuming!). Sooo many gifts have gone around to coworkers, parents, and teachers. It's a really fun, happy environment, but it has also been crazy stressful dealing with holiday crafts, progress reports, and kids who are already in vacation mode!

    Now... your turn!
     
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  3. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Dec 17, 2014

    Little to non-existent. There's a winter orchestra concert and a winter chorus concert, but teachers are not to discuss or celebrate holidays in the classroom at all. We have a large population of students who will not celebrate/receive anything (extremely low SES) and don't look forward to the 2 weeks without school. It's even strongly suggested that when we leave for break, we simply wish them a "safe and enjoyable break", not mentioning any holidays/gifts/etc.

    I have received a couple of gifts from students, but I put them away and write private notes of thanks.
     
  4. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

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    Dec 17, 2014

    My school is also very Christmas-oriented. It is in a rural community with the majority of students adhering to Christian religions. We have had a spirit week all week (Ugly Sweater Day, Holiday Pajama Day, Red and Green Day, etc.). We have been doing a door decorating contest as well as Secret Santa among the teachers. There is also a staff breakfast. Overall, it is a great, uplifting week, especially since everyone is tired out and ready for the break.
     
  5. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    Dec 17, 2014

    Hahaha, they set up a Christmas tree and decorations in our lobby right after Thanksgiving. They sent out an email asking the staff to help provide "alternative" holiday decorations (you know, Hanukkah), but there is still literally only Christmas stuff. We also have many holiday parties and secret santa things and all kinds of craziness. I like it and I'm not at all used to it coming from a middle school. I agree that is a little weird and puts kids in vacation mode.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 17, 2014

    Lovely...holiday concert with winter songs...plus a jazzy Christmas tune, a Hanukkah song and a kwanza song...nothing religious. We have a cookie exchange for thse who are interested. A PBA toy drive. Collection from staff for custodians. I do tradition sharing in my class..parents come in and we spin dreidels, make gingerbread houses, get henna tattoos, play a Korean new year game...
     
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 17, 2014

    Our last day is all for Christmas. Not in the religious sense but it's about giving our kids the best Christmas we can give at school.
    There will be no instruction, each room will have something different. In one classroom the kids will be served a pancake / sausage breakfast, in another they watch a movie, then make cards and in mine I hand them handmade cards (supertiny) written by my P to each kid individually about what she appreciates about them. Then I'll give blank cards to the kids who want them, and they can write them to each other, give it to a friend, teacher, loved one, etc. A lot of our kids are so poor, that they have nothing, and to give a teeny card is better than nothing, because the thought is what counts.
    Of course each class will experience everything as they rotate through the classrooms
    .
    We also have about 20-25 holiday baskets put together, a lot donated by outside sources (churches, companies, etc) but a lot was given by our staff. They're awesome, some have clothes in them, others food, toys (even for little kids, as our students want to win something for their little siblings) movies, gift cards, and some more elaborate ones, like Raiders theme, Niner's theme, etc.
    The kids can place their cards they earn during the school year (a PBIS reward) and they will be raffled, so all those baskets will be given to the kids. Of course each students chooses which basket they want to win.
    Overall everyone will be getting something, at least a 5 gift card to a store or fast food place, I forget.

    I;m really excited about this and I'm so happy to work at a school that really understand how touch holidays are for our kids and we altogether do something to make it a little better. We give family holiday meals to those who really need it, donated by outside sources.
    I was here last year so I experienced it and it's awesome.
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Dec 17, 2014

    Our district sent out a notice this year that holidays were not to be celebrated and we weren't allowed to decorate. We were all a little bummed because we usually have trees and decorations out. It's not a religiously diverse area and I've never had a student that doesn't celebrate Christmas. A week after this announcement our Christmas trees were out in the lobby :confused:. I guess my admin did not care about the district memo, haha. I know in the past she has said that we celebrate because our school celebrations/decorations may be the only thing our students get to do for Christmas (it's a poor area) and our tree may be their only tree.

    We had a student holiday lunch where parents could come in and a holiday concert that mostly featured winter songs. We also had an organization donate a bunch of ornaments so the kids all got to pick out an ornament that they could take home or give as a gift. Most classes are making some sort of gift for students to give to parents, and some are doing things like gingerbread houses. Our Kindergarten does an entire unit on the missing gingerbread man. Teachers did a secret santa and we're doing ugly sweaters tomorrow. Some classes are also doing some sort of secret santa type thing or other holiday activities later in the week. One 5th grade teacher buys a bunch of mugs at the dollar store every year and has her class do a hot cocoa mug/exchange party.
     
  9. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Dec 17, 2014

    This sounds like my school! I love Christmas and enjoy celebrating with my class. The ugly sweater day is a bit lost on grade 2s... they think my hideous holiday wear is BEAUTIFUL because it is so glittery. :lol: December is a busy month, but it's a cheery kind of busy.
     
  10. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Dec 18, 2014

    We have a religiously diverse school. There are holiday parties, winter concerts, and the only tree is in the lobby where children hang gifts for needy kids in the community. No focus on Christmas, which makes me happy because school is for everyone, not just Christians.
     
  11. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Dec 18, 2014

    I'm at a Christian school, so we are very Christmas focused. Every classroom has at least a tree and a Nativity set, and usually more decorations. We have at least two rehearsals a week for their church Christmas programs. We make parent gifts, do other Christmas projects and activities, and have special dress-up days. Today is pajama day, and we are watching The Polar Express this afternoon in grades K-4 and having cookies and hot chocolate. We still get a lot of work done, but make time to have fun as well. Tomorrow afternoon, before our class parties, we will have a school-wide Christmas sing-along. :)
     
  12. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Dec 18, 2014

    Linguist, your school sounds amazing. I am so glad that you are working with such a wonderful admin and that you are all working to make things better for these kids.
     
  13. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Dec 18, 2014

    We have a holiday party for the kids (we don't call it a Christmas party but Santa shows up) and lots of people give each other gifts. There are tons of Christmas decorations either put up by the school or made by the kids. I did a Christmas bulletin board but also did a Hanukkah display.
     
  14. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Dec 18, 2014

    Tuesday: Santa (my dad) and his elf (my BF) visited each classroom and brought them candy canes. Santa & elf took a group pic with every single classroom.

    Wednesday: Most teachers had their classroom parties yesterday because Thursday (today) was our last day and we dismissed at noon.

    Thursday: Winter Program. We had nearly 400 parents and relatives show up. Amazing!

    Also, today we revealed ourselves to our Secret Santa. It was fun.

    ETA: Each day this week, people brought homemade goodies to share with each other. Not necessarily a cookie exchange, but very similar.
     
  15. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 20, 2014

    Yesterday was such an awesome day!!

    In my class I passed out those little cards (about 2"x2") with my P's personal message to each student, and then I gave whoever wanted any to write to others. I explained that it could be for anyone here (friends, staff) or at home. I told them I know it doesn't look like much but it's the thought that counts.
    I received quite a few of them from students, it was so sweet. And one of the 'mean girls' who have been so defiant for the past year and a half year, actually wrote me one thanking me for my help and for 'handling her'. (she has been really nice to me for the past 3 weeks which was a shocker).

    A lot of kids went home with baskets they won (with a lot of goodies inside), with their bellies full of pancakes and sausage and at least 1 $5 gift card to various places (McDonalds, Walmart, Starbucks, Subway, etc).
    One student brought me a gift, beautiful gift bag, with See's candy inside, and thanked me because he said I was the only who gave him Blue tickets (we give those for good behavior, and they used them for raffling the Christmas baskets).
    I was so surprised. (this kid is super good, new here and probably was under the radar for Blue tickets from other teachers). Well, it turned out that with my ticket he won a cell phone :)

    I bought a bag of Lindoor chocolate for every staff member at our school (custodian included), it was about 16 people. I think I was the only one that did something like this this year (other than my P who gave us personally written thank you notes and Starbucks gift cards) and it felt really great.

    It was such a rewarding day to see all the kids being happy, some got really emotional for winning things. Then we finished it with staff lunch (we all chipped in) and sharing our stories from that day.

    I would not trade my school and students for anything :)
     
  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Dec 20, 2014

    Linguist, your post warmed my heart!
     
  17. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Dec 20, 2014

    High school here.

    We do a door decorating contest. This year it was movie themed. I had Prancer. We did a white elephant staff gift exchange and a breakfast on our work day. Some classes or organizations do a gift exchange. I don't. My club (NHS) adopted a family for Christmas. We ended up with six boxes of things for them :) it was awesome! We got to wear jeans all week if we were in the Christmas spirit. I wore reindeer antlers the last day with kids :) Thursday was ugly sweater day.
     
  18. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 20, 2014

    Another funny thing that happened was one student won a huge basket full of snacks and other food. I congratulated him, and he offered me a Hershey's bar. I politely refused, but he insisted and showed me that he had a lot of them, so I accepted not to be rude. I actually donated those for the baskets :) Among others I bought a huge box of Hershey's from Costco, and about 20 made it in that basket lol. I didn't tell him that though.

    I call this and the other student's gift the 'circle of giving' :)
     
  19. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Dec 20, 2014

    The school our kids go to really gets into Christmas--it's a lot of fun. The kids decorate cookies, make ornaments, and build ginger bread houses. Most kids learn to write Christmas cards and wrap presents. I love it.
     
  20. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Dec 23, 2014

    That's sad, because those are the neighborhoods where students need to have a little fun and merriment in school. My school is similar and we do up the holidays big in school. I don't discuss what the kids get as gifts at home because I know there are children who don't celebrate or may not receive as many or any gifts as compared to other students. But today we had our own party and I gave each child a book I specifically picked out for them from Scholastic. They were thrilled. Afterwards we turned the lights off and finished watching The Grinch and I noticed one of the boys was no longer watching the movie he was reading his book under the table!
     
  21. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 23, 2014

    Same here. We do so much for Christmas because our kids don't really get anything, and can't give anything at home. This way they all left with at least something, and many left with things they can give to others as presents.
     
  22. OhThePlaces

    OhThePlaces Cohort

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    Dec 24, 2014

    We have a Christmas tree in our front lobby with angel tree cards on it for school families who needed help this year (anonymous of course).

    The staff had our spirit week, where every day we surprise the kids with a theme... Pajama day, teacher throwback day, crazy hair day and ugly Christmas sweater day.

    We had our annual Polar Express Night, where families come in their pjs, drink hot cocoa and watch the movie in the cafeteria on the big screen.

    We had our holiday party on Wednesday, where a ton of parents came in. We are pizza and had lots of goodies. I also had each student decorate a glass ornament to take home.

    We also had our holiday breakfast where teachers revealed themselves to their secret Santas.
     
  23. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Dec 26, 2014

    I wish I had more time to let my students make gifts. Maybe I will try to find the time for that next year.
     

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