Okay, some of you may think I’ve gone over the deep end when you realize this post is about Christmas… but before you lose your marbles and shout at your computer, “I just survived Halloween!!” hear me out.
Ps. Did we survive Halloween? Barely? Not really? Can’t talk about it… cool. I’ll drop it.
Alright, back to me talking about Christmas on November 1st, I promise it’s for good reason. For the last few years my class has participated in Operation Christmas Child. I seriously cannot think of a sweeter way to spend a few hours of your time than with your students’, than filling a box full of goodies for a child who typically would not receive anything. The discussion and life lessons it brings to light are the type of teachable moments we as teachers live for.
Here is a general idea of how I introduce Operation Christmas Child to my class:
Typically I start by reading a Christmas story to get my students into the spirit. They will most likely wonder why you’re reading a Christmas story so early, tell them they will find out shortly.
After reading, I tell my students to close their eyes and think about what Christmas means to them and what makes them the most excited when they think about the holiday. Most will reply with presents, snow, stockings, delicious food, visiting with family, etc. This is when we talk about how some people, near and far, don’t have a warm house to live in, food for their tummies, or presents to open on Christmas morning. Although OCC is for children in third world countries, I feel it is important to remind students that there are people who live right here in our city that experience this as well (we have another school event to support local charities).
After having a discussion around how the students would feel if they were in that position and they woke up on Christmas morning with nothing, I guide the conversation in a way that will help them to come up with the idea to participate in OCC. Some years it’s easier than others but typically I like to try to make it seem like it’s their idea.
After we decide to do fill the shoebox comes the fun part, brainstorming a list of what we want to fill the shoebox with! I try to encourage them to think of things that the others might want and need, not necessarily what they want. Once the students have come up with a list I go out and do the shopping sans 24 kids… that would be a little too cray cray! *If you were teaching an older class you could set a budget and have the students figure out what they could afford, etc.
Once I have bought all the goodies, I bring them back to school to show the kids and we pack the boxes. We typically do one for a girl and one for a boy. It is SO adorable to see the look of excitement on the students faces.
SO now, you still may be wondering why I have Christmas on my mind so early? Well, Operation Christmas Child pick up week is November 14th- 20th!
Will your class be spreading a little extra cheer this Christmas? If so, find all the information you need here!