7 ways to spread Christmas spirit in class 'bubbles'

From treasure hunts to tree decorating, this teacher shares how to celebrate Christmas together, even in 'bubble groups'
15th December 2020, 3:57pm
Victoria Cunniffe


7 ways to spread Christmas spirit in class 'bubbles'

Coronavirus: How To Spread Christmas Spirit In Class 'bubbles' In Colleges

This term, for students and staff, has been tough. Morale among teaching staff seems to be low and the challenges that come with online teaching, navigating ways through different groups of isolating students and the general anxiety around the events of the pandemic have left many of us, and our students, exhausted. That, coupled with the separation between classes and staff, can make it difficult to bring everyone together in the ways we usually would try to do before the Christmas holiday.

So how can we inject a bit of Christmas spirit and build a sense of community into our last few weeks of term despite all of the restrictions?

Coronavirus: Celebrating Christmas in colleges

Many of my colleagues have come up with some great ideas - some of which are worth keeping next year when (hopefully!) things will be back to normal.

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Make the most of the outdoors 

In our sixth form, our usual trip to Winter Wonderland has been replaced with a trip much closer to home to an outdoor activity centre. Our college is very small and so having students in socially distanced groups of six in an outdoor space is achievable. Students will be able to spend time together in nature, sit around a campfire and take part in a treasure hunt.

Settings like this always seem to allow students and staff to bond in a different way to in the classroom or even just around college. Although it will be a bit cold, hopefully it will allow them all an opportunity to be in the moment and bond in an environment where they don't have to think about anything other than what's in front of them.

Treasure hunts

Treasure hunts are a great non-contact way of playing a game together. If group sizes don't allow for a similar trip to ours, class bubbles could always set a treasure hunt up for another class. This wouldn't involve any mixing of bubbles but would allow interaction between students who have been kept apart this term. A bit of friendly competition is a very Christmassy thing in a lot of places. 

A Christmas tree decorating competition 

Another way of encouraging competition and engagement across the college in a safe way could be a classroom or Christmas tree decorating competition. Classes, if they have one room that they're always in, could work together to produce the most exciting Christmas display or could leave a decorated tree outside of their room for other classes to see. If moving around the building can be managed safely, a Christmas tree trail could be done, with votes for the best one. Alternatively, pictures could be taken and photos shared online throughout the college. A good prize always helps with motivation in these cases, but the bonding experience of working together as a team tends to cheer everyone up. 

Word of the year

In our adult learning department, our teachers have decided to go for a more reflective and slightly literary approach. Classes will discuss the year and, in a similar way to the word of the year initiatives by dictionaries and linguistic groups, will come up with their own choice for word of the year.

As these are likely to be somewhat downbeat, our teaching and learning coordinator has suggested also providing a more hopeful word for 2021. These words from separate classes will be joined together in a large paper chain, which will be joined together and displayed in reception to be a visual representation that we're all in this together.

Online endeavours

Colleagues I've spoken to from larger educational establishments have told me about their online endeavours. Popular choices seem to be Zoom quizzes, online presentations or assemblies, comedic videos created by staff and, for its staff end of year meeting, one school has asked its staff to provide messages of thanks to colleagues who have been helpful throughout the year to be shared together.

Donating to food banks

In order to spread this feeling of goodwill out into the wider community, another colleague I spoke to told me her school was asking students to donate to the local food bank. Charity is often a large part of end-of-year festivities in our colleges and schools but this year it feels even more important than usual. As a society, we've come together this year to support each other and so to continue this over the Christmas period seems like a really lovely thing to do.  

And of course... presents 

Finally, there's nothing wrong with some good old-fashioned presents! One of my friend's schools is giving out mini Christmas hampers to staff this year to thank them for their hard work and dedication in such an unprecedented time. In fact, I might forward this article to my chief executive… there's still time to go shopping!

Victoria Cunniffe is a FE and alternative provision teacher and counsellor in the UK

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