Our Christmas Cookie activity had got several parts which were framed by the symbol of a star, designed by our pupils in 2018. A lot of pupils remembered the 2018 activity and were excited what would happen now.
Parts of our activity were:
- An analogue advent calendar which included a common activity of creating a growing nativity set.
- Baking activities and christmas cookie baking photos from home.
- A digital advent calendar which was designed by all teachers of the school for all classes.
- Our analogue advent calendar
In Germany all pupils vote for a pupil representation each year. Each class is sending one elected speaker to this assembly. In our school pupils are very young but we try to educate them for basic democratic activities such as deciding about new toys or how to use special resources. At the beginning of our “Christmas Cookie Activity” the pupil representation was involved in creating the advent calendar by packing surprising bags for each class. The pupils were really proud on being involved in such an important activity. Each class got a bag with all ingredients for a comfortable advent celebration in class because it was not allowed to have bigger celebrations with all pupils of the school (Corona): There were some traditional cookies, a candle, some chocolate and tea bags. Last but not least pupils found in each bag a little figure for the nativity set we built up in the corridor. At the beginning of advent it was quite empty but it became more lively each day because all classes added one figure. Pupils could discover new details every day. They spoke about them, played with them and arranged them new again and again, so our nativity set became a place of meeting and exchange.
2. Baking activities and christmas cookie baking photos from home
In the same time as the bags disappeared from the wall photos appeared at the same place. Parents sent us photos of their baking activities at home. Pupils passed this wall on many ways every day. They stopped, found themselves or their friends and started to talk about the positive emotional situation they had experienced at home. A lot of children remembered similar activities in the past. Our photo wall became a place of togetherness of families, teachers and pupils.
On the other hand there are a lot of pupils in our school who don’t have the possibility to experience activities like these at home. For these children we planned 1:1 baking activities in school with the idea of participation. Unfortunately Corona torpedoed this idea. A lot of teachers and pupils had to go into quarantine and school was nearly completely closed at the end. This was very bad luck but we never will forget the idea of participation of the disadvantaged children of our community.
3. The digital advent calendar
The need of developing digital materials is more important than ever in Corona times. All teachers of our school were involved in designing a digital advent calendar in form of a powerpoint presentation. Children got to see the first page and clicked on the number of the day. Then a page with a surprising content opened to them. Each class team “filled” one page. Pupils found short movies, riddles, storys, handycraft instructions, jokes or songs and Christmas greetings of all teachers. They loved the activity of opening the “door of the day” in class. The digital advent calendar connected pupils and teachers of the school by doing the same activity. This was a topic of talking on the yard during breaks and at the end of the day. The digital advent calendar gave us a feeling of community although we were not allowed to come together for assemblys and celebrations.
When a lot of pupils had to stay at home before holiday started we had got the possibility to link our advent calendar with the digital learning materials of our pupils. So pupils at home were still involved into the common activity of the community.
Teachers, headteachers and pupils of Heinrich-Böll-Schule wish all Erasmus friends and all children and people in Europe Merry Christmas.