I know December is already insanely busy, but I couldn’t let this month of holiday cheer and chaotic schedules pass by without talking about one of my favorite holiday traditions!
Each year in my classroom, my third grade students and I have an official “Secret Winter Book Exchange!”
In order to have our fun, low-prep book exchange, we begin by using Scholastic Book magazines to pick out 3-4 books under $6 that each student would like to have. I pass out a book exchange form and each student writes down the titles of the books they have chosen. Then, each student put their list into a container for other students to “draw” from.
Each student takes a turn picking a form out of the container. The rule is – we can’t let our classmates know who we got! It is all anonymous until the very end! As each student draws a name, I quickly record the results of the drawing to make sure no one is left out. Then, I send home a note to each student’s family explaining our secret winter book exchange.
Each family will purchase one book from the student’s list that their child drew. For example, if Sally drew Tom’s name, then Sally’s parents would purchase a book from Tom’s list.
Parents will then order the book, wrap the book, and label the gift with Tom’s name. I always ask my families to not put who it’s from. Remember: That’s a secret until the very end!
Side note: For families that might have a tighter budget during the holiday season, I always suggest teachers order extra $1 books from Scholastic or pick up a few extra books from Dollar Tree. You know that none of our sweet kiddos can be left out!
I instruct my students to try and “sneak” their books to me throughout the day, so everything stays a secret.
On the day before winter break, I let one table at a time open their books. At the end of the book reveal, students will get up and go find the person they drew! It’s time for Sally to tell Tom, “Hey friend! Your book is from me!”
This is such a fun, simple way to spread some holiday cheer while building a love for reading in your classroom!
Do you do a book exchange in your classroom? If so, I’d love for you to post a picture on Instagram and tag me (@thatteachingspark)!
What are some holiday traditions that you do in your classroom? Feel free to leave a comment below!