Although I recognize that not all my students celebrate the holidays the same way, for the past few years I've been creating advent calendars simply because I love the idea of having little treats that countdown to something. In the spirit of inclusion, I've also created Hannukah menorahs, but this still begs the question of what to do with students who do not celebrate in either of those ways.
The more I thought about it, the more it became evident that I could use the same concept for a myriad of purposes. For example, we could countdown the days until the holiday break, or better yet countdown the days until "we meet again in 2018". It is all about inspiring students to continue learning every day.
Creating a digital calendar:1. Open a blank Google drawing.
2. Add a background and images appropriate for the purpose. This could be holidays or not.
3. Add a table, and label with the calendar dates you want to include.
Here is my December 2017 version, if you would like a template.4. Click on File>Download as>jpeg image (it can also be a png).
5. Upload the image to Thinglink.
6. Start tagging your calendar with links, prompts, apps or games. Whatever you want to share with your students.
Repurposing your image, unfortunately, requires that you follow the process again, but once you have the tags it is easy to simply copy/paste the links into your new image. For example, here is my 2017 PD Advent calendar repurposed as a Winter Break calendar.
Different feel, but still fun.
Now, if free forming is more your style, you can also choose to go that route as I did in these EdTech and Science Games Holiday-themed images.
Although these are all holiday/winter themed, countdown calendars can also be used to launch a unit of study or review activities until a test. If you gamify, you can use them as we are reaching a boss battle or the end of a game chapter. The possibilities are endless!
Feel free to share how you have used countdown calendars in your classroom. I'd love to share ideas.