Holiday Extravaganza Videoconference: Wikispaces Archive

Since Wikispaces is closing down, I’m moving my collaborative videoconference projects over to my blog for archiving. Great project formats can still be used and adapted! This Holiday Extravaganza project was co-written with Roxanne Glaser.


Classes will create a presentation that involves interaction by the other 3 or 4 classes. Presentation can be tailored to whatever content is being taught. Ideas for presentations include: Mad-libs, holiday customs with clues, holiday riddles, holiday sing-a-long, holiday math problems, or other creative ways to engage other classes in the presentation.


Types of Interaction

  • Traditions
  • Holiday Math Problems
  • Mad-libs
  • Where is Santa?
  • 20 Questions

More Ideas

  • Christmas carols: Students act out a Christmas carol and the other sites have to guess what it was and sing part of it.
  • Game shows can work well, but watch the time. Your class will only have 10 minutes to engage the other classes.
  • Morph your holiday tradition research into a “mystery challenge” format. Give the other classes clues and make them guess.
  • Readers Theater is another excellent format where the other classes have repetitive parts to share back.

Fact or Opinion –
4th grade students used sock puppets to read statements and then call on other classes to determine if the statement was a FACT or OPINION.

2nd grade students shared holiday carols in both English and Spanish for the other classes.

Geography Skit
This 4th grade class used the Today Show as the format for giving us clues about where Santa was. These two anchors would send it over to “reporters” on location who would each have a bit more information on where Santa was located.

Holiday Math
5th grade classes prepared three holiday math problems for the other classes to solve. This was printed out on a piece of copy paper and taped on the wall and then the camera was zoomed in on the problem. The other classes would solve the problems. (If you do a Math Challenge, be sure to sign up in a spot with other math classes.)

Silent Night Live
6th grade classes seem to like the variety show style of presentations. This presentation included holiday jokes and “mystery holiday movies” and songs. Students were dressed up and really got into their presentation. (Remember to keep the total time to 7-10 minutes.)

Musical Productions
1st grade class performed a Christmas tree dance and song which was one that they performed at their school for their Christmas program. They moved the videoconference unit into the multi-purpose room and participated in the conference from there.

Christmas Around the World
3rd grade class shared their presentation of holiday traditions from countries that they had studied. If you do this type of presentation, be sure to present the information so that the other classes can guess to try to figure out the country or ask participating classes to compare/contrast customs and traditions with ours.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which grade level is at which time on the Participating Classrooms page?
Classes will be added to the schedule as the registrations are submitted. Check the Participating Classroom page to see which times and grade levels will be a good fit for your class.

What is the Holiday Extravaganza (Grades 2-6)?
Glad you asked. It is the first of its kind interactive videoconference event for grades 2-6. Your class can present anything with a holiday-related theme as long as it includes interactions with the other classes. The interactions should be simple, such as having the partner classes guess the answer to something you present. If the other classes will need pencil and paper to complete the interactions, note that on the participating classes page.

We study different holiday traditions and cultures. May I present that?
If you really like doing the Holidays Around the World format of presentation. Go for it! The only change you will need to make is don’t tell us what your country is. Make clues or riddle or sing a song and then make the other schools guess.

What do I put on the registration page where it says, “Enter a short description of the Holiday Challenge your class will present”?
Here are a couple of examples:

  • “Our class will present 10 Christmas statements that are either FACT or FICTION. We will ask the other classes to guess whether each statement is true or not.”
  • “Our class will have a holiday Mad-lib. We will call on our partner classes to provide holiday parts of speech to complete the Mad-lib. We will fill them in and then read the completed Mad-lib to the group.”
  • “Our class will research holiday traditions in Germany. We will sing a song, present the flag, and two other clues. We will begin with the clue that is the most difficult. Each clue will make our mystery country more obvious. The other classes will guess what our country is.”

How To

Stabilize Anything You Want to Show
If you want to show ANYTHING to the other sites, stabilize it. Tape it to the wall, put it on a bulletin board, sit it on a table, chair or easel. It is very difficult to see items when students are holding them trying to follow the camera.

Zoom the Camera
Once you have an object stabilized, ZOOM in on it. Practice with the camera presets so that you can quickly move the camera during the connection. Notice in this picture that the bulletin board paper is at the back of the room…it is quite noisy on camera.

Cue Cards
While some students do well memorizing their parts, it is a great idea to use cue cards or note cards for the students to read. They can practice reading with expression to effectively communicate. Remember it is better to use a sturdy paper or cardstock rather than the copy paper which can make a LOT of noise during a conference.

Creating Posters for Videoconferencing
This VC Poster Handout for students gives simple tips for clear presentations via posters.

PowerPoint Tips

  • Use a large font.
  • Don’t put too much text on the page.
  • Don’t use red for background or text.
  • Have a good contrast between text and background.
  • Blue backgrounds with white or yellow text work best.

Practice & Test
Practice with your videoconference equipment!
Test if you plan to use a document camera or computer hook up!


Work it into your curriculum:
There are no guidelines about countries and presentations. The presentation is limited to no more than 10 minutes per site and MUST include interactions for the other classes.

Plan to engage the other classes in interaction.
The holiday challenge is a unique project where the classes do not just present, they craft an interaction that will engage the other classes during their session. The key to success is to think about what the other classes will be doing. The engagement of the other classes is what pulls in the students…it is boring to just watch a videoconference for an hour…we want thinking and problem-solving going on.

See the Examples page for ideas and the How To page for assistance with visuals.

Time Limit: 10 Minutes
We will have 4 classes in each hour long connection so it is imperative that you keep your classes interaction to 10 minutes. Practice with a stopwatch to make sure!!

Game Show Templates
Note: I am not maintaining these links. They are here for reference and history only.


Holiday Certificate to customize for your students by Lola Williams.


Michigan Standards

  • Technology Communication Tools #1: use a variety of telecommunication tools to collaborate interactively with peers, experts, and other audiences.
  • Technology Communication Tools #2: create a project using a variety of media and formats to present content information to an audience.

Language Arts:

  • Standard 7. Skills and Processes. All students will demonstrate, analyze, and reflect upon the skills and processes used to communicate through listening, speaking, viewing, reading, and writing.

Social Studies:

  • Standard II.I Diversity of People, Places, and Cultures. All students will describe, compare, and explain the locations and characteristics of places, cultures, and settlements.


  • Standard V.2 Algebraic and Analytic Thinking. Students analyze problems to determine an appropriate process
    for solution.


VC Evaluation Form

Facilitator Resources

Confirmation Letter for Dec 8, 9, 11

To: Teachers & techs on both sides, cc
Subject: Holiday Extravaganza Confirmation: [date]

Welcome to our Holiday Extravaganza project. The goals of this project are for your students to practice academic skills within a holiday theme.

DATE: [enter here]
TIME: [include time in both partner’s time zones]

Technical Information:
[who] will dial.
[IP address]
If there are problems, please call [phone].

Test Call
The test call window for this event is November 30 from 1:30-2:30 EST / 12:30-1:30 CST. Only schools outside of Berrien RESA’s service area need to test. If there are problems during the test call, please call

Project Website:
Please visit the website for presentation ideas, tips, and resources for preparation.

VC Agenda (sessions will be moderated by Janine)

  1. Brief introduction of schools
  2. 10 minute (max!!) interactions led by each class

Participating Classes
1. School name, topic, required materials
2. School name, topic, required materials
3. School name, topic, required materials
4. School name, topic, required materials

If you have any questions as you prepare for the videoconference, please email.

Thank you for your participation!

Confirmation Letter for Dec 10 Point to Point sessions

To: Teachers & techs on both sides, cc
Subject: Holiday Extravaganza Confirmation: [date]

Welcome to our Holiday Extravaganza project. The goals of this project are for your students to practice academic skills within a holiday theme.

DATE: [enter here]
TIME: [include time in both partner’s time zones]

Technical Information:
[who] will dial.
[IP address]
If there are problems, please call [phone].

Project Website:
Please visit the website for presentation ideas, tips, and resources for preparation.

VC Agenda (This session is NOT moderated.)

  1. Brief introduction of each school
  2. Each class leads their interactive activity.
  3. After the interactions, students may engage in a general “getting to know you” question and answer session with their partner school

Classroom A:
[teacher name] [grade]
[school name, city, state]

Classroom B:
[teacher name] [grade]
[school name, city, state]

If you have any questions as you prepare for the videoconference, please email .

Thank you for your participation!

Holiday Extravaganza Countdown Letter

To: Techs & Teachers
Subject: Holiday Extravaganza Countdown


Just a reminder that next week is our Holiday Extravaganza.

The presentation topics & schedule are listed online here:

Please also note on this page the required materials for each session. Make sure you have the supplies necessary to interact with the other classes. Make sure the required materials are listed right for your interaction as well.

Leading the Interaction

  1. Practice, practice, practice!
  2. Make sure anything that you are showing on camera is stationary. (Use easels or set objects on tables. Keep butcher paper away from the microphone!) Mute microphones when moving butcher paper items.
  3. Use index cards to write speaking parts on. Copy paper makes so much noise that student voices cannot be heard.
  4. Let your videoconference coordinator know what you are planning for your presentation. They will be able to help you with the computer or audio issues and share tips with you!
  5. Be creative and have fun!

For this event, you’ll be dialing  unless otherwise indicated on the schedule:
f you have trouble during the videoconference, please call .

We’re looking forward to this event! See you next week!


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