Spark student interest with online seasonal classes
Planning classes that take advantage of trending topics—maybe that’s March Madness college basketball tournament or summer fun—can fill gaps in your regular teaching schedule and bring in new learners.

Whether you teach math, art, or music online, now is the time to lean into what’s happening in the world. Consider offering a few classes that rely on your expertise and also spotlight topics currently capturing people’s attention and imagination.

Your seasonal classes could focus on upcoming holidays and related cultural traditions and history, weather patterns that come with changing seasons, or months or days that honor specific people, peoples, or events. This is a chance to be creative and add a new twist to the subjects you’re teaching!

Should your seasonal class be one time or part of a longer ongoing or multi-day class? Well, both work well! Just make sure to schedule them in enough time to catch the interest of families who are looking early for seasonal classes.

We’ll highlight some ways you could add seasonal flavor to your class portfolio. You’ll undoubtedly have your own ideas, so this is just meant to get your ideas flowing.

Tie a class to a holiday

If you teach Mandarin Chinese, for example, consider adding a class about Chinese New Year history or traditions. If you teach drawing, try introducing the new zodiac sign (2023 is the year of the rabbit) for students to learn to draw.

When it’s Canada Day, the Fourth of July in the U.S., or another holiday celebrating the birth of a country, invite learners in your math class to solve word problems that connect to the history of the holiday. For example, if 100 American colonists dumped 340 bags of tea in Boston Harbor, how many bags did each person throw into the water?

Make sure to consider including multiple perspectives, such as those of underrepresented groups, in classes on history, current events, and other topics. In addition, you may need to dig deeper on some holidays, such as Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S., to unearth meaningful information about culture and history for learners. Keep in mind that classes should be based on your expertise and lived experiences.

Develop a theme based on the seasons

The seasons provide rich opportunities to bring the changing outdoors into your virtual class. Learners in music classes could listen to Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and discuss how each part sounds like winter, spring, summer, or fall. Those who teach about animals could focus in winter on creatures that live in the snow or hibernate until spring.

In summer, when many young people are not attending in-person school or learning academic subjects, mixing it up with fun camps and summer activities can be a hit with learners. If you teach cooking, summer is a good time to cook warm-weather treats based on what’s currently growing, such as berry cobblers or rhubarb pie.

Explore current events

Holidays and seasons are by no means the only potential focuses for seasonal classes. Think about popular current events like the Olympic Games, NASA launches, and movies like Black Panther and its sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Depending on what you teach, the Black Panther movies can provide a portal into discussions about geography (where is Wakanda?) and topics like Afrofuturism.

Or, think about the concepts you could focus on before and during a major sporting event like the World Cup football (soccer, not American football) tournament. Here’s a short brainstorm:

  • If you teach writing, have learners choose a favorite athlete to research and write about.
  • Drawing classes could be an opportunity to draw different countries’ flags and discuss their meanings.
  • Learners interested in geography and international politics might enjoy researching a handful of countries to decide where would be a good place for the next World Cup.

Have fun with quirky days

Some events like Pi Day on March 14 are times to play while learning. This could be an excuse in math class to draw or eat pies in connection with learning about what pi is. Maybe in a baking class, learners could bake pies and calculate pi.

Consider Read Across America Day on March 2. Maybe in your English class, learners would be interested in dressing up as a character in their favorite book and presenting the book to others in the class.

Celebrate events in the natural world

Besides the seasons, other events in nature are worthy of celebrating. The phases of the moon, and the full moon in particular, are the focus of many holidays around the world. The appearance of harvest moons and blue moons could be a time for a class to explore the moon through a science project. If learners use flashlights and balls in the dark to mimic when the sun shines on the moon (with one representing the earth in the middle), they can understand how a full moon is visible from the earth.

Earth Day on April 22 is another example of a special day that could be the focus of a class. You could go so many directions with this one from studying innovative ways that communities around the world get water to how to make fashion design more sustainable.

Make up your own unique event

Finally, consider making up your own one-of-a-kind day or month. In recent years, adults have created Movember for men to grow mustaches and beards and raise awareness for men’s health and Dry January to stop and take stock of drinking habits.

Recent trends that young people could participate in include Birdtober, where learners could observe and draw birds, and NaNoWriMo in November, where writers pen a novel in a month.

Got your own ideas? Just pick an on-point topic that inspires you related to what you teach and voila! You have your own seasonal topic.

Check out Outschool’s calendar to see seasonal topics that Outschool has identified as possibilities and get started now!

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