December is not traditionally the best month for making a lot of traditional academic progress. There are lots of extra activities (concerts, etc.), children are distracted, and teachers are tired and craving a break.
We can take advantage of this period by doing lots of things that we often feel we don't have time for. Why not do art, art, and more art? It's very doable to turn lots of seasonal craft projects into actual art experiences – by requiring students to make their own design decisions, thereby creating individual and unique compositions and growing their brains in the process. How many methods and materials could your students employ to depict, say, poinsettias or snow people? What other subject matter might interest them?
This would also be an excellent time of year to share lots and lots of poetry with the kids in our care. Remember to issue invitations to them, on a regular basis, to write their own poems – possibly to accompany their recent artwork.
Lots of art and lots of poetry – this might be viewed as frivolous by some, but I promise that the payoff is there in terms of student engagement, confidence development, and an increase in problem-solving ability that will transfer into other curriculum areas.