Finding December teaching resources that work for all can be tricky. Those who celebrate Christmas or Hanakkah enjoy all of the holiday things, but in public education, we must be sensitive to the fact that some don’t celebrate it. Most schools prefer teachers stick to winter activities instead. I think with a little planning, you can have a festive December AND include all in your plans. In this post, I’m going to share tips for how you can do just that!
Start with Book Companions, december classroom activities Your Kids Will Enjoy
With thematic teaching, we can easily work in our favorite winter books and festive activities while keeping focus on literacy skills. Of course, Jan Brett is a favorite author for winter, and certainly, her book titles provide wonderful exemplars for reading skills and writing. For my intervention groups, I chose titles that worked with our weekly themes. Here are a few ideas you might try:
Two of my favorite Jan Brett books are Gingerbread Baby and Gingerbread Friends. The resources I created for them include before-during-after activities including lots of writing. I also include a fun lapbook project for Gingerbread Friends and a glyph activity. The comprehension skills I address with the books are:
- sequencing events
- cause and effects
- comparing characters
- character goals
- comparing fiction and nonfiction
- story elements
- questioning, and
During the week, you can include the poetry set I share below, research the history of gingerbread, make gingerbread cookies together, work in a few related fairy tales and talk about the fairy tale genre. Again…festive yet inclusive of all.
Believe it or not, there are lots of books about mittens too. I have two mitten themed resources I’ve used in the past. I’ll link them below.
You might explore the difference between The Mitten and The Hat (see THIS POST for ideas). For my unit for The Mitten, I include a comparison lesson. It’s good for kids to work on text to text connections. They can compare books by the same author or books on the same theme.
For other mitten themed titles, check out the 10 books I share to the right. I really love The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellog as well as The Mitten Tree. You can grab my mitten themed resources below if interested.
Mitten themed Book Report:
Polar Animals Week, another December Teaching Resource Idea:
The last way to work in those wonderful mentor texts and activities is through research. I end my December lesson plans with an introduction to polar animals. I used close reading resources as well as Wild Christmas Reindeer and a partner play I wrote called The Stubborn Reindeer. Again, our focus is on making comparisons across texts. Here are links to those resources:
Close Reading, December TEaching resources Kids Need
I love using close reading passages for showing my kids HOW to actually pull big ideas together to make sense of them all. For December close reading, you might use reading passages about polar bears, caribou, gingerbread, mittens, birds, Christmas around the World, evergreens, snowflakes, or winter. I have a few on polar animals. I’ve also used passages from others too. You can check out my polar animal close reading sets below.
December Teaching resources for writing
With most of my literacy resources, I including writing prompts too. However, you might try these theme related writing resources too:
december teaching resources for word building
Word building is important for all grade levels, but especially for the primary grades. Below, check out these great options:
December teaching resources for fun
Of course, with winter break approaching, it is also okay to take a break for a little fun. Enjoy a few December craft projects that go along with your winter books and themes. Here are just a few for starters:
- First of all, cooking! Make gingerbread cookies or gingerbread houses with your kids. Share Hansel and Gretel or The Gingerbread Man.
- You can also use your cookie cutter to make Cinnamon/Applesauce Air Fresheners. Add just enough applesauce to cinnamon to make a firm dough. Roll out the dough, cut them out, take a toothpick and add a whole for a ribbon tie, and dry them on wax paper. Once dried out, put the ribbon through to make a hanger. Done!
- Create a Mitten tree and hang paper mittens on it with goals for the new year or book recommendations.
- Go to Jan Brett’s website and download the animal puppets to do story retellings.
- Make reindeer ornaments or window hangers (lots of options on Pinterest)
other posts you might like:
- 10 GREAT WAYS TO CELEBRATE WINTER WITH JAN BRETT
- Discover the Magic of Jan Brett
- Using Twas the Night Before Christmas as a Mentor Text
- HOW TO TEACH MAIN IDEA WITH ANIMALS IN WINTER
Well, I hope these December teaching tips will help take a little off of your schedule. We all love the holidays, but it’s a busy time. I hope you and your students enjoy what I’ve shared.