I love Christmas time!
I heard the best words out of my 12 year old daughter the other day when she said, “I love Christmas time, not because of the gifts we get but because of all the fun Christmas activities, events and the time with family and friends.” I was so happy that she has finally shifted her focus off gifts! Depending on the way you believe, Christmas time is so much more than just a day you get a bunch of gifts.
One of our family traditions is to make a December calendar and fill each day with something “Christmasy”. Depending on the day, we have some easy things and some that take more time, money and energy.
Some of our favorites are a baking day, delivering baked goods to friends, reading the “Real Christmas Story”, going ice skating, seeing Santa, making gingerbread houses, drinking hot cocoa and seeing Christmas light displays and shopping for gifts for their cousins. This way we get in all the Christmas fun and we don’t forget to do certain things. We fill out the calendar together and we all look forward to marking off each day.
Well a few years ago, I took this tradition into my classroom and created the 12 days of Christmas Unit. Learning should be fun and why not throw in some holiday traditions. Some are easy and just take a small amount of time and others are full lessons to do with your students that bring the Christmas Spirit right into the room.
The students get to make a gift for their family, decorate the classroom, learn with science, do some writing and more.
Do you have students that don’t celebrate Christmas?
No worries, most of the activities there is an alternative activity built in.
Here is how it is laid out:
We write letters to Santa. These aren’t ordinary letters to Santa, though, we use our practice of persuasion writing and opinion writing and we persuade Santa that he should get us this specific gift. It is a great way to get your students writing and to come up with reasons why they want a gift. Parents love when their students bring these home. For more information CLICK HERE. If you want to see how this looks in the classroom, CLICK HERE.
Day 2: Make Snowflakes (Art & Math)
Making Snowflakes! This quick and easy task can be a fun skill for students to learn. You can add math skills with folding, measuring, making a square, where to cut, and how they all look different. This is a skill that all students need to learn and I am always surprised at how many don’t know how to do it. We make them to hang all over the classroom. They can even take some home to decorate at home.
Day 3: How to Writing (Writing)
Do a How to Writing. This can be a quick journal activity or a full writing assignment. Give the students an options or have the whole class do the same topic.
One idea: They will write the instructions and add pictures.
Another Idea: Writing Assignment, they write it out as a procedural paper. First … next… then… in the end.
Some ideas we use: How to build a snowman… How to make hot chocolate…. How to decorate a Christmas tree…
Day 4: Snowball Fight (Math/ELA/Science/Social Studies)
Paper Snowball Fight! This can be done with several different subjects as a review.
A few ideas:
(Math) Pick a math concept you are doing; such as 10 + 5 = Give all students a scratch paper. They write the math problem within the same standard, on the top of their paper, without answering it. When the teacher says “Go”, they crumple their paper up and they get to throw it in the class in a class snowball fight. They can keep throwing papers til the teacher says “Stop”. They pick up a paper and answer the question on the paper, then crumple up and get ready to fight again.
(Other Subjects) This can be done with other subjects, some of them it might be best if you, as the teacher, write or type the questions on the papers, if there is a lot of writing.
Adjectives: Students write a noun, next student writes an adjective
Nouns: Students write an adjective, next student writes a noun
Science/Social Studies: Do fill in the blanks on the subject you are learning. Do T/F questions on the subject you are learning.
Close Reading Activity with the History of the Candy Cane. This is differentiated for a few levels. Students read with the teacher or a group on their article, they work on this all week. It includes comprehension questions as well. This unit includes all the lesson plans, click here for more information.
Candy Cane Science Experiment! Bring Science, Winter, and Instant Engagement. We use various liquids and test how they change candy cane’s structure. The kids love to see the chemical reactions. The unit includes the lab books and full lesson plans. Click Here for more information. Click Here to see the Blog on how it looks in the classroom.
Directed Draw Reindeer! Now it is time to learn how to draw a reindeer. This is a directed draw activity, if you haven’t tried one of these, they are a must for any teacher. We give you all the directions and the kids follow. These turn out really cute and they are so easy. I usually let the kids put their own touch on it at the end so they each look a bit different. CLICK HERE to Download for FREE
Build a gingerbread house. This is one of our favorites all year, but this might not work out if your school has stipulations on food in the classroom. For those under COVID Regulations: Can it still be done? Yes, but you will need extra supplies. Each student will need to do their own gingerbread house. You can give each students a paper plate with their supplies, have them plan it out first and then let them start to build. This unit includes all the lesson plans and activities. For more information, CLICK HERE.
Day 9: Wreath Craft Project (Art & Social Studies)
Wreath Making is a fun tradition to teach about. We learn about how the wreath is an American Christmas tradition. How did we make these? You know all those leftover Scholastic Book Orders? I found a use for them! We Use scholastic book orders, paper plates, and some ribbon; we make some really cute wreaths that they can take home to decorate their house. The kids get some great find motor skills to cut all the squares or you can pre-cut them for them.
Day 10: Parent Gift Day (Art)
Are you needing an easy gift for your students to make for their parents? This one might be just what you are looking for. It won’t cost you any money, unless you get $1 frames.
We make these cute reindeer out of their footprints. They can be turned into an ornament, mounted on a paper or canvas, or framed from a dollar store frame. It is definitely a keeper to be brought out each Christmas.
Day 11: Wrapping parent gifts (Math)
Wrapping Parent Gifts.. How much wrapping paper do we need? How do I wrap a gift? These are life skills that our students lack. It is a fun project to do with them.
Day 12: Christmas Party: Christmas Movie, PJs, Hot Cocoa, and Popcorn.
I have included all of these in one unit (Click Here for More Information) and many of them are sold separately as well. So whether you want to do 1, 3 or all 12 we have it all planned out for you. Help make this Christmas season one your students will remember.