December is a fast month filled with excitement and lots of energy from the little ones. I love teaching during this time of year. We are busy but each day is full of excitement and lots of learning. Today I will share my top 10 Christmas activities for the classroom that I begin the week after Thanksgiving.
1. Gingerbread Sequencing, Comparing, and Contrasting Activities
The first week back we begin my Gingerbread Guided Reading with a Purpose Comprehension Unit. This unit was created for two weeks of fun. There are 12 different stories featured. We work on sequencing each story and using a Venn diagram to compare different stories. I love to make paper bag gingerbread houses, complete lots of gingerbread crafts, and spend time working in groups. We do a lot of descriptive writing too. Read more about this unit here.
2. Gingerbread in a Cup
This year the students will be making Gingerbread in a Cup as a yummy treat at the end of the unit. This treat is a dip, and it pairs well with Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers. We will be using animal crackers to dip in our yummy snack after we make it. Creating a snack together allows us to read, learn about measurements, work on writing, and end up with something delicious. We also do a little graphing and math too. My snack in a cup activities are always so memorable and fun.
3. Holiday Traditions
This unit allows us to get to know one another and learn about holidays and traditions. We do this Holiday Traditions Unit all throughout December covering a little bit each day. We begin by getting a passport which has the six holidays on it. We focus on two holidays a week. We spend two days learning about each one with the mini book I have provided as well as extensions to picture books. On the fifth day, we compare and contrast the two holidays and focus on the standard similarities and differences. I pair Christmas and Las Posadas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, and Diwali and the New Year. As we learn we gather items for our suitcase and passport. At the end of the unit, it is filled with goodies and lots of learning.
4. Nonfiction Reindeer
After we complete our fiction unit of gingerbread stories, we switch over to the nonfiction standards and learn all about reindeer. This Nonfiction Reindeer Unit is great for December if you can’t teach about the holidays because it focuses completely on the animal itself. Students can learn from the mini printable book provided and see real photos with the matching colorful book with real photos. There are loads of nonfiction extensions, a report you could complete, a craft, and tons of writing and word work activities. My kids love nonfiction units and this one is a favorite.
5. True or False Reindeer
As a follow-up to the reindeer nonfiction unit or alongside it, we love to do the digital True or False Reindeer activities. Simply project the slides, read the fact, and decide if it is true or false. Once they have made their decision, the box can be moved to reveal the answer and provide even more facts. This activity is a fan favorite in my classroom as they love challenging themselves. I have done this by doing a few slides each day and I’ve done it where we do it all at once.
6. Jan Brett’s Holiday and Troll Stories
Jan Brett’s stories always remind me of the winter and snow since so many are written in that setting. I absolutely love how she includes clues and foreshadowing in all her books on the borders. I use this Jan Brett Holiday Unit to focus on problem and solution. This unit features 7 of her stories. Sometimes we don’t get to read them all, but the children love them. After winter break, we revisit more of her winter stories too.
7. Christmas Reading Comprehension Favorites
Every year I always read these 4 classic stories – Mooseltoe, Olive the Other Reindeer, Bear Stays Up, and If you Take a Mouse to the Movies. I read these right before break and we review all the comprehension strategies we have learned so far throughout the year. Olive the Other Reindeer has an adorable movie too that I love to share with them. Check out these Christmas reading comprehension activities here.
8. Christmas Theme Days
Classroom theme days are amazing, especially right before an upcoming break. They have been a staple in my room. The children come to school excited and ready to engage in the day. They work and learn and don’t even realize they are doing it. Not only do they look forward to it, but so do I. I love the excitement it brings them, and it makes me feel like we are having our own classroom traditions and celebrations together, just like a family. This Christmas Theme Days Bundle has Elf Day, Christmas Tree Day, Candy Cane Day, Gingerbread Day, Santa Day, & Reindeer Day. If you combine these with my Winter Theme Days, you can do the 12 Days before Christmas with your class as well.
9. North Pole Movement Breaks
We all need to get our wiggles out and these North Pole Adventures are great Christmas activities for the classroom to help us move, learn and have a little holiday fun. This set works on sight words, addition, subtraction, and digraphs.
10. Solve the Mystery of the Missing Gingerbread or Elves
These Solve the Mystery activities are so much fun. My kids love them so much that I made 2 for December: Solve the Mystery of the Missing Gingerbread Cookie and Solve the Mystery of the Missing Christmas Elves. You could do one or both of them. They begin with a short video that presents a missing item. They complete task cards to find out who took it, when they took it, and where they put it. This is something I always do on the last day because it has the greatest engagement. You could also add them to Gingerbread Day or Elf Day too.
Check out my Amazon store to shop for the books and goodies that go along with the top 10 Christmas activities for the classroom.
If you need some great holiday craft ideas, visit 5 Fun Holiday Crafts for the Classroom and grab your printable student ornament freebie!
And be sure to read about my favorite Gingerbread Activities for First Grade including Gingerbread STEM, Gingerbread centers, digital activities, and more.
I hope your December is magical and full of imagination and wonder.