December is here and that brings so many thoughts and feelings. On one hand, I’m amazed that it is already December. On the other hand, December is a month unlike any other (except maybe the last month of school). The students are filled with energy and excitement about the approaching holidays and school break. I am focused on finishing the month strong while also trying to balance all that December brings (gift buying, decorating, parties, and so much more). These December activities for the classroom are a great way to focus the students and keep them learning while making life a little easier for the teacher too!
December Activities for the Classroom
Over the years I have found that by embracing the spirit of the season, I can actually keep my students more focused and engaged in learning. Not only do I tend to make our academic learning a little more themed to the season, but I also take the opportunity to add in some character related activities too! Here’s some of my favorite December activities for the classroom.
Main Idea Practice
This Christmas Main Idea resource is a wonderful way to learn more about Christmas traditions and why we have them. But it doesn’t stop there! These high interest, non-fiction reading passages will engage your students and give them practice identifying the main idea and supporting details.
Using a color coding system, students will find and mark the main idea and supporting details in the actual text. Then they will take their text evidence and put it into their own words as they write the main idea and supporting details in the graphic organizer. You can take it a step further, and have students use their graphic organizer to write their own summary of the text.
Your students will love learning about this history of Christmas traditions and activities with these 20 non-fiction reading passages.
Not able to do Christmas in your classroom? Maybe Christmas has passed and your students need some Main Idea practice. No worries! These Winter Themed Reading Passages are perfect. Using the same approach, students will read and mark the non-fiction text as they practice finding the main idea and supporting details. Give it a try with this free sample of the Winter Main Idea and Supporting Details practice.
Reading Strategies Mystery Pictures
Practicing reading strategies can be, well . . . just boring sometimes. But it is so important. Something happens as students practice and use reading strategies on their own. They learn to think like a reader. And well, this just takes practice.
I can remember the quiet groans as yet another reading passage was handed out to my students. If I’m honest I was probably groaning a little inside too. This led me to find a new way to engage my students in the very important practice of reading strategies. These reading strategies mystery pictures were created and my students groaned no more!
With these mystery picture activities, students will read the passage and then answer the questions. Students find the mystery picture squares that correspond to the question number they are working on. Then color those square the color listed by the answer they chose. Not only do students love trying to figure out the picture but they are also self-checking too!
There are Winter Mystery Picture Reading Strategies for different grade levels. One set designed for 3rd & 4th grades works on the skills of finding text evidence, theme, characterization, main idea, text features and context clues. Another winter mystery picture was written for 4th & 5th grades. This set works on the skill of inferencing, summarizing, theme, characterization, main idea, and context clues.
It’s amazing the difference in student effort and learning when engagement is at its best. I know that my students learned so much more with these mystery pictures because they were more engaged. You can find Reading Strategy Mystery Pictures for the entire year in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Learn more about the reading strategies with mystery pictures here.
No Prep Reading and Math Skills Review
Let’s face it, the week before a school break or holiday is tough. It’s not the best time to introduce new skills or concepts, but it is a great time to review important skills. This Christmas themed reading and math skills review is perfect for the final week or weeks before the Christmas holiday.
There is a little bit of everything in this resource. Your students will love the change of pace and the Christmas theme and you will love knowing that they are reviewing and practicing those important learning standards.
This one resource provides skills review for reading, grammar, writing and math. Some of the skills included are: similes & metaphors, idioms, reading comprehension, greek and latin roots, parts of speech, multiplication, factors & multiples, word problems, place value and SO MUCH MORE! This resource also includes Christmas themed writing paper and writing prompts for six different types of writing.
All of the activities are No Prep – which means they are easy for you. Just print & copy and your students will be busy practicing important skills and concepts.
Are you looking to plan ahead for January? Check out this post on No Prep New Year’s Activities to get some ideas!
Random Acts of Kindness
Although I am a huge fan of teaching and modeling kindness all year long, the holidays is a great time to do a little extra kindness push. The students just love taking part in this Random Act of Kindness project.
Each students receives a calendar with that has 25 acts of kindness that can be done from the beginning of December through Christmas. This resources includes a ready made calendar, a blank calendar and an editable calendar.
Day 1 is to give a compliment to someone and we take care of that right in class. Students create a stocking using the pages from this resource and we hang them in the room. These stockings become our class compliment stockings.
Starting on Day 1 and continuing through the month, students will write a compliment to each of their classmates and secretly add it to the stocking. The students love being sneaky in order to stuff the stocking of a friend or classmate.
On the last day of school before our Christmas break, we take time to read all of the compliments. There is so much anticipation leading up to that day and the students love reading what their classmates have to say about them. It’s a great classroom community activity.
This activity also works great as a staff team builder. Teachers can create and hang their stocking the teachers in the lounge and other staff members can add compliments. If your school does buddy classes with a younger grade, this would be a great activity for that too!
Elf Scavenger Hunt
If you are anything like me, you have found that holiday time calls for a little extra-special classroom management. Whether you add an extra special incentive to a class reward or have an elf visit from the North Pole, these December activities for the classroom are a great way to change things up just a little.
This Elf Scavenger Hunt is a great way to do that! With the Elf Scavenger Hunt there is an elf that has been sent by Santa to visit your classroom and watch the behavior of the students. This could be an Elf on the Shelf or other type of elf, or it could be a “secret” elf that is in hiding. Totally your choice. Right before the elf returns to the North Pole, he leaves this fun scavenger hunt for the students.
Originally designed to do at one time, you can complete this 9 clue scavenger hunt in just a few minutes. It’s a fun way for the elf to say goodbye to the class.
However, if you are opting for the “secret” elf, this would be a great activity to spread out over the last couple of weeks. After observing great behavior, the “secret” elf could leave 1 clue along with the instruction to save the clues for a future date. The excitement for what is in store will help with the classroom management aspect.
When it is time for the scavenger hunt, students will search around the school for the hidden clues. At the end is a small prize for the students, like pencils or mini erasers. It could also be a class prize like a movie for the last day or special Christmas read aloud.
This resource includes a ready made scavenger hunt and an editable version to make it fit your school. You can grab this FREE Elf Scavenger Hunt in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!
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