December Activities for the Upper Elementary Classroom

December in the classroom might be the shortest month of instructional days – but it just might be the hardest, too. Students are excited about the holidays and school break. Their thoughts are consumed with Christmas and gifts and travel and well . . . just about anything but school! And teachers are just as busy too! There are lessons to plan, students to engage, and a Christmas party to plan – and that is just at school. So let me help you fill your lesson plans with fun and engaging December activities that your students will love!

December Classroom Ideas for Upper Elementary

December Morning Message

I love morning messages in the classroom. I love the consistency and structure they provide at the start of the day. And hands down – the students’ favorite morning messages are the BITMOJI Morning Message Slides. It’s so much fun to add some seasonal fun with the teacher’s BITMOJI image on each slide. You’ll love listening to students in the hall trying to guess what your BITMOJI might be for the day. If that’s not engagement, I don’t know what is!

Bitmoji Morning Slides December

These December BITMOJI Morning Messages are so easy to use. All of the slides are editable so you can quickly add in your morning note, routine, or morning work task. Each slide also includes a quote and journal topic that can be used for daily writing. Easily change my BITMOJI to yours in just seconds. Step-by-step directions are included!

  • December Bitmoji Morning Message
  • Bitmoji Morning Slides December Preview
  • Bitmoji Morning Slides December Preview
  • Bitmoji Morning Slides December Preview
  • Bitmoji Morning Slides December Preview

These December BITMOJI morning slides are a great way to start your day with your students!


Reading Instruction with a Holiday Twist

December Activities for Close Reading

As teachers, we know how hard it can be to get anything academic done in those few weeks leading up to the holidays. So instead of fighting against it, embrace the holidays and weave them into your lessons. These December Close Reading Passages make it super easy to do just that.

  • December Close Reading Christmas Activities
  • December Close Reading Real vs Fake Christmas Trees
  • December Close Reading National Cookie Day
  • December Close Reading Winter Solstice
  • December Close Reading Fruitcake

Close reading is an instructional approach that uses the same reading passage for multiple days to teach a variety of skills and concepts. Over the years I’ve found that close reading really helps students dig deeper into a text and learn to think like a reader. I’ve seen students carrying these skills over to their independent reading, too!

  • Close Reading Comprehension Passages | Christmas Activities | December Bundle
  • Close Reading Comprehension December Preview
  • Close Reading Comprehension December Preview
  • Close Reading Comprehension December Preview

There’s more than enough reading in this resource to fill your reading lesson plans for December! Your students will love these seasonal and holiday-themed non-fiction reading passages. This December Close Reading resource includes five reading passages and each comes in two levels so you can differentiate for the needs of your students.

  1. Candy Canes: The History Behind the Hook
  2. Real vs. Fake Christmas Trees: Which is the greener choice?
  3. Fruitcake: The Story Behind This Holiday Treat
  4. National Cookie Day: A Day to Celebrate a Favorite Dessert
  5. Winter Solstice: A Time to Celebrate

Christmas Main Idea Practice

Looking for shorter passages to focus on the skill of identifying the main idea? These Christmas Main Idea passages are perfect! Using fun holiday themes and topics, students will work on identifying the main idea and supporting details.

  • Main Idea and Supporting Details Christmas Version by Kim Miller
  • Christmas Main Idea and Supporting Details Preview
  • Christmas Main Idea and Supporting Details Preview
  • Christmas Main Idea and Supporting Details Preview

Although an important skill, it often gets jumbled in with a variety of other skills in reading passages. These shorter passages provide focused practice on this one skill. This Christmas Main Idea resource includes 12 Christmas themed non-fiction passages. With a consistent activity on each, students can work independently without any problems.


December Book Reviews

One of the best ways I’ve found to get students interested in independent reading is to let them find books based on recommendations from their classmates. Each month students choose one book they’ve read and complete a book review on it. It’s fun to post these book reviews in your classroom library so students can use them to find their next book. These December Book Reviews make a great bulletin board, too!

Demember Book Reviews for Bulletin Board

With this resource, students are guided through the process of writing a good book review. They start with a planning sheet that allows them to collect their thoughts and all of the information they need from the book. Next, they use the book review bookmark to make sure they’ve included all the elements of a good review. Finally, they add a little seasonal embellishment to their book review before posting it in the library.

  • December Book Reviews Bulletin Board
  • December Book Reviews Bulletin Board
  • December Book Reviews Bulletin Board

Not only does this help students with persuasive and detailed writing but it inspires reading, too! It’s so much fun to hear students thanking each other for the book suggestion, discussing the plot, or comparing their favorite characters.

All of these December activities for reading will help keep your students engaged and reading right up to and hopefully through the holidays.


No Prep Christmas Reading and Math Skills Review

The no-prep skills review packs are a go-to in any classroom for fun and engaging math and language arts skills practice. The students loved them and they were a great way to review and practice already taught skills.

No Prep December activities for math and reading

Try using these themed activities for morning work, independent practice, homework, and even small group instruction when students were struggling with a skill or concept.

This Christmas No Prep Reading and Math Skills Review Packet includes a variety of math and language arts concepts. Here are just a few things your students can practice with these December activities:

  • similes and metaphors
  • idioms
  • reading comprehension
  • parts of speech
  • writing
  • multiplication
  • factors and multiples
  • prime and composite numbers
  • word problems
  • place value

…and there’s more, too! Grab these December Skills Review Activities and get to filling those lesson plans!

  • Christmas Reading and Math Activities
  • Christmas Reading and Math Activities for Upper Elementary
  • Christmas Reading and Math Activities for Upper Elementary
  • Christmas Reading and Math Activities for Upper Elementary

FREE December Activities for Character Building

Although I want my students to show kindness all year long, the holidays are a great time to really focus on that character trait in the classroom. This FREE month-long Random Acts of Kindness project will have your students looking for ways to show kindness to others inside and outside the classroom.

Random Acts of Kindness

What’s so great about random acts of kindness is that there are so many things that can be done at no cost and without an adult. This gives the students a real opportunity to put kindness into action.

This FREE Random Acts of Kindness resource includes a pre-made calendar that is ready to use. However, there is also a blank calendar and an editable calendar, too! Students can create their own kindness calendar or you create one as a class. Whatever you do, just know it will make a lasting impact on your students and those they show kindness to.


Christmas Digital Stickers

If you’re teaching virtually or assigning digital work, don’t forget your stickers! With digital stickers, you’ll never run out! These 20 Christmas-themed digital stickers for Google™ or Seesaw™ are the perfect way to connect with your students through distance learning or any digital assignment. Simply copy and paste the digital stickers onto student work in Google Slides™, Google Docs™, or click on the camera to add a sticker in Seesaw™.

  • Christmas Digital Stickers
  • Christmas Digital Stickers
  • Christmas Digital Stickers
  • Christmas Digital Stickers

Students can also collect their digital stickers! This Digital Sticker Book and 20 motivational digital stickers for Google™ or Seesaw™ include a 6-page realistic-looking digital sticker book with editable tabs.

  • Digital Sticker Book for Students
  • Digital Sticker Book for Students
  • Digital Motivational Stickers for Students
  • Digital Motivational Stickers for Students
  • Digital Sticker Book for Students
  • Digital Sticker Book for Students

Easily provide a fun way for students to collect their digital stickers!

Save these December Activities

I told you my goal was to help you fill your lesson plans and engage your students so that you could focus on all the other things vying for you attention this holiday season. I hope that these activities will help you do just that!

Not quite ready to plan? Just pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so that you can quickly come back when you are.

December Classroom Ideas for Upper Elementary

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HI! I'M KIM!

I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT HELPING TEACHERS SAVE TIME BY CREATING MEANINGFUL AND ENGAGING RESOURCES THAT MAKE TEACHING AND LEARNING EASIER.

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