How to Survive December in the School Library

Christmas around the world lessons, worksheets, activities and free

The weeks before Christmas break has always been a challenging one for me, as it is for most educators. But I think it can be especially tough on specials teachers. There are so many different activities going on from classroom parties, pajama day, assemblies, sing-alongs ...The list goes on and on. And usually (at least in my school) specials time is never canceled. Teachers need this time to plan, prepare and go to the bathroom! Which I totally understand and agree with. But when you pick up a class right after their Christmas party I can pretty much guarantee that a quiet storytime is not going to happen!

I'll be honest, there are times when I give in to the temptation of showing a Christmas movie. I think everyone has at one time or another. And that's fine once in a while, but definitely not something you want to make a habit out of.

In this post, I want to share with you some of the lessons and activities that I have used with my students. Maybe they'll be something you can incorporate in your own lessons over the next few weeks.

Favorite picture books

There are so many wonderful holiday books to choose from and more keep coming out every year. I could easily read them all year long. Below is a list of a few of my all-time favorites. You can also find companion packs in my store to accompany all of these titles. Click on the book title below to take a look. 

Printables and activities for christmas stories

Christmas Around the World

One of my favorite Christmas activities is my Christmas Around the World nonfiction passages. There are over 60 pages of printables, worksheets, graphic organizers and more. 
  • 8 nonfiction reading passages about Christmas traditions in other countries
  • One page reading response for each country
  • Set of 24 task cards (color and b/w set)
  • 10-page mini book for students to read and fill out
  • 18 pages of writing prompts, a word search, Venn diagram, ABC order practice and more
Holidays around the world lesson plans and printables

I print out the reading passages and laminate them. I will give each table a passage and the comprehension page that goes along with it. After students have finished their country we will come back together and talk about what they learned. Sometimes this will last for two class periods. I do not give a copy of the minibook to each student since I usually have 80 or 90 students in a grade. But I will print out a copy and give a page to each of the groups to complete. Then I will put them together as a class book. 

One customer said: "This is the best Christmas Around the World unit out there--my students always have fun with this activity.  These were ready to use and easy for my elementary kids to understand."

Click here or on the image above to purchase.

Christmas Freebie

If you are looking for a quick activity to teach about Christmas traditions I also have a free scoot game in my store. It is a set of 16 task cards that you can use in many different ways (scoot, center activity, fast finishers, bell ringers, brain breaks or transition time). If you have to bring a class to the auditorium for a sing-along you can pull these out and ask the kids the questions while you're waiting. On each card is an odd Christmas or New Year tradition. Students need to read the card and decide if the fact is true or if it is a fib. They then circle their answer on the answer sheet. Some of the traditions I use are a little odd, but that's what makes it so much fun. Kids love anything strange, weird or gross. 

For those of you who haven't played Scoot before I'll give you a brief overview. 
  •  Place the cards around the room.  You will need to do this so it is easy for students to travel from each spot to answer the questions.  You can put one card on each desk or space or several cards together, whatever works best for you.
  • Make a copy of the recording sheet and give one to each student.  Arrange the students around the room so they each have a card to start with.  You can have more than one student at each card.  This all depends on the number of students in your class. 
  • Students will answer the card that is in front of them.  On your command, they will “scoot” to the next spot and answer the next question.  They will record their answers on their sheet.
  • Remind students to look at the cards to see what number they are on.  They will not all begin at number 1.  The game is over when they are all back where they started.
When I have a larger or more rambunctious class I will make a set of cards for each of my tables and have students work on them in groups. It's a lot more printing and laminating but much more manageable depending on the class. 

Click here or the image to download your free copy.

Lesson plan, activities

I also have quite a few other quick, low-prep Christmas lessons in my store. These include task cards, PowerPoint games, and breakout activities. Click here to take a look.

I want to wish all of you a very merry Christmas. I hope it is a joyous time spent with family and friends. And don't forget to take some time for you! You need this time to recharge and rejuvenate. 

I would love for you to leave a comment! Tell me what you are doing with your students, your plans for the holidays or just say hi! 

Kathy, Staying Cool in the Library

Christmas around the world freebie and activities

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