Christmas is such a magical time in the upper elementary classroom. You can really challenge your students to think and apply the skills that they have learned in the first half of the school year, all while staying overly engaged. During the month of December, I do not teach a ton of new reading content, instead, we are reviewing all the reading skills that we learned in the first half of the year through themed and engaging activities. Today, I am going to share some of the themed activities I always do to keep a high level of engagement while also showing them rigorous material. Plus, there is a freebie you’ll want to snag!
Themed Days or Weeks
I LOVE doing themed days/weeks throughout the month! It just makes it more fun and you can do a variety of activities that focus on so many skills. Here are some of my favs!
*Polar Express Week– that small picture book is FULL of rigorous content.
Plus, the kids LOVE it! You can even grab this freebie here!
*Grinch Day- Grab this free resource and read the Grinch! Let your students write in green all day and focus on vocabulary and language!
*Elf Week- There are so many fun activities for every subject! This is a great way to really bring your kids into the spirit of the holidays with rigorous content related to elves! Head here to check out Elf Week!
Daily Close Reading Challenge
The month of December is a great time to focus on close reading skills. Students will be engaged because they will love what they are reading about.
For the month of December, you can give kids a close reading assignment to do each day. These could be for morning work or to start your reading block.
You could add a little fun to this by drawing a tree on your board. Then, each time you finish a close reading assignment they can add an ornament. Once the tree is full, you can celebrate with a movie or a treat!
Digital Slide Decks
Digital slide decks are a great way to add engagement during reading centers or just for a day of fun!
Grab these super fun reindeer antlers.
Each time the student completes a slide they show it to you. If everything is correct, they get to throw and see if they can land on the antlers. If they don’t get it correct, you can reteach and have them try again!
The center works on word work, close reading, listening to reading, and more!
Holiday Around the World Challenge
Teaching the different holidays around the world is a must during this holiday season. Students need to know that others celebrate differently than them.
But why not make it into a rigorous reading assignment?!
Students get a passport and go around the world reading highly rigorous and engaging reading passages. They answer questions that focus on reading skills in order to earn all the stickers on their passport!
You could do one each day as a class or do the entire challenge individually (or in partners) in a day or two!
I hope that you can add some of these activities to your December fun! Plus, don’t forget to download your free resource above!