Themed weeks in upper elementary are the bread and butter to rigorous learning. When you have a theme for a week or a day your students buy into the learning at a whole other level. During the holiday season, theme weeks are vital to keeping engagement and rigor high!
Elf week or day is perfect for a fun filled time! You can review many standards you learned all year in a rigorous format!
Rigorous Elf Week Read Alouds
Pig the Elf by Aaron Blabey
This book is GREAT to focus on context clues with!
“Memoirs of an Elf” by Devin Scillian
With this read aloud we really focus on cause and effect while reading.
“Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf” by Greg Wolfe
This is a great way to bring in other holidays besides just Christmas and talk about how Elves could play a role everywhere. Plus, you can do some great comparing and contrasting!
The Elf Language
Elves talk funny, which means that you can dig deep into literal and nonliteral language!
We do an elves readers theatre where students identify if what the elves are saying is literal or nonliteral. Then, they take the nonliteral language and they make it literal!
For writing, we write a fictional narrative about what the students’ lives would be as an elf. In this writing assignment, you really get to dig into fictional writing, but also see how creative kids can get!
This is a great place to work on dialogue too! Elves say a lot of funny things and kids love to create the funny things they are saying.
Elf Week Math
There are so many fun things you can do with math, but I like to focus on some multiplication review and practice!
We do a three day multiplication unit where we use the elf theme to practice our facts!
Then, we do a word problem race. Basically, kids run around answering word problems in order to earn a small prize (free computer time, extra recess, etc.) Word problem races are how students really master word problem skills because they are working so hard to really understand that problem.
Elf Week Science
Read, “How to Catch an Elf”, and do an easy STEM project.
Give kids recycled materials of any kind and have them create an elf trap! You can even let them bring recycled materials from home. This is the easiest STEM project ever, but the kids get SO into it! Their engagement is high and their thinking is even higher.
Force and Motion is also a great thing to focus on during elf week. Have students cut out an elf and experiment with how to get the elf to different parts of the classroom. They can see how using force and motion can help create movement.
Elf Week Social Studies
The last and final subject to cover during elf week, social studies.
Here are two simple lessons:
- Create a route for the elves to move around the world. This can focus on mapping skills.
- Create laws that an elf has to follow while learning about laws and government.