Christmas

Christmas & Winter Themes For Early Learners

Look no further for some great Christmas and Winter Thematic units for your kindergarten, preschool, Pre-k, T-K or 1st grade classroom. All of these units are cross-curricular, strategically linked to the common core standards, and scripted for easy use.

We have designed these units to be cross-curricular, filled with strategic, developmentally appropriate, and purposeful activities. We know you will love the convenience of planning and lesson delivery. Everything included has been time tested with thousands of students in our classrooms. We know these activities work, and that kids love them.

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Also check out our companion sight word readers with some Christmas or Winter flair.

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Here are a few other supporting products with a Christmas or Winter theme.

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Creating Christmas Memories

christmas-memories-kids

I found this Santa in a box when I was cleaning this weekend. I made it in elementary school in the 1960’s, so it is 50 + years old. It has brought back some great memories of the past. Here are a few Christmas school memories that I remember...

Decorating a classroom tree with paper chains and popcorn.

Drawing names and exchanging presents with my classmates.

Lining up to present our presents to the teacher.

Spending afternoons making crafts (like my cute Santa) and yes sneaking a taste of the paste.

Learning how to sing “Silent Night” in German.

Performing the Nativity as our Christmas Class Play.

Making a Reader’s Digest Magazine into a tree and spray painting it green.

Making a bowl out of clay as a present for my mom.

Obviously the things teachers take the time to do with their students at Christmastime will create lasting memories, mine have survived over five decades. So as teachers work to make it through the exhaustion and chaos of the last week before the holidays, remember, you are creating memories that will not be forgotten.

Here are some of my favorite activities I love to do with my students. These products are packed full of future memories.


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Celebrate Christmas Around The World

Celebrate Christmas Around The World

Looking for the perfect Christmas Around the World thematic unit? Looking for books, supporting videos and songs? At Christmas time, I love to take my students on a journey around the world to celebrate all the wonderful and diverse ways people celebrate the holidays. It's a great way to introduce them to important social studies concepts in a playful and celebratory way! We love to read books about the different celebrations around the world as we set out on our adventures. Here are a few good ones to start off the journey:

Thematic Unit: The North Pole

Is there anything more magical than the North Pole? I love to bring a little of the North Pole magic into my classroom using this great thematic unit featuring Santa and his Reindeers!

Kids love having Reindeer Day, Elf Day, Jingle Bell Day, Santa Day, and of course North Pole Day (Polar Express Day).

Everything you need to bring in the magic is included in our North Pole Thematic Unit. (Enhanced by it's companion Polar Express Unit). And even better, with all of our thematic units the academic learning is not put on hold for the holidays, rather academics are enhanced with holiday fun!

Looking For The Perfect Christmas Program?

Looking For The Perfect Christmas Program?

For 16 years, my colleague, Kathleen Law, and I, put on he Bears Great Adventure: A Christmas Play (32 productions because of 1/2 day kindergarten), and it was never the same twice! We never knew who was going to have a meltdown caused by severe stage fright, who is going to scream the words at the top of his/her voice, who will find the world is his/her stage, or who will cry endlessly because they cannot see mama (even thought she is on the front row). However, it always turned out to be a great success after a lot of hard work by eager 5 and 6 year olds.

Developmentally Appropriate, Family Friendly Homework

For more than two decades I have sent home monthly homework packets with my students. Why?

  1. Because, all parents want the best for their child.
  2. Because, parents are partners and deserve to be given the tools to help their child succeed.
  3. Because, homework time between parent and child can be a bonding time.
  4. Because, homework offers opportunity to develop responsibility, time management, and persistence.
  5. Because, homework increases student academics.
  6. Because, homework improves study skills.
  7. Because, homework enhances parent understanding of classroom academics.
  8. Because homework does not have to involve worksheets.
  9. Because, homework can be given that is respectful of parent's valuable time.
  10. Because, homework can and should be fun!

Our homework packets are available in three levels: Preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade. They can also be used as leveled homework to meet the academic needs of students. Because we have taught all three of the grades we are addressing and used these packets, they have been refined to strategically meet the needs of students and follow a systematic pattern.

Following are samples pages from my monthly homework packets. These packets are fun, engaging, flexible and easy to use. Best of all, children love them, they increase academic performance and allow parents to be true partners in their child's education. 


Sample Pages

All of our homework packets are available below, or on TPT!

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Christmas Flashcards

Since Christmas seems to “take over” the thoughts of most children immediately following Thanksgiving, tap into this exciting time with holiday learning activities.  You can do this in a variety of ways - read holiday books, sing songs, plan some Christmas art projects, play number and other math games using holiday objects such as ornaments or bows, play literacy games featuring Christmas trees, Santa, and/or reindeer...the list goes on and on.

Christmas flashcards can add a touch of “fun” to your flashcards drills and activities. You can extend holiday learning beyond school by sending home Christmas flashcards. Use a set of letter sound flashcards at school and provide a corresponding black-and-white set for use at home to give your students an extra boost in recognizing and identifying letters sounds. 

By directing your attention to fun holiday activities, the next few weeks can become a time of productive learning. For holiday flashcards and other Christmas learning materials, check out these products:

      



Christmas Around the World: World Tour Mega Bundle

We have received numerous requests for a bundle of our Christmas Around The World products, and here it is! We are offering this for a great savings of $7.00, priced at only $18.00 for 370 pages of around the world cross-curricular fun for grades Pre-K, T-K, Kindergarten and 1st Grade.

Contents Include:

Christmas: A World Tour Part One

Part One of the “Around-The-World Tour” is filled with time-tested, quality activities that are strategically linked to Common Core Standards. It is divided into areas of literature, music, art, literacy, math, social studies, creative writing, word wall, and guided reading.

Part One Contents

Germany
Australia
Russia
Denmark
Spain
England
France
Africa
Canada
Greece

The activities include:

Literacy Activities
Australia: Surfing Santa: Segmenting Words
Russia: Land of the Sweets: Comprehension 
France: Le Reveillon: Rhyming
Greece: St. Nicholas’ Boats: Naming Sounds
Italy: Befana’s Toys: Changing Initial Sounds to Make New Words

Math Activities
German Advent Calendar: Solving Problems Using Mental Math Strategies.
Denmark: Nisse The Elf: Subtraction
Africa: Candle, Candle: Decomposing Numbers
Canada: Tree Delivery: Making Combinations for 10
Spain: Spanish Shoes: Writing Numbers
England: Stocking Stuffing: Counting Objects For a Given Number

Songs and Fingerplays
Germany: O Tannenbaum
Australia: Six White Boomers
Denmark: Ten Little Gnomes
Spain: Navidad

Art Projects
Germany: Star Christmas Countdown
Russia: Nesting Dolls/Nutcracker
Denmark: Danish Christmas Heart
Spain: Balthazar & the Wise Men
Africa: Candle Art
Canada: Strip Christmas Tree
England: Christmas Cards
France: Christmas Santons 
Greece: Christmas Fishing Boat

Kitchen
Australia: Pavlova

Writing
Country Word Walls

Guided Reading
Christmas Friends: Sight Word Reader
Class-Made Book: Around the World

Part Two of the “Around-The-World Tour” 
is filled with time-tested, quality activities that are strategically linked to Common Core Standards. It is divided into areas of literature, music, art, literacy, math, social studies, creative writing, word wall, and guided reading.

Part Two Contents
India
Sweden
United States of America
Bahamas
Peru
Israel
Mexico
China
Italy
Scotland

The activities include:

Literacy Activities
USA: Decorate Away: Blending Phonemes
Bahamas: Junkanoo: Using Common Nouns in Complete Sentences
Israel: Identifying Letters or Decoding Words
Italy: Befana’s Toys: Changing Initial Sounds to Make New Words
Mexico: Poinsettia Race: Naming Letters Quickly
China: Christmas Lanterns: Writing Alphabet Letters

Math Activities
India: Diwali Day: Identifying and Comparing Numbers
Sweden: St. Lucia Day Deliveries: Composing Teen Numbers.
Peru: Fiesta de Navidad: Classifying and Sorting Objects
Scotland: The Mischievous Elves: Identifying Numbers


Songs and Fingerplays
India: Little Clay Lamp
Sweden: Lucia Day
USA: Ring Your Bells
Peru: Fiestas de Navidad

Art Projects
India: Clay Lamp
Sweden: Star Hats, St. Lucia Wreaths
USA: A Gift for Mom & Dad
Bahamas: Starfish Santa
Israel: My Star
Italy: My Ceppo
Mexico: Poinsettia Construct
Scotland: Shape Elf


Kitchen
Australia: Pavlova
Peru: Panettone

Writing
Country Word Walls

Guided Reading
Around The World: Sight Word Reader
Class-Made Book: Around the World

Part Three of the “Around-The-World Tour” 
is filled with time-tested, quality activities that are strategically linked to Common Core Standards. It is divided into areas of literature, music, art, literacy, math, social studies, creative writing, word wall, and guided reading.

Part Three Contents
Eid
Kwanzaa
Hanukkah
Diwali

The activities include:

Literacy Lessons 
Eid: Reading Sight Words
Eid Variation: Reading Alphabet letters
Happy Kwanzaa: Reading Nonsense Words
Spin the Dreidel: Naming Alphabet Letters
Spin the Dreidel Variation: Decoding CVC Words
Follow the Lamps: Blending and Segmenting Words
Art Projects
Eid: Crescent Moon
Kwanzaa: Kinara
Hanukkah: Star of David
Hanukkah: My Menorah
Diwali: Rangoli
Writing

Scrapbook Pages:
Eid
Kwanzaa
Hanukkah
Diwali
Songs/Fingerplays
Eid
Kwanzaa
The Dreidel Song
Diwali is Here


Part Four of the “Around-The-World Tour” 
Allow students to keep the memories of their world tour by completing A Scrapbook or Passport Book, and then binding into an around the world memento. 

Part Four Contents
Two Scrapbook Cover Options: Color or Black and White
A Scrapbook Page for each of the 20 countries and 4 holidays Found in our Christmas World Tour Series. These pages are available at two levels.
A Culminating Scrapbook Activity to include in the scrapbook.
An original song adaptation of Let There Be Peace On Earth.


Part One Features:

Germany
Australia
Russia
Denmark
Spain
England
France
Africa
Canada
Greece

Part Two Features:

India
Sweden
United States of America
Bahamas
Peru
Israel
Mexico
China
Italy
Scotland

Part Three Features:
Eid
Kwanzaa
Hanukkah
Diwali


Fill the Classroom With Music

With Christmas around the corner, music can be heard up and down the halls. Whether you are practicing for a program or just enjoying the sounds of the season, music can greatly impact your classroom. Music can help set a mood. With music, you can calm down...or speed up...the actions of your students. The shared experience of listening to or singing a favorite song can also create a stronger bond within a class. 


Incorporating music into your instructional plan has additional benefits. Through music you can build vocabulary and develop language. Music can reinforce concepts that your students are learning in science or social studies. Songs can also be used to teach letters sounds, sight words, and even math facts.


If you’re looking for some musical resources, check out Singlish for help with language development and Heidi's Songs to promote sight word recognition. Because of the importance of music as a learning tool, we also include songs with each of our cross-curricular thematic units. Music should have a place in every classroom; make this a reality in your school during the Christmas season and beyond.

Elf on The Shelf Alternative: The Elf Door

I know there are some kindergarten classrooms that have an Elf on the Shelf that visits at Christmas time. I have a fabulous alternative that I have used the last few years and I LOVE IT! I prefer this way of bringing magic into the classroom because it is very child-centered and focuses on important life skills. It's also a great alternative that can be easily adapted for classrooms that cannot or do not wish to celebrate Christmas.

In December a small door appears in my classroom. To get a door like this you can purchase a "fairy door" or make one. I added a backing of cardboard covered with cloud scrapbook paper so that when the door opens the backdrop adds another layer of discussion and wonder. Once the door was assembled, I screwed it right into the wall. I don't worry about the holes it will leave because it's small and I have Spackle. I don't mind that the screws show because they too will simply add to the conversation the children have about the door.

I don't introduce the door to the children, I simply wait for the students to arrive and find it! Suddenly the classroom is full of questions and discussion. I use this as a jumping off point for a Guided Writing lesson in which we write a letter to whomever is behind the door. The letter the children came up with was:

Dear Owners of The Door,

What? Who are you? And why is there a door in our room?

Love Us,

Kids 

Can you picture the children's excitement when they came back from recess and saw a new note tucked into the door?

Dear Kids,

We are little elves. We have been sent to help you be good by Santa! And it is our job to help you keep the rules of your classroom all month long. 

We quickly use a modeled writing activity and responded:

Dear Elves,

We love you and we love Santa.

Love,

Us

That was how things ended today, but now a new green note is hanging above the door for the children to find tomorrow. It says:  

Hi Kids!

Santa loves you too. By the way, we are a girl and a boy elf named Sam and Sally! Today we will be watching to make sure you keep I Care Rule Number 1. We listen to each other! Good luck practicing that rule. Let us know how it goes today.

Tomorrow the children will find the note, and instead of working towards a vague goal of "being good" they will know how to shape their behavior appropriately, and they will be able to work toward that goal collaboratively. Tomorrow they will know that the elves want them to listen to each other.

I love the Elf Door! The uses for it are limitless. We will use it to practice our reading skills and writing skills (students will soon begin writing their own letters), we will use it to practice mathematics (sometimes elves need help figuring out the number of toys to make for Santa), we will have art projects about the elves, we will do special things for them, and they might even do special things for us. I can't tell you exactly the path we will take, because it is different each year. I am simply guided by the students in my classroom, and that is my favorite thing about this activity!

You might wish to check out our Thematic Unit Elves and More Elves. It will be our focus this week, so I will post some elf updates throughout the week.

 
 

Christmas Around The World Thematic Units & Freebie


Click on the link above to sample our Jam-Packed, Christmas World Tour 4-Part Series. We are sure you will be anxious to share the 20 Countries and 4 Non-Christian Holidays with your students. Your students will love learning new traditions, customs, practicing important math and language arts skills, cooking, singing, crafting, and completing a World Tour Scrapbook!

Christmas Around The World: A World Tour Part One

Part One of the “Around-The-World Tour” is filled with time-tested, quality activities that are strategically linked to Common Core Standards. It is divided into areas of literature, music, art, literacy, math, social studies, creative writing, word wall, and guided reading.

Part One Features:

Germany
Australia
Russia
Denmark
Spain
England
France
Africa
Canada
Greece

The activities include:

Literacy Activities
Australia: Surfing Santa: Segmenting Words
Russia: Land of the Sweets: Comprehension 
France: Le Reveillon: Rhyming
Greece: St. Nicholas’ Boats: Naming Sounds
Italy: Befana’s Toys: Changing Initial Sounds to Make New Words

Math Activities
German Advent Calendar: Solving Problems Using Mental Math Strategies.
Denmark: Nisse The Elf: Subtraction
Africa: Candle, Candle: Decomposing Numbers
Canada: Tree Delivery: Making Combinations for 10
Spain: Spanish Shoes: Writing Numbers
England: Stocking Stuffing: Counting Objects For a Given Number

Songs and Fingerplays
Germany: O Tannenbaum
Australia: Six White Boomers
Denmark: Ten Little Gnomes
Spain: Navidad

Art Projects
Germany: Star Christmas Countdown
Russia: Nesting Dolls/Nutcracker
Denmark: Danish Christmas Heart
Spain: Balthazar & the Wise Men
Africa: Candle Art
Canada: Strip Christmas Tree
England: Christmas Cards
France: Christmas Santons 
Greece: Christmas Fishing Boat

Kitchen
Australia: Pavlova

Writing
Country Word Walls

Guided Reading
Christmas Friends: Sight Word Reader
Class-Made Book: Around the World


Christmas Around The World: A World Tour Part Two

Part Two of the “Around-The-World Tour” is filled with time-tested, quality activities that are strategically linked to Common Core Standards. It is divided into areas of literature, music, art, literacy, math, social studies, creative writing, word wall, and guided reading.

Part Two Features:
India
Sweden
United States of America
Bahamas
Peru
Israel
Mexico
China
Italy
Scotland

The activities include:

Literacy Activities
USA: Decorate Away: Blending Phonemes
Bahamas: Junkanoo: Using Common Nouns in Complete Sentences
Israel: Identifying Letters or Decoding Words
Italy: Befana’s Toys: Changing Initial Sounds to Make New Words
Mexico: Poinsettia Race: Naming Letters Quickly
China: Christmas Lanterns: Writing Alphabet Letters

Math Activities
India: Diwali Day: Identifying and Comparing Numbers
Sweden: St. Lucia Day Deliveries: Composing Teen Numbers.
Peru: Fiesta de Navidad: Classifying and Sorting Objects
Scotland: The Mischievous Elves: Identifying Numbers


Songs and Fingerplays
India: Little Clay Lamp
Sweden: Lucia Day
USA: Ring Your Bells
Peru: Fiestas de Navidad

Art Projects
India: Clay Lamp
Sweden: Star Hats, St. Lucia Wreaths
USA: A Gift for Mom & Dad
Bahamas: Starfish Santa
Israel: My Star
Italy: My Ceppo
Mexico: Poinsettia Construct
Scotland: Shape Elf


Kitchen
Australia: Pavlova
Peru: Panettone

Writing
Country Word Walls

Guided Reading
Around The World: Sight Word Reader
Class-Made Book: Around the World


Holidays Around The World: Non Christian Celebrations Part Three

Part Three of the “Around-The-World Tour” is filled with time-tested, quality activities that are strategically linked to Common Core Standards. It is divided into areas of literature, music, art, literacy, math, social studies, creative writing, word wall, and guided reading.

Part Three Features:
Eid
Kwanzaa
Hanukkah
Diwali

The activities include:

Literacy Lessons 
Eid: Reading Sight Words
Eid Variation:  Reading Alphabet letters
Happy Kwanzaa: Reading Nonsense Words
Spin the Dreidel: Naming Alphabet Letters
Spin the Dreidel Variation: Decoding CVC Words
Follow the Lamps: Blending and Segmenting Words
Art Projects
Eid: Crescent Moon
Kwanzaa: Kinara
Hanukkah: Star of David
Hanukkah: My Menorah
Diwali: Rangoli
Writing

Scrapbook Pages:
Eid
Kwanzaa
Hanukkah
Diwali
Songs/Fingerplays
Eid
Kwanzaa
The Dreidel Song
Diwali is Here

Allow students to keep the memories of their world tour by completing A Scrapbook or Passport Book, and then binding into an around the world memento. 

This product contains:
Two Scrapbook Cover Options: Color or Black and White
A Scrapbook Page for each of the 20 countries and 4 holidays Found in our Christmas World Tour Series. These pages are available at two levels.
A Culminating Scrapbook Activity to include in the scrapbook.
An original song adaptation of Let There Be Peace On Earth.


Part One Features:

Germany
Australia
Russia
Denmark
Spain
England
France
Africa
Canada
Greece

Part Two Features:

India
Sweden
United States of America
Bahamas
Peru
Israel
Mexico
China
Italy
Scotland

Part Three Features:
Eid
Kwanzaa
Hanukkah
Diwali





The Elf Door

On Monday when we arrive at school a little door had attached itself to the wall right next to the 100 chart. For a full day we just wondered about the door. The next day, there was a note above the door:

 "Dear Boys and Girls: We are some little elves that have built this door in your classroom. It takes us directly from our home in the North Pole to your classroom. Don't worry though, you will never see us, because we are too smart for that."

Each day the elves have continued to leave us notes. Some are reminders about our classroom rules. Some are observations about activities in our classroom, and some are even a little mischievous.

Today during our "Friday Free Choice" time, The elves had lots of company!

The "Elf Door" is a great alternative to "Elf on a Shelf." I have done both and I way prefer the door as it provides endless opportunity for imagination, creativity, and play.

Elves Common Core Thematic Unit


Elves and More Elves is a 110 page thematic unit that is strategically aligned to the Common Core Standards. Contents Include:



Shared Reading Activities:
The Elves and The Shoemaker: Retelling Story and Story Cards, Thinking Map, Story Element Page, Venn Diagram
The Little Elves Poem: Five Day Activity Plan

Literacy Lessons With Independent Options:
Back to the Pole: Blending and Segmenting
The Elf Dance: Alphabet Fluency or High Frequency Word Fluency
Santa’s List: Reading Nonsense Words or Naming Sounds
Elf Inventory: Writing Letters for Sounds or Spelling Words

Independent Activities: 
Elf Hunt: Finding Letters in Alphabetical Order
My Little Alphabet Book: Matching Upper and Lowercase Letters

Scripted Math Lessons With Independent Options:
Elf Convention: Counting Forward From Numbers Other Than One.
Elf Roll Call: Adding a Number to Make Ten
The Elves’ Tree: Matching Quantity to Numbers


Independent Activities: 
Find the Elves: Writing Numbers
The Elf Friends: Comparing Written Numerals
Packing Presents: Ways to Make 10

Social Studies
Kindness Elf Activities


Guided Reading Books
The Little Elves


Writing

I Can:
Write A Story
Make A Card
Write A List
Write A Letter

Art
Elf Painting

Poetry
Santa’s Elves

The Friendly Elves

Holidays Around the World

This is a great companion piece to our Christmas Around the World PreK-1 or Christmas Worldwide 1-3 units. Or, this unit will stand perfectly alone as your class explore cultures and diversity.




Literacy Lessons 
Eid: Reading Sight Words
Eid Variation: Reading Alphabet letters
Happy Kwanzaa: Reading Nonsense Words
Spin the Dreidel: Naming Alphabet Letters
Spin the Dreidel Variation: Decoding CVC Words
Follow the Lamps: Blending and Segmenting Words

Art Projects
Eid: Crescent Moon
Kwanzaa: Kinara
Hanukkah: Star of David
Hanukkah: My Menorah
Diwali: Rangoli

Songs/FingerplaysWriting

Scrapbook Pages:
Eid
Kwanzaa
Hanukkah
Diwali

Eid
Kwanzaa
The Dreidel Song
Diwali is Here

Another Kindergarten teacher on my team (Hi Stephanie!) had the brilliant idea of having the children plant paperwhite narcissus to give to their parents as Christmas gifts. We planted the bulbs in gravel and water (super easy) a few weeks ago and now they're just about ready to burst into bloom. Everyone who has seen them has wanted to plant them as gifts for neighbors or coworkers; they are so beautiful.
My example is planted in a glass jar so that the children can see the roots growing, but the children's are planted in a red plastic cup with a poem glued onto it on green paper.

Here is the poem:
It’s winter time when all things sleep,
Except this little flower,
Like stars that shine at Christmas time,
To brighten every hour.

I want to be your little flower
And make you smile each day,
To brighten up your darkest nights
And chase the clouds away.

And here are more instructions on how to plant paperwhite narcissus (these instructions are for planting in soil--ours are in gravel which works great too!).