December is such an exciting time of the year for students, and keeping them focused can be a challenge. One way to meet this challenge is to incorporate engaging and fun Christmas activities for upper elementary into your classroom. Students love sharing about their own traditions as well as learning about other traditions and celebrations around the world. Here are some of my favorite December activities to keep students learning and have a little fun too!
Ideas for Christmas Activities for Upper Elementary
PICTURE BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS
Picture books are always a great way to tie in the holidays. Here are a few of my favorite Christmas and holiday books. In Santa’s Snow Cat, Santa’s beautiful white cat gets lost in New York City on Christmas Eve. Will Santa ever find her? This is also a great book for inferencing. The city is never named, but there are several clues throughout the book.
This next book challenges the thought that all Christmas books are jolly and happy. Winter’s Gift is probably one of my favorite Christmas picture books. In this story, a lonely older man who is mourning the loss of his wife would prefer to forget Christmas and the painful memories that it brings. The story takes a turn when a surprise visitor arrives to the farm bringing with it a gift of hope. This story helps shed light on how difficult holidays can be for some people as well as a theme of never give up hope. Both symbolism and theme can be discussed with this read aloud.
If you have followed my blog, you know that one of my favorite children’s authors is Patricia Polacco. While she has several Christmas themed picture books, Christmas Tapestry is one of my favorites, and like many of her books, this one is based on a true story. Jonathan’s dad is a preacher, and after a blizzard Jonathan is disappointed when it causes damage to the church where his father is pastor and ruins any plans of renovating the run down church in time for Christmas Eve.
Jonathan and his father find an inexpensive tapestry to cover the damaged area in the church. When an older Jewish lady visits the church and recognizes the tapestry as one that she had many years earlier, a series of events lead to an amazing miracle. You have to read this one to find out what happens!
WRITING FOR DECEMBER
Keep students writing this month and working on narrative, opinion, and informational writing skills with this December Writing Prompts, Graphic Organizers, and Posters. This packet contains fun writing prompts about holidays and celebrations for the month of December. Ten December themed writing prompts are included for each of the following types of writing: opinion, narrative, and informational writing. Graphic organizers for each writing prompt are included to help students organize and write. A wide variety of fun and motivating writing prompts can be found in this packet including prompts for Christmas, Kwanza, special December dates, winter, and more.
GRAMMAR IN DECEMBER
Have fun reviewing grammar skills in December with this December Jolly Santa No Prep Grammar Packet. This simple print and go packet is perfect to keep your students working and learning during those weeks before Christmas break. The great part is that your students will love these fun coloring pages, puzzle pages, riddles, and more!
READING IN DECEMBER
Create a beautiful student-made bulletin board with these fun Christmas Tree Reading Response Flipbooks. After reading a book (independently, in Lit Circles, listening to a read aloud, book club, etc.), students complete these fun Christmas tree flipbooks. Once colored, these adorable flipbooks can be used to create a gorgeous bulletin board display. Ideas for the bulletin board as well as letters for the caption are also included in this packet.
POETRY IN DECEMBER
Keep your students writing with this fun Christmas Poetry Quilt packet. Ten different quilt pages are included for students to write a variety of types of poems: haiku, tanka, acrostic, diamante, sense poems, and more. Once poems are written, students may color and cut out the quilt pieces for a colorful and bright wall or bulletin board display.
DECEMBER WORD SEARCHES
This next set is perfect for morning work, after testing, Fun Fridays, early finishers, and more! This Christmas Word Search packet contains six word searches that your students will love. This is also perfect for those days leading up to the holiday break or for that last day when students are so antsy.
DECEMBER FREEBIE AND IDEAS
Your students will enjoy coloring these fun ornaments. You might also choose to print these off onto cardstock, have students color and cut out, and place on your classroom Christmas tree to decorate. For a little extra bling, once colored, help students use glue to add glitter to the ornaments. Punch a hole in the top and attach with a ribbon or a piece of jute. Simply click on the image below to grab your free set.