Lessons & Classroom Games for Teachers
When Christmastime rolls around, teachers look for ways to keep students engaged with fun and interesting writing ideas. They can generate a variety of creative Christmas writing lesson plans by starting with the many holiday-themed picture books available. Kid can write letters to a character, write compare/contrast paragraphs and design creative trave logs to accompany Christmas-themed books.
Santa's New Suit
Teachers begin this writing activity by reading "Santa's New Suit" by Laura Rader. It is a fun story about what happens when Santa decides that he is tired of his old, worn-out red suit. After reading the story, tell the kids that they are going to get to design a new suit for Santa Claus. Brainstorm ideas together on chart paper. Students will then go to their seats and use a blank Santa template to design and draw their own new suit. After they draw the new suit, kids will write a letter to Mrs. Claus detailing why she should choose their design for Santa's new suit!
The Mouse Before Christmas
The teacher begins by reading aloud "The Mouse Before Christmas" by Michael Garland as well as any version of "The Night Before Christmas." She will have a large Venn diagram on chart paper at the front of the classroom for all to see. She will elicit ideas from the class about similarities and differences between the two stories. After putting a few examples onto the large Venn diagram, students are given their own blank Venn diagrams. In small groups, students will work to come up with their own ideas about ways the two stories are similar and how they are different. Students will fill out their diagrams during peer discussion.
After 15 minutes of collaboration, the teacher will bring the class together to share ideas and she will fill out more of the large, whole-class Venn diagram. At this point, students will be given the task of writing a comparison/contrast paragraph about the two stories using the information on their diagrams.
The Polar Express
"The Polar Express" by Chris VanAllsburg is a story about a young boy's visit to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. The teacher begins by reading the story to her class. She will then lead a discussion with the class about the fantastic train ride the boy takes in the story.
On chart paper, make a class story map about the main parts of the story and all of the places that the children go in "The Polar Express." Students will now make a travel log. Using 12" x 18" white construction paper, students will fold the paper three times so the paper is in eighths. In each section of the travel log, students will write a sequential log of events from the story. Each section will have two to three sentences about the story location as well as an illustration.