Christmas Around the World & Hanukkah, too!

Each year, I get mixed feelings when December rolls around. I love the holiday cheer as much as the next person.  What I don't like is the change I see in my students around this time of year. Normally well-behaved students suddenly become grumpy, unable to complete an assignment without someone hovering over them, and too much of my time is spent dealing with tattles instead of teaching.  

The one thing I did find that helped was to spend extra time planning high interest lessons.  Do you remember that movie Pay it Forward?  This is the teacher's version.

This is one of those cases when the amount of time you spend planning high interest, quality lessons will pay off with less discipline problems.  Less stress for you, how great is that?!!!

Each December I love to teach a Christmas Around the World unit and it always is a favorite of my students. I love to start my unit where all the magic begins . . . . at the North Pole!  

One of the strategies I have found that helps when my class is a little more rowdy, is to sit on the floor with my class in a circle.  Usually I sit in a teacher chair at circle time.  But, when my class is talkative or off-task during lessons, it helps if I am down on their level.

December is the season for a rowdy class.  It is also the time when I like to teach Christmas or Holidays around the World.  I either have a globe I can use or maps that are hung up away from where we are sitting on the floor. I was shopping at my local fabric store when I found the answer to my problem.  In the picture above is fabric of a map.  It is colorful and students love it!  You can add it to your centers, use it with circle time, or hang it on a bulletin board.

My students are always fascinated with reindeer.  Many of them have seen reindeer at the zoo.

Let your students observe reindeer at the site. Have them record their observations on one of the free printables below.  This is something that they can do throughout the month. Keep their observations in a folder and compare each week's observations.

Click HERE to download.

It's a Fact! is a fun way to integrate science and language arts.  The facts and picture cards can be used different ways.   You can use the cards in a whole group lesson. Or students can use these as a matching game.  After playing the game, students can write facts and opinions about reindeer.

Set this up as a computer center or gather a bunch of books so your students can research their favorite animal from the North Pole.  This is a fun way to add informational text lessons to your plans.

Students can record their research on either a pie organizers or a table organizer.

Students will sort the seasonal words into right and wrong spelling groups.  Then they will choose some of the words to use in sentences on the recording sheet.  There are two recording sheets so you can differentiate this center.

This task card center has reindeer themed words that students will divide into syllables and then write a sentence using the word.

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I have been making some more Christmas Around the World packets and a Hanukkah packet.  So far, I have the following countries:

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Are you also including other celebrations in your study?  I made a Hanukkah packet this past week that you might want to check out.

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Do you like bargains as much as I do?
You can get all of my Christmas around the World packets, plus Hanukkah and Kwanzaa in the mega bundle.
Click HERE to check it out.

Don't forget to check out my Celebrations Around the World Pinterest board for more ideas.

Click HERE.

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