The Joy of Teaching – An Evan-Moor Blog

Sharing creative ideas and lessons to help children learn

Holiday Books and Simple Activities for Grades 3–6


Embrace the spirit of the holidays with these classic Christmas books. The figurative language and beautiful illustrations will inspire your students’ writing and teach them the gift of giving.

how-the-grinch-stole-christmasAlthough entertaining and funny, this well-loved children’s book, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, teaches students to look past the trappings of Christmas and discover the meaning behind the spirit of giving.

  • Writing prompt: Why did the Grinch dislike Christmas so much? (Discuss what motivates individuals to act in unkind ways.)
  • Summarize: Identify the characters, setting, problem, and solution.
  • Vocabulary: Use context clues to have students determine what ramshackle, slunk, sneer, and other words mean.
  • Activity ideas:
    • Picture ornaments: On green construction paper, cut out circles and glue on a small red heart. In the center of the heart put students’ pictures. Hole punch and hang with a red ribbon. (Other option: Glass ornament balls filled with green tissue paper instead of construction paper.)
    • Create Whoville trees with ice cream cones, green and white frosting, and candies.
    • Grinch STEM activities

the-polar-expressThis timeless story, The Polar Express, and Caldecott Medal winner will captivate your students with its beautiful illustrations and magical journey.

  • Sequencing and retelling the story (younger grades).
  • Similes and metaphor comparisons (older grades): Teach students to recognize descriptive and plain writing by identifying metaphors within the story (“hot cocoa as thick and rich as melted chocolate bars”).
  • Pajama party for students with hot chocolate (read book aloud).
  • Show and share: Students bring one object from home that holds similar meaning for them to the bell in the story. (Can be extended into a writing activity.)
  • STEM: Students build a model train out of graham crackers, frosting, Oreos, and other decorations.

Click here for Holiday Books and Activities for Grades K–3!

heather-foudy-blog-imageHeather Foudy is a certified elementary teacher with over 7 years’ experience as an educator and volunteer in the classroom. She enjoys creating lessons that are meaningful and creative for students. She is currently working for Evan-Moor’s marketing and communications team and enjoys building learning opportunities that are both meaningful and creative for students and teachers alike.


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