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

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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.

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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