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Holidays Around The Blog

The holidays can be a tricky road to navigate in the classroom.  We have to honor everyone's traditions, keep the rigor in our lessons until our last dying breath (eye roll) all while having fun so that we keep student engagement up.  This linky is designed to bring you engaging lessons and ideas from all over the globe.  Have fun looking around!

Winter Activities

One of my favorite winter time authors is Jan Brett.  Her books build childhood memories and the artwork is captivating.  You never have to worry about your students loving these books.  No matter what the background of your students, you can always find a book that is suitable for the holidays.
Gingerbread Friends

Every child loves Jan's gingerbread books.  One of my favorites is "Gingerbread Friends".  It's always fun to copy a template on brown paper.  Have the students paint it with drip glue, dust it with cinnamon and decorate.  This is the perfect opportunity to use washi tape!  To add rigor, consider having your students write character traits on an index card to display with the gingerbread friend.  If you are in need of a quick keepsake, punch a hole through the top of the gingerbread friend and tie a ribbon.  Don't forget to put the date on the back of the keepsake.

Gingerbread Craft

Does "The Hat" qualify for a classic yet?  Everyone loves their favorite hedgehog Hedgie.  Here's a lesson suggestion for you:  Copy a template of a hedgehog for students to color and cut out.  Have them cut the back so that the spikes stick up like a real hedgehog.  This book is great for problem and solution.  For a quick lesson, have the students write the problem and solution to display with their hedgehog.

Fun with Hedgie from "The Hat"

The students love hands-on learning.  This next lesson can be used to compare "Snow Bears" to "Goldilocks and The Three Bears".  Give the students three index cards.  Have them cut one of the index cards in half.  On the two smaller index cards they will right the differences of the books.  They can write the similarities on the larger card.  Once they have all of their writing done they can tape the cards together to form an igloo.

Snow Bears

One of my favorite activities has always been making dioramas.  Students must use key details from the book in order to make an accurate diorama.  Our class used the book "Trouble With Trolls" for the diorama that is below.  This is a great book for problem/solution, character traits and retelling.

Trouble With Trolls

At the beginning of every year we send home a questionnaire asking parents what holidays they celebrate.  When everyone celebrates Christmas, the Christmas books come out.  The rest of this blog contains some of my most beloved Jan Brett Christmas books.

The Wild Troll Writing

If you have not read "Home For Christmas" you must do so right now.  This book has a great lesson for children.  In the book, the wild troll child thinks that his parents are too strict and he runs off for greener pastures.  Every child should respond to this book by writing about the lesson.  For a fun narrative, have the students write about their time as wild troll.

Troll Writing

Nothing is more engaging to a child then having them put their picture in a piece.  Below you will see the cover to a creative writing piece that the student's did in response to "The Wild Christmas Reindeer".  They wrote a story about the time they trained Santa's reindeer.

The Wild Christmas Reindeer

The story "Christmas Trolls" is another great read for author's message.  In the book two trolls struggle with compassion and a giving heart.  I like to have students make a horse of their own and do an exchange with a friend.  They love giving to others.  This is a great opportunity to have them write a story with feelings.
Christmas Trolls

Jan's newest book which just came out last month is "The Animals' Santa".  This book is wonderful for predicting.  You could make a quick foldable out of construction paper.  Have the students predict what animal is the Santa.
The Animals' Santa

If you find yourself busy and want the printables together and ready to go for you, you can purchase my Jan Brett unit by linking from the picture below.

Winter Crafts and Literacy Activities

We would love for you to have some extra dough this winter to put together some holiday lessons for your class.  Enter below for a chance to win an Amazon Giftcard.

Click on the links below to visit the other bloggers with holiday lessons for you!


  1. Jan Brett is one of my favorite authors! Thanks for sharing such great ideas!!!!

  2. Your activities look delightful! I love that some are 3d. So cool!

  3. I love your ideas! Thank you for all of the tips you've included, as I will need to navigate the holidays very carefully this year. Your unit looks amazing!

  4. wow, so much work went into that product Amy..it looks amazing and your kiddos are going to have a blast with it.

    1. Thanks for noticing Amna! It was a labor of love:)

  5. I love Jan Brett as well! You're unit looks amazing! I always make gingerbread people and I can't wait to add some cinnamon on top. Cleaver trick and tips as usual!

    Loving Teaching Inspiring

  6. I used to do a Jan Brett until before break as well! If only I were back in a traditional classroom where I could use these amazing ideas!!! :) Love them!!!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by. I always enjoy blogging with you:)

  7. Great post, Amy! Jan Brett fans unite...I love her books and that they lend themselves to so many great, fun activities for the kids we teach!!
    Elyse :)
    Proud to be Primary

    1. Thanks Elyse! Make sure to look at her new book. It's great!