abcteach blog

The following article comes from abcteach friend and colleague, Shara Lawrence-Weiss. An educator, business owner, and dedicated mom, Shara provides us tangible examples on how parents can develop language skills throughout early childhood.

Shara: family readingWe know from countless research studies: language affects reading. Language is at the very core of everything we do. A language-rich home generally produces successful readers. So, in honor of Reading Month, I’ve listed out a few ways that you can help your child(ren) develop strong language skills.

Making Statements and Asking Questions
Kids love to hear you talk, right from birth. “Good morning, my love. How did you sleep?” “Let’s go for a walk now. I’ll put you into the stroller and we’ll go visit the park.” “Look at the bird!” “Do you see the kids playing and swinging? They are having so much fun!” Everything you say to your child is being taken in and pondered.

Music
Research clearly indicates that music and literacy go hand in hand. In our home we sing, dance, memorize lyrics, sing in the car and at home and more. We love music and we play songs every single day. We move around to the music and we hold the baby (while singing and dancing) so she can enjoy the experience, too. All four of my kids love, love, love music.

Grocery Shopping
Talk while grocery shopping. “Let’s go to ________ today for some groceries.” “What shall we buy? Let’s look over our list.” “The eggs are on sale. Oh good!” “What fruit should we get today?” Point out store signs, as well, clearly speaking the words that you see.

Make Up Songs
Write your own songs. Kids really get a kick out of this and you don’t have to be great at it. I often make up songs while we are cooking, walking, or driving. Even at night, before sleeping, I make up silly songs that encourage my kids to laugh. I might make up a song about their pajamas, shoes, bed spread, school or pet dog – whatever!

Make Up Stories
A while back I began making up stories with my daughter. She said, “I don’t feel like reading a book tonight so can you just tell me your own story?” I made up a story about a princess who had many lovely dresses – who didn’t want to share. A kind friend helped her locate the dresses after they were stolen and that helped to change the cold heart of the princess (social emotional twist mixed with language development). Whatever your story is about, your kids will like the effort you made!

Read
Make a point to read with your child(ren) every day, based on the family schedule. Kids love to know they can count on a book at night before heading off to dreamland. However, if your work schedule doesn’t allow for this, read in the morning or in the afternoon. Here’s an interesting side note: some prisons run a reading program for their inmates where they have the inmate read books from inside the cell. They tape record the reading and send that to the inmate’s child. Now that’s dedication!

Name Those Toys
When playing with your child you can say, “Oh look at the red ball!” Or, “Let’s play with those colorful Legos now.” Or, “Did you enjoy playing with that yellow truck?” Labeling items is one helpful way to foster language development. Take it a step further and build on your child’s Emotional Intelligence as well: “It made me feel happy to see you playing with that red ball.” Or, “Your sister loves that green frog, too. She likes to snuggle the frog when she is sad.” You may not always think your child is paying attention but I assure you – it’s true. Here is an example: I have four kids. Our youngest is 11 months old. She is already saying quite a few words, in her own way. We can understand the words, though, and we know precisely what she is saying. Every night my son runs over to hug me and I pat his head and say, “Love you!” It’s our ‘little thing.’ Last night he ran over to hug my leg while I was holding the baby. The baby looked down, patted his head and said, “Lub you!” She is paying attention to everything we say and do.

Leave Notes Around
I sometimes leave little notes around our house for my kids. In the bathroom we have a notepad attached to the mirror. I might write, “Good morning!” or “I love you!” I leave notes for my husband by the coffee pot and my kids see that. He leaves notes for me by the computer and the kids see that, as well. The term “littering the environment with print” applies here. Litter words and books around your home so your kids will see, often, that words matter to you.

A Second Language
Whether you choose Spanish, ASL, or Japanese, teaching your child another language is a fantastic way to build language skills. Speak a few words each day or week – make it fun! Use a CD or DVD to assist with the learning process, if needed.

Articulation
Remember that articulation is a key factor in language development. If you want your child to speak clearly she/he needs to hear clear speech. Talk slowly and precisely and try your best not to mumble your words. When choosing children’s CD’s to listen to, articulation is a must. If your child cannot decipher the words being sung, inarticulate speech will follow.

If you suspect a speech delay or hearing loss issue, have your child assessed as soon as possible.

About the Author:
Shara Lawrence-Weiss has a background in education, early childhood, freelance, marketing and small business ownership. She is currently working as a Special Education Paraprofessional (K-5). Shara has four children of her own and is married to her best friend, Rick. They love collecting books, going for walks, spending time in nature, fishing, and playing.

Reading Awareness MonthWelcome to the latest segment in our Eye on Curriculum series. In honor of Reading Awareness Month, the March topic is Language Arts. As we did with our Common Core posts, this month’s articles will focus on curriculum discussion and classroom activities, as well as creative teaching extras, supporting sections on the site, and guest posts from abcteach staff and colleagues.

To start you off, let’s take a look at a few of our key language arts sections:

• Language Arts – When exploring this section, you’ll find a number of supporting sub-categories for students of all ages. They provide you with a variety of topics and activity types, and include core basics such as grammar, spelling, and writing. To find to the specific topic or worksheet you’re looking for, use our filter tool to search within each category.

• Reading – The Reading category is one of the largest sections found within Language Arts. Here you’ll see a broad selection of supporting items, including book report forms, first sentence prompts, phonics, reading logs, and more to pair with classroom reading, homework text, and other literature exercises.

• Book Units – Find your favorite! We’ve got everything from Amelia Bedelia to Beatrix Potter, Dr. Seuss, Berenstain Bears, Clifford the Red Dog, and other great classics. Each series has a compilation of puzzles, posters, report forms, vocabulary games and other activities to reinforce key skills and details.

• Reading Comprehension – Our Reading Comprehension section is broken down by grade clusters for easier navigation. The clusters contain fictional, informational, and holiday/seasonal stories, along with corresponding study questions to aid with comprehension. You’ll also find a functional text category full of recipes and crafts to do in class or at home.

• Common Core English Language Arts (ELA) – Our ELA section provides grade-specific worksheets, activities, and instructional posters that match the requirements for each skill domain. This is one of our newest sections, so check back for new additions. We are also working to classify materials across the side to align with their correct section number strand. Take a look at our last Eye on Curriculum blogs for a review and activity ideas for literature and informational text.

These are just a few of the many sections to support your language arts lessons during the month and throughout the year. Stay tuned for more great ideas as we explore other abcteach categories and classroom creatives. Happy Reading Awareness Month!


Posted by Lindsey Elton, abcteach Team

Our last Eye on Curriculum blogs reviewed a few of the domains in the Common Core Standards’ English Language Arts (ELA) Reading section. Our first post dealt with concepts covered under the Literature category, while the last addressed activities for Informational Texts.

The other focus of the Common Core Initiative tackles math and defining the scope of comprehension needed for students. “One hallmark of mathematical understanding,” states the Initiative, “is the ability to justify, in a way appropriate to the student’s mathematical maturity, why a particular mathematical
statement is true or where a mathematical rule comes from. Mathematical understanding and procedural skill are equally important, and both are assessable using mathematical tasks of sufficient richness.”

abcteach’s Common Core: Math section helps you build lesson plans that achieve the level of math enrichment that the standards require. This is one of our newest sections, so additional exercises will be available to you in the future. We are also reviewing activities across the site to help you build a more creative, diversified assortment of lesson plans.

We’ll next discuss two core domains that are found within the math standards: Operations & Algebraic Thinking, and Number & Operations in Base Ten. These are key components, building upon students’ skills each year, for early to upper elementary grade students.

1. Operations and Algebraic Thinking – Students must demonstrate mastery in representing, interpreting and solving problems, applying properties and using strategies.
2. Number and Operations in Base Ten – Students compose and decompose numbers, understand and use place value to complete operations.

Related Skills:
• Count in sequence
• Fluently solve operations in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
• Understand and apply properties of operations
• Compose and decompose numbers
• Understand factors and multiples
• Write and interpret numerical expressions
• Analyze patterns and relationships
• Use place value to solve problems

Classroom Activities
Although the standard requirements are fairly straightforward and rigorous, there is still room for creativity. The following materials are a sample of activities to use however fits best with your class. Whether it’s simple curriculum practice, a learning center station, or part of a special math night event, these materials all help your students get their skills on par with their peers nationwide.

• Poster Packets: Poster packets identify the Standards in student-friendly language, and are found in most all of our Math and ELA concept domains. Most poster packets also include checklists of each standard that can be used by students to demonstrate their mastery or by teachers at conferences (with students or parents).

Member Site:
Common Core: Math Standards Poster Set – Grade 1
Common Core: Math Standards Poster Set – Grade 3
Common Core: Math Standards Poster Set – Grade 5

• Classroom Activities

Member site:
Addition: Add and Draw 2 – Kindergarten - Great activity with K-1 students, have them draw pictures to create story problems.
Booklet: It’s time to add! (prek-primary) – Have students create this book which has them adding as they go!
Math Game: Place Value (set 1) – One of several games that teach place value.
Morning Math: Place Values 1 – Morning math activities are great for elementary students to review place value.
Board Game: Math Stars (b/w) – Addition and subtraction board game children will love!
Bookmarks: Multiplication (x 4) – One of several sets of bookmarks students can use to review multiplication facts.
Math: Commutative Property Addition Packet
Math Rules: Properties
Math: Comparing Numbers
Math: Properties – Addition & Multiplication (upper elem/middle)
Multiplication: Circle Groups to Find Products (elem)
Worksheet: Function Chart (5)
Math Puzzle: Algebra Picture Puzzle (elementary)

Free site:
Math: Multiplication Chart
Math: Multiplication Grid: 10×10 fill-in (elem/upper elem)

This wraps up our Eye on Curriculum: Common Core series for the month. Stayed tuned for more math activities in April, Common Core included, when we will explore mathematics on a broader scale.

Our Eye on Curriculum March series starts soon with Language Arts activities in honor of National Reading Month. We hope you enjoy it!

Posted by Kathy Butler and Lindsey Elton, abcteach Team

Girl ReadingOur Eye on Curriculum: Common Core series delves further into the English Language Arts (ELA) standards with Reading: Informational Text (this is a link for the general ‘Informational Text’ section; click on the left-hand navigation bar for a dropdown of grades). As we did in our previous CC Reading: Literature blog, we will soon discuss specific classroom activities, along with paired abcteach materials, that your students can do to fulfill state requirements.

There are three main concept umbrellas for ‘Reading: Informational Text,’ which is similar to what was seen with the Literature section. As can be expected, different skill sets will be addressed here. There are other concepts that the Standards Initiative highlights, however, it is the following three that command the most attention.

1. Key Ideas and Details – Students demonstrate understanding of texts by learning skills such as questioning, identifying the main idea and supporting details, and understanding relationships and interactions between people, events, or ideas.

2. Craft and Structure – Students deepen their understanding of texts through the use of text structures, by identifying points of view, and the author’s purpose.

3. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas – Skills include analysis of illustrations, maps, diagrams, etc. to deepen comprehension. Students must also demonstrate the ability to compare and contrast as well as to understand cause and effect.

Related Skills:
These skills are interwoven within the themes above:
• Ask and answer questions
• Identify main topic and ideas
• Retell key details
• Identify author’s purpose
• Identify text features
• Use pictures and diagrams to facilitate comprehension
• Identify reasons and evidence to support the text.
• Explain relationships and interactions between ideas or events
• Define domain-specific vocabulary
• Compare/Contrast
• Explain cause/effect

Activities in the Class

reading bookmarksThe start of Reading Month and Women’s History Month is but a few days away, which means you that can cover both mandatory ELA standards and seasonal activities in one fell swoop.

The following highlights contain Common Core materials for early through upper elementary school students. Use them in conjunction with other abcteach word games, theme units, and interactive activities to create a more comprehensive lesson plan that fits the character of your class.

• Poster Packets – These packets include posters that identify the Common Core standards in student-friendly language. Use them in mini-lessons, PPT presentations, or as handouts. Included checklists can also be used by students to show their adeptness regarding a topic, or by teachers for classroom conferences.

Member Site:
Common Core: Reading Standards Poster Set – Kindergarten Informational Text
Common Core: Reading Standards Poster Set – 3rd Grade Informational Text
Common Core: Reading Standards Poster Set – 5th Grade Informational Text

• Generic Templates and Graphic Organizers – Use these templates with non-fiction texts. Students can also use the organizers with other creative projects, such as being a TV reporter, conducting a group interview, or performing a monologue.

Member site:
Common Core: ELA: Informational Text Template (1st grade)
Common Core: Reading: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas Template (2nd grade)
Common Core: Reading: Informational Craft and Structure Template (5th grade)
ELA: Compare and Contrast News (middle school 6-8) - This is classified for use with older students, but can be used in younger grades as well.

Free site:
Venn Diagram (Blank Form)

• Informational activities – Pair these activities with social studies, history, or language arts lessons and enhance with Clip Art images or special media. These contain non-fictional text as well as questions and common core-related activities.
Member site:
Booklet: Biography of Alexander Graham Bell (K-1)
Reading Comprehension: Reading Informational Text: Cruising the Caribbean: Port of Call – Cozumel – Part 1
Reading Comprehension: The Sport of Tennis (upper elem)

Our last Common Core blog will introduce and discuss math standards for the elementary classroom. Follow up articles will be posted in April, when we highlight activities and ideas to celebrate Math Awareness Month.

Posted by Kathy Butler and Lindsey Elton, abcteach Team

Time to Read!This next article in our Eye on Curriculum: Common Core series dives into English Language Arts (ELA) activities. There are a number of sections within the ELA guidelines, however, we’re going to focus on one category, Reading: Literature, and provide you with specific discussion and activity ideas instead of an overall combination. We hope, with March Reading Month coming up soon, that this aids in your classroom planning and curriculum achievement goals.

As a starter, literature guidelines all contain the following sub-sects and skills, regardless of grade. The guidelines are the agreed-upon foundation that students need to learn in order to achieve a true understanding of what they read each year. As students advance, skill requirements evolve from concepts covered in previous years.

1. Key Ideas and Details – comprehension, understanding tone, understanding details in text and characters, noting story grammar, etc.

2. Craft and Structure – observing how stories are presented and organized, realizing the language that’s used, recognizing structural elements, comparing and contrasting different versions of stories, etc.

3. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas – really understanding detail, inferences and meaning. This section takes ‘Craft and Structure’ to a higher level, requiring students to move beyond a rudimentary application of their skills to thoroughly understand and apply them.

Related Skills
These are the skills that are found within the themes above:

• Comprehension
• Questioning
• Understanding Character Descriptions
• Understanding Point of View
• Comparisone/Contrast
• Understanding Theme
• Understanding Inference
• Sequencing of Events

Activities in the Class
Boy readingThe Common Core Initiative site breaks down each grade and standard, leaving the application up to you. So how do you teach these skills in the class? And most of all, how do you make it enjoyable for your students, and for yourself?

Let’s go to abcteach’s Common Core: ELA page. As we mentioned in the first blog, we’ve created the Common Core section to provide you specific activities that address the guidelines. We’re also working to classify materials sitewide under their appropriate sections. You’ll find a diversity of topics and worksheet types so that you can creatively tackle each standard without lesson plans becoming monotonous. Variety is the spice of (classroom) life!

The following is a handful of literature activity ideas for early to upper elementary students. For additional materials, peruse the site for items that fit your class. If you can’t find a specific report form, writing prompt, or word wall, don’t forget that you can use Clip Art and abctools to create your own customized worksheets.

• Poster Packets – Posters that identify the Common Core standards in student-friendly language. Most poster packets also include checklists of each standard that can be used by students to demonstrate their mastery or by teachers at conferences (with students or parents).

Member Site:

Common Core: Reading Standards Poster Set – 1st Grade Literature
Common Core: Reading Standards Poster Set – 3rd Grade Literature
Common Core: Reading Standards Poster Set – 5th Grade Literature

Free Site:
Common Core Reading Standards: Poster 5th Grade-Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

• Generic Templates and Graphic Organizers – Use with stories, books, dramas, and poems.

Member site:

Common Core: ELA: Reading – Literature Study (1st grade)
Common Core: ELA: Reading – Fiction Book Report (3rd grade)
Common Core: Literature Comprehension Template (5th grade)

Free site:
Book Summary Form (any book)

• Comprehension Materials – Pieces which contain text as well as questions and common core-related activities.

Member site:

Biography: Michael Phelps, Olympic Swimmer (Grades 1 & 2)
Biography: Michael Phelps, Olympic Swimmer (upper elem/middle)
Comparing Stories: Playing Sports (elem/ upper elem)

• Book and Story Templates and Units

Member site:

Book: A-Z Mysteries; The Absent Author (elem)
Book: Maniac Magee (upper elem/middle)

Free site:
Book Summary Form: Charlotte’s Web

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or comments. Our next Eye on Curriculum blog will tackle more ELA-related activities to have you amply prepared for the fun of March Reading Month.

Posted by Kathy Butler and Lindsey Elton, abcteach Team

Eye on Curriculum: Common Core

February 6th, 2013
Common Core on abcteach

 

Welcome to abcteach’s new blog series: Eye on Curriculum. Each month we will be highlighting a different subject or section, along with supporting categories, materials, and teaching ideas from the abcteach staff.

February’s focus is Common Core Standards. The Common Core Standards Initiative, which has been adopted by 45 U.S. states, four territories, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity, was created to “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. They are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college, careers, and the global economy.”

abcteach realizes the classroom shift and your need to access materials that fit within the Common Core parameters. We’ve created a Common Core Section, individualized ELA and Math categories, and are classifying cross-site materials to reflect the required age and skill-based concepts.

Example: Grade 3 Standards
The following is an example of what you will find when searching for Common Core materials for Grade 3. Click on the ELA section, and locate activities that are assigned as Informational Text, Language, Reading, or Writing. Your Math materials are structured in very much the same fashion. Sub-categories for Geometry, Measurement & Data, and Operations & Algebraic Thinking provide worksheets that address those skills at the nationally recognized 3rd grade level. You will find additional items, including an ELA Middle School (6-8) category, on the abcteach Member Site.

ELA
Common Core Reading - Grade 3

 

Math
Common Core Math - Grade 3

 

Over the next month, we will be highlighting new materials, classroom activity ideas,
and ways that abcteach can support your class in achieving these standards. Please let
us know your thoughts and comments; we’re here to help.

Posted by Lindsey Elton, abcteach Team

Winter Learning Activities

January 30th, 2013

Although winter’s bitter presence has only reared it’s head a few times this year, our cold weather season isn’t leaving anytime soon. For those of us in the north, that means dark days, multiple layers, and oftentimes, more hours spent inside. (Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow!)

To help make the most of your students’ or child’s time indoors, abcteach has a variety of learning activities for all ages. Take a look at the listing below and adapt it how you see fit. The items are categorized according to age groups, and can be used in class or at home.

Family Activity Planners
"My Neighborhood" Activity Planner

abcteach’s Family Activity Planners are designed to turn everyday moments into learning opportunities. Activities contain related abcteach materials, and are grouped under specific ages and subjects to make it easy for the adults in charge. There are twelve in total, including “At the Restaurant,” “My Family and I,” and “Fun at Home.”

 

My Neighborhood Theme

Pre-K and K

• Write down your first and last name, address, and phone number. Practice this aloud to your parents or caregiver.
• Name community helpers from your neighborhood and create paper bag puppets to tell their story. Related abcteach Activity

Primary

• Read about neighborhood buildings. Related abcteach Activity
• Discuss “stranger danger” and what to do when strangers approach.

Upper Elementary

• Take a walk around your neighborhood and list all that you see. Then, using your list, map it out. Related abcteach Activity
• Using a cardboard box or poster paper, construct a model of your neighborhood. Include trees, buildings, cars – get creative!


Winter Activities

Snow Decoding Pre-K -1st

• Snowman Pattern Recognition
• Booklet: Play in the Snow
• Early Reader: Mittens
• I Can Make a Snowman: Early Reader Booklet and Activity Pages

Primary

• Snowman Glyphs
• Frostie’s Line Graph
Frostie's Line Graph
• Book Activity: The Snowy Day
• Book Activity: Stella, Queen of the Snow
• Decoding: Winter Snowflakes

Middle/Upper Elem

• Unit: Winter Precipitation
• Comprehension: Types of Snowflakes
• Snowman Word Search
• Snowman Glyphs
• Interactive: The Iditarod
• Snowflake Formation

Snowman Pattern

All Ages

• Snowman Grids
• Snowman Paper Bag – For younger kids, paper bag is used to read personal stories; Older students can use as a prop while reading stories to younger children
• Snowman Venn Diagram
• Snowflake Pattern – Can be used for collages, as a word wheel, color practice, etc.
• Winter Activity Chart – Useful as a homeschool activity, or an organizational tool by parents
• Snowflake Shapebook – Displays final drafts of writing projects,
coloring practice, observation journals, etc.

Posted by Lindsey Elton and Nancy Elton, abcteach Team

Here at abcteach, we’ve just launched a big upgrade to our search tool that will make finding the perfect teaching activity much easier. Here’s a rundown of the main improvements:

1.  More Relevant – Our search algorithm has been improved, and results are now more relevant to your searched keywords.

2.  More Visual – Results are now viewable in Thumbnail or List view, giving you quick access to a large document preview (click the  icon next to a search result), related categories, and more.

3.  More Control – We’ve added dropdown menus that filter your results, helping you find exactly what you need for your class or homeschool. You can easily filter results to specific categories (Math, Reading, etc.) and file types (PDF, Notebook, Flipchart, etc.). With the Clip Art on/off toggle, you can control whether or not to include images in your search.

4.  More Advanced – With the advanced controls, viewable by pressing the “Advanced” on/off toggle, you can search for a specific phrase or exclude keywords from your results. If you’re a power user and want even more control over your results, our search now supports Boolean search operators.

To find that special activity for your class, try abcteach’s search tool for yourself. You’ll find the search bar on the top right corner of any page on abcteach or the Member’s Site (members.abcteach.com). For a visual run through of the new features, watch the search tutorial below.

 


Posted by Stephen Kemsley, abcteach Team

Wishing All the Best in 2013

December 30th, 2012

Looking back at 2012, the year was full of new additions to both sites at abcteach.
Our staff continues to work towards the goal of creating materials that help reach your students and support their love of learning. We’ve collaborated with fellow educators, industry colleagues, and you, our abcteach community. The following are a few highlights:

• Math, ASL, and Science Videos – Free | Member
• New abcteach Video
• Common Core Standards Section – Free | Member
• Advanced Search Capabilities
• Math Magician App (available on iTunes)
• abcteach Blog – guests posts and anti-bullying series
• Hundreds of New Materials – Interactives, Special Needs, Cultural Holidays
• and more!

As you are home for the holidays, we wish you much happiness with your family, friends, and loved ones. It’s this time together, now more than ever, that is the true meaning of the season.

abcteach is proud to continue supporting your educational and classroom needs (and hopefully add a little fun, as well!). We thank you for being a part of our community, and we look forward to the opportunities ahead in 2013.

To your continued success,


The abcteach Team

The month of December is a celebratory time for many cultures and denominations around the world. It’s a time of history, religion, family, friends, and tradition.

Our December lesson planning blog features general holiday-themed ideas, along with activities that shine on multi-culturalism. The Festival of Lights segment comes from veteran teacher and abcteach staffer, Nancy Elton. She provides ideas that were successfully used in her class, along with lesson plan notes, group activities, and school-wide events.

Festival of Lights
Classrooms

• Break into groups and research a handful of December holidays. Spend time learning the history behind them and how they’ve changed through the years. Examples include: Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Le Réveillon, St. Lucia Day, Las Posadas, Boxing Day, etc.

• With the help of parents, older siblings, or classroom aides…

• Food – Delve into the traditional meals of a country or culture, and pick a dish (or two) to share with the class. Be sure to make enough for the entire classroom to taste, and check with the teacher beforehand for possible food allergies

• Clothing – What is customary dress during this time of year? Are there accessories or small props that can be brought in? What is the meaning behind these items?

• Customs – Special music, dance, lights/candles, rituals… what do these activities symbolize? How long has the custom been practiced? How is it similar to activities in other countries?

• Culminate your monthly research with a holiday party representing all of the countries/cultures that you’ve discovered.

abcteach activities

• Holidays
• Seasonal Clip Art
• Holiday/Seasonal – Languages

Curriculum Resources

• Center for International Studies, UIC – Countries and Cultures Around the World
• ePals Global Community – Holidays and Festivals
• Scholastic.com – December Celebrations

School-wide

• Peace circle – Each week, the entire school would get together for our peace circle time. During the holiday season, we would play music, sing songs, wear festive dress, or display traditional items from a variety of cultures.

• Explore holidays class by class, or by grade. This would allow students to concentrate on various aspects of a singular country or culture. Projects were hung in the hall, and presentations were given in class or during peace circle.

• Holiday Bazaar – We held this event in the gym, but it can be done in various settings depending on how your school is laid out. Each class was responsible for a certain aspect of the holidays (food, music, clothing, etc.), or a certain country. We would have carolers, small craft activities, and treat bags to collect items given out at the booths. In certain years, we held either a multi-grade play or musical. Family and friends were invited to watch and participate, which played a huge role in making sure each activity was appropriately supervised.

Home Holiday Activity Planner Highlights
The following activity ideas are taken from our Family Activity Planners. These themed sets (12 in all) provide fun, age-appropriate learning activities that are intended to turn everyday moments into learning opportunities.

Math and Science

• Make holiday candy and treats. Learn how to follow a recipe with proper measurements and conversions. Enjoy!

• Design a colorful December calendar. Get creative by using as many types of materials as possible, including magazines, clothing material, and food.

• It’s a wrap! Gift wrap together; estimate the amount of paper, ribbon, and tape needed for each item.

Related abcteach Materials

• Fractions
• Fillable Calendars
• Measurement
• Recipes

Social Studies

• Locate the “North Pole” on a map or globe. Learn about weather and animals from that region. What do the trees and landscape look like? How do people dress?  Extend this to any of the other countries which your students are exploring.

• Using a world map, identify where each country is that the students are studying.  This is a great time to introduce the compass rose, prime and intermediate directions and terminology, longitude and latitude, and continents and oceans.

• Have students interview a parent, grandparent, or trusted adult. Have them learn about their childhood holiday experiences. How are their interviewees’ past experiences different from their current traditions?

• Learn about organizations in your community that are helping people in need. Pick a favorite and help the students donate time, money, or needed items to help in their cause.

• Create a time capsule. With your family, fill a container with items (personal and general) that are unique to the season. Fill the container, then save until next year to open.

Related abcteach Materials

• Family Theme Unit
• Weather
• Writing Prompts
• MapsMap Unit (Member Material)
• Grids

Reading and Writing

• Tell a story about a favorite holiday memory. If not old enough, have a sibling write it down. Draw a picture to go with your story.

• Find holiday books and share what was read with friends or family members.

• Create a list of 5 friends or family members to whom you would like to send holiday cheer. Locate their addresses and send them a card. abcteach offers many pieces of clipart to design that perfect card.

• That happened in December? Use the abcteach December journal prompts (Member item) to learn and write about December happenings.

Related Free abcteach Materials

• Patterns and Coloring Pages
• Christmas Books
• Greeting Cards
• December
• Seasonal Clip Art
• Holiday Book Units

Related abcteach Member Materials

• Activities to Favorite Holiday Books

• Clifford’s Christmas
• Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia
• Polar Express How the Grinch Stole Christmas
• Arthur’s Perfect Christmas

• Stories about Global Holidays

• Mikuláš Eve
• Boxing Day
• Al-Hegira
• Diwali

Holiday Activities and Games

• Winter Art – Use food coloring and water to create ‘paint.’ Using a spray bottle or similar plastic bottle and create winter artwork in the snow.

• Pine Cone Bird Feeders – Spread pine cones with peanut butter and roll them in bird seed. Hang them from trees with ribbons or string.

• Puppet Show – Create fun paper bag puppets or paper roll pals and put on a play for family or friends.

Related abcteach Materials

• Holiday Activity Planner
• Paper Bag Puppets
• Fun Activities
• Crossword Puzzles

We wish you the best of luck in the last few weeks, and we hope these holiday activities help support your students and class. If you have any ideas or activities that work well for you, please let us know! We’d love to pass it along to the abcteach community.

Happy Holidays!


Posted by Lindsey Elton and Nancy Elton, abcteach Team

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