Winter Lesson Plans and Bulletin Boards November 19 2010

Teachers, Get ready to bookmark this fun Winter activities list, because you'll find it helpful all season.

Hit "print" on your browser and create a "Winter Activities" file. Each activity comes with free printables and instructions. Many activities below can also be posted on your winter classroom bulletin board.

  • December Holidays Process Chart - Compare and contrast winter holidays, such as Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. As winter approaches, children are excited about the holidays they share with family and friends. Teaching the children to recognize the meanings, traditions, special foods and games associated with each holiday (Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa) can help the students and parents learn to appreciate their differences, while still holding dear their own families beliefs and traditions.  Check-out several books about each holiday from the library. Set aside time each day to read a couple of books. After reading aloud each book use what was learned while reading to fill in the blanks on the chart. Students can display their charts on the classroom bulletin board. Here's a holiday readers variety pack to help out with this lesson.
  • Letter to Santa - Here’s a free template for a Letter to Santa to use during writers’ workshop. Knowing the children’s family traditions is important. Referring to the Family Tree (which can be completed at the beginning of the year) can help determine the students able to do this assignment, and if you feel it would be appropriate for a classroom bulletin board, or more appropriate for a small, rotating, group activity.
  • Top 5 Hannukah Activities - Read a story, play games, cook, and watch a short video.
  • Christmas Handprint Wreath - Each wreath is unique and a treasured gift for parents.
  • Writer's Workshop and Winter Scene Shoebox Craft - Students will love creating their own winter scenes and stories. In addition to the printable book, you'll find a printable story web, draft, writing process and parts of a story. The stories can be displayed on the classroom bulletin board. The winter shoe boxes can also be put on display.
  • Reindeer Race Craft and Game - You'll want to make sure you have one laminated and put in a shoebox for your classroom game cabinet. Perfect for rainy day lunches and educational time-fillers (teaches magnetism).
  • Winter Warm Fuzzy - Your students will love to create an adorable warm fuzzy and write Winter Warm Fuzzy stories to display in your classroom. To create books for the stories, fold 3 pages of 8.5 X 11 paper in half. Staple three times on the folded side. Students then write the title, author, illustrator (their own names) on the cover and title page. The writing process, story web & draft, and parts of a story printables will help the students get started.
  • Snowman Paper Bag Puppets - As an alternative option, instead of using the template on paper bags for puppets, glue the snowmen on one side of large, blue construction paper (12" X 18") folded in half. Tape student created snowmen stories on the other side of the folded construction paper(written on 8.5 X 11 paper). This activity is perfect for a winter bulletin board. You could also do the same type of activity with the Santa Claus Paper Bag Puppet template.  Then, put the Letter to Santa on the other side of the large construction paper.

Parent Gifts and Winter Classroom Decor

Perfect to send home as gifts for parents and to decorate your classroom.

  • Free Christmas Tree Ornament Templates
  • Candy Cane Reindeer Ornament Craft
  • Snowman Photo Ornament
  • Winter Snow Globe Craft
  • More Winter Teaching Tips:

    Encourage Parent Volunteers

    If you are blessed with helpful parent volunteers, this is a great time to make use of them. Include a note in your classroom newsletter encouraging parents to volunteer. Explain that they can read a children's book (about their families special holiday, such as Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa), and help out with a craft or lesson plan to compliment it. (Such as any of the crafts and lesson plans above). Encouraging parents to volunteer to share their family traditions can help every family feel cared for and respected as you complete the December Holidays Process Chart.

    Get Ready for the Substitute

    Just in case you catch a winter bug, keep some of the above activities on hand as emergency substitute plans in a file on your desk. Don't forget to keep a big stack of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa books there, too.

    When to Use the word "Holiday" and When Not To

    We all know that this word can be used appropriately, and not appropriately. Using the blanketed word of "holiday" can actually be disrespectful and biased, especially when referring to a Christmas tree or menorah. We don't call a menorah a "holiday candle". Lighting the menorah is a very special tradition in Jewish culture. Calling it a "holiday candle" would be disrespectful, as it's also disrespectful to call a Christmas tree a "holiday tree".  So, keeping this in mind, we can help all our students feel included and respected. Read more at Kelly's post, Is Christmas a Bad Word?

    Stay Away from Sugar Cookies

    After my first year of teaching I never allowed a parent to bring in sugar cookies and hype the students up in the middle of the day. That was probably my worst day ever.  Save it for right before dismissal. ;) Here are more tips for Classroom Management and Holidays.