Activities and Lessons
for Holidays in the Classroom

Winter Neighborhood
Catherine Carlson

I do house/tree/night in the weeks before Christmas. We read about houses around the world and make our homes from construction paper. Then we write descriptions and use the address number as a "key." For trees we study deciduous/coniferous, do a lot of graphing, continue our year-long study of our "class" tree by visiting it, drawing the "winter" tree and then writing about it. We plant (and read) paperwhites and begin a class observation journal.We also cut deciduous and coniferous trees in a directed lesson and add to the houses. We make a bird-feeder out of pinecones. Rigby has a great step-by-step non-fiction (level 6 or 7, I think.)The last week we study NIGHT. We do some star and planet stuff, I teach them to draw a five pointed star which we add to the winter neighborhood, and we read a reader's theater about the planets. We also have a pajama party and invite in oral reading models with whom we have relationships (family and friends). So we end up with a winter neighborhood in the hall. I (and others)get to read Christmas/Hanukkah /Kwanzaa literature as appropriate. I teach first-grade.

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