Traditions Unit
Focus Poetry
"Up on the Housetop"
Shared Reading
Cat's Colors by Jane Cabrera
Journal Topics
*Draw Santa.
*Draw Santa's sleigh and reindeer.
*What do you think the North Pole looks like?
*At Christmas, I can smell/hear/see/taste/feel......
*Christmas is.....
*If you worked for Santa, what would your job be?
*What would you GIVE to Santa for Christmas?
*What would be the best present to give your Mom or Dad?
Centers Ideas
*art center: make "fold-over reindeer sculpture," Santa face, torn paper wreaths

fine motor center: trace reindeer, scribble art Santa and Christmas tree, perforate Christmas
tree, pattern red and white beads on pipe cleaners to make "candy canes,"  string popcorn and
cranberries to create old-fashioned garlands

writing: "At Christmas, I can see..."  "Dear Santa, please send me a......."
"I want to give......."

sewing: sew bell shapes
Over the River and Through the Woods by Lydia Maria Childs

Rotten Ralph's Rotten Christmas by Jack Gantos
After reading the story, discuss Ralph's antics.  Do a "book talk" on the tale, recording
likes and dislikes on the chart.   Students then record Ralph's most rotten moment on
"I think Ralph was most rotten when ......"

The Christmas Spirit Strikes Rotten Ralph by Jack Gantos

The Nutcracker by Deborah Hautzig

Night Tree by Eve Bunting
The Biggest Most Beautiful Christmas Tree by Amye Rosenberg
Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstain
These stories are great lead-ins to decorating mini-trees.  Each child traces and cuts out
as many green "hands" as they can.  Then they glue them (fingers down) onto green paper
cones.  They curl the "fingers" to resemble limbs and add beads, sequins, etc. to decorate
their trees.

The Raffi Christmas Treasury illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott
This is a great collection of illustrated Christmas songs and carols.  We sing as many as
we can each day.  We usually make "candles" from toilet paper rolls (roll white typing
paper around the tube and tuck in the edges, add paper flame, etc.) to take when we go
caroling through the school during the last week.

Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh

Shh! by Julie Sykes

The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore, illustrated by Jan Brett
The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore, illustrated by Douglas Gorsline
Read this classic tale with soft Christmas music in the background.... they love this!  
Discuss all the rhyming pairs in the book.  Brainstorm more pairs as a group.  After lots of
rhyming practice, children will complete their own
Christmas Ryming Book.  Each page has
a picture and word (
shells, train, kites, bee, etc. ).  Students think of a rhyming holiday word
for each page, then they illustrate and write it.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
*We read the book and watch the video (the music and narration can't be beat), discussing
the spirit of Christmas and giving.... and how Christmas can't be stolen.  Students discuss
how they would try to make a grinch grin.
Then each student completes a Grinch from head to toe..... on his face there is a BIG grin.  
In this grin, students write and illustrate  "
To make a Grinch grin, I would... "

Santa's New Sled by Sharon Peters

Wake Up, Bear...... It's Christmas! by Stephen Gammell

Tree of Cranes by Allen Say

Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad by Mercer Mayer

Peter Spier's
Christmas!   (a fabulous wordless book)

Hedgehog's Christmas Tree by Kathryn Jackson

The Night Before Christmas In Texas That Is by Leon A. Harris
We like to discuss the similarities and differences between this version and Clement
Moore's original.  It's also fun to discuss which parts are truly Texan (since we live in that
great state!).... and which are stereotypes.

The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett

Santa's Secret Helper by Andrew Clements

ABC Christmas by Ida DeLage
After reading, we brainstorm other holiday words, not mentioned in the book.  Students
are given a large construction paper Christmas tree with the letters: C, H, R, I, S, T, M, A,
S  printed vertically.  Students will fill in Christmas words that begin with those letters:
C ookies
H appy
R eindeer
I cing
S anta
T ree
M erry
A ngel
S tockings          
(These are just examples of what students might write.)

It's Christmas by Jack Prelutsky  (a collection of Christmas poems)

Jingle Bells (a Peter Pan Book and Recording)

Who Said Red? by Mary Serfozo
This is a great book about colors.  And since there are so many red things this time of
year, this book is perfect!  The class will brainstorm holiday things that are red.  Then each
student can complete his own "
Who Said Red?" booklet.  Students illustrate each page (
Rudolph's nose, Santa's suit, candy canes, lights, berries, etc. ).

Santa Claus and His Elves by Mauri Kunnas
*Students illustrate a "Visit to the North Pole" booklet.  Each page reads:
At the North Pole, I could see...
At the North Pole, I could hear...
At the North Pole, I could smell....
At the North Pole, I could taste...
At the North Pole, I could touch....

Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
*We always listen to the tape while reading this story.... William Hurt's narration and the
sound effects are magical!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Barbara Shook Hazen

Bialosky's Christmas by Leslie McGuire

The 12 Cats of Christmas by Kandy Radzinski

The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

The 12 Days of Christmas  illustrated by Sheilah Beckett
The 12 Days of Christmas  illustrated by Jan Brett
*We love singing this carol with added motions.  We also complete a
"12 Days of Christmas" book to take along when we go caroling.  Students match the set (of
drummers drumming, swans aswimming, five golden rings, etc.) to the correct number
word on each page.

On Christmas Eve by Margaret Wise Brown
Click on book covers for summaries, reviews, and purchase info from
*We estimate how many jingle bells are in the guessing jar.

*We make "strings of lights" using 3 colors of paper for the lights and black yarn for the wire.  
Students may create their own patterns (from ABC to AABCC, as complex as they want).

*Of course, we also make the traditional red and green paper chains!

*We graph:
favorite Christmas song,
where we will spend the holidays,
favorite Christmas treat

*Students complete an
"I Can See" booklet to practice reading number and color words.  Students
illustrate each page:
I can see one red hat.
I can see two blue eyes.
I can see one red nose.
I can see one white beard.
I can see one red suit.
I can see one black belt.
I can see two black boots.
I can see Santa!
ChildFun                                     Santa Claus
Christmas Links                           Mrs. Broome's Christmas Unit  
K-Crew's Gingerbread Unit