Math Workshop

Themes & Holidays

My Classroom

"Oh What Fun!" it is in December

December is definitely one of those tricky months for a teacher. Excitement is growing as the holidays are near and student engagement is exactly what you need! This post is going to be a hodgepodge of all my favorite things to help keep your students engaged up until winter break!

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Our December math unit of study includes nonstandard measurement. Our lessons focus around ordering objects by length from shortest to longest and the content specific language around this topic. When exploring this skill, students can build measurement trees. 

I provide students with different colored paper. They begin to cut strips of all different thicknesses. I explain to my students that they could either order from "shortest to tallest" and move from top of the tree to the bottom of the tree or vice versa. 

I love how students get the freedom to create! It even gives them the opportunity to practice pattern making. This hands-on math activity is perfectly paired with the heartwarming book, The Great Spruce. You can find it here.

Each year I have a "gingerbread week." Our bookshelf is filled with all the different variations of The Gingerbread Man. We choose our favorites to read and then build a life sized 2-D gingerbread house to record all of our comparisons. The students work with partners to "decorate the house" by writing the title, drawing a labeling the characters, listing the refrain and describing the end. Below you can see a glimpse into our student directed gingerbread house.

Our social studies curriculum is focused around comparing families and their cultures. In order to make this engaging and meaningful for our students, the first grade team adopted an annual tradition. Families are asked if they are interested in volunteering to come in and share about their family's tradition. This usually includes a read aloud, activity or craft. Teachers arrange a time for each family that volunteers to come in. The students love having something extra special to take home with them each day.

In addition, I integrate a holidays around the world unit. There are so many great units online and it's important that you find the one that is perfect for you. My personal favorite is Globe Trot Scott by the fabulous Lyndsey Kuster. You can find it in her TPT shop here!

Check out scenes from our holidays around the world unit below.

Russian Nesting Doll

Holiday Globe Trot Country Display

France- shoes by the fire waiting for St. Nicholas to come!

Feliz Navidad! Decorated poinsettias after traveling to Mexico.


When traveling to Sweden and celebrating St. Lucia's Day, we used the stained glass window craft from Maria over at KinderCraze. Click the image below to download her template!

Earlier you saw a clip of our Mooseltoe activity. This idea came from Cara Carroll over at The First Grade Parade. I love how students can express their creativity when decoring Mooseltoe.

You can find the book here.

Our last week before winter break is filled with many themed days! We have a school-wide winter wonderland day where we wear our pjs to school, a Grinch day where we wear green and do many Grinch activities and my latest addition, Reindeer Day!

Reindeer Day is filled with reindeer read alouds, creating a pet reindeer and making reindeer food! You can find the reindeer craft and activities free in First Grade School House's TPT shop here and the reindeer food tag here!  The ingredients and directions can be found here.

Click the images below to shop these great reindeer book classics!


Hosting an Elf Exchange can also be fun in the classroom. Students wrap up a gently used book and bring it to school. For a greeting, students choose a name out of a hat and give their wrapped up book to the person. It continues until everyone has been given a book to take home.

Lastly, I wanted to share an idea for student gifts with you. Last year I was able to snag some socks from the Target Dollar Spot. I paired the socks with a book from Scholastic Reading Club using this tag below. Grab your copy of the tag for free here!

Be sure to click any images from my posts to "pin" it to your Pinterest boards just in case you may want to use these ideas in the future! :)

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