Sunday, December 6, 2015

December Writing Crafts

December is one of my favorite months for writing because kids get SO creative when Santa Claus is involved. :)

December writing crafts perfect for Christmas crafts and writing fun

Of course you write letters to Santa or about what you want for Christmas but I LOVE writing prompts that make kids laugh and think a little bit. One of my favorite prompts is "If Santa Rode the Bus" - you will get some seriously funny answers!

December Writing Crafts that are so much fun - perfect no prep Christmas crafts!


Another prompt you'll get a lot of funny responses from is "If Santa Got Stuck" - ask your students what they think would happen if Santa got stuck in the chimney! 

Check out all these fun December writing prompts for Christmas and winter!

Maybe the reindeer would help pull him out? Maybe his elves would come save him?
Speaking of elves...
Elf writing activities and crafts that are so much fun for December


I know a lot of you have classroom elves that play silly pranks on your class in December. If you do, I created a craft for you to have your students write about your class elf.

Elf writing activities and crafts that are so much fun for December

Another fun activity is to have students write about what THEY would do if they were elves. I include a boy version and a girl version so kiddos can color it to look like themselves. If you alternate red and green paper like this, it makes SUCH a cute bulletin board!

Elf writing activities and crafts that are so much fun for December

As you may have read in my November Writing Crafts post, I like to use fun holidays or themes to practice the different writing genres like how to writing, opinion writing, etc. For some fun HOW TO writing, you can write about how to decorate a Christmas tree or how to wrap a present. They're things kids know how to do so the writing should come naturally, allowing you to help them focus on the structure of the writing (first, next, last, etc.) 

How to decorate the tree writing craft and other great December writing prompts and activities

How to wrap a present craft and other great December writing prompts and activities


My personal favorite holiday how to, though, is How to be on the Nice List. It's a GREAT activity to review making good choices. You can make it a great whole group lesson and brainstorm ideas on how to get on the nice list. A super fun anchor chart is to draw a line down the middle of the chart and write "Naughty List" and "Nice List" on either side and have them help you fill it in! 



For opinion writing, have students write about THE BEST PRESENT. It could be the best present they ever received or maybe what would be the best present to receive. 


For more fun writing, have students pretend they got a reindeer as a pet! What would they name it? What would they do with it? 


What I love most about these writing crafts are how simple they are. It can be like pulling teeth to get some kids to write and you may even want to pull your own hair out trying to cut out 23 heads, 46 arms, etc. to prepare a writing craft for the holidays. 

With these, literally the ONLY thing you have to do is print them. You also don't have the stress of kids losing their pieces (the horror!) since it's all one piece. 

The other obstacle with crafts, or at least I feel this way, is TIME. These are soo much quicker because kids just write, color, cut, and glue. Since they're so quick, you can even do one every day or every other day. They make fun mini lessons to brainstorm together then send them off to do the writing and craft. They get really quick at them! :) 

They're also wonderful for differentiation purposes.. every craft comes in 3 levels (4 writing lines as pictured in all of these as well as 5 and 6 line options) AND all 3 levels have "extra" pages you can add to the bottom of the stack to make the story longer. They could be entire books if you have kiddos that love to write!

Speaking of books, I LOVE books about the gingerbread man! There are so many fun ones out there. This is a fun craft to do after reading a fun gingerbread man book with your students.
They turn out much cuter in person.. for some reason, my camera hates green paper. :)

Gingerbread man writing craft perfect to read with Gingerbread Man books in December

Okay, okay, last Christmas one (I love Christmas!) but I had to share this one. 

Brainstorm with your kids what Santa does AFTER Christmas? What else does he do all year? He works really hard to prepare for Christmas... don't you think he needs a vacation?? Where would he go? What would he do? Brainstorming this one whole group is hi.lar.i.ous. Do it! Then have them write about it! :) 


All of the above are just some of the Christmas crafts in my Christmas NO PREP Writing Crafts Bundle!
You can also get the reindeer, gingerbread man, or elves writing crafts separately if you only want those but the bundle gets you a lot more for less and is a lot more fun in my opinion. :)


December is also a really great time to incorporate social studies and geography by studying how other people celebrate in December. In my Christmas Around the World writing crafts bundle, I have some easy crafts you can do after learning about the different holidays.

Christmas Around the World writing activities and crafts that are perfect for learning about how Christmas is celebrated around the world


For Hanukkah:

Hanukkah writing craft activity and other fun Christmas around the world ideas


If you want to get brave, you can let them put glitter on their menorah which makes it extra cute! Have them sprinkle some gold glitter on the flames to make them shine. :)

Hanukkah writing craft activity and other fun Christmas around the world ideas


If you teach the customs of each holiday, the dreidel game is always a huge hit! Teach them how to play and it's a GREAT game to practice counting/addition/etc. For the actual game, depending on which side the dreidel lands on, kids either take from the pot, give to the pot, or do nothing. So give your kiddos yellow cubes or yellow pom pom balls (to represent gelt) and a dreidel to spin. You can usually find 4 packs of dreidels at the dollar store! You can easily make it a fun math game by placing dot stickers on each side that say +1, -2, etc. to tell them what to do with their gelt. It's a ton of fun!

How to play dreidel and other Hanukkah writing craft activities


Another craft I love to do for Hanukkah is hand print menorahs!

FREE Hanukkah handprint craft for kids

To do this craft, paint each kids' hand yellow on their palms, blue on their fingers, and orange on their finger tips. Only do 1 thumb and leave the other clean for the candle in the middle. Then, have them put their thumbs on top of each other (painted thumb on bottom) and press down to make a menorah!

Directions for how to do a FREE Hanukkah handprint craft for kids

I love the way they turned out!! Once the paint dries, you can have them color in the "Happy Hanukkah" and the border. :) 
Directions for how to do a FREE Hanukkah handprint craft for kids

You can grab my Happy Hanukkah mat FREE to do this craft too!


For Kwanzaa, I have these 2 fun crafts:

Kwanzaa writing craft activity and other fun Christmas around the world ideas

You can also add the glitter to the flames of the candles of the kinara for Kwanzaa as well! I am usually weary of glitter but I have come to accept that I will somehow find glitter on me every single day in December whether I use it or not.

For St. Lucia's Day, I made these 2 options:

St. Lucia's Day writing craft activity and other fun Christmas around the world ideas

St. Lucia's Day writing craft activity and other fun Christmas around the world ideas


For this holiday, it's super fun to also have the kids make hats! 
For the girls, use a strip of green construction paper and staple it to fit their head. Then, have them make candles (glue a yellow flame onto a small strip of white cardstock so it's thick enough to stand up on its own) to glue onto the green construction paper. Have them glue it into the back so it pops out of the wreath. 
For the boys, fold a piece of white paper into a cone. Have them cut out 3 yellow stars to glue to the front of it. You can also have them make a star wand as well!


Then there is Las Posadas!

Las Posadas writing craft activity and other fun Christmas around the world ideas

I grew up in a small border town in Arizona so there was a piñata at almost every outdoor birthday party I went to as a kid and I LOVED them. What kid doesn't like to be blindfolded and handed a bat to swing as hard as they can at a fun object with the hopes that candy rains on them?! I LOVED them! Whether you were the momentary rock star to break open the piñata or not, you still got to run under the piñata to gather as much candy as your little hands could hold as soon as it was broken!

Las Posadas piñata writing craft activity and other fun Christmas around the world ideas

It's hard for me to imagine a piñata-less childhood, but if your students have yet to experience them, see if you can create the experience for them! Maybe ask your principal for permission first, though.. maybe :) If not, you could watch a video on it and then have the students write how to do it. You can also make your own paper mache piñata with your class!

Also for Las Posadas, I have this craft with Mary and Joseph if you teach your students about how Las Posadas is celebrated.

Las Posadas writing craft activity and other fun Christmas around the world ideas



Like I said, you can grab ALL of these Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, St. Lucia's Day, and Las Posadas writing activities in the Christmas Around the World Writing Crafts Bundle or you can get them separately by clicking on the holiday.

Christmas Around the World writing activities and crafts that are perfect for learning about how Christmas is celebrated around the world

You can also snag ALL of these crafts and A TON MORE for a bunch of different holidays and themes in the NO PREP Writing Crafts Growing Bundle. It already has over 190 crafts in it! Once you buy it, you get all the new writing prompts I add to it for FREE so it's a great deal. I've been adding to that bundle like crazy and every time I do, I raise the price accordingly... and I plan on adding a ton more crafts for each holiday and different topics and writing themes so the earlier you get it, the more you save because you can re-download it at any time to get all the new crafts I add to it free! Aren't growing bundles awesome?! :) I wrote this post about them awhile back!


Gosh, I love Christmas so I want to share just a few more things with you.

Firstly, I have to show off how adorable my cat Romeo is in his Christmas sweater. Yes, he's in a sweater. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that's not that out of the ordinary. :)



I've also switched my behavior chart to Christmas! I LOVE it!! Get it here if you want it too!
I wrote about switching out my behavior chart each month in my November post. It keeps it fresh and we all know teachers need all the help with managing behavior they can get in December! For this one, your students will hopefully be on their best behavior trying to get promoted to elf so they can take home the Elf Award to show their parents how awesome they are!



And my FAVORITE Christmas math activity is my reindeer mystery picture!
Kids grab mini cards that tell them what color to color each number with either the number "38" OR with base ten blocks where they have to figure out the number (it comes in both versions for easy differentiation)!



And it reveals..... a reindeer!!

And if you were sweet enough to read all the way to the end of this post, guess what? FREE stuff for you! Grab these NO PREP Christmas pages for free!! Enjoy! :)



Want more free stuff from me? Join Miss Giraffe's Class so you never miss out on fun ideas and exclusive free stuff from me only for subscribers sent directly to your email!

Also, follow me on Pinterest for more teaching ideas!

You can also check out more of my monthly crafts here:
February Writing Crafts
March Writing Crafts
April Writing Crafts
November Writing Crafts
October Writing Crafts

Hope you all have a WONDERFUL holiday season!!

Friday, November 6, 2015

November Writing Crafts

November writing is all about being thankful - thankful for what we have and for what others have done to allow us to have what we have! From Thanksgiving to Veterans Day, there are a ton of great writing activities and prompts you can do in November!

November writing crafts perfect for Thanksgiving writing


The first event we write about in November is Election Day!

Election Day writing crafts that are no prep and so much fun to learn about the election and voting

Election Day may not seem like the most exciting thing to talk about but it can be a lot of fun because kids LOVE to vote. There are a lot of great books you can read and then follow it up with a writing activity about Election Day and why it is important to vote.

My favorite activity is to have a class vote!

Get an empty tissue box and wrap it in red/blue construction paper and create a ballot box.

Election Day writing crafts that are no prep and so much fun to learn about the election and voting

Do a few silly mock votes first where students simply raise their hands with their heads down (since voting is supposed to be confidential) and tally it up on the white board and count it up with them for some sneaky tally marks math practice as well ;) You can ask silly questions like "Would you rather be a dragon or a unicorn?" and do a few quick mock votes.

Then, tell students you're going to do a real vote where they get to decide on something! 
Write the 2 choices on the board and give them a strip of paper to write their choice on, fold, and place in the ballot box when they're done. If you want to be fancy, you could print up little voting sheets that have the 2 choices and a box but that's up to you! After all the votes are in, you can empty the box and go through each vote, saying it out loud and adding a tally mark on the board... then total it and announce the winning choice!

As you can see in the green "My Vote" writing activity above, I wrote 2 choices on the ballot - extra recess or craft - for students to choose from. The ballot I provide is empty so you can write, or have students write, any 2 choices in there that you want. Then, they mark their vote and write about it. 

I love this activity because students get to participate in a vote that matters to them and see that every vote counts and matters. Pick something to vote on that they care about - maybe which activity they do Friday or what snack to have that day. 

You can grab all these in the Election Day Writing Activities pack.


The next holiday in November is VETERANS DAY!

Veterans Day writing activities that are perfect no prep crafts

Veterans Day is a time we say thank you to the veterans that have served our country. I created these fun Veterans Day crafts to honor our veterans. I made both a male and female soldier and both a male and female patriotic kid so you have a few options to choose from.

You can use them to write letters to soldiers or to write about Veterans Day and why we celebrate it.

Veterans Day writing activities that are perfect no prep crafts Veterans Day writing activities that are perfect no prep crafts

These make great bulletin boards if you give each student a boy or girl craft to color like themselves and let them choose red, white, or blue paper as the background - it makes a really awesome patriotic display! These are all in the Veterans Day Writing Activities pack.

Don't think I forgot you, my worldwide friends!
I also made Remembrance Day writing activities for those of you who celebrate Remembrance Day:

Remembrance Day writing activities that are great no prep crafts - Canadian and Australian flags and also no flag options!

I made ones for Canada with the Canadian flag...

Remembrance Day writing activities that are great no prep crafts - Canadian and Australian flags and also no flag options!


For Australia with the Australian flag...

Remembrance Day writing activities that are great no prep crafts - Canadian and Australian flags and also no flag options!


and I also have a general version of a male soldier and also a female soldier that any country can use. :)

Remembrance Day writing activities that are great no prep crafts - Canadian and Australian flags and also no flag options!



Then it's time for THANKSGIVING writing fun!!



In my holiday writing activities, I like to include as many writing genres as possible for the writing prompts - how to writing, opinion writing, creative writing, narrative writing, etc. so that fun, seasonal activities can still be really educational.

Thanksgiving is a time where we think about what we're thankful for which is a great writing topic!

First, brainstorm all of the things you're thankful for together as a group.

What I am thankful for writing activity to do whole group for November Thanksgiving

Any time you are brainstorming together, I think it's great to have students add detail to their idea while you're brainstorming. Instead of just making a big list of what we're thankful for, have them add 2-3 details to it of why they're thankful for that particular thing. This will really help their writing later!

Then, they can take what they've brainstormed and write about what they're thankful for with this cute writing prompt.


I am loving owls recently! How cute are these little Thanksgiving owls?? 


When learning about the history of Thanksgiving in social studies, I think it's fun to pretend like we're pilgrims. There are so many great things you can talk about of the differences of how they lived then vs. how we live now.

This is a fun little writing craft you can do to see how much they learned about pilgrim life (or just as a fun creative writing piece!) to have students pretend they're a pilgrim and imagine what they'd do!

If I Were a Pilgrim writing activity and other fun Thanksgiving no prep crafts

Have students color themselves as a pilgrim and use the fun writing prompt to imagine themselves as pilgrims! BUT a pilgrim wouldn't write with any ordinary pencil!

Tape feathers to pencils to make quills for November writing fun!


Attach feathers to their pencils to make writing quills like the pilgrims would use! All you need is a pack of long Thanksgiving colored feathers and some tape. You can secure them really well with just a little piece of tape around it - be sure to leave enough pencil room for their hand to grip the pencil with. You can get a pack of 20 feathers at the big craft stores for around $2.50 if you use their weekly 40-50% off coupons!

It just makes writing so much more fun! I remember getting to do this when I was learning calligraphy and I just thought it was the neatest thing as a kid. :)

If you have enough LED candles, you can also turn the lights out for this writing activity and turn on LED candles around the room to make it even more realistic.

I also made a writing craft activity for learning about The Mayflower for some great nonfiction writing practice.

Mayflower writing activity that's an easy no prep craft for November learning fun

Then it's on to the yummy part!

For some how to writing practice, brainstorm with students the steps you would take to make an apple pie. Have students fold a paper into sections (however many sections for the amount of steps you teach them) and write the steps you created together for them to take to their seats and write.


Extra bonus points if you bring in an apple pie for them to have a little sliver of during/after writing.

For opinion writing practice, have students write about what kind of pie is their favorite!
Have them brainstorm why and add as many details as possible. The thing I love about these writing prompts is that they come in 3 writing levels (amount of lines on the page) - all of the ones pictured in this post are the easiest level with 4 writing lines BUT you can extend them as big as you want to create this book appearance where there is a page, or pages, underneath where they can continue writing so it's easily differentiated. For older or more advanced students, they can start out with the pages with more lines and still add the "extra" pages to the back so these can be used with such a variety of learners and all do the same activity on their level.


And you can't write about Thanksgiving without the turkey!!


You can get all of these Thanksgiving writing activities in my Thanksgiving writing pack.


I love holiday themed math centers - kids get so excited to do math just because it has a cute turkey on it?! I'll take it! Here is one of my favorite Thanksgiving math stations: Place Value 100 Chart Puzzle (Turkey)

Place value puzzle that reveals a turkey perfect for Thanksgiving math centers - also comes in numbers only version for number sense!

Students look at each card to figure out what number the base ten blocks represent and color in that number the color the card says. When they finish doing all the cards, their hundreds chart will reveal a mystery picture... a turkey! You can never have enough place value practice so I love this activity because it's a ton of math practice but they're too busy being little math detectives to realize it :) I also added a set of number cards to that puzzle too so you can do it as just numbers (kids look at the number card and color it in) if you'd rather to do that version! :)


Another fun center I love is Thanksgiving Missing Numbers! Kids look at the Thanksgiving object or character and figure out what number it represents then write it on their recording sheet. It's also in Spanish here.

Thanksgiving math activity where kids look at the Thanksgiving character or object and write the missing number - super fun November math center!


I also have other Thanksgiving resources if you need more:
Thanksgiving No Prep Literacy Activities
Thanksgiving MATH activities


Another fun thing I like to do each month is make a new behavior chart! If you use a behavior chart in your classroom, you may notice that it's really effective at first but then it gets old. BUT if you switch it out each month with new goals to reach and new certificates to earn, it's like a brand new exciting behavior management tool each month that gets kids excited to get to the top of. I talk about this in my 20 Classroom Management Strategies You Can Start Right Away post if you want to read more about switching out the behavior chart and other tips.

Top turkey Thanksgiving behavior chart - so much fun for November classroom management

Excuse my cheesy puns... I love puns! :)

For switching out your behavior chart - always keep the color order the same for going up/down the chart (pink, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red) each month and have only the words and pictures change to the new theme. That way you don't have to explain anything - just switch out the chart at the beginning of the month and wait for the "ooooh!!"s when they walk through the door to see the new chart. I recommend starting with my plain chevron chart or (one of the themed ones if you have a themed classroom like baseball, space, soccer, cowboy/western, etc.) for them to learn how it works and then switch to thematic ones starting in October for Halloween then each month after.
Top Turkey award for November classroom management that goes perfect with the Thanksgiving behavior chart on this post - read this!

For this Thanksgiving behavior chart, students are trying to be the top turkey!! If they get to the top of the chart, they get a Top Turkey Award to take home to their families. I have them in 5 different colors as well as a black and white version students can color as an extra reward if you want! If they reach the top, maybe their reward is they can stop what they're doing to color and decorate their award to bring home to their parents.

Hope you have a ton of November learning fun!!!! Gobble, gobble! :)

You can also check out more of my monthly crafts here:
February Writing Crafts
March Writing Crafts
April Writing Crafts
December Writing Crafts
October Writing Crafts

Follow me on Pinterest for more teaching ideas!

Also - don't forget to join Miss Giraffe's Class so you never miss out on fun ideas and exclusive free stuff from me only for subscribers!