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Thursday, December 3, 2015

More Than Letters to Santa: Holiday Writing Ideas

Welcome to the fourth day of Christmas with Focused on Fifth. Today I am joining the link up to talk about holiday writing ideas.
This is one of my favorite parts of the holiday in the classroom. No matter what grade I'm teaching, we always write personal narratives about our holiday traditions.  I always start by having my students create a list of things their families do every year in December. Then we start going around the room and sharing some of our traditions. This is really helpful for students who are struggling to come up with 5 good ideas. Sometimes students don't think about the little things as traditions worth writing about.

  1. Setting up the tree
  2. Hanging stockings
  3. Making cookies for Santa
  4. Acting out the Nativity
  5. Caroling
  6. Exchanging gifts
  7. Going to see the lights
  8. Opening pajamas on Christmas Eve
  9. Visiting Santa at the mall
  10. Writing letters to Santa

With older students, I have them look for things that can go together and then have them narrow it down to five tradition pages. That way by the time they add an introduction and conclusion, they have a 7 page book.

Because this is only a seven page book, I give myself one day for brainstorming and pre-writing activities, one day for each page and then we will be right over to the computer lab to start typing.  By the time we illustrate the books, it's a 10-12 day project. Each day we start by reading our previous writing to our writing partners and give suggestions to each other. Then we head right into writing our next page. Mini-lessons can focus on anything you see your students needing. Some topics I have been using with my students include: punctuation and capitalization, use of transitional words, writing with your senses, making better word choices, and helping your reader get a good picture in their head. I know there are many more mini-lessons that would be perfect with this writing project too.

My favorite part of the project is the festive binding. This is done with black posterboard, wrapping paper and ribbon on white yardstick. Once the students do their front cover, they are so cute.  When they are finished, I let my students wrap them and take them home to put under their tree. They make a great present for their families.

You can grab a free set of directions for all grades at TpT by clicking on the product cover.

To see a schedule with links to all 12 days of Christmas, click on the Focused on Fifth blog button. You can also link up with us. The directions can be found on the same page.
For more holiday writing ideas, visit these great posts:

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