December Lesson Plans: Trees, Traditions, Winter Holidays and the New Year

It’s December! There are just three weeks until winter break and I am here to share my plans with you for the upcoming weeks.  There has definitely been a shift in my mindset about balancing December themes while being sensitive and inclusive to the different cultures inside and outside my classroom.  I gave careful thought to my planning. I won’t be abandoning Christmas altogether because my students do celebrate and it would be remiss to pretend like Christmas doesn’t exist within the four walls of my classroom. However, the focus, as always, will be learning and sharing. So I chose the following themes for my December plans:

  • Winter Holidays
  • Trees and Traditions
  • The New Year
In addition, I will be sprinkling some holiday cheer throughout the day in the form of read alouds, math craftivities and centers. Here’s what my plans look like:
This first week back from Thanksgiving is going to be all about winter holidays with a focus on Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. I was fortunate to have a student last year who celebrated Hanukkah and wanted to share with the class. He came in and taught a lesson about the history of Hanukkah, his traditions. We played Dreidel and he even brought in gelt for everyone! It was really special!
As we read books and informational passages, we will focus on the features of fiction/nonfiction text, connections and using context clues to figure out unknown words. In writing, students will design a holiday sweater and write a descriptive piece. For grammar, we will review proper nouns, homophones and compound words–a little whole group but mostly in centers. Since we are off today and I planned for 5 days, I left a little flexibility in there. I probably won’t get to everything as our week is sure to fill up with extra activities (i.e. testing, assemblies ect.)
 I have to say that this week is the one I am most excited for! I just LOVE all the beautiful books about evergreen trees. One additional book I forgot to include that I love to read is Night Tree by Eve Bunting. It goes PERFECTLY with Winter at Long Pond. It was a happy accident I stumbled upon last year and I made sure to snap a picture of the book so I wouldn’t forget about it this year. 
We will work A LOT with vocabulary, more text features and activating background knowledge. For grammar, we will review verbs and phonics will be all about vowel teams ai and ay. Lastly, for writing, students will share about their favorite traditions. 
So it may look like I am getting ahead of myself focusing on New Year’s Eve/Day before it even happens BUT hear me out. This year is a BIG ONE. I mean it’s 2020, people!! Also, I am all about getting head by prepping our 2020 bulletin BEFORE we leave for break. I don’t want to have to get back in January and feel like I need to take down all the Christmas/December stuff. My team will be doing Christmas Around the World this week as well so I am not totally skipping it. 
Lastly, here are my math plans for the month. We have been working on 2 digit addition and I have 
 s l o w l y introduced regrouping. We will take another week to work on it then move on to telling time. If needed, we will revisit it again before moving onto 3 digit addition in January. I also left the entire week before break as flexible as possible so we can review as needed.
Phew! Ready or not, it’s time to go back and make it a memorable three weeks!
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