During this holiday season, there are so many things that I am thankful for! But, can you believe we have already stumbled upon December?
This is the last line from a poem called “Winter Without You” by Sarah Kay. Google it! It is a great poem for students to analyze if you teach middle or high school.
With December’s arrival, I typically have three weeks with my students before winter break. While that statement brings joy and excitement, there is so much to be done before this first semester with my 7th graders comes to an end. Over the next 15 days with my students, we:
- wrap-up our informational text and service learning unit,
- tackle a drama and short story unit (see the texts below),
- complete Educated by Tara Westover, our first semester read aloud,
- and take our MAP test.
It is an ambitious three weeks, to say the least.
While there is much to be taught and learned, I do plan to enjoy these 15 days with my students, and we will take the time to…
- munch on candy canes
- share some of our favorite holiday traditions
- read or work by our YouTube fireplace
- decorate our learning space
I was not planning to decorate, but one of my students shared that he would “really love it if I would!” My thought is that my students will enjoy learning even more in our festive space. If decor is what they want, I am happy to oblige!
A few of the short stories we will read, analyze, compare, and contrast over the next 15 days are:
For students who need more practice with close reading, I like to incorporate seasonal passages to boost their interest levels. A few years ago, I created a collection of monthly reading passages with comprehension questions to save time searching for appropriate texts. The time I invested in this has paid off because now I can print off seasonal passages at a moment’s notice!
I offer the full year-long collection of these reading passages here for only $23, but you can also choose any individual month for $3.75. Multiple genres are covered every month, including fictional narratives, informational texts, expository texts, fables, poems, and more.
For December, my close reading passages feature the following:
- The Happy Holiday Shoppe: Fictional Narrative (1010L)
- Candy Canes: Informational Text (1210L)
- How to Decorate a Christmas Tree: Expository Text (1010L)
- Everything: A Poem (810L)
- Santa’s Elf and the Gingerbread Man: Fable (610L)
Click on the December Close Reads cover below to learn more…
While there is much work to do, we will blink and this first semester will be over. All the best as you tackle this festive time with your students. In case you are in need of some additional resources, here is a bundle of my tried-and-true winter favorites…
Here are a few more holiday-inspired posts with ideas for ELA teachers…