December 11, 2021

8 Lessons To Look Forward To Before & After Winter Break

Students are full of energy in the days leading up to winter break AND the days after it. These 8 seasonal lessons will channel that into engagement.


Middle school and high school students are full of energy in the days leading up to winter break AND the days after it. Work with that excitement rather than against by planning a few days before and/or after winter break to engage in some seasonal lessons. Because, hey! secondary students deserve to have fun just as much as elementary school students. These 8 resources connecting to Christmas, New Years, and the winter season will channel students' energy into engagement.

This Winter Break Four Corners game is a fun way to keep students engaged during all of the excitement before winter break. It's a game that gets students up out of their seats and sharing their opinions. This is an inclusive activity that focuses on the winter season instead of a specific winter holiday, so all students can feel welcome to participate.

Students are full of energy in the days leading up to winter break AND the days after it. These 8 seasonal lessons will channel that into engagement.


This is a great get-up-and-go activity for secondary ELA students during the winter season. Students write 7 different types of holiday and winter-themed poetry by rotating to different stations. They record their poetry in a memorable keepsake Holiday Poetry Mini Book to give as a gift or just to keep as a souvenir! The types of poetry covered are:
  • Acrostic poetry
  • Visual poetry
  • Magnetic poetry
  • Book spine poetry
  • Diamante poetry
  • Paint chip poetry
  • Christmas Tree Shape poetry
*Recommended by Stacey at Exceptional ELA

Students are full of energy in the days leading up to winter break AND the days after it. These 8 seasonal lessons will channel that into engagement.

Invite your students to think about and take a stand on the environmental impact of Christmas trees with this informational paired set of passages.  Your students will read and respond to questions about each of the passage before taking a stand to write persuasively about which kind of tree they would purchase and why.  The bundle has both pdf and digital versions of the passages as well as the quiz.

When my sister and I were little, we used to spend hours with the thesaurus, turning our favorite commercial jingles and greetings into silly strings of nonsensical synonyms. Imagine my surprise when, years later, I sat down to grade serious research papers and saw this same synonym-swapping technique in my students’ writing! I realized that many of my students had no concept of ethical (or even logical) paraphrasing. They weren’t trying to “cheat” or “steal.” They just needed hands-on paraphrasing practice to truly understand the paraphrasing process. Since paraphrasing and plagiarism can be a bland topic to some, I decided to add some laughter to the mix with fun quotes from Christmas movies and song lyrics. Student teams are given these fun quotes, along with five different paraphrases for each direct quote. They then rate the paraphrases from worst to best. This activity brings awareness to many common paraphrasing pitfalls, and it’s fun, besides! 

Students are full of energy in the days leading up to winter break AND the days after it. These 8 seasonal lessons will channel that into engagement.

Christmas Digital Escape Room
While students are antsy for the break, we know we need to continue to use instructional time in a way that’s still covering standards. Students love getting to participate in Digital Escape Rooms, and they can still be completing academic assignments. They’ll work through 5 different activities (3 figurative language activities & 2 puzzles), and they’ll be so engaged that they’ll forget they are even working. 
*Recommended by Crystal Ceresani (The Sparkly Notebook)

Christmas Close Reading
Looking for something academic, but fun to do for Christmas? This close reading and analysis is a great, digital and interactive activity for use with Google Slides for the holiday. Students focus on the song "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch". Here is what they do:
  • Listen and follow along to the song sung by Cee-lo Green. They then write their thoughts on what they heard.
  • Read the lyrics, highlighting and commenting on figurative language skills. (These can be edited to your liking).
  • Watch the cartoon version of the song and respond to it.
  • Compare the three interpretations.
  • Create an image to interpret the figurative language.

Students are full of energy in the days leading up to winter break AND the days after it. These 8 seasonal lessons will channel that into engagement.



Looking for engaging winter activities perfect for that first week back in January? Staci has you covered! This Japanese New Year's Activity teaches students about Japanese traditions based on emoji-style icons! The activity can be done as a scavenger hunt around the room, and Staci likes to have students uncover the clues with a partner for some friendly competition among students. Plus, students can practice the Japanese tradition of kakizome, first calligraphy, make a New Year's card, or even practice some writing skills. This resource is a great way to ring in the New Year! 

Students are full of energy in the days leading up to winter break AND the days after it. These 8 seasonal lessons will channel that into engagement.

Ring in the New Year this winter with this nonfiction close reading focuses on a New York Times article titled "Will Your Resolutions Last Until February." A great reading to get students thinking about goal setting following the holiday season and engage students in those crazy days when they return from winter break. After reading, students will use evidence to answer text-based questions, which cover nine of ten of the Common Core Informational Standards. Students will also have a choice of engaging after reading activities, including service learning and project based learning activities. This lesson can be printed, used digitally, or a combination of the two. Resources include Google Drive resources (Docs) and well as print ready PDF versions.

Students are full of energy in the days leading up to winter break AND the days after it. These 8 seasonal lessons will channel that into engagement.


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