Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holidays Around the World {Christmas Around the World: Printables, Resources, Scrapbook, Passport, Journal, Postcards, Crafts, Books and More}

Let’s be honest. The weeks leading up to the winter break tend to be a”spirited.” What better way to channel that energy in a positive way than with a Holidays Around the World Unit

I know this is a crazy, busy time of year so it was very important to me that I create a product that would provide teachers with an excellent resource without a lot of prep. There are so many different ways you can use these printable resources and best of all they can be used with a variety of ages and abilities.

This resource has been jam-packed with a collection of activities. The packet as a whole is perfect for grades 3-5 and the majority of it is also great for first and second graders as well. Younger learners will especially love the passport/stamps, luggage craft, postcards, journal, travel scrapbook and Venn Diagrams. Older learners will not only enjoy those, but will also feel great pride completing research organizers and writing reports and presenting information.

The packet includes the following countries / holidays:
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • Mexico
  • Italy
  • Israel
  • The Netherlands
  • Sweden
  • Spain
  • The United States
  • Christmas
  • Chinese New Year
  • Boxing Day
  • Diwali
  • Hanukkah
  • Kwanzaa
  • St. Lucia's Day
  • Epiphany
  • Las Posadas

The packet contains the following 12 Printable Activities in Addition to Teacher Resources:

Tips for Gathering Supplemental Books and Resources at No Cost

A Collection of Suggested Book Titles for Each Country/Holiday

5 Different Ways to Implement the Unit

1. Information About Each Holiday for the Teacher
These are written at a 3rd-4th grade reading level and have been formatted to be used for close reading activities as well.

2. Passports and Stamps
These make a wonderful keepsake and promote home/school communication because the kids will surely talk about them.

3. Luggage Craft
This cute project is perfect for the students to use to organize their work.  It makes a great portfolio for keeping the students' projects in one location.

4. Boarding Passes 
Another great keepsake that will simulate a real flight experience. It's so fun to arrange your chairs like an airplane and have each student show their boarding passes when getting on the plane. 

5. Travel Map
Students can track the countries they "visit" or learn about and improve geography skills.

6. Printable Student Books
These easy to assemble booklets include information about each holiday / country as well as photos to help with understanding. They can be made for each student or just make a class copy to read aloud to younger learners.

7. Postcard Activity
The postcards are great to have on hand for early finishers to write and color. They are perfect to use as a follow-up to a story, lesson or other activity. There is even a blank postcard if you would prefer to have them design their own which will further provide evidence of their learning. You could have the students write to a family member in the first person to tell about the country or holiday as if they are on a trip. You could also use the cards to record fun facts and details. The packet contains modified versions of the postcard activity to make it easy to differentiate. 

8. Travel Scrapbook
The following pages will allow your students to show what they are learning in fun and creative ways. There is no right or wrong way to use them, but here are a few suggestions:
  • Conduct internet research and print out photos or additional clipart for the students to cut and paste onto the scrapbook page.
  • Use stickers, crayons, or markers to doodle or journal about what they’ve learned. 
  • Attach the boarding pass to the page.
  • Print photos of your students and let them color backgrounds from each country. Have them glue their photo onto the background to look like it was a picture taken on a trip to the country. Be sure to write captions for each photo.
  • If you are teaming with other teachers or having the students rotate to do lessons or crafts it would be fun to snap some actual photos that they can use in the scrapbook. 
9. Travel Journal
The travel journal is also an open-ended printable that can be used so many different ways. 
  • It makes great stationary for older students who are writing research reports on the countries/holidays.
  • Students can write first person accounts of their “trip” to the country.
  • It can be used as a journal to write a reflection on the lesson or activity from that country.
  • They are perfect for listing questions students have about each country or holiday. Generating questions about a topic and find the answers is such an important skill.
10. Venn Diagrams
I have created a few Venn Diagrams that are preprogrammed for comparing and contrasting specific holidays. There is also a general template that can be used as a graphic organizer with any two countries/holidays.

These are great as stand-alone documents to show student learning. They can also be useful in helping students organize their thinking before turning it into a written piece using the travel journal pages.

11. Research Notes Graphic Organizer
Two-column notes are used to collect information when reading and also for planning writing. They are research-based and have proven to be a powerful tool for helping students to organize their thinking. To use the template students use the space on the right to make notes related to the main idea listed on the left. This packet includes a programmed template as well as a blank template in case you would prefer to list your own main ideas or let the students select them.

12. Top Down Web Graphic Organizer
Another tool that has been very successful with my students is a top-down web for planning writing. It is somewhat similar to the traditional “Hamburger” organizer for writing. Students write their main idea in the form of a topic sentence in the top box and then fill the remaining boxes with supporting details. The bottom box is used for a closing sentence. This format was designed using research on how the brain works.

Click the covers to read more about each title or to purchase through Amazon.


If you are planning to complete a Holidays Around the World or Christmas Around the World Unit with your class you may also be interested in one of these Clutter-Free Classroom Products:
Stay tuned because throughout the upcoming week I will be updating this blog post each day and adding crafts, book titles, links and other resources for each country/holiday included that will complement this packet.

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