New Year's Celebrations Around the World (A Literacy and Social Studies Unit)

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This New Year's thematic unit teaches how 8 different countries in the world celebrate this holiday. It includes: student book (color and blackline), 12 vocabulary words, vocabulary worksheets, graphic organizers (including several that are not story specific, so they can be reused), student postcard book (writing), writing prompt (3 levels), countries/capitals flash cards, word sort, mapping worksheet, and countries "fast facts" posters. I designed this unit to be used with my 3rd graders, but it could easily be used in both 2nd and 4th grade, as well as with older students with special needs.

Book/Posters Color Version (pages 3-11)
This version is great to print and laminate. I have used it to incorporate into a large interactive bulletin board. I have also used it to display on my Whiteboard to read as a class.

Book/Posters Blackline Version (pages 12-20)
This version is great to print in a book format for students. Students can underline key words in the text as well as color the pages.

Language Art Resources. . . . . . . . . . . pages 21-53
  • Vocabulary Cards (can be used as flash cards, match, or concentration) p. 21-23
  • Vocabulary Worksheets (ABC Order, definitionmatch, word maps, Draw It!) p. 24-27
  • KWL+ (color and blackline) p. 28-29
  • Key Words Notes p. 30-311
  • Venn Diagram (color and blackline) p. 32-33
  • Alphaboxes (blackline) p. 34
  • Writing Prompt (primary and intermediate lined, differentiated support p. 35-37
  • Post Cards (color and blackline) p.38-54

Social Studies Resources. . . . . . . . . . Pages 55-72
  • Country and Capital Cities match cards p. 55-56
  • Word Sort (Countries with continents and/or hemispheres) p. 57-63
  • World Map Labeling (color and blackline) p. 64-65
  • Country Flag Posters p. 66-73
I have included thumbnails of all the pages included in this unit below. 


Rectangular Array Christmas Art {Common Core Christmas Fun}

I look forward to this project each year as the holidays approach!  My students always love it, and it makes for some adorably educational classroom or hallway art.  If you want an easy way to have some Common Core Christmas Fun that won't cost you a penny, this activity is for you! 

Common Core Standard: 

  • 3.OA.A.1 Interpret products of whole numbers, e.g., interpret 5 × 7 as the total number of objects in 5 groups of 7 objects each

Learning Objectives: 

  • Students will model multiplication by drawing all the rectangular arrays for a particular fact set with products through 100 (example all x5 facts, including 5x1=5 up to 5x12=60). 
  • Students will label the problem associated with each rectangular array. 
  • Students will label the matching number sentence for each array that represents the Commutative Property of Multiplication. (optional)

Art Twist: 
  • Students will decorate the rectangular arrays like present boxes under the Christmas tree. 

  • grid paper (size depending on how large you want the presents to turn out)
  • construction paper
  • crayons
  • glue
  • scissors

There is really a lot of room for variety with this activity.   I change it up depending on what lessons I am teaching. For example, my students are currently working on their x2, x5, and x10 math facts, so this year, I will have them select one of those fact sets to complete.  The pictures below were from a year where we were already on x9 facts.  You could also let them pick any facts they want--you decide! 

I love the way this child incorporated the math problems onto the gift tags. Kids are so clever! 

I love how this student personalized the gift wrapping on each array. 
He even made the tree into a 3-dimensional pop-out. Awesome!

Don't they look so cute?! So much better than cinder blocks! 

A Christmas Carol (Literacy Unit with Reader's Theater, Vocab, Graphic Organizers, & more)

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I am so excited to share this unit for "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens! It includes a 10-page Reader's Theater adaptation that I wrote to use in my 3rd grade classroom.  My students absolutely LOVE reading this play together. I rarely see my students more motivated to read than when they have a special part in a play. It also includes 12 vocabulary words with practice pages, graphic organizers, writing prompts, and more! I've just updated the unit to include over 80 pages of Common Core Aligned literacy activities! 

Reader’s Theater Play
RF.2.4, RF.3.4, RF.4.4

Vocabulary Building Activities
L.2.4, L.3.4, L.4.4

  • Color Vocabulary Memory Game/Flash Cards/Fan-N-Pick
  •  B+W Vocabulary Memory Game/Flash Cards/Fan-N-Pick
  • Foldables
  • Worksheets (2 options)

Dictionary Skills Center
L.2.4e, L.3.2g, L.4.4c

  • Color Version
  • B+W Version
  • Recording Sheet

ABC Order Center and Worksheet
Prerequisite skill for L.2.4e, L.3.2g, L.4.4c

  • Color Center
  • B+W Center
  • Recording Sheet
  •  B+W Alternative Printable

Suffix Word Sort Center
RF.2.3d, RF.3.3a, RF.4.3a

  • Color Center
  • B+W Center
  • Recording Sheet

Story Skills
RL.2.1, SL.2.1, RL.3.1,.3.2, SL.3.1, RL.4.1, RL.4.2, SL.4.1

  • Story Talk
  • Making Inferences
  • Character and Me
  • Very Important Points (3 versions)
  • Story Elements Spinner
  • Story Retelling Checklist

Verb Tense Sort (Past, Present Future)

  • Color Center
  • B+W Center
  • Recording Sheet and Answer Key

Word Building (5 worksheets)

Writing Prompts
W.2.1, L.2.1, L.2.2b, RL.2.3, W.3.1, L.3.1, L.3.2,W.4.1, L.4.1, L.4.2

  • Dear Scrooge (Persuasive Letter)
  • Character Analysis

The average overall reading level of this script is 2.3, but the reading level of individual parts varies from 0.5 through 4.9 so that readers of all levels can participate. It is something that young students as well as older students with reading deficits will enjoy!  I guarantee that when I taught in a middle school self-contained, special education classroom that they would have been just as engaged in this activity. 

We like to perform this reader's theater as a play for other classrooms before the Christmas holiday. If you do not want to worry about the stress of a play production, it works great just as a Reader's Theater play. We still create scenery and wear costumes, but they don't have the added pressure of memorizing the lines. Many of them are so motivated that they go ahead and memorize their parts anyways! My kids absolutely love it, and I am sure yours will, too! After all, what kid doesn't enjoy a good ghost story?

The following is a list of each character in the play and its approximated Flesch-Kincaid readability level (according to Microsoft Word).

Narrator(s) (4.5)
Ebenezer Scrooge (2.6)
Fred (2.3)
Bob Cratchit (0.8)
Marley (3.7)
Ghost 1 (0.5)
Fezziwig (2.6)
Ghost 2 (2.5)
Mrs. Cratchit (2.5)
Peter (1.5)
Belinda (1.5)
Tiny Tim (3.0)
Fred’s Wife (2.0)
Party Guest 1 (0.5)
Party Guest 2 (0.5)
Townsperson 1 (1.2)
Townsperson 2 (1.2)
Child (1.0)
Ghost Choir
Ghost 3*
Young Scrooge*

*non-speaking parts


La Befana (A Christmas Tradition in Italy) Literacy Unit

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This is a fun, holiday-themed literacy unit that focuses on the Italian Christmas and Epiphany tradition of La Befana, the Christmas witch. La Befana in Italy is much like Santa Claus in the United States and other places.

Because it also focuses on Epiphany, which falls on January 6th, it could be used in your classroom after a traditional Christmas break.

This unit includes a teacher read-aloud (a secular and non-secular version), a reader’s theater play (a secular and non-secular version), expanding vocabulary practice (a matching game and worksheets), hands-on activities, differentiated lessons, stationary, and more. My students find it motivating and engaging, especially right before or after the holiday break.

    I.         Traditional Tale
                                  Version 1 (includes religious references)
                                  Version 2 (secular)
  II.         Reader’s Theater
                                  Version 1 (includes religious references)
                                  Version 2 (secular)
III.         Expanding Vocabulary Activities
                                  Vocabulary Cards
                                  Vocabulary ABC Order and Match Up
                                  Word Maps
                                  Vocabulary Sentences

IV.         Graphic Organizers
                                  Select Two and Reflect
                                  Venn Diagram
                                  Story Map

  V.         Writing Prompts
                                  La Befana and Santa Claus (compare and contrast)
                                  Letter to La Befana (friendly letter)
                                  Story Summary

VI.         Differentiated Resources
                                  Story Sequence (cut and paste)
                                  Venn Diagram (cut and paste)
                                  Story Summary (with transition words)

VII.         Stationary
                                  Primary Lined Paper
                                  Intermediate Lined Paper

I hope you find this product helpful! I have found it really helps get my students excited about the research process and stay organized in the process. I give each of my students a manila file folder as their “special research folder” during the project as well, and they love using it!

If you have any questions, please email me at

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