Christmas Math and Literacy Ideas for Christmas in the Classroom
By Mary Montero
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As the holiday season approaches each year, I look for creative ways to infuse the festive spirit into our classroom. Over the years, I’ve created a collection of engaging (and educational!) Christmas math and Christmas literacy activities that are perfect for upper elementary students. These activities will keep your students captivated while reinforcing important skills and standards. From gingerbread house math projects to Christmas read-alouds, you’ll be able to thoughtfully fill your plan book with a wide range of activities that are perfect for Christmas in the classroom.
I understand how challenging it can be this time of year when excitement can sometimes make it difficult for students to stay focused. That’s why each suggestion is not only educational, but also designed to be FUN and interactive. I want to help you create a classroom environment where learning is engaging and the holiday spirit is alive!
Cross-Curricular Christmas Math and Christmas Literacy Activities
With a little creative planning, you can bring the Christmas magic into your classroom. This touch of holiday cheer is often just what you need to create an engaging learning environment that’s so important this time of year.
This Christmas Activities Bundle is the perfect resource for Christmas math and Christmas literacy activities to use throughout the holiday season in your upper elementary classroom. It’s full of festive, rigorous, educational fun.
The Christmas Countdown activity is one of my favorites in the bundle! You can get festive in the days leading up to Christmas with 15 creative thinking task cards. Each card has three festively fabulous activity prompts. Your students will absolutely love taking a little break during their school day to complete these activities!
How about a little Christmas carol fun? This activity includes 40 task cards that accompany five popular Christmas Carols (included) to engage your students up to the very last minutes before winter break! Cards include both literacy and math tasks that cover a wide review of upper elementary standards. You can pick and choose which cards to use for simple differentiation.
Seasonal logic puzzles are always fun! I use a mix of Winter Holiday Math, Winter Math, and Holiday Reading Logic Puzzles to enrich and extend my lessons. They are the perfect way to build critical thinking in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. Help your students increase their logical reasoning in a way that’s so much fun and perfect for the season!
As I wrap up the first semester, I often have students at various levels of completion. This can lead to many moments of, “I’m done! What do I do now?” Thankfully, these 48 winter-themed early finisher task cards ensure your students will always have something meaningful to work on as they wrap up assignments.
Christmas Literacy Activities
From writing imaginative stories about Santa’s workshop to analyzing the symbolism in classic holiday tales, students jump into reading and writing with more enthusiasm when we pair it with a little Christmas magic. Here are some of my favorite Christmas literacy activities!
Christmas Read Alouds and Challenges
If you’re looking for a little extra incentive to keep students reading all the way up to winter break, try this winter wonderland reading incentive. It earns bonus points for also serving as a seasonal bulletin board or hallway display.
Winter Seasonal Reading Practice
You know how much I love using pictures to teach, and it’s perfect timing for this FREE winter set!
This holiday reading task card bundle will keep your students engaged in meaningful skill practice all season long! The task cards are perfect for Christmas literacy centers, early finishers, SCOOT, enrichment, reinforcement, and review in the weeks leading up to winter break.
You can also celebrate December events and holidays while covering key reading skills in a way that’s engaging and rigorous with this set of December reading skills and enrichment task cards. All of the task cards have a fun holiday theme and address important events in US history, doubling the educational value!
Fluency is such an important part of the science of reading, so I incorporate fluency practice as often as possible. These Christmas reading fluency task cards are a simple way to practice with various sentence structures, punctuation, expression, etc. that students commonly find in texts. I have each of my students read each card three times (repeated readings) in an independent reading center. Students can also read the cards to each other, taking turns, in an independent center. You can also use them to do a quick reading warm up, giving each student a card, and having him or her read it out loud to the entire class. You can repeat this activity 32 different times for warm ups, giving students a different card each time!
Finally, reader’s theater is always a dynamic way to practice reading skills. My winter holidays reader’s theater scripts have eight holiday-themed plays with a variety of student roles included. This allows for smaller groups to maximize reading time and fluency practice, more collaboration with smaller group sizes, and differentiation options, and ensures that everyone has a valuable part in the play. This also makes planning easier for teachers with a wide variety of class sizes! Each script includes comprehension tasks for both readers and listeners to keep everyone accountable.
Christmas Math Activities
When students explore mathematical concepts through a Christmas lens, they see numbers come alive. Whether it’s calculating the number of ornaments on a tree or graphing the growth of Santa’s reindeer, suddenly, math becomes an exciting adventure instead of a chore. These Christmas math activities are all classroom-tested and favorites year after year!
Winter Seasonal Math Practice
Combining math and art is always a win and these four seasonal Christmas math pictures will keep your students engaged all month long. Enter your email to download a Snowmen at Christmas activity, gingerbread village, division trees, and a multiplication and division snow globe activity too!
Christma Math Projects
Your students will adore To Grandmother’s House We Go: A Holiday Math Project for the Upper Grades! They’ll pack their bags, get on the road, go shopping, buy groceries, build a gingerbread house, wrap their gifts, bake a pie, graph the weather, trim the tree, plot out the tree farm, and do SO MUCH MORE… all while practicing critical math skills! This is a great time of year to get a solid skill review in, and this project does just that! It includes 16 different pages filled to the brim with engaging, exciting math tasks so you can pick and choose which pages are best for your students.
If you prefer a winter-themed project instead, have your students embark on a winter vacation of a lifetime. They’ll track their expenses and other math-related tasks throughout their trip. They’ll calculate how much elevation they gain while skiing, plot a sledding path through multiple obstacles, find the area and perimeter of their lodging (after they select which option is best for them), figure out a schedule for tubing, make a map of the winter festival, and so much more. The main project is geared towards students in grades 5-6, but also includes a differentiated version adapted to meet 3rd and 4th grade standards so you can pick and choose which tasks will work best for your students!
How cute are these fraction elves? Your students will follow instructions to divide circles and rectangles into fractional parts, and then use those parts for their elf. This is perfect for a center activity, whole group activity, a homework project, or for an assessment.
Holidays Around World
Are you ready to take your students on a global journey of holiday traditions? Teaching holidays around the world can be an enriching and eye-opening experience! By introducing different holidays celebrated around the world, you not only expose your students to diverse cultures but also foster an understanding and appreciation for traditions beyond their own. It’s a fantastic opportunity to promote inclusivity, empathy, and global awareness in the classroom.
This post includes three ways you can teach holidays around the world in your classroom as well as a book list to use throughout your unit.
This Holidays Around the World Activity Bundle includes super engaging, high-interest math and literacy activities designed to work together for cross-curricular fun. As your students plan their trip with the math project, they can also learn more about each location and its traditions using the literacy paired texts and activities! The activities cover Chinese New Year, Ramadan, Diwali, Las Posadas, St. Lucia Day, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and more!
Related Ideas for Christmas in the Classroom
I hope this post has given you fresh ideas to engage your students during the Christmas season. Do you have even more ideas about how to spread the joy of learning with Christmas math and Christmas literacy ideas for Christmas in the classroom? Come share them with us in our FREE Inspired in Upper Elementary Facebook group.
You can also visit these posts for even more Christmas in the classroom fun!
I’m so glad you are here. I’m a current gifted and talented teacher in a small town in Colorado, and I’ve been in education since 2009. My passion (other than my family and cookies) is for making teachers’ lives easier and classrooms more engaging.