A Merry and Bright Classroom: Holiday Writing with a FREEBIE

Hey friends!! Wow...we're already in the third week of December! I hope your classroom is very merry and bright, and calm ;)!! I'm thrilled to have you back for more of my Merry and Bright Classroom series. Scroll to the bottom to see links to all of the blog posts for this series!!

Today I'm focusing on writing. I love teaching writing, and especially love reading students' writing. Last year, when I taught fourth grade, I gave each student a reading response journal, and we would write back and forth to each other about the books they were reading. It was a BIG task, and thankfully I only had 12 kids, but it was so much fun! Erin, @flavorsof4th on IG, suggested to give your students a Target Blank Book as a letter-writing journal for their Christmas gifts, and I think that is such a great idea. Getting students to write in real-life circumstances is so important! You can click on the pic to get more info from her on this.

The holidays are a GREAT way to incorporate fun writing activities in our classrooms!! I have three activities to share with you that you can implement as a whole class activity, put in your centers, or use as early finisher activities and more! Also, there's a FREEBIE coming your way at the bottom of this post, so keep reading!

Sentence-writing is such an important skill and standard that will be built upon throughout our students' schooling. As a first grade teacher, I noticed that my students really needed help with how to write a complete sentence, so I created a Silly Sentence Scoot. I made up some silly sentences, cut them into words, and put one mixed-up sentence at each desk. The students had to rearrange the sentence to make it readable and complete, and then write the silly sentence on their recording sheet. Then, they mix up the sentence for the next person, and wait to SCOOT to the next desk! By the end of this activity, they totally mastered the complete sentence structure and writing.

I thought this would be a great activity to engage your students this last week before break, and help them practice this skill. So I decided to make a Christmas Silly Sentence Scoot! This has 24 Christmas Silly Sentences that are broken up on word cards. Each word card has a picture on it for easy distinguishing between sentences. I've also included nine CHALLENGE cards, if you have more than 24 students. Use these as a whole group activity or a holiday literacy center!

My second holiday writing activity is great for your beginning writers. These are called Label and Color activities. When I taught Kindergarten for two years, I wanted to find a method to get my sweet kinders from barely writing capital letters to writing complete sentences. I use labeling to introduce writing stories to my students, and have a whole blog post on that process here:

We start by writing stories in our heads by drawing pictures, then we work on labeling those pictures. But, to get them from point A to B, we practice labeling as a whole class, in small groups, and independently. That's where these Label and Color resources come in.

There are differentiated levels of labeling: labeling the beginning sound, tracing the label, and then labeling with inventive (or correct) spelling. I love this because I can have the whole class working on the same page, but all at their levels. My high flyers can be writing their own labels. My students who are on track can be working on deciphering the beginning sounds. And my ELLs and students who need more scaffolding can trace the labels.

My students love these activities because they get to color the pictures after they finish labeling, doing their best work! I love them because they practice the important skill of stretching out sounds they hear and putting letters to the sounds. They may not always complete them perfectly, but it gives me, the teacher, a good idea of how best to help them moving forward.

My third holiday writing activity can be used for any grade level. You can use them as discussion starters, morning meeting questions, journal prompts, writing center prompts, and much more! They are Class Journal Jar prompts! 

You can pair these with a craft or project, or give your students the freedom to pick what to write about. I have these in color and black and white. You could project them onto your SmartBoard, or print and laminate them. The "Would You Rather" prompts are great discussion starters! 

We use these all year long in my classroom (I have 100 of them now!), and my students love using them to spark their writing creativity! I would love for your students to get inspired by these as well, that's why I'm giving you 12 prompts for FREE!

In my Journal Jar resource, I give you 96 prompts - everyday prompts and then at least four per holiday throughout the year. I've created a separate file JUST FOR YOU with eight Christmas/Winter Holiday prompts and FOUR BONUS PROMPTS, exclusive to my blog readers!!

All you need to do to get these prompts is click the picture! Thank you for reading this post and I hope you and your students enjoy them!

I hope you got some ideas to keep your students engaged through writing this week before break! Hang on tight, you've got this!!

Want to read more ideas to help keep your classroom merry and bright?

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