It should not be stressful finding quality December lesson plans for middle school ELA. During the run-up to the end of the calendar year it can often feel more like you do everything BUT teach in your classroom. Excited students, holiday programs, and even snow days all take time away from curriculum (to say nothing of the chaos of your own holiday prep).
Add to that the fact that for many of us, December is a shortened month because of winter break, and you may feel like throwing your lesson plans right out the window. Today let’s talk about how to get some engaging December lesson plans for middle school ELA in amongst the pandemonium.
During the (shortened) month of December, I focus on three things in my classes:
Book Talks: I start every class with two student-presented book talks. I leave the choice of titles pretty open for my students, but you could easily put any parameters around it that you want. I have students keep their reading journals open on their desks to jot down titles that interest them—with break coming up, students may want to pick up a new book to read! More details below.
Creative Writing: Students love to tell stories. Giving them the time to write some fiction is a great way to productively channel that December energy.
Media Analysis: Mass media is such a pervasive part of our lives. Having students be knowledgeable about things like advertising techniques, and judging source reliability in the age of social media is critical as they grow and mature. Students find media highlight engaging and this will keep their interest leading up to holiday break.
Focus on Reading
Get students excited about reading! In this assignment, students have the option of persuading their peers to read or not read a book. Not your traditional book talk, students must think of a creative way to present their opinions to their classmates i.e. dressing up as a librarian, pretending to be a character from the novel, etc.
This independent reading assignment is a collection of six Independent Reading Tracking Forms and one Reading Journal Assignment. These reading tracking forms help students stay organized and purposeful during reading workshop or independent reading time. Easy-to-use assessment forms are included to ensure student accountability and less teacher marking stress.
Focus on Writing
Use this Christmas or Winter creative writing choice board assignment to combine covering the writing curriculum and enjoying the season with your classes. Students are provided with different seasonally themed writing options using the RAFT format (Role, Audience, Format, Topic). Students will select the role of one given character and create a written product (brochure, postcards, infographic, etc.) based on the character’s specific writing prompt.
Focus on Speaking and Listening
The great thing about this assignment is that it covers so many parts of your curriculum. Giving one’s own talk as well as listening to others’ talks are often not only interesting but also cover speaking and listening objectives.
Focus on Media Literacy
This is a cross-curricular unit plan on the Christmas Truce of 1914 between the British and German troops along the western front trenches in France. It is explained to students using a variety of media types: readings, videos, and songs. The unit includes four assessments: two reflection writing pieces, one oral presentation, and one creative writing assignment. Assessments can be used for Writing, History and Media Literacy.
Check out these December related blog posts:
- Holiday Season Survival Guide Use the ideas in this blog post to plan early so you can spend the holiday season with loved ones instead of staying up late lesson planning.
- Surviving the Holiday Season in the Middle School Classroom Who couldn’t use an assist during the holidays? This blog post has ideas for your classroom, student activities, self-care, gifts, and more.
- Teacher Gift Guide Twelve gift ideas that any teacher will love.
Hopefully at some of these ideas can help your December be both festive and productive.
Have a great day and stay tuned for January!
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