Holiday Learning

Posted by on Nov 25, 2012 in vocabulary development | 4 comments

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. – Hamilton Wright Mabie

Laura Candler has a Holiday Learning Link Up that you will want to check out!!

Our third graders have embarked on the journey of expository writing. They are coming to grips with the idea of a thesis statement and supporting paragraphs. It is a daunting task. Their first efforts came just before Thanksgiving with a planet project. This was helped by a free product from fellow TPT seller Wendy Smith and her Out of this World Informational Writing Mini Unit.

Now we are going to turn to our social studies TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills – objectives) and conquer cultures and celebrations.

13  Culture. The student understands ethnic and/or cultural celebrations of the local community and other communities. The student is expected to:

(A)  explain the significance of various ethnic and/or cultural celebrations in the local community and other communities; and

(B)  compare ethnic and/or cultural celebrations in the local community with other communities.

We will read Horrible Harry and the Holidaze by Suzy Kline, which briefly introduces Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Korean New Year, and Three Kings Day. The story’s fiction elements help provide the extra  interest needed during this distracting time of year.

Horrible Harry and the Holidaze

We will discuss the similarities among celebrations and the differences (more than those presented by the story). We will consider the reasons for celebrations and how culture influences these celebrations. We will foster a sense of acceptance and respect for all of the various celebrations. We will complete a Comparison Chart to organize our thinking. Then use the chart to form a thesis statement to begin our holidays writing project.

In preparation for this project I have been making (and posting) December Holiday Word of the Day cards. Here are the ones I have posted to date. Check back throughout November and into December for the others.

We have done this project for several years. This will be our first year writing a thesis statement. I think the students will be able to respond well.

Here’s to lots of holiday learning!



  1. I am curious why you use thesis statement instead of topic sentence.

  2. I am sure it is just a topic sentence, but we are supposed to use that terminology; that or central theme.

  3. Hi Ann,

    I nominated your blog for the Liebster Blog Award. I found it through TPT. You can check out my blog for the info and details on the award. 🙂


  4. That’s a relief. I teach 6th graders, and I think of thesis as high school or college level. We’re usually behind, but I hate to think we’re behind 3rd graders!

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