Christmas Around the World is a great unit to teach in the month of December. Take your students on a tour around the world as they learn about the Christmas traditions in the USA, England, Italy, Germany, France, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Netherlands, Chinese New Year, Diwali, Australia, and Russia. Let’s take a look at how this can be done in a practical and engaging way in your elementary classroom.
Start with Books
There are a lot of children’s books out there that are perfect for sharing about the Christmas traditions in other countries. One of my favorites is Christmas Around the World. It is filled with a lot of kid-friendly information about 12 different countries, some art project ideas, and some great photos.
Another favorite of mine is A World of Cookies for Santa: Follow Santa’s Tasty Trip Around the World. This is a book that was referred to me from a teacher friend. I bought one, read it, and immediately knew I had to update this post to include the title! It’s a sweet story that brings the reader along for a trip across the globe to see the treats that other countries leave out for Santa.
Whether you have technology devices in the classroom or have to go to the computer lab, website research can be a fun and powerful way for students to learn about other countries and their holiday traditions. I suggest choosing one website per learning session and bookmarking that website to the device or computer. I like to show my students the flow of the website before putting them on there. Once they get this quick tutorial, I set them free (well, kind of) and am always amazed at how well they do and how well they navigate! Here are the list of websites that I recommend:
- Why Christmas
- Christmas Around the World Video for Kids
- Christmas Around the World Video Collection
- Christmas Celebrations Around the World
- Christmas Around the World-NorthPole.com
- Christmas Traditions Around the World
Christmas Around the World Research and Project
The Christmas Around the World Fact Sheets are another great instructional tool. The fact sheets teach the students about traditional holiday foods, family holiday traditions, facts, and Santa (or their version of him). The fact sheets come in full color and black and white. The full color version is great for the teacher and for displaying in front of the class. The fact sheets can be used as a whole group lesson, individual reading practice, partner reading, close reading, or guided reading.
The countries that are included in the Research Book and Facts Sheets are:
- Chinese New Year
The fact sheets correlate perfectly with the different components of the Christmas Around the World Lapbook. Once the students have learned about a country, they can transfer their learning and apply it through their writing.
Want to check out a freebie sample? Download our Christmas in America mini lesson. Included in this freebie is a fact sheet about Christmas in America. It covers the traditional food, drink, Santa Claus, family traditions, and other fun facts. The fact sheets are available in full color and black and white.
Teachers often ask what kind of folders need to be purchased for these lapbooks. The answer is nothing fancy. Simply grab some manilla file folders from your classroom or office. I used colored folders but this wouldn’t be necessary. Don’t have folders? Construction paper works great too. Fold each side of the folder/paper in until it meets in the middle to form the front cover flaps. The writing activities are placed inside.
As you can see from the image above, the flip flaps for each country are tabbed at the bottom of each mini book. Each page includes space for the students to write a sentence of information that was learned from the fact sheet. There is also space for the students to draw a picture to match their sentence.
The map in the center is for the students to track their journey to the different countries. There are now two versions of the map to accommodate a variety of classroom needs. The back of the lapbook is reserved for students to earn passport stamps. Since creating the original version of this resource, 9 additional countries/celebrations have been added. So, if you want to include more flip flaps for more countries, my suggestion would be to store the passport envelope loosely inside the lap book and attach the rest of the flip flaps on the back. After the students finish their flip flap book, they can earn a stamp to store in their pocket at the back of the lapbook. This serves as a great incentive!
This Christmas Around the World Unit can be purchased as a bundle or as separate components seen below:
Christmas Around the World Bundle
Christmas Around the World Fact Sheets
Christmas Around the World Lapbook
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