December Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA

Find engaging and rigorous December lesson plans for middle school ELA in this blog post. It should not be stressful finding quality lesson plans for ELA. Check out these middle school ELA lesson plans to find quality ideas for teaching in December. #christmaslessonplans #holidayseason #middleschoolela #decemberlessonplans

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 the 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

Student Book Talk Assignment

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.

Independent Reading Journal Assignment

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

Christmas or Winter Creative Writing Assignment

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

Student Book Talk Assignment

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

Christmas Truce of 1914 Media Analysis Unit

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.

Save Yourself Time and Stress

Take the stress of lesson planning this month with this Middle School Christmas Activities Bundle. This bundle contains 5 different resources (available as both PDF and Google Slides formats) to use with your classes this month. I have used these resources with my classes and my students LOVE them.

  1. Global Holiday Celebrations Research Assignment: Help students learn about different cultures, celebrations, and faiths with this holiday research assignment.
  2. Christmas Truce of 1914 Media Analysis Unit: Students will learn about this event that took place between the British and German troops along the western front trenches in France.
  3. Middle School Christmas Unit: This engaging Christmas Unit contains 6 different activities that will help reinforce your students’ reading and writing skills.
  4. Christmas Writing Prompts: Students use the 8 different Christmas themed story prompts to get thinking creatively about what might happen in each scenario.
  5. New Year’s Goal Setting Activity and Reflection Sheet: Students will reflect on the previous year and set new goals for themselves when they return to school from holiday break. Buy it now – click this link Middle School Christmas Activities Bundle.

Special Occasions 

  • Hanukkah Non-Fiction Article – This resource contains 1 non-fiction article and 3 post-reading activities to assist with reading comprehension.
  • Christmas Digital Escape Room – This Christmas-themed digital escape room provides students with the opportunity to work independently or with their peers to solve 10 Christmas/world geography-focused challenges. Students must solve these required challenges to find the escaped gingerbread men as they travel around the world to avoid being captured. 
  • Winter Digital Escape Room – This winter-themed digital escape room provides students with the opportunity to work independently or with their peers to solve 10 hot chocolate-themed challenges. Students must solve these required challenges to escape the cafeteria supply closet they accidentally got locked in. This is NOT Christmas-themed. All clues are about hot chocolate and its ingredients.

Check out these December related blog posts:

Hopefully at some of these ideas for December lesson plans for middle school ELA can help your month be both festive and productive.  

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