Posted in Miscellaneous

How the Teacher Stole Christmas

‘Twas the week before Christmas break, and all through the room, not a student was on-task, the teacher felt doomed.

As the holidays approach, it becomes increasingly difficult for students (and often teachers) to want to be at school. Instead, they are excited thinking about what presents they are giving and getting, the trip they might be going on, caroling, eating cookies, and lots of other fun holiday baubles.

However, academic work still needs to happen that week before break. Many teachers end up feeling like the Grinch as they struggle to have their students do even the most basic academic tasks.


Is there a solution to this?


Since students are so excited about Christmas, why not integrate it into your academic work?

To further explain, let’s use that mean old Grinch as an example.

At the beginning of the day, read Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas to familiarize all students with the book. Then, have the rest of the day themed around the Grinch.

Reading: Besides just reading the book yourself, why not let your students perform in some reader’s theater? This is a great way for your students to practice fluency and comprehension. The best part is, students will be having so much fun, they probably won’t even realize they’re learning.

One reader theater’s script for the Grinch:

Science: Can hearts actually grow three sizes? If not, what can?

Learn a little bit about the human body. Is it actually possible for hearts to grow three sizes?  See what you and your students can discover.

As we know, hearts don’t actually grow three sizes, but maybe there are other materials that can. Have your students experiment with different materials such as sponges, the instant-grow towels (you can usually find these at dollar stores), potato pearls, and more. Just add water and see what can grow three sizes.

Math: We all know that the Grinch lives just north of Whoville, but do your students know their 3-dimensional shapes? Do students know that a Christmas tree is basically a cone and that homes are actually pentagonal prisms?

Depending on the age of your students, they could learn the names of these 3-D figures and actually create them. Using all of these newly made 3-D figures, you can create your own “Whoville.” Or maybe even find the volume of a Christmas tree.

Writing: As Dr. Seuss famously wrote, “‘Maybe Christmas’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store.  Maybe Christmas means a little bit more!’” This a great springboard into a journal prompt.

Besides journal prompts, students could also learn to imitate Dr. Seuss’ famous rhyming style. Talking about rhyme, and even writing your own Christmas poem, is another great academic activity that you can derive from the Grinch.

Perhaps academics can include a little bit more?  Although the book example and activities in this post are for elementary school teachers, teachers in secondary settings can still use this same principle. If you’re an English teacher, why not discuss Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol?  Or if you’re a history teacher, you could discuss the Christmas Day truces during WWI?  There’s tons of cool dry ice experiments you can use in science classes as well.

Although all of your teaching shouldn’t focus on the holidays, utilizing them can be a very engaging and academic part of December.


My brother was diagnosed with autism before I was born. So, disabilities have been always been a major part of my life. That's one of the reasons I'm studying Special Education at BYU. In my life, I've found people who haven't experience with people with disabilities are really nervous about people with disabilities. I've also found that the scariest thing in life is the unknown. So, I created this blog to help demystify people with disabilities by sharing experiences I've had, my perspective, and hopefully other people's perspectives as well. This blog is not meant to romanticize people with disabilities or mitigate the difficulties associated with being a human being (goodness knows, we all have our faults and can be difficult to live with at times--disability or not). But instead, I hope to show day-to-day experiences and long-term perspectives to give more information about people with disabilities.

3 thoughts on “How the Teacher Stole Christmas

  1. This is a great idea, but sadly, many schools don’t allow “Christmas Themes” in classes. I love this lesson and there are ways to teach the same lessons and secularize it at the same time. OR a note explaining the lesson could be sent home informing parents, and those who wish to have their child not participate in a holiday themed lesson could arrange to keep their child home that day or arrange with the teacher for their child to have different work or work in another classroom. I think it is a great lesson and am adapting this for another book I am using with my students. Thank you for the post.

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