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The week before the winter break is a wonderful time to relax a little with your kids and read some holiday stories. Patricia Polacco is one of my favorite authors, and her stories are meant to be read aloud and shared. Two of her books that I enjoy using during the holidays are The Trees of the Dancing Goats and Uncle Vova's Tree. (Clicking on each image below will take you to Amazon where each book is available.)
This is an inspiring story about true friendship. As Trisha's family prepares to celebrate Hanukkah, they discover that many of their neighbors are sick with the fever. They work through the night to prepare food, candles, and decorated trees so their neighbors can have a Christmas celebration. The story is a perfect lead in to important conversations about not only kindness and generosity but tolerance of religions different than your own. Scholastic has a lesson plan to go along with the book which includes an adorable template that your students can use to create their own dancing goat decoration just like Grandpa's carved animals. You can find the lesson and template by clicking here.
Uncle Vova's Tree is a story about holiday traditions. I would use this story to get students talking about their own favorite family traditions. Students could also compare their family traditions to those of Patricia's family. I put together a couple free worksheets to go along with this book that you can find in my TPT Store.
The story talks about how they decorated their tree with pysanky eggs. You could have the students make their own egg ornaments by copying these Zendoodle eggs from Today's Mama onto cardstock.
In the story, they also create paper stars to put on Uncle Vova's tree. I found a cute star ornament craft from Picklebums!
I made it even easier by using the Ellison die cutter at school. I didn't have any scrapbook paper to use, but I did have some old Christmas cards. I love finding different ways to put those to use!
I hope you have found some ideas that you'd like to try in your classroom this holiday season! To go back and see all of the other posts in this series, click on the button below.