Christmas Around the World Teaching Ideas

Christmas Around the World teaching ideas for elementary teachers.

Christmas Around the World is one of my favorite units to teach. It brings in diversity lessons, social studies lessons, and a chance for kids to see how people live all around the world. Personally, the first day back to school after Thanksgiving is when I like to start Christmas Around the World. That gives a full four weeks of learning about the different countries. If you wait to squeeze it all into one week, odds are you won’t get much information into your lessons. Also, your students may not retain as much information. Without further ado, here are my Christmas Around the World teaching ideas!

Pace It Out First

Time to determine how long you would like to teach this unit. As stated above, thinking about a full month of cross-curricular integration is perfect for this unit. Using these lessons and activities during your ELA block is a sound way to make sure students can learn all about Christmas Around the World. Furthermore, they can grasp informational standards for basic learning skills.

Whether you choose to use all four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas to teach this unit, or if you just use the 1-2 weeks before the break to teach it, I have created a FREEBIE for you! If you sign up for my email list, you’ll get this freebie delivered right to your email. This freebie is to help you outline your entire unit on paper before typing up your lesson plans or writing them into your planner. Here, you can click the image below to grab your freebie.

Christmas Around the World lesson planning freebie.

There are two suggestions I have for you. Since there is so much to this four-week unit, some of you may have different opportunities for how much you can teach.

  • First, one option is to teach all ten countries that I cover in my Christmas Around the World units, but only spend 1-2 days on each country. This way you can squeeze in all ten countries, plus some review at the end, into those sixteen days.
  • Secondly, another option to choose is to lessen the number of countries you teach so that you can give more information. For this strategy, I would suggest only teaching 5-6 countries within my units, but spending three full days in each country.

If you’re using my three units, I suggest mixing the full unit and add-on passages throughout the first three weeks of country studies. Then, for that half week at the end, you will do the culminating flip book that brings all ten countries into one.

Collect Any Schema or Prior Knowledge

Christmas Around the World KWL chart (schema.)

KWL charts are fundamental during this unit. Many teachers in all grade levels teach a unit of Christmas Around the World, so it’s important to see what your students know before coming into your four-week unit. A KWL chart will especially help gather that information, plus it will make their learning intentional over the next few weeks.

I have two options in my Christmas Around the World unit for collection prior knowledge beforehand. I provide a KWL chart and a schema/misconceptions chart. Depending on which terminology you use in your classroom, you will have a prior knowledge sheet to start your unit off with.

Organizational Tips for Christmas Around the World Unit

Organizing your Christmas Around the World lesson plans and ideas.

There is a large amount of activities, crafts, writing papers, mini-books, and other resources the students will create while learning. Therefore, I suggest keeping ALL of their resources in one folder and waiting to send it all home on one day. Instead of sending it home one day at a time, they will get to go home and show their parents their huge folder and explain all of their new knowledge about Christmas Around the World.

Shown in the picture above is another FREEBIE I’m giving to my blog readers. The cover artwork you see in the picture above is a fun decoration you can glue or staple to the front of these file folders to help identify whose folder is whose.

You can grab file folders on Amazon or at Target for your classroom to help keep this all organized. Here, you’ll find my Amazon affiliate link for a pack of 36 colorful file folders for this four-week unit.

Great Read Alouds

Christmas Around the World reading suggestions.

Each of the five books listed below is a collection of Christmas traditions around the world. Some books are great read-alouds, and also books that students will love getting their hands on to get a closer look. Especially the Walk This World at Christmastime, since it is a lift-flap children’s book! Each book has a link to my Amazon affiliate link.

Activities and More

In the next few images, you’re going to see sample pictures of a study of France. Read below each picture to learn more about each resource included in your units.

Christmas Around the World lesson plans and ideas.

To start off your unit, make some passports. This can be Day 1 of your unit outline. Get students excited about “traveling” around the world and all the countries they’ll get to see. In their passport, there is a daily writing page to write 1-2 facts about the country they’ve learned about. This can stay in their file folder and get added to each day. The book will be complete after your final country lesson.

Christmas Around the World activities for the elementary classroom.

Here, to introduce each country, I suggest using a circle map that shows images and displaying it for students. Then, they will see a few things they’re going to learn about in the next few days about that country prior to studying. In my unit, I provide a circle map and a teacher script sheet to read aloud to your students.

Two Reading Options

Reading is also very important during your unit, especially if you’re using this as a cross-curricular unit and taking time out of your ELA block. Here, in my full unit, I provide a cut and staple mini-book about each country’s celebrations. Plus, last year, I created an add-on pack that provides passages and a comprehension page. The reason I added this is because I had a few teacher requests asking for more reading material within the unit! (2 Resources Shown: Full unit & passages add-on)

Follow-Up Learning Activities

Following students’ reading activities, it’s a great time to work on fact writing. Here, there are a few fact writing sheets within my unit. Plus, a cut and glue fold and snip book that quizzes students on their new knowledge.

Looking For a Digital Option?

Many teachers are looking for digital options of Christmas Around the World this year. All of the activities in my full unit have been converted into digital Google Slides activities.

Finish up with a Flip Book

And finally, in the last 2-3 days of school before sending the kiddos off on their winter break, I suggest doing a big review of Christmas Around the World by using this flip book. Each little flip page includes quick review information about each country they learned about. Then, they will label and sort the facts and information they learned about each country. This is a particularly fun and engaging way to review their unit. (Resource: Flip Book)

Suggested Christmas Around the World Teaching Resources

Now is the time to outline the resources that are used within this blog post!

Freebie Downloads

And don’t forget to download your freebies… Here, you can click the images below for each of them if you forget to grab them earlier in the blog post.

Freebies: Planning Sheets & Folder Cover

Watch My YouTube video, too!


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