Article, Lesson Plans

The Gift of a Story

  • Grades: 3–5

Kids love the holidays: the special foods, the visiting relatives, the decorations that get taken out once a year. They love to describe all the special ways they have of celebrating at this time of year. With this activity you can discover one another's unique traditions and create a special collection of stories kids can give to their families as gifts!

Begin by reading to your class "A Child's Christmas in Wales" by Dylan Thomas. (This story is available online at: www.bfsmedia.com/MAS/Dylan/Christmas.html.)

This very funny story of one boy's Christmas day is filled with strange presents, snowball fights, parties, and favorite songs. Before you read to the class, let them know that they will be writing their own story like Thomas's: "A Child's (Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, etc.) in (fill in your town and state)"!

Discuss the story when you are finished reading it. What did your students learn about Dylan Thomas's childhood holiday traditions? What kind of things did the children in the story probably do every year? What events were special to that year?

Now have students choose a special holiday year they want to describe. (For students who don't celebrate any of the traditional December holidays, you may want to choose a holiday from some other time of the year.) Have them brainstorm two lists: One should describe things that happen every year (foods that are eaten, traditions, visitors), and one should describe events that were special to that year.

Using their lists, have students write their stories. You may want to give them "A Child's Christmas in Wales" to use as inspiration while writing.

Have students read their stories and revise them in small groups.

When you are done, collect them into a holiday book, fill it with illustrations and photos that you scan into the computer, and make a copy for every student to treasure for years to come!

  • Subjects:
    Autobiographical Writing, Descriptive Essay, Christmas, Winter Themes, Teacher Tips and Strategies
  • Skills:
    Descriptive Writing
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