Need a holiday writing prompt to keep your students’ interested in content material during the holidays?
How do you keep students interested in writing?
Use an engaging — impossible to resist topic!
Even though winter holidays are distracting, your students can practice persuasion, description, and creative writing skills.
Taking a break from your regular writing topics and focusing on seasonal and potentially silly topics can inspire student creativity and energy for writing!
Here are some easy ideas to try:
By the time our students reach middle school, they are well-versed in the usual holiday stories.
Which means those stories are perfect for parody.
Start this lesson with the king of parody: Weird Al Yankovich. It can be a challenge to find a song he parodies that is:
a. one your students know
b. appropriate for school
However — showing your students the original video for “Beat It” and then “Eat It” may be just what they need to see how the parody works.
Students love dissecting what a parody is, how it works, and how it’s different from outright just making fun of something.
But if you can’t find a music video that works, you can use a familiar holiday story.
Teach parody as a way for students to take a fresh look at a familiar Christmas theme.
Read the familiar “Night Before Christmas,” provide students with a copy, and allow them to write a “Night Before Christmas” that takes place at school, or “The Night Before Finals,” or Winter Break — or “The Night Before Break is Over!”
Familiar holiday songs are perfect for parodies as well.
Holiday writing prompt: letter to Santa…
With a twist!
My favorite holiday prompt is: Dear Santa, Please Take Me Off the Naughty List.
Students begin with a problem: for some reason, they are on Santa’s naughty list.
They must convince Santa that they don’t belong there by:
1) addressing the problem
2) creating an argument as to how they have been nice
3) persuading Santa that he is mistaken
I love this lesson because it teaches addressing the opposition (how you got on the list in the first place!), tone (how do you talk to Santa?), evidence (how do you prove you’ve been nice?), and the friendly letter format includes an introduction and conclusion.
(You can find this complete lesson here.)
Be sure to allow students to share their letters with the class!
Ugly Christmas Sweater
Sure, you can have students wear them, but what happens when you take it a step further, and students design and describe them — so that another student can recreate them?
That’s the idea behind the ugly Christmas sweater writing prompt.
How to teach this:
First have your students design an ugly Christmas sweater.
Then, have them write a detailed description of their sweater.
Next, collect both the sweater designs and the descriptions. Randomly distribute the descriptions and have the student recreate the design based on the description.
Finally, match up the original illustration, directions, and recreated illustration.
This is a blast to teach and a wonderful descriptive writing lesson!
You can find the whole, ready-to-teach lesson here.
Need more holiday ideas?
Check out what to teach in December for ideas for more ideas that will keep your students writing all month long!
Need ideas for what your students can be writing about? You’ll find seven ideas here.
If your students are moving on to a new grade level, or you’re looking for even more ideas for keeping your students engaged, this post has many more.
Here’s to wonderful writing this holiday season!
You can find the complete lesson for the “Dear Santa” lesson in my store.
And…of course, I’m sure you are all on Santa’s nice list!!