Fun December activities for elementary students

Do you need some fun December activities for elementary students? Keeping students engaged in December can be a challenge. Kids are excited about upcoming holidays, winter break, and weather changes. Teachers might find that if they slightly tweak their traditional lessons, they can have a smoother day while keeping kids learning!

3 Fun December activities for elementary students

Here are three great ways to have fun during December. These resources are highly low-prep and can be used for several weeks.

  1. December Poetry Activities
  2. December Writing Prompts
  3. Holidays on a Budget

December Poetry Activities

This fun December poetry activity contains reading skills and short yet funny poems. Readers can learn different reading skills like:

  • Visualization
  • New Vocabulary
  • Infer within the text
  • Main Idea
  • Figurative Language
  • Point of View
  • Using Text Evidence
  • Theme

Fun December activities for elementary students

Ideas of how to use this December Poetry Activity :

  1. Assign partners and have students read the poem to each other.
  2. Students can take turns reading stanzas or reading the entire poem several times
  3. Students can identify different rhyming patterns or styles of the poem
  4. Students can discuss features they enjoy in each poem
  5. Send students back to their desks to complete the questions and writing reflection pages

December Writing Prompts

This December Writing Prompts activity can help students write narrative, expository, persuasive and descriptive papers. There are many different colorful projects inside that kids can pick from. You can spend a week brainstorming, coloring, completing the graphic organizer, and writing the paper.



Fun December activities for elementary students

December writing prompts – 4th grade & 5th grade Christmas activitiesIdeas to use December Writing Activity:

  1. Day 1- Have students select a cover that they love and spend a class period generating ideas, coloring, and sharing what they wrote with a partner or a friend in the classroom
  2. Day 2 – Complete the graphic organizer and begin a rough draft
  3. Day 3 -Finish the rough draft and share it with a friend. Students can spend some time editing each other’s work.
  4. Day 4- Students can write the final draft and color the paper if they finish early.
  5. Day 5- Have students who want to share their stories share with the class.

Holidays on a Budget

Holidays on a budget can be an eye-opening project for students to see how much the holidays can cost. Students will see how quickly these events can add up to be a costly season. The beauty of this project is that a teacher can spend a small amount of time at the beginning of each class explaining what students will do for the day. Then students can work in partners or groups to complete the assignment.

Fun December activities for elementary students

Ideas to use Holidays on a Budget:

  1. Assign groups or partners to every student in the class.
  2. Explain the project to students without going into detail about daily tasks & assign a budget. I like to give students a relatively large budget so that they can see how quickly money can be spent.
  3. You can put the project in a file folder for organization. I like only to give the pages that students will be working on each day to the students. That way, you can monitor student progress and ensure they complete their project correctly.
  4. Once students complete the project, they can present it to the class if they like.

I hope that you have found some fun December activities for elementary students to keep the month running smoothly!

You can also find me on TeachersPayTeachers! Click here ➜ for Marcy’s Mayhem.






Readers’ theater scripts in the classroom

Are you using readers’ theater scripts in the classroom? I love using readers’ theater or “drama” in the classroom because they are a perfect way to keep kids engaged and learning reading skills. Have you ever said, “Kids, today we are going to do a reading comprehension passage in class today?” I’m sure you heard a bunch of sighs and kids slumping in chairs. What if you could get a positive, excited reaction to the statement, “We are going to complete a reading comprehension passage today.”

Using readers’ theater scripts is great because kids can interact and move around while acting out what is written on the pages. It allows students to discuss the text and feelings of the characters in the stories. Students don’t realize that while they are reading the scripts with each other, they can also learn important reading skills that teachers want to know if their students understand.

Ideas on how to use Readers’ theater scripts in the classroom

I love using drama in the classroom so much that I created some for my students to use. There are a variety to choose from, but I like to pick 2 different scripts and divide the class into groups. One half of the class will read one script and the other half of the class will read the other script. I will have several other scripts to use for another assignment or to work with kids in small groups or when I tutor after school.

Readers' theater scripts in the classroom- drama reading comprehension

I normally print class sets of the scripts to use for each period. Each of these scripts is 2-3 pages in length, so students can read and discuss in a short amount of time.

Readers' theater scripts in the classroom- Drama reading comprehension passages

I give the class between 20-30 minutes to read the scripts and discuss what is happening inside the stories. I encourage the class to think like the character and how they might react if they were inside the characters shoes. While they are reading the scripts, I walk around the class and monitor to make sure that students are on task, ask them questions, and if they finish, I encourage them to read the script again. They can always play a different role or read again quietly at their desk.

Once the time is up, I send the kids back to their desks with their scripts and pass out the questions that go with the script that they have read.

DRAMA Reading Comprehension Passages 4th, 5th

These scripts come in a multiple choice version, short answer, & digital. There are also writing reflection pages and theme reflection to use that are perfect to use for a writing grade or for your early finishing students.

What is included inside the Drama/Readers Theater scripts resource?

  1. ❀ Five original plays
  2. ❀ Each reading script has five comprehension questions. Short answer and multiple-choice options for each passage.
  3. ❀ Writing Reflection Page for each passage.
  4. ❀ Theme analysis – Students identify the theme of each play and reflect on the importance of the lesson.
  5. ❀ The answer key is included at the end of the presentation.

You may also love these Drama/Readers Theater resources:

  1. The Drama Bundle – Includes over 10 different scripts and a vocabulary foldable.
  2. Drama for social situations– 5 scripts to help students deal with social situations like saying no to drugs, bullying, standing up for yourself. Please note, these scripts are ONLY for a mature audience.
  3. The BIG reading Bundle– This resource contains over 50 of my reading comprehension passages. The drama reading comprehension resource is inside!

I hope that your students enjoy using readers’ theater scripts in the classroom. They can be a great alternative to a boring reading comprehension passage. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

You can also find me on TeachersPayTeachers! Click here ➜ for Marcy’s Mayhem.

Math project based learning for the year

Do you use Math project based learning for the year in your classroom?  I am a big fan of using PBL projects year-round in school. These projects work well for early finishers and in centers so that I can pull small groups. When I first created the Plan a Vacation Budget Planning project in 2018, I hadn’t thought beyond the project. This original resource was something that students completed at the end of the school year, and they loved it. After some time, I realized that having Math project based learning for the year was helpful for kids and teachers.

A closer look at Math project based learning for the year

  1. Back to school on a budget– This resource provides students with various scenarios that occur during back-to-school time. Students will be given a lump sum of money to buy basic school supplies. Kids must compare the costs of school supplies, clothing, and extracurricular activities. There is a section for kids to purchase items they might want, such as a new iPad, computer, calculator, etc. This project can be eye-opening to students who don’t realize how quickly the cost of returning to school can be.

back-to-school activity

  1. Holidays on a budget- Most people have a variety of celebrations to attend around holiday time. This resource allows students to plan a celebration and see the associated costs. This project will also enable students to see how much time it takes to organize an event.  Students can also plan what gifts to buy loved ones using a budget. Plus, they will plan activities they would like to do during their winter break.

  1. Plan a Spring Vacation– This resource dives into spring break and how much it would cost to plant a garden and make plans over the week of spring break. Students will research different activities near able to budget their money wisely.

Project Based Learning Math 4th, 5th, 6th, Spring time group research budgeting

  1. Plan a Vacation using a budget– This BEST-SELLING resource is so fun for kids who can plan a dream vacation anywhere they want to go. Students must research the cost of flights, car rentals, eating out, vacation clothing, and more. This allows students to see how fast an allotted amount of money can be spent.

Included in Math project based learning for the year resources:

All of the Math PBL projects can be started with a blank check (included inside). With all of the projects, I like to give students a bigger budget so that they can see how fast the money can be spent.

Blank check for math PBL projects

The beauty of these projects is that they are NO-PREP work for the teacher. Each of the projects can be explained at the beginning of class, and then when students finish their work or have dedicated time to work on each project, they just get to work. These projects allow teachers to have time to pull small groups of students who might be struggling with other skills or to do check-ins with each group to see how their projects are coming along. These projects spark great conversation between the kids and their teachers. Also, students benefit from using technology in the classroom.

Math Project-Based Learning for the Year

Using Math project based learning for the year can be a fun and insightful way for kids to learn about budgeting money and how to research effectively.

What is project-based learning?

What is project-based learning, you ask? This post will show examples of my favorite ways to teach kids without teaching them. It is one of those examples of teaching a man to fish per se. One of my favorite math projects with upper elementary and early middle school is the Budget for students activity.


Project-based learning is a teaching method in which students learn by actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects.

This teaching trend is a way for kids to learn by doing and compiling their research. See below for the create a budget for students’ activity.

What is project-based learning?

This resource is practically no prep work for the teacher. All that you need to do is explain a section of the project and let students do their research on how much a dream vacation will cost.


  • Budget planning instructions
  • File folder cover
  • Brainstorming lists
  • Instructions on planning a vacation, from buying appropriate clothing, travel costs, lodging, eating out, etc.
  • Numerous planning pages
  • Reflection pages
  • total cost sheets
  • Rubrics for easy grading (students & teacher)
  • Maps
  • Postcard writing


This resource was first created four years ago (since then has seen many changes), but the one question I often receive is, what should the student budget be?

My answer to this question has always been the same. I like to give kids a big budget! Giving students a massive budget like this can help them to realize how quickly the money can be spent. Generally I set the budget at a minimum of $10,000 dollars, since this seems like a tremendous amount of money to a kid, even myself. The beauty of this project-based learning activity is that kids can better grasp budgeting money in the real world.

This resource also gives kids an idea of how much work it can take to plan a vacation once they compile all the research. PLAN A TRIP USING A BUDGET is very popular to use as an end-of-the-year math project, but the reality is that it can be used anytime throughout the year. I hope that helps teachers and homeschool parents understand better what project-based learning is!

Easy strategies when reading

We know, as teachers, that using easy strategies when reading with your students can have a HUGE IMPACT.  However, finding a way to teach them all can be hard to remember for children, especially a struggling reader. When I first started teaching, I was handed a chart of reading strategies with 12 squares on the paper. It had various strategies like reading subheadings, circling keywords, etc. All of them were great strategies students needed to use, but I quickly realized that they were tough to remember.

I remember a handful of times when working with students in a small group and asking them about their reading strategies, and they would give me blank stares. I knew that I needed to find a way to show them all their strategies in an easier way. When I later transferred schools, my 5th-grade team introduced me to a great acronym that helped my students.

We used an easy reading strategy that incorporated the school mascot. Kids could tell you what each process was, and I saw AWESOME results when I was repetitively using them. Years later, when I was tutoring more consistently, I needed something that wasn’t my home school specific. This was when I came up with the phrase, “When we read, we take a TRIP!”


This acronym is simple to memorize and incorporates many strategies with each step. Please read below to see how to use it with kids.



Once I teach my students about the TRIP reading strategies, I will also provide them with a way to explain what each one of the strategies means.

You can see below the activity…
Easy strategies when reading


And bookmarks…








Plus POST-IT notes

Easy strategies when reading

There are many ways for students to practice and use these easy strategies when reading.

Easy strategies when reading

For more behind-the-scenes info on these resources, teacher tips, hacks, products, and sales check out @marcys_mayhem on Instagram!

You can also find me on TeachersPayTeachers! Click here ➜ for Marcy’s Mayhem.


Poetry Rules

I am so excited that my book Poetry Rules is finally completed and ready to share with everyone. This book took over a year to write and illustrate, and I love the finished product. Showing this book to a group of students in the classroom setting was what I had in mind while writing this book.  Kids being able to relate to the poems was super important to me. As with all my teaching books, one of my top priorities is to incorporate some learning inside. The book begins with the start of the school year and moves to the fall, winter, and spring. Enjoy this book every season of the year.


Poetry Rules


  • Free Verse
  • Narrative
  • Lyrical
  • Concrete
  • Rhyming

Kids can identify various figurative language styles when reading Poetry Rules. This book makes a great read-aloud, mentor text, or can be read a few poems each day.

Here is a video to take a closer look inside the book, showing how each poem style varies slightly.

I tried to envision how I would use this book when I was in the classroom. The kids loved when we had a weekly poem, even in the upper elementary grades. It would be easy to make a copy of the poems that follow the school year and provide every student with a copy. The lesson could go something like this:

  • Day 1- Read the poem to a classroom and discuss the main idea.
  • Day 2 – Point out challenging vocabulary words, use those words in a sentence, and challenge your students to write something using that word.
  • Day 3 – Dig deeper into the poem. Make predictions and infer within the text. Show students how to find the answers to using the words in the text.
  • Day 4 – Highlight figurative language styles. One or more of the following have been added to every poem, similes, metaphors, idioms, hyperbole, personification, alliteration, and onomatopoeia.
  • Day 5- Challenge students to write their own poem using the same style. Provide the kids with a topic and see what amazing things they can come up with!

Reading this book in the classroom is not its only purpose, and it can be enjoyed as a bedtime story or read anywhere by someone who loves poetry.

If you have any questions feel free to reply to this post. You can also find me on at Marcy’s Mayhem.

Phonics small groups for older students

Phonics small groups for older students

Have you thought about pulling phonics small groups for older students yet? We as educators know how important one-on-one instruction can be, yet it is hard to push aside when you have all the others things to manage.

When I started teaching, it was at a Title I school with a huge population of English language learners. Pulling small groups was literally the only way I could ensure that all of the kids understood what I was teaching, and it was mandatory to see where students struggled. The first few years were very tough to know what was best to help out my kids.

When I make resources today, I always have a small group perspective when I create them. I wanted to show you how to use my new phonics resource to help your upper elementary kiddos make strides in reading AND make planning for you super simple.

With it being the first few weeks of school, I know teachers are in survival mode. However, if you haven’t made a secure plan, I have something easy for you. Plus, this resource can last you almost the ENTIRE school year.


#1 INTRODUCE Once you have your groups assigned, you will probably meet with each one at least once a week. Start by introducing the phonics skills posters. Discuss the skill and show each student the pictures.

#2 PRACTICE! These practice pages can be cut in half so that you can practice one with the students and then give them the other part to see if they understand.

Or you can put the other half of the worksheets in rotating centers for students to work on throughout the week. These practice sheets are fantastic for checking fluency, discussing other vocabulary words, and filling in gaps of a missing phonics skill.

#3 CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING- Use the worksheets to see if your reader understands the skill. This worksheet can also be cut in half if needed. Once you know how the student performed on their worksheets, keep it as data and use it for future small groups.

There are over 40 lessons inside this resource. Use this product all school year long, making planning for small groups a breeze!

I found this quote below that seemed fitting. I hope planning goes smoothly and this school year is the BEST YET!

Hopefully pulling phonics small groups for older students will feel like a breeze. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

Talk soon,


Classroom décor ideas elementary

What are your favorite Classroom décor ideas for elementary and middle school? It is hard to believe that teachers are already heading back to school as early as next week. If you love modern-looking décor in real life, why not incorporate it into your classrooms? I have several sets that I have made, updated, and think you may love too!

Classroom décor ideas for elementary & middle school #1


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Classroom décor ideas for elementary & middle school #2


What will you find inside?
✿ Number anchor chart posters 0-20 ✿ Number’s banner with numbers 0-9 in two background colors ✿ 20 Pre-made binder covers ✿ 1”, 2”, & 3” binder spines ✿ 8 editable binder covers and spines ✿ 12 Motivational posters ✿ Printable ABC letters ✿ Welcome back banner ✿ Numbers chart 0-10. ✿ Calendar numbers ✿ Monday-Sunday days of the week cards in two sizes✿ Passes (Hall, Nurse, Boys’ and Girls) ✿ ABC cards ✿ Handwriting practice examples ✿ Numbers anchor chart that is 0-20 ✿ Numbers banner with numbers 0-9 in two background colors 2. BLUE FLOWERS DECOR SET
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❀ calendar months ❀ days of the week ❀ calendar numbers ❀ alphabet letters ❀ numbers 0-9 ❀ classroom rules posters ❀ passes to leave class ❀ school supply labels ❀ subject labels ❀ table numbers 1-8 ❀ Teacher Notebook covers ❀ Binder spines 1 1/4″, 2″ & 3″ ❀ Journal labels with floral decor or a blue arrow ❀ Blue Flowers Paper ❀ 8.5″ X 11 ABC posters to hang around the classroom (Print) ❀ 8.5″ X 11 ABC posters to hang around the classroom (Cursive)
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Inside this no-prep product  are over 100 vocabulary words that include these fifth-grade topics:
❀ Basic scientist terms ❀ Life science ❀ Geology ❀ Weather & Astronomy ❀ Matter ❀ Forces & Energy
For even more classroom décor ideas for elementary, click here ➤ SEE ALL THE DECOR IDEAS.
I would love to hear how you decorate your classroom! Leave a comment below! 


Setting up a successful reading classroom corner

Setting up a successful reading classroom corner

I am just returning from a Chicago conference where I took a class on setting up a successful reading classroom corner and am feeling inspired. There is nothing better than hearing from other educators about ways to do things you may have never thought of before. Years ago, I would eye roll if I had to do training over the summer. I am not going to lie, but I enjoy them now because of the way I feel when I am there and after.

Speaking of learning new things, I’m sure you are like me and use the summertime to reflect on the previous year and spend a good chunk of time thinking of ways to do the next year even BETTER!

I wanted to send my top 5 tips for setting up a successful reading classroom corner.


1.Have high-quality books! Essential! WE know this. Many teachers post their Amazon wish lists on Facebook or ask for books. If your classroom library isn’t stocked yet, go for it! what do you have to lose?

2.Set up a fun place for kids to read- During independent reading time, let kids read where they want (with classroom expectations of course). Students benefit from having an organized place where they can enjoy their books.

Setting up a successful reading classroom corner

3.Give students a way to track their thinking. My students need this strategy modeled for them every year, but the results are worth it. Plus, who doesn’t love using fun-colored school supplies?

Ways to use post-it notes to track your thinking

4. Start building reading stamina from day 1- I like to give each kid a book bag to store several books in for the week. Students can bring books from home & the library to store in their book bags. Then I give the kids a designated time to “shop” for books each week. That way, they are not wasting their independent reading time searching for books when they should be building their reading stamina.

Reading book bag for classroom

5. Model what reading time looks like. In the first few weeks of school, model what a “reading workshop” should look, sound, and feel like. You can download a FREE anchor chart here.

I hope that you feel ready to make this the best school year yet! Feel confident in setting up a successful reading classroom corner with ease.

10 Reading Comprehension Strategies

When it comes to reading strategies, I like to keep things short, sweet, and effective. Having too many reading strategies can confuse kids, and it is hard for teachers to model constantly. Below is a list of 10 reading comprehension strategies that I like to use in the classroom.


  1. Phonics & Fluency – These two go hand in hand, focusing on them simultaneously. 
  2. Display Reading Strategies – This seems so simple. When it comes to using reading strategies, my classroom uses the phrase when we read; we take a trip. Introduce this saying early in the school year to practice using it all school year long. Inside this reading strategies activity, students can see each step, create a pennant, and have a bookmark listing each step.
  3. Use graphic organizers regularly– This is super helpful, especially for struggling readers. Plus, there are graphic organizers for almost everything when doing a quick Google search. 
  4. Practice Decoding – This sounds like something for younger students, but it is not. As a student’s vocabulary increases, model decoding to help with challenging words. 
  5. Teach Reading is Thinking– When reading aloud, model what it looks like to think while reading text and show students what appropriate thinking looks like. Encourage students to pay attention to their thoughts as they read. This is also a great time to model how to steer back to the text when your mind drifts. 
  6. Make life connections & use schema – Another excellent time to model. Making connections when you read aloud to kids is beneficial to the reader. Also, explain schema throughout the school year. I tell kids schema is like invisible file folders inside your brain that is full of knowledge. 
  7. Use Word Walls– Yup, even in upper elementary. Think of all the great vocabulary words that students learn. This is also a great time to model using context clues in sentences. Have slips of paper ready for your kids, and once the class learns the word, a student can add the word to the wall. 
  8. Give Students a Choice– While there is some text that students have to read, most of their independent reading materials should be their choice. Have reading conferences when kids silently read to help them find books and text written by authors they love. Also show kids how to find books on topics that they want to learn more about. 
  9. Technology– Use it as much as possible. There are tons and tons of reading resources online that students can use. Having kids read comprehension passages online is a more fun way to be able to check their understanding. 
  10. Encourage– Kids respond to encouragement! Give praise and compliments as much as possible.

These reading comprehension passages are an excellent way for upper elementary students to get practice. The resource contains printable & digital options for kids to show what they know. This product contains the reading comprehension strategies for FREE that is mentioned above.  


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