Make Meaning of the Holidays: Lesson Design that Matters

In this blog and video, we share some of our favorite ways to bring meaning to December/January lesson planning. Watch/listen in as we each open up about the decision making process that goes into curating and creating a HyperDoc. 

There are so many great holiday resources out there. But finding the ‘right’ ones can be exciting! We recently stumbled upon this lesson pack from Teaching Tolerance titled, Analyzing the School Holiday Calendar, for grades 6-12. Knowing how important it is to be aware of the range of holidays and traditions celebrated in our classrooms, we recognize that December can be a great time to get to know our students better and teach them to question the historical implications of things like a school calendar. In listening to Kelly’s creative process, we are reminded of the many decisions that teachers make, some of which include: 

  • What content will I choose to focus on? 
  • Who will I highlight in my curriculum?
  • Which essential questions do I want to emphasize?
  • Are there resources that will widen my students’ range of understanding?
  • Are there certain materials that will help me as the teacher to engage in critical conversations?
  • What are my packaging needs - and which tool best suits the need? (Docs, Slides, Immersive Reader, a PDF, chrome extensions)

If this is a lesson that you want to deliver in your classroom, explore the published HyperDoc that Kelly describes and try it out in your classroom! Be sure to let us know how it goes!

Some of the greatest teaching methods in Lisa’s instructional toolbelt are to ‘tease’ learners with a fun website, to spark curiosity with just the right amount of choice, and to stand back and let kids learn through play! You will want to check out her own curated collection, Winter Digital Fun, to explore the optional lessons for kids of all ages. Then, figure out how to roll them out with your class -- will you release one lesson per day or will you provide the menu of options and let kids decide where they want to invest their energy? You decide as the teacher! In the video, you’ll catch some pro tips for remixing someone else’s lesson: How to choose what to teach, giving credit, checking links, reading the teacher directions first, remembering it’s ok to delete, and more!


This particular HyperDoc was created to replicate and digitize one of my favorite annual writing pieces I would hang on the wall each year -- If I Could Give the World One Gift. One day I realized that I needed to “HyperDoc that” writing lesson as it would generate the best writing I would see from kids all year. As an educator, I encouraged my students to look outward to see what the greater community needs, but by examining what their own most cherished ‘gifts’ are. In this writing HyperDoc, I share the inspiration, mentor text, and structure needed for students to write their own personal essay. A personal essay is a type of creative nonfiction that can take on many shapes. I love this particular assignment because it helps students with essay structure, while giving them a timely and meaningful topic to reflect and write on! Remember that you can File>Make a Copy of this HyperDoc and adapt it up or down for your own grade level and student needs. This is a writing piece you will actually be eager to collect from your students and read!

Check out this collection of holiday giveaways where you will find lessons to inspire coding for the annual Hour of Code, a text set to teach all about Winter, how to tap into the traditions around the world, and more

We hope you will share with us some of the lessons you love to teach in December/January, and how pandemic schooling is encouraging you to rethink your instruction and focus for this time of year. 

Author: HyperDocs Admin 06-12-2020