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Surfin' Santa Card

Santa on a speedboat or surfboard instead of a sleigh? December is warm in much of the world. Design holiday cards to fit the season—and the climate!

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
    Grade 3
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Ask students to think about holidays they celebrate and connect them with the seasons and types of weather typically experienced on those holidays. When you think of Christmas, do you think of snow, sleighs, and hot cocoa? In many parts of the world, including Florida, Brazil, and Australia, Christmas and related December holidays are just as festive, but they are celebrated with a slightly different twist because it's warm! In the Southern Hemisphere, December is summer. Compare and contrast the climates in these two seasons.
    2. Using a world map, have students identify countries found in the southern hemisphere. List those countries on a classroom white board using Crayola Dry Erase Markers. What is the climate is like on Christmas Day in these areas? How is it similar or different from students' home country?
    3. Invite students to investigatge how people living in warm climates celebrate Christmas. How does Santa Claus dress for a balmy or steamy Christmas? In shorts and a muscle shirt? Does he get around in speedboat or on a surfboard? An Australian song states that, instead of reindeer, large kangaroos pull Santa's sleigh.
    4. Encourage students to create a visual art that depicts Santa and the celebration of Christmas in a warm climate. Fold construction paper into a card. Sketch holiday greetings from or to Australia or another warm-weather location with Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils or Washable Markers. Write a holiday message and create holiday illustrations on both the outside and inside of the card.
    5. Provide an opportunity for students to share their "warm weather" holiday cards with classmates.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

    SCI: Analyze and interpret weather data to identify day-to-day variations as well as long-term patterns.

    SCI: Obtain information about different climatic areas to predict typical weather conditions expected in a particular season in a given area.

    SS: Compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment and social conditions.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Give examples of and explain group and institutional influences such as religious beliefs, laws, and peer pressure, on people, events, and elements of culture.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

    VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Christmas in Kangaroo Land by Adla M. Hannon; A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas; The Legend of St. Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving by Dandi Daley Mackall; It's Christmas, David! by David Shannon

    In some warm-weather countries, the day after Christmas if Boxing Day. Students investigate warm-weather sports that are played in honor of the celebration of Christmas.

    Invite a local merchant that sells greeting cards to visit with the class. Ask the merchant to focus his presentation on greeting cards and the sayings that are written in them. Students write questions for the guest. After the meeting, students post learning to a class blog.

    Students work in small groups to create original sayings to write in greeting cards. Have on hand several greeting cards appropriate for the holiday. Use these as motivation for the writing experience. Once each group of students has written 4-5 sayings, have the class compile a list of sayings and post these in the classroom as motivators for students as they create their original cards.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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