Holiday Word Work and Pick 3 Skill Practice

If you're like me, this time of year with the loads of holidays and celebrations are loads of fun for both kids and you!

I have recently added several Holiday Word Work Centers to TpT and wanted to walk through how I use them in class to hopefully give you some ideas over the next few months for your own classroom.

Here are the recently added centers:

Happy Hanukkah Word Work
Winter World Holidays (Diwali, St. Lucia, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Christmas & Hanukkah) Word Work
Merry Christmas Word Work
The Polar Express Word Work (vocabulary based on the book)
Ring In The New Year Work Work
Chinese New Year Word Work
Winter Olympics Word Work

Each packet contains:

  • Making Words with recording sheets
  • 36 vocabulary word cards specific to that holiday/theme/festival/etc.
  • A student sheet with the words for the activities if they want to cut & paste or use them for reference
  • ABC Order 
  • Syllable Sort
  • Parts of Speech (noun, verb & adjective) Sort
  • Publishing Paper

How do I use these packets in class?

I always print off student word sheets in a different color so kids can use them throughout the lesson. They are stored in the back of their Reader's Workshop Folder in a tiny folder for easy reference throughout the unit.

Depending on time, skill-level and how I am incorporating them, I can either have kids work with all 36 words in every center or I can split up the words into three groups and have them use twelve different words at each of the ABC Order, Syllable Sort and Parts of Speech Sort.

I have also assigned them to work independently, in partnerships, and even in table groups for a sub (read more about that HERE).

The nice thing about these packets is that they are similar enough that they don't require complex directions, can be adjusted depending on how you run your class and Word Work time, and the different needs and levels of your students.

Plus, if you're like me, it gets harder and harder to incorporate decent vocabulary lessons outside of content areas throughout the year even with Word of the Day and Vocabulary Journals, so the exposure and interaction with these rich terms has been invaluable in building up my students' lexicon.

Do I only use these four activities?

No! And that's what I am most excited about sharing!

If you've purchased my Seasonal Word Work Packets (Autumn, Winter, Spring & Summer), you have already seen these activities. If you haven't, I am excited to tell you all about Pick 3!

One set of Pick 3 Cards are in each of the four seasonal packets, but I have recently put them into their own bundle in case you just need these guys :)

Click above to be taken to my TpT Store.

Pick 3 is a fun way to utilize these Word Work word cards (or even my Math & ELA cards, or any vocab cards for that matter!) in purposeful, engaging, and meaningful ways.... and did I mention they are also CCSS-aligned?

They cover a wide range of strategies and Common Core State Standards. Be sure to head to the product page and download the preview to get a full list of the CCSS addressed.

The first direction on each card is to "Pick 3" and I will often have kids pick from the current Word Work packet we are working on. They will then use the coordinating recording sheet to use these word cards in a variety of ways.

Most of the "Pick 3" activities have four tasks, so kids will be able to practice 12 different words as they make their way through. I have found this to be a powerful differentiation tool, since I can have all kids working on the same skill, but using words at their level. I also try to put words with varying degrees of difficulty in my packets, so all kids can be challenged and learn something new :)

What I also love is that it cuts my prep time *way* down, since I can keep these cards in rotation along with the seasonal word cards and not have to reinvent the wheel throughout the course of the year. There is enough variety and challenge that these can be made once and used over and over again. I can mix-and-match the sets of cards throughout the year and my kids will always get great skill practice while practicing new and interesting words-- Yippee!

I hope this gave you a helpful idea of how I mix skill practice and Word Work in my classroom. Please let me know if you have any questions and I hope these Holiday Word Work activities can help you and your students celebrate this festive time of year!


  1. Can you tell me more about your vocabulary journals? Thanks, Shawna.

    1. You bet, Shawna! I posted about them here: They are from Jen Ross at The Teacher's Cauldron and I *love* them!! Hope that helps :)

    2. I love it. We are really looking at ways to improve vocabulary across the content areas. I shared this with my team today and we're going to get started in all classes. Do you use a two pocket three prong folder for your journals? Thanks, Shawna.

  2. Wow!! Lots of great resources shared in this post! A big THANK YOU!!