On a scale from Scrooge to Buddy the Elf, I definitely fall near Buddy the Elf. I love this time of year and celebrating the magic of the season with my students.

Last year, when Newsela announced their #12DaysofNewsela challenge I was giddy with excitement. The idea was to have kids read an article a day for 12 days. The good people at Newsela provided sample Text Sets and suggested topics, but left it up to the teacher what materials they used. Each day teachers would post on Twitter about that day, the article the kids read, and a picture of their class engaged with the reading. That seemed simple enough. I, however, decided to throw a little creativity into the mix.

I wanted my kids to read a variety of articles across topics they may not normally choose. I also wanted the articles to be connected to the song The Twelve Days of Christmas. Each day I looked for articles that were related, however loosely, to the original lyrics of the song. For example, on the first day of Christmas the person in the song receives a partridge in a pear tree, so my students read an article on big, fancy tree houses. On the second day of Christmas the recipient is given two turtle doves, so I found two articles on turtles and my students could choose between them.

Setting it up like this, my students had choice over what they read and had fun each day trying to figure out how the articles would relate to the theme.  And, because they were reading a wide variety of articles that were loosely related to the same topic we had great conversations happening all around the room.

Needless to say I was elated when the #12DaysofNewsela started up again this week. If you’d like to see the article choices I give my students, complete with lyrics to the tune of Twelve Days of Christmas and a score grid, click here.

Are you participating in the #12DaysofNewsela? Comment below and tell us how you’re running it in your classroom. We’d love to hear from you!



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