Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas Web Sites for Teaching

It’s one month to Christmas, so I thought you might be interested in some web sites that either
  1. teach about Christmas or
  2. use the idea of Christmas to help teach other content or
  3. are just fun sites to use at Christmas time.
The sites cover a diverse set of topics such as planetary orbits, biology, literature, writing, mathematics, and history. Activities include scavenger hunts, webquests, and writing a newsletter.

A search for Christmas at yields this page -- -- which includes sites for all grades K-12, information from other countries, Colonial Williamsburg information, a lesson based on Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, some interactive sites, suggestions for books to read, a site in French, scavenger hunts, webquests, planetary orbits (with the help of NASA), the words to many Christmas carols, high school biology, and others.

When I searched for Christmas at Apple Inc., they wanted to sell me some Christmas music from their iTunes store. But, I also found on the search results page a free widget (for Mac OS only) called Christmas Countdown. The widget keeps track of the number of days until Christmas.

Microsoft Corporation lists a site where you download a Word template for a Family Christmas newsletter. Of course, you can use this template in class, too, for your students to create their own newsletters.

The Ohio Resource Center lists a variety of lesson plans when I search for Christmas. The search results page includes a plan for mathematics and the number of gifts you receive from your “true love” and a plan about character development in literature using Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory.

The Discovery Education Streaming web site has video clips about Christmas during the Civil War, English Christmas customs, Christmas during World War I, and multicultural Christmas celebrations on its search results page.

At Teacher Tube the search results page includes French Christmas songs sung by animated penguins and Who’s Who at the North Pole, a PowerPoint presentation for introducing search engines to elementary students.

This next web site could be just for fun or, perhaps, for practice in some foreign languages since it’s available in German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese as well as English. NORAD Tracks Santa 2007 begins a countdown on December 1, 2007. An activity for children of all ages is available each day. On December 24 you can track Santa on this site. If you want to track him in 3D, be sure that you’ve downloaded Google Earth to your computer first. At the site you can learn how this annual tracking of Santa began in 1955 and how it continues to this day.

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