Winter Read Alouds For the Elementary Classroom

Winter books for the elementary class

As winter approaches and the weather turns frigid, it's the perfect time to gather your elementary students for some cozy read-aloud sessions. I have put together some of my favorite winter books all in one place for you. I hope you find some inspiration to add to your classroom library and to share with your students. All the books below come with an affiliate link to Amazon.

favorite winter books for elementary classrooms
The Mitten by Jan Brett
Reasons I love this book: This book promotes problem-solving skills, introduces the concept of sequencing, and teaches the importance of kindness and sharing.

Synopsis:  This book is a classic winter tale that combines beautiful illustrations with a heartwarming story. The artwork takes readers on a journey as a lost mitten becomes home to a growing number of woodland animals.

favorite winter read alouds
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Reasons I love this book: This book celebrates curiosity, scientific exploration, and the beauty of the natural world. It's a great opportunity to introduce children to the wonders of science and inspire them to observe the world around them.

Synopsis: This is the true story of Wilson Bentley, a man fascinated by snowflakes. Through his perseverance and love for nature, Bentley becomes the first person to photograph snowflakes. 

favorite winter read alouds
Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright
Reasons I love this book: This book encourages problem-solving, resilience, and the value of creative thinking.

Synopsis: This story weaves a hilarious tale of a snowman who just can't stop sneezing. As Sneezy tries various remedies to stay cold, young readers will enjoy the snowman's silly adventures and cheer for his clever solution. 

favorite winter read aloud books for elementary students
Snow by Cynthia Rylant
Reasons I love this book: It's a perfect read-aloud choice for nurturing children's appreciation for nature and descriptive writing with vivid imagery and the five senses.

Synopsis: The poetic language in this story beautifully captures the quiet and magical moments of a snow-covered winter landscape. 

favorite winter read alouds
Reasons I love this book: This book enhances sequencing skills, engages with rhyming patterns, and guarantees giggles throughout the read-aloud session.

Synopsis: This story adds a humorous twist to the beloved rhyme. As the old lady devours various winter items, the story builds anticipation and creates opportunities for children to predict what might happen next. 

winter read aloud books in the primary classroom
The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino and Jon Nelson
Reasons I love this book: It nurtures children's curiosity about the natural world and encourages scientific inquiry.

Synopsis: This book introduces young readers to the science behind snowflakes. Filled with captivating close-up photographs of real snow crystals, this book explores the formation and intricate shapes of snowflakes. 

marshmallow read aloud book
Most Marshmallows by Rowboat Watkins
Reasons I love this book: This book celebrates individuality, the joy of embracing new experiences, and teaches children to be true to themselves.

Synopsis: This delightful story challenges traditional winter expectations. It features a brave, marshmallow-loving character who decides to enjoy the snowy outdoors instead of hiding indoors. 

favorite winter snowmen books
How to Catch a Snowman by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton
Reasons I love this book: It encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and promotes teamwork among students as they brainstorm their own clever ideas for catching the snowman.

Synopsis: With its catchy rhymes and playful illustrations, the story takes students on an imaginative adventure as children devise creative traps to catch a mischievous snowman. 

winter books for the classroom
Reasons I love this book: This book offers opportunities for discussion about animal adaptations, seasons, and the importance of rest.

Synopsis: The story explores the theme of hibernation through a whimsical and humorous narrative. It introduces children to various animals and their unique ways of preparing for winter slumber. 

Winter read-aloud sessions are a perfect way to captivate and engage elementary students during the chilly months. Happy reading!


Winter Read Alouds

Collaborative Learning: Student Groupings Made Simple

how to create student pairs

How many times have you taught a lesson where students need to form a group or pair up with one another and you hold your breath because you just aren't sure how this is going to work? Usually students pair up with their bestie, don't even move from their seat, or argue with one another. As a student, my stomach would drop when my teacher would say, "Find a partner." Can you relate? In this  post, you will learn why student groupings are important, a few easy and effective ways to make student groupings, and ways to use student groupings to enhance the learning in your classroom.


1. Diverse Perspectives: Partnering or grouping students diversifies the range of perspectives that contribute to discussions and problem-solving. This exposure to different viewpoints allows students to learn from one another's unique insights.

2. Collaborative Skills: Collaboration is a skill that extends far beyond the classroom. By working together on tasks and activities, students develop essential skills like communication, compromise, and teamwork that are invaluable in their future.

3. Peer Teaching: When students collaborate, they often teach each other in informal ways. This strengthens their understanding of the material as they explain concepts to their peers, reinforcing their own learning while building confidence.

4. Increased Engagement: Collaborative activities break the monotony of traditional teaching methods. Students become more engaged as they actively participate, share ideas, and contribute to their peers' learning experiences.

5. Sense of Belonging: Partnering or grouping students creates a supportive environment where they can connect with their peers. This sense of belonging enhances their overall well-being and encourages them to express their thoughts and opinions without fear.


1. Group students randomly.

2. Pair students who have things in common, but may not realize it yet.

3. Combine students who have mastered concepts with students who are still struggling.

4. Pair a patient student with student with behavior concerns.

5. Pair struggling students together to practice reading or math fluency.


Using partner cards or student grouping cards is the perfect way to eliminate the chaos when creating collaborative groups. You can pre-plan groups OR you can randomly hand out picture cards and have them find their partner or group.

student grouping cards

1. Pre-planned Groups: To use this strategy, make a list and hand out one of the picture cards to each pair or group of students. It appears "random" to the students, but you have strategically grouped them!

2. Random Groups: Looking for something less structured? Randomly hand out a picture card to each student and watch them pair up. This method allow students to work together who may not normally choose one another, yields itself to collaboration, and provides structure when grouping students. 

Student Grouping Cards

These picture grouping cards are perfect to create pairs, groups of 3, 4, 5, or 6 students. Each card has a large picture, written word, and small picture of the pairings and comes with answer posters. These cards can be laminated and/or glued onto popsicle sticks to make it easy for students to hold. All of these tools are part of the Student Grouping Cards resource.

Incorporating student partnerships and groups into your classroom doesn't have to be complicated. Collaboration is a crucial life skill and as educators it is our job to help our students learn the skills to do it successfully. I hope these tips and tricks help you to effectively utilize groupings in a meaningful way into your classroom. 


12 Diverse December Read Alouds for the Classroom

December holiday diverse books

As teachers, one of the most effective ways to foster a love for reading and engage young minds is through read-aloud sessions. Sharing captivating stories with your elementary students not only develops their literacy skills but also sparks their imagination and curiosity. To help you create a culturally inclusive reading experience, I have carefully selected 12 diverse read-aloud books that are sure to captivate your students. All the books below come with an affiliate link to Amazon.

Holiday read alouds
Reasons I love this book: This delightful tale follows Hershel as he outwits a group of mischievous goblins to save Hanukkah. It introduces students to Jewish traditions and values while celebrating courage and cleverness.

Christmas holiday book
How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky
Reasons I love this book: Ever wonder how Santa became the iconic figure we know today? This humorous book takes young readers on a journey through Santa's amusing job interviews, offering a fresh perspective on the beloved holiday character.

December read aloud book
Reasons I love this book: Join Olive, the adorable and mischievous dog, as she embarks on an adventure to help Santa save Christmas. This heartwarming story promotes teamwork, friendship, and the power of believing in oneself.

Christmas holiday book
The Crayons' Christmas by Drew Daywalt
Reasons I love this book: This colorful and imaginative book brings back our favorite crayons as they embark on a holiday adventure. With its vibrant illustrations and witty storytelling, it encourages creativity and individuality.

Mooseltoe holiday book
Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini
Reasons I love this book: Follow Moose as he hilariously prepares for Christmas in this delightful rhyming story. It teaches children the importance of family, planning, and the joy of giving.

December holiday book
Little Red Sleigh by Erin Guendelsberger
Reasons I love this book: A twist on the classic Little Red Riding Hood, this enchanting tale features a determined little red sleigh on a quest to help Santa. It highlights the values of perseverance and the power of dreams.

Hispanic holiday read aloud book
T'was Nochebuena by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
Reasons I love this book: Celebrate the Hispanic traditions of Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) with this rhythmic bilingual book. It introduces cultural diversity and the magic of Christmas in a multicultural setting.

Holiday culturally diverse book
Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto
Reasons I love this book: This is a holiday favorite in my classroom. This heartwarming story explores the Mexican American tradition of making tamales during the holiday season. It weaves in themes of family, honesty, and the joy of coming together.

Christmas around the world read aloud
Legend of Old Befana by Tomie dePaola
Reasons I love this book: Discover the Italian legend of Old Befana, an old woman who delivers gifts to children on Epiphany Eve. This beautifully illustrated book celebrates kindness, forgiveness, and the spirit of giving.

December holiday read aloud
Reasons I love this book: For families celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah, this book offers a delightful blend of both traditions. It emphasizes the richness of cultural diversity and the importance of love and unity.

culturally diverse holiday book
Happy All-idays by Cindy Jin
Reasons I love this book: A great way to learn about a variety of holiday cultural celebrations all in one read aloud! This book does a great job capturing the importance of each holiday from Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and more!

culturally diverse Christmas read loud book
The Real Santa by Nancy Redd
Reasons I love this book: This story beautifully depicts a young Black boy determined to stay up all night to see what Santa looks like. The story celebrates identity, family and holiday traditions. It is a great way for students to connect with one another about similar feelings they may have about the holiday.

These 12 read-aloud books are an excellent addition to your classroom library, as they combine captivating storytelling with valuable lessons and diverse cultural experiences. Whether it's learning about different holiday traditions, exploring the power of friendship and perseverance, or celebrating cultural diversity, these books offer valuable experiences that will resonate with your students. Happy reading!


5 Benefits To Using Standards Checklists In The Classroom

stay on track using standards checklists

Do you find it difficult and frustrating to track all the Common Core ELA and math standards you are required to teach each year? With only a 180 days to get everything taught, it can be overwhelming and easy to miss some standards that are important to student growth. I want to share some important reasons you should be using standards checklists and the benefits they lend to you as a teacher.

Standards Checklists Make Planning Easier
Common Core standards checklists

Incorporating checklists into your planning process can significantly simplify your workload. As you progress through teaching the standards and check off each item on the list, you will have a clear idea of what is left to cover. When planning your initial instruction, focus on the first column of the checklist. Once you have successfully completed the first column, you will be well-prepared to provide additional instruction on standards that require further reinforcement. Whether you choose to follow a sequential order based on your pacing guide or deviate from it, the checklist will serve as a valuable reference to identify the skills you need to include in your upcoming lesson plans. This allows you to  effortlessly ensure that all core content is incorporated into your teaching process.

Standards Checklists Help Keep You On Track
common core standards checklists benefits

Keeping a checklist of ELA and math standards offers a clear and organized roadmap for instructional planning. By having a comprehensive overview of the specific standards students need to master, you can create targeted lesson plans and activities that align with these objectives. The checklist ensures that every essential ELA and math skill is covered, leaving no gaps in instruction. In other words, it holds you accountable! This level of organization provides both you and your students with a clear focus and targeted and purposeful learning.

Checklists Help to Track Mastery of Standards

Assessment is a vital component of effective teaching, allowing us to gauge student progress and identify areas of improvement. A Common Core Standards checklist provides a clear framework for designing assessments that align with the standards. You can create targeted assessments, both formative and summative, to evaluate student understanding of specific ELA and Math skills. These checklists also enable ongoing progress monitoring, as you can mark off mastered standards and focus on addressing any remaining gaps.

Checklists Help Plan For Individualized Instruction

Every student has unique strengths and areas for growth, making differentiated instruction crucial in the classroom. Using ELA  and math standards checklists enables you to identify individual learning gaps and tailor your instruction accordingly. By understanding the specific skills and knowledge required at each grade level, you can provide targeted interventions, extensions, and enrichment opportunities. The checklist serves as a valuable guide, helping you differentiate your instruction to meet the diverse needs of your students effectively.

Standards Checklists Contribute To Collaboration

Maintaining standards checklists promotes effective collaboration and communication with parents and colleagues. Sharing the checklists with parents fosters transparency and provides a common understanding of the expected grade level standards. This collaboration creates a supportive home-to-school connection, enabling parents to reinforce their child's learning at home. Additionally, sharing the checklists with colleagues promotes professional dialogue, allowing teachers to collaborate and share best practices for implementing Common Core standards effectively.

Suggested Resources 
If you would like to get a set of ready-made grade level standards for ELA and math just grab your set by clicking your grade level below:

common core standards checklistscommon core standards checklists

common core standards checklistsCommon Core standards checklists

Common Core standards checklistsCommon Core standards checklist

Grade level common core standards checklists


Common core standards checklists

Favorite Thanksgiving Read Alouds

Thanksgiving books

Are you searching for new and engaging Thanksgiving-themed books to enjoy throughout the month of November? There are so many choices that you could read a Thanksgiving book or two every single day of the month! Imagine filling your classroom library with an array of incredible Thanksgiving read-alouds, perfect for engaging your students. To help you get started, I've picked my top ten read-aloud Thanksgiving books, all of which lead to Amazon affiliate links. 

Thanksgiving books
A Thanksgiving Wish by Michael J. Rosen
Reasons I love this book: The book beautifully illustrates the importance of family, community, and gratitude, while encouraging students to reflect on their own wishes for the holiday.

Synopsis: This heartwarming story follows Amanda as she tries to make her own Thanksgiving wishes come true as she celebrates her first Thanksgiving without her beloved Bubbe.

Thanksgiving book for children
Reasons I love this book: This charming tale explores friendship, compassion, and the true meaning of Thanksgiving. It allows students to use their predicting skills, while the adorable illustrations and suspenseful plot will keep them engaged from beginning to end.

Synopsis: Mrs. Moose invites her friends to Thanksgiving dinner, but there's one problem—they can't find a turkey!

Thanksgiving read alouds
Reasons I love this book: Your students will learn about diversity, family traditions, and the joy of sharing. This book is an excellent way to explore the importance of individuality and inclusion.

Synopsis: In this delightful story, Peyton a young, biracial girl who is a picky eater, embarks on a quest to find the perfect pie for Thanksgiving.

November books
Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano
Reasons I love this book: This hilarious and clever book teaches students about problem-solving, empathy, and the power of creative thinking. Prepare for lots of laughter and a surprising twist at the end!

Synopsis: Turkey is in trouble! Determined not to become Thanksgiving dinner, he disguises himself as other animals on the farm.

Thanksgiving read alouds in the classroom
Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora
Reasons I love this book: This heartwarming story emphasizes the spirit of generosity, community, and gratitude. The captivating illustrations and vibrant colors make this book engaging for young readers.

Synopsis: Omu is cooking a delicious stew for dinner when the enticing aroma attracts the attention of the entire community.

Reasons I love this book: Through humor and relatable characters, this book explores family dynamics and the importance of togetherness.

Synopsis: Gavin and his cousin Rhonda are determined to escape the dreaded annual Thanksgiving family gathering. This fun-filled adventure will have your students on the edge of their seats, as they witness the duo's comical attempts to outwit their relatives.

Thanksgiving books for the classroom
Not This Turkey! by Jessica Steinberg
Reasons I love this book: This book takes your students on a hilarious adventure while exploring themes of self-acceptance, friendship, and celebrating our differences.

Synopsis: Mel and his family are Jewish immigrants and have never celebrated Thanksgiving. His family begins new holiday traditions after his father wins a Thanksgiving raffle and ends up bringing a live turkey home on the New York subway. 

Thanksgiving books for children

Thanksgiving in the Woods by Phyllis Alsdurf
Reasons I love this book: This story beautifully portrays the essence of community, nature, and the value of coming together. 

Synopsis: Based on a true story, this book follows a family's annual Thanksgiving tradition of celebrating in the woods with their friends and neighbors.

November books for elementary students
Reasons I love this book: This lovely story illustrates the importance of family, being thankful and most importantly love.

Synopsis: This book tells a story of a family of turkeys getting ready for Thanksgiving. The story is relatable as it describes how they get ready to celebrate the holiday from cleaning the house to the craziness of their extended family's arrival.

Gratitude and giving thanks book
Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson
Reasons I love this book: This heartwarming story explores the importance of gratitude, generosity, and the joy of friendship.

Synopsis: Bear is lonely and wants to invite his friends over for a meal, but realizes he has nothing to give them. His friends surprise him in a beautiful way with their generosity.

These ten Thanksgiving read aloud books are sure to captivate and engage your young students. Through these stories, your students will learn about gratitude, friendship, problem-solving, diversity, and the joy of giving. So gather your students around, open up these books, and let the Thanksgiving magic begin!