Rejected Reindeer–Holiday Writing Incorporating Creativity, Technical Writing, and Letter Writing

This is an activity that I have used in different variations.  My students are always actively engaged as they create a reindeer that Santa rejected.  They are even excited to write about their reindeer.


This Year’s Version–completed in class

Rejected Reindeer Directions 2014

rejected reindeer help wanted

rejected reindeer sheet


Previous Year’s Versions–completed at home

Rejected Reindeeelem

Rejected Reindeer middle school

Student SampleThis is a student sample from several years ago.


Thanksgiving Writing Prompts

Here are some Thanksgiving writing prompt ideas.  What a great time of year!

  • Write a persuasive letter from Tom the Turkey to the cook persuading him to serve ham, pig, instead of turkey on Thanksgiving.
  • Change of Perspective–Change how we see frustrations many of us have day-to-day. This could also be fun to do from the point of view of a character from a book or from history.   Ideas like–When my wi-fi is down…at least I have access to a computer.  When my hand hurts from carrying groceries…at least I have fresh food on my table.
  • Thanksgiving Conversation Topic–You can spend Thanksgiving dinner with only one person this year. It could be a member of your family, a friend, a historical figure or a fictional character. Who would it be and what would you want to talk to them about?
  • A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving–Video Writing Prompts–K-12 Ideas   

     Clip for the Writing Prompt  

    Full Video
  •  Thanksgiving Protests–So it’s Thanksgiving…What sly tactics do you think a turkey would use to avoid becoming Thanksgiving dinner?  Brainstorm arguments a turkey might make to convince a human being not to eat him at Thanksgiving this year.  Write what the turkey would say to get out of being eaten.  This site has a detailed lesson plan with mentor texts and student examples.

Student Centered Classrooms

As we approach the much needed Thanksgiving break, it easy to forget the importance of creating and maintaining a student centered focus and its impact on student achievement and student behavior.

Below are somethings that I have enjoyed reading and reflecting on.

Life of an Educator: 5 Ways to Make Your Classroom More Student Centered

NAE-60 Student Centered Teaching Strategies

Creating Learner Centered Middle School Classrooms

Student Centered Learning Environments: How and Why

Veteran’s Day Resources

In a time of so many Hallmark holidays, I find it especially important to remember holidays of true importance.  As I start to reflect on this Veteran’s Day, I say a special prayer of thanksgiving for my brother, my father, my uncles, my grandfathers, several friends who served, and for my father-in-law who was killed in action.  For those who served and continue to serve, I say thanks.

Here are some resources I found as I look for resources to use with my students.


2014 ESPN College Game Day Salute

US Department of Veteran’s Affair–

Teaching History-Veteran’s Day

Veterans’ Stories: The Veterans History Project

PBS Veteran’s Day

Poems of War and Remembrance

WWI Poetry: On Veterans Day, The Words of War-NPR

On Veteran’s Day, Stories of Heroes and Homecoming

Full-Text Short Stories and More

I often find myself searching for full-text pieces for my students to use in class.  Here are several resources I have found.

A Bibliography for a Few Non-Fiction Text Sets for Argument Writing

Short Stories

40 Excellent Short Stories for Middle School

Short Stories for Middle School Students-Click the tabs across the top of the page for additional lists.  The Christmas list is pretty cool.


Smithsonian TweenTribune-Each full-text article has a short answer question that goes along with it.

Huffpost Teen



Popular Poems to Teach