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  • Mrs G

Listening and Following Directions on a Holiday

Teach your students to follow directions with Following Directions Activities… even on a holiday!


If you have ever stepped foot in an elementary classroom on a holiday you know that there is a buzz. The holiday itself does not seem to matter. It can be a big-name event like Christmas, or a B-list holiday like Groundhogs day (you can read about my seasonal writing activities here!). You can almost see the energy radiating off of each student.

It makes you wish you could capture it in your coffee cup and drink it in slowly throughout your day. It makes you happy to be with such hopeful little people but the truth is...

It also makes you scared….

If you don’t contain it or at least direct it, it is an energy that will turn into an ugly classroom management nightmare and take no prisoners.


Listening & Following Directions Elementary Activities

In an attempt to use the power of holidays for good in my classroom, I created a series of following directions activities. And, because I am about inclusion, it is scaffolded to include three different levels!

Each activity includes a messy, holiday-themed picture. A one-page story about the holiday that has instructions on what to find and what to color woven throughout.


Now for the differentiation...

The first version of the story is written in paragraph format. The second version of the story is written in paragraph format but includes a number at the end of each paragraph. This number indicates the number of clues within that paragraph. The third version of the story is a list of instructions telling the student exactly what to look for and what color to use. It's fun, inclusive, and high interest!



How to Use It

In my class, I give all students the coloring page. I read the story aloud and have them search and color as they hear clues. Then, I pass the story out to each student at a level I know will work for them. I give them time to underline the clues and color what they may have missed. These activities are an engaging way to practice auditory processing, looking for text evidence, and reading comprehension.


I have found that when my students who are not strong readers are given the list version of the story, they are able to complete the assignment at the same time or before my students who are reading through the entire passage. Because everyone is working on the same picture, the final product is the same for all students.

This lesson is a win in my book!

I invite you to harness the holiday energy of your students and avoid the classroom management monster. Give your students a high-interest activity that helps them flex those listening and following direction muscles. Try it with your class for free.



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