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Creative Writing: Plan Your Own Holiday - (English | Grade 4)

Grade: Four

Subject: English Language Arts

Learning Objective: Writing can be a challenge for anyone. This lesson is meant to help show that writing can be a fun and exciting experience for everyone.

Common Core Standard: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.2.A Introduce a topic clearly, and group related information in paragraphs and sections; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.


  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Coloring Supplies


Say: Each year across the globe, people celebrate countless holidays. Some, like Christmas, Chanukah, and Ramadan, are religious. In contrast, others like Independence Day, Thanksgiving, or even Memorial Day are not! Today we will discuss what makes a holiday different than other days of the year and what makes them special to us.


Say: Most of us celebrate holidays throughout the year. In general, holidays are a joyous time, filled with traditions and presents, good food and family gathered together. But with so many holidays happening year-round, have we ever thought of what makes a holiday a holiday?

Do: Open discussion for what a holiday is, allow for several minutes of brainstorming.

Say: Good thoughts, everyone! A holiday is a day recognized by law, religion, or custom in which people set aside work and celebrate instead. We celebrate several holidays in the United States. Our government recognizes some holidays, like Thanksgiving and Independence Day. Different religions have holidays, like Christmas. And some holidays are for fun, like Halloween! But despite each of these holiday's differences, they all have one thing in common. Can anyone guess what that is?

Do: Allow students to discuss. After a few moments, bring the class together to focus on you.

Say: All holidays have traditions. A tradition is a practice our family our culture follows or a belief that has been passed down through generations. Can anyone think of any traditions in your own households?

Do: Allow for raised hand discussion. Each student may share a tradition from their own family. Use this time to learn more about your students. Perhaps you can incorporate a new tradition into your classroom and become more sensitive to a holiday they may celebrate that falls within the school year, without the benefit of vacation time.

Say: Perfect! Thank you all for sharing some of your traditions!

Do: Take this time to share some of your favorite traditions, whether that be decorating a Christmas tree, hunting for Easter Eggs, or attending a fourth of July parade.

Say: Traditions are important for many reasons. They are a large part of what sets a holiday apart from a regular day. Because they only happen at certain times, they often feel special. Many traditions bring our families closer. Sometimes it means sharing a meal, lighting candles, hanging stockings, or getting dressed up into costumes.

Many of our traditions also deepen our connection to our religions. These traditions can honor sacrifices religious figures made, miracles we believe happened, or celebrate the birth or honor the death of important figures in our religious texts.

Food is another way holidays differ from everyday life. Many holidays have special meals or desserts cooked only in celebration of that day. Here in America, Thanksgiving is arguably the most food-centric holiday we celebrate. For most families, Thanksgiving is a day that is not complete without a turkey, mashed potatoes, cornbread, and pumpkin or apple pie.

Ask: What are foods your families cook on holidays? Do you have any favorite foods you would like to share?

Do: Allow students to share any favorite meals, desserts, candy, or other special foods their families prepare on their favorite holidays. After everyone who wishes to share has the opportunity, close the discussion.

Say: One other way holidays may differ from average days are the decorations. Now, many of us have decorations in our homes, but holiday decorations often have some significant meaning. Christmas trees, for example, often feature an angel or a star on the top branch. Flags and stars represent the Fourth of July as symbols of America's independence.

Many holidays often feature special games or activities reserved only for that day. Halloween has bobbing for apples, haunted houses, and carving pumpkins. Dreidels are spun for coins and candy during Chanukah, Easter eggs are hidden by the Easter bunny around our yards, and Independence Day has sparklers, fireworks, and parades.

Ask: Are there any favorite decorations or games you play during the holidays?

Allow students to discuss openly before closing the conversation.

Say: Holidays mean many things to many people. Many families can get together, perhaps some of the only times a year they can do so. Games, traditions, food, and prayer bring us together. Holidays create lasting memories that we cherish as we grow older and pass them onto our own families.

Now that we have discussed what holidays are and what they mean to us, we get to decide! If we were able to create a holiday, what would we celebrate? What is important enough to us that we should set time aside for it? And what would we do on that day?

Say: I would like you to form groups of 4-5 and discuss together what you would celebrate if you could create your own holiday. I would like to see what you would celebrate and how you would celebrate. What types of food would you have, what activities would you do? Would you decorate your house? If so, how? I would like a drawing of your holiday, as well as several paragraphs describing it. Don't forget to include when it would take place.

Allow students ample time to be creative with the project, perhaps spanning over two class periods. Have each group present their holiday to the class when they are finished.


Say: Thank you so much for your creativity with this project! These holidays look so exciting, and I wish we could celebrate them all.


Written by Amber White

Education World Contributor

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