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Favorite November Activities for Upper Elementary Students

November always seems to fly by with days off, conferences, and Thanksgiving.  There is so much going on throughout the month and if you're like me, you're trying to squeeze everything in between all of the days off.  Even through all of the busyness of the month, there is time to fit in some fun, but meaningful, content. Here are a few of my favorite November activities:

1. Favorite Read Aloud Books: 

There are so many great read-aloud books to share throughout November.  Here are a couple of my favorites…

This is such a fun non-fiction story that your students will love!  There are so many different activities you could do with this story too; from STEM to writing, you students are sure to love it!

“In November” is such a beautifully illustrated story about the changes we see throughout November.  This book is filled with vivid language that is wonderful for discussing word choice.

I love this book to introduce The Day of the Dead.  With beautiful illustrations and a story your students will love, it is a must-read for Day of the Dead celebrations.

2. The Day of the Dead

There are so many great books to read and activities to do to celebrate the Day of the Dead.  “Funny Bones” (mentioned above) is one of my favorites, “Dia de Los Muertos,” and “The Dead Diaz Family” are also wonderful books to read.

Students can also read an informational passage and complete repeated close reading, answering questions about the holiday while digging deep into the main idea, inferencing, vocabulary, and text structure.

Another way to celebrate the Day of the Dead is to have students complete a foldable book.  There is a lot of info packed into one small book and the best part is that it is so low prep, so it is easy to get ready among all the other planning you have.  I love using foldable books because they are a great keepsake for students but also because they are so easy to pack content into just one page!  Students will have a chance to write about traditions, sugar skulls, and more!

3.  Diwali

Diwali is the Hindu Festival of Lights and it usually takes place at the end of October or early November.  This is a great way to begin investigating holidays around the world.  Students love learning about the traditions and experiences of other cultures. To celebrate Diwali, students can read an informational passage and complete short writing prompts in a foldable book that is all about Diwali and the traditions of the celebration.  By the time you head to winter break, your students will have a collection of foldable books to celebrate holidays around the world!

4. Election Day

It's so important to teach students about the significance of Election Day.  And if students know how important Election Day is, maybe they will go home and encourage their parents to vote too!  There are a lot of fun election day-themed books to read with students.  Reading a book and discussing Election Day is a great way to show students how we can have opposing views, discuss these views, and sometimes even respectfully agree to disagree.  There is also the opportunity to discuss the concept of winning and losing gracefully.

Here are a few of my favorite election-themed books:

To accompany your discussion about Election Day and any books you may read, your students will love this foldable book that is all about Election Day.

This Election Day close reading passage is also included in my pack of November close reading passages along with the Day of the Dead passage featured above. 

5. Veterans Day

Veterans Day is sometimes confused with Memorial Day, and vice versa; so I like to spend some time familiarizing students with the branches of the military and discussing the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day.  Students can complete a Veterans Day menu of activities and begin with a “branches of military” note-taking activity.  Students will scan a QR code to read about each branch of the military and take notes about each.

Once students have learned all about the branches of the military, they can complete a variety of Veterans Day activities: write a letter to a veteran, complete a brochure about the branches of the military, write an acrostic poem, complete a paragraph about heroes, and create a card for a veteran.

6. World Kindness Day

Did you know that November 13th is World Kindness Day?  What a great day to discuss and spread kindness.  Two of my favorite read-aloud books about kindness are “Be Kind” by Pat Zietlow Miller and “Each Kindness” by Jacqueline Woodson. They're both wonderful stories to share on World Kindness Day.

“Be Kind” is a great story to discuss ways to be kind and different things that you can do to show kindness.  To accompany this book, students can think about different ways that they can show kindness in and out of the classroom.  You can find a complete set of activities to accompany this book HERE.

Students can also read about World Kindness Day in an informational close reading passage that is also part of the November close reading pack.

7. Save the Turkeys

One of my all-time favorite persuasive writing activities comes from the point of view of the turkey. Students have to write as if they are a turkey.  They love it!  They must try to convince the reader to eat an alternative main course for their Thanksgiving feast. You will be amazed at the voice that students find when they are a turkey! I love to pair this writing activity with the book “Turkey Trouble.”  It's the perfect November writing activity to keep students engaged.

8. Thankful Display

Is it even November if we don't discuss what we are thankful for?  I love to have students write about what they are thankful for. When we really discuss being thankful and having gratitude, students can begin to go a little deeper than just stating they are thankful for family and friends and it's so wonderful to see and hear their gratitude come through.

One way to have students tell what they are thankful for is to use a picture frame as a dry erase board…it's one of my favorite teacher hacks!  You can stick a page in the frame and each student can write what they are thankful for.  It is easily erased and ready for the next student when they are done.  You can take a picture of each student's thankful response.  This makes for a great display for November but also a thoughtful keepsake to send home too.

9. Showing Thanks and Kindness

I love to do small acts of kindness to show that we are thankful for each other throughout the month. You can send students small notes about why you're thankful for them and point out small things that they do that they may think go unnoticed.

I also have my students write quick notes to each other, other teachers, or friends on sticky notes to show that they are thankful for them Students really get excited for these quick, but meaningful activities.  

10. Thankful Thoughts

I love having morning meetings and usually have a “Happy Thoughts” jar that we share from each day during our morning meeting time.  You can read more about this jar in this Morning Meeting post.

During November our “happy” thoughts turn into “thankful” thoughts and students write down things throughout the day that they are thankful for.  They can share little things that happen in school or things that they are thankful for outside of school too.  We share these thankful thoughts during our morning meeting time. 

11.  Paper Bag Book 

I also love to create a fun paper bag book with students.  It is a chance for them to write and color what they are thankful for…and they LOVE putting together the paper bag book (no matter how old they are, it's always fun) and it's so cute to display too!

You can grab this from my TpT Store for free HERE!

12. Thanksgiving Foldable Book

Another fun, little Thanksgiving activity that I love is to have my students make a small foldable book to celebrate Thanksgiving. They can color and write about their favorite foods, traditions, something special they'd like to do, and more.  These are also great to use for morning meetings and have students share their thoughts with their foldable books.  Kids love to share their traditions!

November seems to fly by, but can be such a fun and meaningful time too!  

You might also be interested in reading some tips for Parent-Teacher Conferences in this post.

You can find all of my favorite November books HERE.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links and I do receive a small commission if you purchase items through these links.

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Happy Teaching!

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