November 7, 2017
by Catherine Crider

Lesson plan

Shaping Up For Christmas

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Grade Subject

Students will be able to identify common 2D shapes and use them to create bigger pictures.

(5 minutes)
  • Call students together.
  • Read The Shape of Things by Dayle Dodds (making sure to spend time identifying the different shapes and pointing out how they fit together).
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to students that today they will also be making bigger designs and shapes out of simple shapes.
  • Review what a square, circle, triangle, rectangle, and oval look like. (How many sides they have, etc.)
  • Pass out a copy of the Christmas Shapes worksheet to each student. As a class, go through it locating the shapes in the drawing, coloring them in, and counting them.
(5 minutes)
  • Pass out shapes and paper to each student.
  • As a class, decide on a Christmas shape students would like to create out of the shapes they have been given. (Santa’s face, snowflakes, or a Christmas tree are all fun options.)
  • If possible, show students a picture of that shape. What smaller shapes do they see in it? What shapes might it resemble?
  • Working together, use the smaller shapes to design the Christmas shape.
  • Explain to students that they will now have the opportunity to try this on their own. Before they head off to try, remind students of any independent working expectations (i.e. remaining seated, only talking in whispers).
(10 minutes)
  • Any adults should be circulating while students are working, answering questions, and having conversations with students to gauge their understanding and knowledge.
  • Playing quiet holiday music can help to set the tone for a soothing working environment.
  • Early finishers can expand their holiday item into a scene or create another holiday item with different shapes.


  • Working with a partner can help to scaffold this activity.
  • Provide more examples of designs built out of simple shapes.
  • Encourage students to try making more designs during free play times.


  • Include more shapes, such as diamonds and stars. Encourage students to create whole scenes out of the shapes.

Holiday Modifications:

  • At the Guided Practice/Modeling session, ask students to think of holiday items that reflect their cultural traditions and draw them where everyone can see.
  • During Independent Work Time, feel free to add holiday music reflective of your student population.
(5 minutes)
  • Check student work to determine if they were able to build a bigger design from simple shapes.
  • Take anecdotal notes and observe if students are able to correctly name the smaller shapes that make up their bigger designs.
(10 minutes)
  • Call students back together.
  • Have students share their designs with the group. Remind them to name the shapes that made up the design.
  • If possible, display the finished designs in the classroom.
  • Encourage students to make another design using different shapes to give to a friend.

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