There are still a few more weeks until winter vacation, but Santa, stockings and sugar are the focus of children’s minds! Olive the Other Reindeer is coming to the rescue! Our adorable  Olive the Other Reindeer Unit will capture students’ attention while engaging them in integrated reading and writing activities aligned to Common Core Standards.  Olive the Other Reindeer is one of my favorite holiday books and my students always come to love Olive each year too!

Activate background knowledge and build excitement: To begin the unit, make a foldable reindeer KWL. Discuss why it is important to think about what we know before starting a lesson, ask questions about what we want to learn and summarize our learning at the end of the unit.

Introduce key vocabulary terms: Teach key vocabulary terms using vocabulary anchor charts and accompanying graphic organizer.

Make predictions with Peter Predicting Possum: Teach students how to make predictions using background knowledge and text features and use textual evidence to confirm or revise predictions.

Introduce Peter Predicting possum and read his poem to teach predicting strategy. Explain that good readers make predictions before and during reading. They stop to confirm or adjust predictions based on evidence from the text. This makes reading more enjoyable and helps build comprehension.

Model prediction strategy by using the cover of the book. Think aloud as you explain, “I’m reading the title, Olive the Other Reindeer and looking at this picture. I see a dog hanging from a sleigh, but I know that reindeer guide Santa’s sleigh. I think that Olive is a dog who will serve as a reindeer on Santa’s sleigh. I will have to read to see if my prediction is correct.As I read, I will look for clues and evidence that support my prediction or will help me change my prediction. Then read the first two pages of the text and discuss. “Based on what I’ve read, I am going to confirm my prediction. Olive thinks the song says, ‘Olive, the other reindeer’ and so she thinks she is a reindeer.

Make predictions on the following pages:

• Read until Olive gets to the North Pole just in time. Make a prediction–will Olive join the sleigh? Ask students to support prediction using clue from the text. After confirming that Olive will join Santa’s sleigh, brainstorm a list of dog behavior and discuss how these behaviors might be helpful to Santa.
• Read until the sleigh crashes into the tree. Have students read the first 3 paragraphs of the page and discuss. Refer back to dog’s behavior list and ask what behavior might be helpful in this situation Students will make a prediction and then pull Post-It to read, confirming or revising prediction.
• Turn the page and show students only the picture of falling gumdrops. (You can cover the text on opposite page with a large Post-It.) Use background knowledge about dogs to help make a prediction about how Olive will keep the sleigh safe from falling gumdrops. Remove Post-It, confirming or revising prediction.
• Turn the page and have students stop right before, “Olive had to howl louder than the wind instruments. Cover this sentence and rest of text on page. Repeat prediction process using background knowledge.
• Read the first paragraph on the page with North Pole Fog (the rest of the text should be covered). Repeat prediction process. Lift Post-It, read and confirm or revise prediction.
• Read the last page and have students stop right after, “There was just one present left. It was for Olive.” (The rest of the text should be covered). Repeat prediction process.

Students’ reactions are priceless as they reveal the Post-It to confirm or revise prediction.

Integrate informational text: Each student uses his/her question from KWL reindeer and records it on the question and answer reindeer printable. I set up a reindeer research center with key vocabulary terms and leveled reindeer text where students can read and research to answer the question.

Have fun: Students can read and follow directions to make Reindeer Munch while practicing key measurement skills.

Wear your hair in a bun and add googly eyes, pipe cleaner antlers, and a red pom-pom for a festive hairdo.

Download our complete Olive the Other Reindeer unit and Reindeer In The Room Holiday Behavior System to bring these ideas to life in your classroom.