Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Millennium Santa!

Kerry McMillen


Students write a paragraph using descriptive language to create a vivid image of their idea of a more modern, updated version of Santa Claus--the Millennium Santa!


The student focuses on a central idea or topic (for example, excluding loosely related, extraneous, or repetitious information).

The student demonstrates a command of the language including precise word choice and use of appropriate figurative language.

The student uses creative writing strategies appropriate to the format (for example, using appropriate voice; using descriptive language to clarify ideas and create vivid images; using elements of style, such as appropriate tone).


-Pictures of Santa Claus from Christmas cards, magazines, etc.
-Drawing paper
-Colored pencils or crayons


1. Review descriptive writing with the students before beginning the lesson, as needed.
2. Collect pictures of Santa Claus from Christmas cards, magazines, etc.
3. Gather supplies listed in the materials list.


Day 1

1. Show pictures of Santa Claus to the students. (Use old Christmas cards, coloring books, picture books, etc.) Ask students to identify the man in the picture, and, as you may expect, the students readily will.
2. Ask the students how they know it is Santa and make a list of their responses of identifying characteristics on the chalkboard. (example-white beard, red suit, etc.)
3. Explain to the students that Santa hasnít changed much over the years, and that it is time to give him a more updated, modern look for the new century. Ask students leading questions such as: What type of clothes would make Santa look more modern and -in style-? How would you change his physical appearance?
4. Allow students a few minutes to brainstorm and jot down their ideas.
5. Tell the students that you want them to write a paragraph describing their Millennium Santa in such detail that another student could draw him with no difficulty. Students should use vivid adjectives and precise words in their description of Santaís physical appearance as well as his clothing.

Day 2

1. Collect the paragraphs, mix them up, and redistribute them to the students.
2. Instruct students to read their paragraphs silently.
3. While they are reading, distribute drawing supplies.
4. Tell students that they are to draw a picture of their Santa as accurately as possible using the description provided in the paragraph, paying attention to detail!
5. Allow students the rest of the period to draw their Millennium Santas.

Day 3

1. Collect the pictures and tape them to the chalkboard. The students will enjoy looking at them.
2. Read each descriptive paragraph orally, as time permits. You may decide to only read a portion of the paragraphs.
3. Call on students to find the illustration that matches the description in the paragraph.
4. Mount the matched descriptions and illustrations on a bulletin board for all to enjoy.


Assessment of students' illustrations will be based on their ability to be matched to the descriptive paragraphs.

Assessment of the paragraphs will be based on the following rubric:

Full Accomplishment (3) Through his paragraph, the student clearly gives a vivid picture of Santaís modernized appearance by using precise word choice, sensory details, and vivid language. Sentence structure is varied and few, if any, conventional errors occur.

Substantial Accomplishment (2) Student provides an adequate picture of Santaís appearance through his paragraph. There is little variation in sentence structure and student relies on the use of fuzzy nondescriptive words such as -very,- - really,- - a lot,- etc.

Little or Partial Accomplishment (1) The writing only minimally addresses the topic. Studentís details of Santa are sketchy and very difficult to use as a basis for illustration. Frequent errors may occur in basic conventions.


This lesson could be adapted to use with the characters in a particular short story or novel that the class may be reading.
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