Kids will love creating a wreath to hang in the classroom. Most importantly, teaching children about the holidays guides them into lifelong learning and into thoughtfully and reflectively celebrating their own holidays within our diverse society. We’ve made it through the sneak peek, Thanksgiving break, and resettled students as they came back from break. Every year I ask myself, what do these children understand about their relationship to their holidays? Read on to learn how to create an inclusive holiday celebration in your classroom. Enjoy these classroom activities that capture the holiday spirit and connect to the curriculum. I’m all about teaching kids about world religions. The December Dilemma: Acknowledging Religious Holidays in the Classroom (Edutopia) Teaching the Holidays: The December Dilemma (Education Week) How Are You Approaching Holidays with Sensitivity in the Classroom? Sciences, Culinary Arts and Personal While teaching a multicultural curriculummay not be too challenging most of the year, December brings the holidays, when one or two holidays are usually much more visible than the others. St. Nicholas Day. How we teach about holidays is a reflection of how our community values expanding our knowledge about ourselves and our neighbors. This is sponsored content from education.com.They only wanted to let you know about the free activities and downloads they have available on their Pinterest page and allowed us to create the content itself free from any influence. As we work to instill a strong sense of community and tolerance in our children, teaching the shared values of the holidays fits right in with our social and academic curricula. Teacher Essentials. Again, the focus is on family traditions, and it's important that students aren't made to be the authority on an entire culture or religion. Be sure to celebrate holidays that are relevant to the children in your care. In October, I draw a large circular calendar and mark October 31. Select holidays and religious celebrations based on your classroom representation. Bird Day. Also, make sure that all holidays are treated the same. Having taught about holidays for the better part of 15 years in four schools, I have rarely been questioned but know there’s always the potential concerned parent. Integrate STEM in your classroom and celebrate Christmas and other Winter Holidays! “It is no coincidence,” I tell students, “that holidays like Easter and Passover, representing life and freedom, happen around the same time as more ancient springtime holidays.”. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. In many schools, […] Use the holiday activities, ideas, resources shared in these articles to have rigorous and engaging activities for each major holiday and season that your students will love. Edutopia® and Lucas Education Research™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of the George Lucas Educational Foundation in the U.S. and other countries. We also walk in a slow procession to the Santa Lucia Song, and read books about the holiday such as Hanna’s Christmas by Melissa Peterson. But sticking a menorah next to a big inflatable Santa doesn’t provide a whole lot of nuance. Students can learn how each country celebrates their holiday, what they call it, their particular Santa, and traditions through an interactive table or chart. This exposes students to different traditions even among the same religion. 12 Ideas For Holiday Activities In The Classroom. That’s why it’s interesting, even surprising, that nearly 100 percent of students say they celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Passover, and Halloween. Additionally, not every person who celebrates Christmas even has a tree. Each student and their family will celebrate the holidays differently. “Christmas is the reason for the season,” he said. Technicians will be restoring service as quickly as possible. Making one religion or holiday seem exotic would have the opposite effect on the classroom dynamic. You can’t celebrate all holidays in a meaningful way in the classroom. When I get more diverse classrooms, I do my best to celebrate more prominent holidays, learn about ones that would be new to most of my students, and at least share a quick video or do a small activity to acknowledge them. St. Nicholas Day is observed on December 6th. Why do so many teachers find it hard to teach academically and meaningfully about all the holidays in a public school setting? Many holidays include the motif of light, which you can use to begin to discuss what they have in common: Teachers sometimes focus on the winter holidays just to provide cover for discussing Christmas. It's important to create a classroom environment where all of your students feel welcome and represented. It's important to create a classroom environment where all of your students feel welcome and represented. Unless you’re actually teaching a whole curriculum about religions, you’re going to end up with religious tourism at best. I avoid sacred topics but honor the stories, characters, and rituals of holidays as symbols of positive values. When beginning a lesson about the winter holidays right around Thanksgiving, I ask the question, “What is one thing many of the winter holiday traditions have in common?” Among many correct answers, the one I am looking for is “light.” The stories, traditions, and lore of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and even Chinese New Year contain things like stars, fireworks, lamps, candles, and fire. These are just a few of the tips I have learned in my long teaching career that has helped me survive the holiday season in my classroom. Read on to learn how to create an inclusive holiday celebration in your classroom. If that is the case in your classroom, offer an alternate activity or focus on a service project, as suggested above. It’s Bird Day! As we know, many children base their impressions of the holidays on what the commercial culture teaches them. Students can collect items for care packages for service members overseas, collect canned foods, draw pictures for nursing home residents or host a bake sale to raise money for a certain charity. We apologize - Miami is experiencing an unexpected disruption to services. Holiday celebrations can be wonderful opportunities for children to learn about the traditions and values that are cherished parts of people's lives. One can teach about the holidays from October all the way through May, beginning with the harvest and the holidays of Halloween and Diwali and ending with the rituals of Passover, Easter, and May Day. Then, after I ask students to identify what date is exactly six months later (May 1), they see that across the circle is May Day, the ancient beginning of spring. The Snowman Bath Bomb Activity is a fun and unique way to engage your students while learning. Make a Wreath. Those don't often make the best combinations in the classroom. Don’t Try to Do It All During the Holiday Season Between Pinterest and what other teachers around you are doing you will feel like you need to be doing it too. by TeachThought Staff. Balancing the Holidays in Your Classroom Each year at this time, teachers are faced with a dilemma: How to balance the holidays to create the most inclusive environment? Read on for tips on creating an inclusive holiday celebration in your classroom. (BAM! It might be something that is exclusive to their family. Including diverse holidays. It can be individual wreaths, that the kids then get to take home, or create one large wreath. All rights reserved. What's New. By Signing up, you agree to our privacy policy. One can teach about the holidays from October all the way through May, beginning with the harvest and the holidays of Halloween and Diwali and ending with the rituals of … You can avoid controversial topics and still honor a diversity of holiday stories, characters, and rituals as symbols of positive values. Search. Once this is complete, they can share with the classroom or pin their sheets up on a board. Most religions and cultures celebrate holidays all 12 months of the year, not just in December. One of the best ways to create an inclusive holiday celebration is to avoid the pitfalls of stereotypical foods and Santa hats by using the season as a time of giving. Not only does it work well as a holiday party craft idea, but it can also be used as a winter decoration. Even if our holiday celebrations look different within our classroom there's no denying the whismy of the bright lights on people's homes and the songs we hear. Learn About Each Other Use the Celebrate Winter Holidays multimedia activity to help your students learn about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and other holidays around the world. Make a face that looks like a cartoon Santa using fruits. Holidays are important for many reasons, and children should be able to celebrate them in some way during school time. However, you also don't want to make the mistake of assuming certain items will represent certain students' holidays (especially those you are less familiar with) and just include them haphazardly in your classroom. I'm super fortunate that my classroom has always been incredibly diverse. When speaking about family traditions, have students draw a picture of something that represents their holiday. Holidays teach us history and the foundations of our society, deepening our understanding of ourselves and others. At the beginning of each school year, make a list of the holidays you want to celebrate and discuss in the classroom. If you decide to send home an information sheet for students to complete about their family traditions, consider including the question of what holidays are most important and when they occur. 2. This annual celebration highlights the need to protect our nation’s birds, … Gateways to Better Education (GTBE) Phone: (800) 929-1163. Anti-bias teaching requires critical thinking and problem solving by both children and adults.” To me, what that definition boils down to is that anti-bias teaching respects and embraces inclusion and the differences amongst all of us. Parents seem to understand that teaching about the commonalities in holiday stories reinforces cultural understanding. In December, students are excited to get time off school and, in some cases, to celebrate their special traditions. Halloween, following the bounty of the harvest season, is the beginning of the dark time of the year, a scary period for early agrarian societies. No one knows the actual date of the story of Hanukkah or the birth of Jesus, but we do know that the tradition of lighting up an evergreen tree in the dead of winter predates Christianity and even Judaism. The holidays can be challenging for teachers whose many students celebrate many different holidays. Whatever is done for one should be done for the others so that certain holidays don't come across as unusual or exotic. If you need other ideas for holidays outside of December, Teacher.org presents a list of major American holidays, and Study.com offers a lesson on major holidays around the world. St. Patrick's Day is a fun little holiday that comes during a time in the classroom when behavior can be a bit dicey. Years ago, following a holiday concert I had just conducted at a small Vermont elementary school, a parent approached me with a complaint. Then you can hang their pictures, and all of your students will be represented. Here are some easy and engaging activities that can help you teach your students about holidays around the world. From Christmas in America, Hanukkah, New Year's Eve, Thanks Giving, Valentine's Day, Kwanzaa, Ramadan/EID, Chinese New Year, and Diwali. We’ve established routines, assessed students, written report cards, and held parent conferences. We also dance around the Maypole. At my school, this lines up with our “four pillars”: knowledge, community, effort, and kindness. And while Kwanzaa is important, so is Juneteenth, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Indigenous People's Day. It might not even occur to many people that a Christmas tree in the corner of the room excludes all the students that don't celebrate Christmas. Ideas can be used as a holiday party craft idea, but it can be individual wreaths, the! Apologize - Miami is experiencing an unexpected disruption to services well, an inclusive holiday celebration teachers sometimes focus the! 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