This festive time of year always brings a special significance into the classroom. It is a time to share family traditions and enjoy one another's company. In our classroom, we highlight the many traditions our students celebrate with their families. The children enjoy making connections between each tradition. For example, the second graders pointed out how many different religions and traditions all have lights as a symbolic importance. Drawing on such similarities helps us to realize how connected we are with one another and how alike we are.
Our school has a very diverse population with families from varying backgrounds. These families help shape who we are as a school. The children embrace how different everyone is by learning how special each family's traditions are. They enjoy sharing their own traditions and appreciate learning about their friend's traditions.
In second grade, we incorporate the holidays into our units of study for social studies. Each grade level in our elementary focuses on a deep study of one of the major world religions. Second grade studies Christianity. However, during the holiday season, we touch on various religions in many enriching ways for the students.
Parents sign up to come in and host a mini-presentation to share the rich traditions their family celebrates around the holiday season. The second graders are thrilled to have their loved ones come into the classroom. The other students really enjoy learning more about their friends.
You can print your free downloadable Holiday Scrapbook now!
As a teacher, I've noticed how all of the children really grow to respect one another. They see the importance of a family's tradition and even though it may be different than their own, they find similarities that help them relate to their friends.
We have so many holiday workshops set up for this year:
Feast of the Kings
Greek New Year
We are lucky that there is a beautiful church close to our school. Because we study Christianity in second grade, taking a field trip to the church aligns with our social studies curriculum. We have docents that divide the children into groups and give them a tour of the building. They focus on the architecture and history of the structure. They also share the beliefs of the religion.
Scholastic has put together a fantastic resource filled with information to use within your classroom: Celebrate Winter Holidays. The site shares information about Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Teachers can select from a variety of tools:
Printable activities and crafts
The site includes a complete Teacher's Guide and free Clip Art and Images. One of my favorite parts is the free, ready-to-use Interactive Whiteboard Activities. This part contains resources not only for the holiday season but all year long.
Get into the holiday spirit and partner up with a classroom pen pal by sending a Holiday eCard! You can send your Mystery Skype friends a holiday greeting or even share the card with another grade level within your building. Everyone enjoys getting cards!