Sunday, January 22, 2012

Holidays Around the World

Connecting with our social studies standard we did a unit of study on how Holidays are celebrated around the world. The goal was to teach our students how though we are all different we do have many things in common. Holidays are something the kids are very familiar with so they bring a lot of background knowledge. Within our own classroom students discovered that though we all celebrate Christmas some of us have different some of us put shoes under our bed while others never heard of this.  It was great to see the students excited to learn about different cultures.  At the end of each culture the students wrote what they had learned as well as created a small art representation of that cultural practice. The art idea I saw on TPT and bought the unit ....I changed it in that I had my students add their own writing rather than filling in the blanks. We also had them do the additional page of writing to show what they had learned about each culture. I also included the great books I found to teach about each one of these cultures. I have more books but I only included the ones I saw the students really dive into when doing their research.
 We started with learning about our own culture. We learned about the posadas which some of my students had heard of but had never seen. So, some of my first grade partners and I got together with two 6th grade classrooms and organized our own posada. The 6th graders began the posada and we went from classroom to classroom ending up at the auditorium where our parents were waiting with a feast.  We can't thank our parents enough for decorating the auditorium and providing all of the food. The students experienced one of our wonderful traditions. You can't tell in this picture but they wrote about two pages about the posadas.

We used this book to learn about the tradition of the poinsetta and why we use poinsettas to decorate during Navidad. If you don't know why, I suggest you get this book for next year.

 Next we studied the Jewish culture and how they celebrate Hanukkah. Their favorite was eating the latke.

We also studied about people of african descent and how they celebrate Kwanzaa. Students were able to compare and contrast this holiday with that of Hanukkah to see the similarities and differences.

 To close the unit we of course studied Christmas celebrations here in the United States. We had our students also write a letter to Santa as well as hang up stockings in our classroom...For some of my students this was their first time hanging a stocking. 

 *Just as a reminder....before we started this unit of study we did send out a letter to all of our parents to let them know we would be learning about different cultural holidays.  We informed them that if they did not wish for their child to participate to please let us know in advance.  We did have some parents come and ask questions about what the children would be learning. But once we clarified to them that it was a social studies unit and in no way were we trying to change beliefs or customs none of our parents were opposed and all of them gave permission for their child to participate in the Posadas.

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