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Holiday Lesson: A World of Special Celebrations

Subjects

  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts
    --Dance, Music
    --Visual Arts
  • Educational Technology
  • Social Studies
    --Geography
    --Holidays
    --Regions/Cultures

Grade

  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

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Brief Description

Create a display of religious and cultural celebrations around the world.

(Included: Four possible display formats -- a timeline, a world map bulletin board, an ABC book, or a Web page.)

Objectives

Students will

  • learn about cultures and celebrations around the world.
  • develop research skills.
  • present their research in one of four formats.

Keywords

culture, celebrations, festivals, holidays, Christmas, December, religion, calendar, timeline, world, map, ABC book, research, brainstorm, think-pair-share, literature, geography

Materials Needed[shopmaterials]

  • library and/or Internet access
  • miscellaneous classroom supplies

Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students use Internet and/or library resources to research ethnic and religious occasions/events celebrated by people around the world.

Begin the lesson by inviting students to brainstorm a list of celebrations they are familiar with. The celebrations might be ones students have experienced firsthand or celebrations students only have heard or read about. Write the celebrations on a chart as students call them out.

Instead of brainstorming with the entire class, you might use the think-pair-share method for this activity. Give students a few minutes to start their own lists; then arrange students in pairs and give each pair a few minutes to share their lists and add to them; next, combine pairs of students to create groups of four for more sharing and thinking. Eventually, bring all students together to create a class list of cultural celebrations.

Supplement the student-generated list of celebrations as needed with additional celebrations. Ethnic and Religious Cultural Holidays, Celebrations, and Festivals is an excellent source. Also, see Suggested Celebrations at the bottom of this lesson.

When the brainstorming session is over, assign each student one of the celebrations to research; you might assign the less well known celebrations to students who have the best researching skills. (Alternative: Write the names of the events on slips of paper and have each student draw the name of a celebration.)

As students research their celebrations, they should record the following information:

  • the name of the celebration.
  • the date of the celebration.
  • the cultures/countries that celebrate.
  • a brief explanation or history of the celebration.

Have students create an "information card" that includes their research findings and a picture/illustration they have created and/or downloaded from a Web site.

Displaying Students' Work
You might display the students' work in one of the following ways:

  • World map. Post a world map on a bulletin board. Display students' celebration information cards around the map. Extend a strand of yarn from each card to the country(s) which that celebration is primarily associated with.
  • Timeline. Create a timeline so students can track celebrations throughout the school year. (They also might add to the timeline throughout the year as they learn about additional celebrations.) Hang a clothesline across the room, mark intervals for each month, and use clothespins to hang students' information cards at the appropriate places on the timeline.
  • ABC book. Combine students' information cards into an ABC Book of Celebrations Around the World. Older students might create a list of celebration-related words and terms from their cards; some celebrations might include several unique words. Their ABC book can introduce those terms.
  • Web site. Create a Web page of students' work. You might even create a clickable world map or a clickable calendar that visitors can use to learn more about the world's special celebrations.

As the date for each celebration arrives, expose students to more information about it or read a children's book related to the culture/country of the celebration. Spend some time talking about the geography (location, physical aspects, and so on) of countries as you discuss their celebrations.

Activity Resources
Following are some additional resources students can use as they research their celebrations on the Internet.

  • Ethnic and Religious Cultural Holidays, Celebrations, and Festivals
  • Earth Calendar

    Suggested Celebrations
    Following are some celebrations students might research:

  • All Saints' Day (Christian, Roman Catholic)
  • Ash Wednesday (Protestant, Roman Catholic)
  • Bon Festival (Japan)
  • Boxing Day (Canada, United Kingdom)
  • Candlemas (Christian)
  • Chinese Lunar New Year (China, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam)
  • Christmas (Christian, Roman Catholic, International)
  • Cinco de Mayo (Mexico)
  • Declaration of the Bab (Baha'i)
  • Dia de los Muertos (Mexico, Latin America)
  • Diwali (Buddhist, Hindu)
  • Eid al-Adha (Islamic, Muslim)
  • Eid-Al-Fitr (Islamic, Muslim)
  • Emancipation Day (African-American, United States)
  • Epiphany (Christian)
  • Good Friday (Protestant, Roman Catholic)
  • Guru Gobind Singh's Birthday (Sikh)
  • Hanukkah (Jewish)
  • Holy Thursday (Christian)
  • Juneteenth
  • Kwanzaa (African-American)
  • Lantern Festival (Taiwan)
  • Las Posadas (Mexico)
  • Lohri (Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh)
  • Mardi Gras (United States)
  • Palm Sunday (Protestant, Roman Catholic)
  • Passover (Jewish)
  • Pioneer Day (Mormon)
  • Purim (Jewish)
  • Ramadan (Islamic, Muslim)
  • Shavuot (Jewish)
  • Simchat Torah (Jewish)
  • St. Nicholas Day (International)
  • St. Patrick's Day (Ireland, United States)
  • Sukkot (Jewish)
  • Tet Nguyen Dan (Vietnam)
  • The Annunciation (Christian)
  • Three Kings' Day (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic)
  • Tu b'Shvat or Tu B'Shevat (Jewish, Israel)
  • Yom Kippur (Jewish)

     

    Assessment

    Did students include all the assigned information on their cards? Did they incorporate any images into their information cards?

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    Submitted By

    Gary Hopkins

    National Standards

    FINE ARTS: Visual Arts
    GRADES K - 4
    NA-VA.K-4.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
    NA-VA.K-4.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures
    NA-VA.K-4.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
    GRADES 5 - 8
    NA-VA.5-8.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
    NA-VA.5-8.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures
    NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NA-VA.9-12.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
    NA-VA.9-12.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures
    NA-VA.9-12.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
    NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
    NL-ENG.K-12.9 Multicultural Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.10 Applying Non-English Perspectives
    NL-ENG.K-12.11 Participating in Society
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    MATHEMATICS: Measurement
    GRADES 3 - 5
    NM-MEA.3-5.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
    NM-MEA.3-5.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements
    GRADES 6 - 8
    NM-MEA.6-8.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
    NM-MEA.6-8.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NM-MEA.9-12.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
    NM-MEA.9-12.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: Geography
    GRADES K - 12
    NSS-G.K-12.1 The World in Spatial Terms
    NSS-G.K-12.2 Places and Regions

    TECHNOLOGY
    GRADES K - 12
    NT.K-12.1 Basic Operations and Concepts
    NT.K-12.5 Technology Research Tools

    Don't miss dozens of additional activities for teaching about the December holidays on Education World's December Holidays archive page.

    Click here to return to this week's "Unwrap Five Holiday Lessons" lesson plan page.

  • Updated 11/17/2011

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