Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holiday Celebrations Around the World

Throughout the month of December, students were busy studying some special holidays and how they are celebrated around the world. 

3rd grade students playing dreidel. 
We started by talking about the Jewish holiday of Chanukah. Students listened to stories and learned about different Chanukah traditions. A third grade student shared his knowledge and even taught students to play the dreidel game.

2nd grade student explaining Kwanzaa display
Next we learned about Kwanzaa, a winter holiday that was started in the United States to honor African American heritage.  We colored kinaras and read Seven Candles for Kwanzaa. We also had a small Kwanzaa display to represent the harvest and the richness of African traditions. 

Fourth grade students with their molded clay lamps
Then we studied Diwali, which is one of India's biggest and most important holidays of the year.  Parents sent in great pictures, links to websites, and articles to help us learn more about this special fall festival. We also made our own clay lamps (sometimes called diyas) which the students molded and painted to take home.
3rd grade students showing their finished Diwali diyas and Christmas Babushka dolls

Finally, we talked about how Christmas is celebrated in different countries, including Russia where one of our students is from. We watched a video and read parts of Merry Christmas Everywhere before coloring in Babushka dolls from Russia. Some older students read The Smallest Gift of Christmas to remind us to be grateful for what we already have, including our families and our homes.
First grade students coloring their "Babushka" dolls
We loved having students share their holiday traditions and learning from one another. Students also realized how much the diverse the holidays have in common, like being with family, giving to charity, and using light as an important symbol. 
We look forward to working with students after the break when we will be learning about New Year's around the world and especially in parts of Asia.
We wish you a safe, happy and relaxing winter break.
*School begins again on Monday, January 4th, 2016!