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Apr 21, 2015
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Winter Holidays

Grade Levels: 3 - 5

Introduction
This lesson provides students with an opportunity to learn about the traditions of various winter holidays.
Objectives
  • Students will understand that most winter holidays are associated with an important object that gives light.
  • Students will study the origin and customs of several winter holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the Winter Solstice.
  • Students will create individual holidays that celebrate someone or something that is important to them.
Suggested Time Allowance
50 minutes
Materials

Procedures

  1. Introduce and define key vocabulary: heritage, anticipation, Menorah, Kinara, Advent wreath, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas.
  2. Have students read the Winter Holidays Article individually or in pairs. Have them fill in the Vocabulary Worksheet.
  3. Ask the students to think of various customs and traditions associated with holidays throughout the year. Have them fill in the Winter Holidays Chart.
  4. Tell the students they are individually responsible for creating a new holiday celebrating something or someone that is very important to them. Students may include illustrations if time permits, but they must include:
    • Why their holiday is meaningful.
    • What people can do to celebrate their holiday.
    • Significant songs, games, or recipes that will be associated with their holiday.
  5. Display the students' holiday descriptions in the classroom.

Assessment

Have students discuss the differences and similarities of the four winter holidays described in the article.
  • Students should be able to define key vocabulary.
  • Students should be able to fill in the Winter Holidays Chart using clues from the class discussion and Winter Holidays Article.
  • Students should be able to identify the history and traditions of various holidays.

Extension Activities

  • Challenge students to create their own Holiday Chart with different column titles. Students can switch charts with a partner.
  • Have students write in their journals about why respect for each other's beliefs is important. You may introduce the term divergent thinking.

Standards Correlation
Standards at McRel: http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarks/

  • Knows the ways that families long ago expressed and transmitted their beliefs and values through oral tradition, literature, songs, art, religion, community celebrations, mementos, food, and language
  • Knows how various American holidays reflect the shared values, principles, and beliefs of Americans

Highlights

Children's Choice Book Awards
We love books! Encourage students to vote for their favorite children's book, author, and illustrator of the year at Funbrain and Poptropica. Teens can make their picks too. Read the complete list of nominated books, as well as related activities, and get voting!

Videos
Do your students love videos? We have a growing collection of videos (including related activities) for holidays and events, including: Earth Day, women's history, Memorial Day, Independence Day, slavery & the Civil War, U.S. Presidents, handwashing awareness, the Common Core, and American History. Enjoy!

April Calendar of Events
April is full events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Library Week (4/12-18), Volunteer Week (4/12-18), Poison Prevention Week (4/15-21), Earth Day (4/22), Tell a Story Day (4/27), International Jazz Day (4/30). Plus, celebrate Deaf History Month (3/15-4/15), Mathematics Education Month, National Poetry Month, and Youth Sports Safety Month!

Teaching with Comics: Galactic Hot Dogs
Reach reluctant readers and English-language learners with comics! Our original teaching guides to the Galactic Hot Dogs comic series (chapters 1-4 and 5-8), as found on Funbrain.com, will take students on a cosmic adventure while engaging their creative minds. Plus, find even more activities for teaching with comics, featuring many other classic stories.

Poptropica Teaching Guides
Poptropica is one of the Internet's most popular sites for kids—and now it's available as an app for the iPad! It's not just a place to play games; each of the islands featured on the site provides a learning opportunity. Check out our teaching guides to four of Poptropica's islands: 24 Carrot Island, Time Tangled Island, Mystery Train Island, and Mythology Island.

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