Our Homes Have StarsSunday, December 6, 2015
Our homes all have stars. All across this beautiful land of ours, and all across the world. If you 're reading this at night, go outside and look up. I'll wait.....
If you're reading this in the daytime, be sure to check it out tonight. It's a beautiful display, and a beautiful reminder that "We are more alike, my friend, than we are unalike." (Maya Angelou)
The holiday season is upon us, starting earlier and earlier each year, fueled by the world of commerce. It's a very difficult time of year for many of the children in our classrooms who celebrate holidays other than Christmas. If you have a diverse group of learners in the faiths they follow as well as in their learning styles, I hope you will find some of these suggestions useful.
I found this beautiful little picture book a long time ago, and have loved sharing it with my students each year at the start of this festive season. It is a narrative by eight different children from all over the world, telling about their life and family inside their homes. You will see many parallels in their daily lives, and will also see that they (and we) all exist under the same beautiful sky, in the same universe. If you don't already have this book, it will make a beautiful addition to your teacher toolbox. I promise!
A long time ago, in a wonderful school where I spent most of my career, a mom asked if she could come to school to make latkes and explain the celebration of Chanukah. She did. Then a parent who was also a minister asked if he and his wife could visit and explain the the manger and the true meaning of Christmas. They did.
Before long, three grade levels in my school joined in each December in a celebration of the similarities and differences in our faiths called the Holiday Carousel. We set up stations in as many classrooms as holidays with presenters, and students traveled from room to room to learn about each of the holidays their classmates were celebrating. We learned about Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Chinese New Year, Diwali, Japanese New Year, and Pongal, to name a few! Parents could bring in trees, menorahs, kinaras, lanterns, and any other symbols of their holidays. Each group of parents also brought in holiday foods (prescreened for allergies of course!) and a craft symbolic of their holiday. Teachers and our principal pitched in to fill any gaps when parents were unavailable to present. Other parents also filled in. One year, a Jewish teacher and a Jewish parent presented Kwanzaa, for example. Another year, a teacher and three Chinese students presented Chinese New Year. We did it all together, and loved every minute of it!
Over the years of our Holiday Carousel, I developed some resources to help my students to prepare for and reflect on the Holiday Carousel. I have been a busy little teacher bee in my TpT store this week, trying to bring more of those resources to you, teacher friends, in a format that will be simple to print and use at this very busy time of year. I hope that you will find some of them to be just what you were looking for!
I wish you joy, peace, and contentment this holiday season!
For more December tips from some amazing bloggers, please check out the other December Teacher Talk posts below!