Holiday Celebrations

How and Why Do We Celebrate 
Special Days?

Teacher Sponsor:  Betty Foster, Jefferson Elementary, Grand Island, Nebraska

Curriculum Area: Social Studies, Reading, Writing

Ages and Grade Levels:  All

Timeline:  December - February

Brief Description of Lesson:  We live in nations and countries with many people and varied cultural life styles. We can learn about the varied celebrations in December to understand the traditions and customs of others. We will do this through an email request sent out on various lists.  Please share your holiday celebrations with us.

Concept: Traditions people have are the result of culture they live with in. Celebrations in December are as diverse as the people in our country, and the world. 

Holidays: A Growing List of Seasonal Holidays

How We CelebrateYour Answers Will Go Here

Lesson Design: Teaching Ideas

Rubrics and Assessment Suggestions

Standards: Which Standards Does This Lesson Address?

Holiday Links and Information:  Links to Holiday Sites

Required Resources:  What Do You Need in Order to Participate?

How to Participate:  How to Register and Prepare 

Holidays and Special Days

3 - First Sunday of Advent (Christian, Roman Catholic)

5 - St. Nicholas Day (Netherlands)

6 - St. Nicholas Day (International)

8 - Bodhi Day (Buddhist, Hindu)

16-23 - Las Posadas (Mexico)

22 - Hanukkah (Chanukah, Jewish)

22 - Lailat Ul-Qadr (Islamic, Muslim, Moslem)

22 - Winter Solstice (International)

24 - Wigilia (Poland)

25 - Christmas (Christian, Roman Catholic, International)

26 - Boxing Day (Canada, United Kingdom)

26 - Id Al-Fitr (Islamic, Muslim)

26-Jan 1 - Kwanzaa (African-American)

29 - Japanese New Year (Japan, Buddhist, Hindu)

31 - New Year's Eve (United States, International)

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How to Participate:

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Resources Needed:
Hardware, Software, Time, etc.

Hardware Needed: Computer with Internet access

Computer to Student Ratio: for some activities 1-2, some activities 1-class

Software Needed: Internet, email

Amount of time needed online: 20 minutes to start, later time to check email for letters

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Lesson Design

1. Capture the attention of the learners by connecting them to the concept in a personal way.

Discussion of family traditions in celebrating their Thanksgiving dinner and what foods they serve.

 2. Guide the students to reflect on the activity.

List on an overhead sheet the varied foods the class says that their family eats. Notice the variety of foods, and discuss why the class thinks they eat those certain foods. 

3. Give the learners a new and wider view of the concept by connecting to their personal knowing of the concept.

Discuss what is known about the first Pilgrim Harvest Feast and the foods. Prepare a K-W-L chart to show what they know and what they would like to learn.

4. Provide an acknowledged body of information related to the concept.

In our Social Studies Book, Comparing Communities, read about the Thanksgiving Celebration on pages 195-199. Pay special attention to vocabulary: Pilgrim, tradition, national holiday.

5. Provide a hands-on activity for practice and mastery of the elements of the concept.

Using a teacher created worksheet, answer the following questions: Why do you think people celebrate Thanksgiving? When and why did the Pilgrims come to this country? What happened in the first year they were here? Why did the Pilgrims invite Indians to the Harvest Feast? Who made Thanksgiving a national holiday and when? Then, discuss the answers focusing on the word tradition and it's meaning.

Follow up with a dictionary sheet, (as in the reading assessment materials) and use the Social Studies book glossary to define Pilgrims and tradition.

6. Learners apply the concept to a constructive project.

7. Refine and edit work.

Collect the emails and have the students find which celebrations are reported on, the place the answer came from, and the age of the persons. Also use any information that the students found on the search engines, and printed out. Put them with the email collection.

Begin to organize the answers by having the kids learn to put them into a word processing document which they can write and the teacher can copy and paste into the web page linked to this planning page. Have the students create illustrations that can be used on the web pages to go with the topics.

Send out the web page URL to those who participated, using email address from the emails received.

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How Does This Lesson Relate to Standards?

1. Basic Operations and Concepts - 2.1.3, 2.1.4

3. Productivity Tools - 2.3.3, 3.3.2

4. Technology Communication Tools - 2.4.1, 5.4.1

District Technology Objectives:

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Rubrics and Assessment Suggestions

Rubric for use of Technology

No Evidence - 0 Points

Beginning - 1 point

Progressing - 2 Points

Proficient - 3 Points

Advanced - 4 Points

Student does not use the computer at all.

Student needs help in all steps to use the computer.

Student starts and needs a bit of help to use the computer.

Student starts and can use the computer well, only once in a while needs help.

Student is able to do all computer activities on their own.

Rubric for Word Processing of Information

No Evidence - 0 Points

Beginning - 1 point

Progressing - 2 Points

Proficient - 3 Points

Advanced - 4 Points

Student does not use the word processor at all.

Student needs help in all steps to use the word processor

Student starts and needs a bit of help to use the word processor.

Student starts and can use the word processor well,only once in a while needs help.

Student is able to do all word processing activities on their own.

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