Each year as we get closer to the end of 2022, I think about what ways we can celebrate the end of the calendar year as a class. When I first started teaching in 2014, I brought in a Christmas tree for my class without thinking that perhaps my class doesn’t celebrate. This year as we are learning about surveys and analyzing the results of these surveys, we decided to pose the following question to the class, “What do you celebrate in December?” This is similar to the question I asked my class last February, “What are the things people celebrate in February?” Students had the chance to pass if they preferred not to say but I found most students were excited to share what they look forward to as 2022 draws to an end.
From here, we graphed the results and saw that almost all of our students celebrate Christmas, many celebrate New Years Eve, two celebrate Diwali (which my student suggested was a winter holiday) and many students just enjoy celebrating two weeks off to themselves. After displaying this graph on our math wall, I brought in some decorations and students decorated the class making sure to have all celebrations equally represented. From there, we started learning about other celebrations and students started to share that they had never heard of them before. We listened to Kwanzaa stories and heard about the history of the day. Later this week, we will listen to stories from other cultures. We also have a calendar with 31 squares on it where each day, the previous student of the day selects a friend to have a treat. This is selected based on who they think has been trying their best and should have a treat. This is a simple way to take a holiday item and turn it into a student-led initiative (non-holiday related).
Next week, once again students in our school will be learning about a variety of Winter Celebrations by helping with crafts and lessons shared by other teachers in the school. Even though December is filled with holidays, it will be important to recognize holidays in the other months that they occur as we need to continue to be mindful of all celebrations equally.
A student in grade three asked me this question the other day, “Why can’t we say the word Christmas?” which I thought was a very important question. I hope I helped him understand that we can say it but not everyone celebrates it. So it is important to know if someone celebrates a holiday before we just assume that they do and before we wish them well on that day.
How do you celebrate the holidays in December with your class?