Around this time of year, when you ask your elementary aged students what they want their next project to be about, often times, “Christmas” will be the answer. Why not challenge your students to inquire beyond what they already know with a driving question like, “How do kids around the world celebrate the winter holidays?”
A good place to start creating interest is by providing students with information about the different holidays celebrated around the world through scavenger hunts, video clips, and read alouds. Once students have a preliminary understanding of the various international winter holidays, have them choose what holiday they want to learn more about and create project groups around their interests.
As a class, you can decide what types of information the students want to find out about the different holidays and the facilitator can create a graphic organizer that reflects the conversation. After students have the information they need, they can decide as a group how they want to present it.
The culminating event can include a holiday party where all of the international winter holidays studied are represented through their respective foods, games, and posters/presentations. This creates a great opportunity to have students engaged in public speaking. Additionally, it’s a great way to bring the community and caregivers into your program.
To make the experience even more meaningful, connect to the Holiday Card Exchange, though iEARN. This website connects classrooms from all over the world. Students send and receive Chinese New Year, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Eid greeting cards to and from other students in seven other countries.
Consider taking your holiday project to the next level by incorporating some of these ideas. Getting your students to think globally will help them become 21st century learners!
by: Ariel Zander