Christmas in the classroom..

Discussion in 'Montessori' started by Pattypoo, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. Pattypoo

    Pattypoo Comrade

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    Nov 21, 2006

    Do you celebrate Christmas in the classroom? At our school we don't officially "celebrate" Christmas or any other religious holiday.
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Nov 22, 2006

    We can celebrate however we choose to do so. Some years I have had a small Christmas tree and a menorah. Some years I just do a 'winter' theme (since we don't really get a winter here in FL), especially snowmen. Sometimes I do a gingerbread people theme. We usually have a holiday party. I give them small gifts.
     
  4. jazzminjoy

    jazzminjoy Comrade

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    Nov 23, 2006

    I would ask the students, privately if possible, if they celebrate Christmas. If the whole class does, then go ahead and decorate/party/celebrate with the non-religious aspects. But if even one child does not observe the holiday, I would keep all Christmas activities to a minimum. For art or craft Christmas projects, make sure there is a non-Christmas alternative. I would also make sure in the Substitute Teacher folder notes that that instruction is clearly spelled out.

    If you really want to have a party and there are non-observing students, contact the parents. See if they would be willing to pick their children up early the day of the party. If not, perhaps the non-celebrating students can be library helpers or go to other classes during the party.
     
  5. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS 7th grade ELA SDI in Texas

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    Nov 24, 2006

    If you have ANY non-observing students in the class, then do NOT celebrate Christmas. As far as giving alternate assignments - don't do that, either. That is isolating and discriminatory.

    Make all lessons inclusive for all children.

    Instead of writing letters to Santa, Frosty, or Rudolph, for example, write letters to parents, community helpers, grandparents, or residents in a nursing home.

    Instead of using green and red colors for projects, use all colors.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 24, 2006

    WHile I teach in a Catholic school, my kids attend public school.

    There are so many wintery themes you can use: penguins, snowflakes, etc. So while my own homeroom will have a creche, my kids are bringing in penguin themed "Happy Holiday" magnets (free, from Vistaprint) in their holiday cards.

    Oriental Trading has a wealth of winter-themed things if you're thinking of giving gifts.

    Sure, we celebrate Christmas. But I think we have to be so very careful not to make some child feel as though his or her family's beliefs take second place to ours. Teaching my own kids respect for others goes right along with teaching them the other beliefs we hold so dear.
     
  7. hbdb

    hbdb Rookie

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    Jul 19, 2007

    I teach a unit on festivals of light from around the world. This is integrated into our science and cultural studies. I present each festival to students bringing in in card materials, books, and items for each celebration. I also ask parents to come in and teach about how their family celebrates. One year we had Hanukkah, St. Lucia, Loi Krathong, Diwali,and Chinese New Year presentations from parents. I live in Seattle and the Children's Museum also hosts an interactive festival which we have visited on a field trip. This helps to cover all celebrations so that Christmas can be one discussed as well. The children seems to love it. It gives them ownership over their own celebrations and offers them an opportunity to learn more about others.
     
  8. jazzminjoy

    jazzminjoy Comrade

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    Jul 19, 2007

    That sounds good. Just note that there are Christians and others who believe that Hanukkah is not a holiday everyone should celebrate, as it just commemorates a historic event, and that Christmas and all the December holidays are pagan and should not be observed in any way, shape, or form. What do you do for the month with the child who is a Jehovah Witness or other and holds these beliefs?
     
  9. hbdb

    hbdb Rookie

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    Jul 19, 2007

    promoting diversity

    I never said Hanukah or any of the other celebrations are ones everyone should celebrate. We do not celebrate them in class. Our view is to show all beliefs while expressing everyone has the right to their own which is why we would not leave out a celebration due to how others feel toward it. The goal is to promote appreciation of differences in celebration among different countries and introduce children to the fact that there are many beliefs in the use of light during dark months. We also read the children many creation stories at the beginning of the year for our great lessons. Again, it is our goal to give children many ideas while encouraging them to find ones they believe. I have yet to have a Jehovah Witness in my class, but am sure I would address the curriculum in that case. I work in a private non religious Montessori in which parents sign a sheet agreeing that their child will be introduced to NOT TAUGHT a variety of views.
     
  10. mommaruthie

    mommaruthie Aficionado

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    Jul 20, 2007

    December holidays around the world is a GREAT cultural filled lesson.
    You can enjoy the foods, customs and music among some of the activities!
     
  11. BASAM

    BASAM Comrade

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    Jul 20, 2007

    I do a unit called Winter Celebrations Around the World and the students study Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hinduism, Diwali, Judaism, Hanukkah, Chinese New Year and few more than escape me at the moment.
    However one time while on the Christmas section I was reading the story The Legend of the Candy Cane (I think that is the name) and I read that the red on the candy cane symbolized the blood that Jesus lost while on the cross and I didn't realize what I had said until after I read it (No, I didn't preview the story BAD TEACHER!!) but none of the kids made any comments. I just thought it was a little much for second graders but it was in the prescribed curriculum.
     
  12. jazzminjoy

    jazzminjoy Comrade

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    Jul 21, 2007

    Imagine no religion

    Imagine there's no Heaven
    It's easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today

    Imagine there's no countries
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace

    You may say that I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world

    You may say that I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will live as one

    Title: John Lennon - Imagine lyrics
    Artist: John Lennon
     
  13. jazzminjoy

    jazzminjoy Comrade

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    Jul 21, 2007

    We've got children who can't read well and do math and who perform poorly on the tests. We have teachers complaining there just isn't enough time to teach everything. I say let the families take care of the holiday teaching, especially religious ones. Sure, maybe do a little something for patriotic holidays, but not a whole month long unit in a public school.

    Unit studies are wonderful, and for a Montessori or private school I feel they are in many ways better than the traditional method of teaching subjects in isolation. As long as the teachers, students, and parents are all comfortable with religious celebrations around the world, go for it; it does sound fun.

    I still don't think a big deal should be made about any religious holidays in the public schools, though, especially if it means taking time away from teaching science, music, art, reading, and math. Very well-planned unit studies can incorporate the different subjects, but probably most regular teachers don't have the time to plan and implement a balanced unit study.
     

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