Christmas Program?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by YoungTeacherGuy, Dec 16, 2011.

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  1. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Dec 16, 2011

    Yesterday, while shopping, I ran into a former parent. Her youngest child was in my 2nd grade class and is currently in 5th grade. Anyway, she was extremely upset because the school has a new principal and apparently the principal decided to not have a Christmas Program this year. The parent was looking forward to seeing her daughter's last performance as an elementary school student.

    I emailed a friend of mine from the school and she said that the new principal was completely against having a Christmas Program. My friend didn't give me the details, though.

    At both elementary schools I taught at, participation in the Christmas Program wasn't up for debate. Every grade level put on some type of performance/skit.

    Yes, I understand that a lot of preparation goes into the Christmas Program (rehearsals, costumes, etc.). However, the kids feel really special when they're performing for their families and the families feel proud of their kids. For me (as a teacher), it is a very special event.

    My question to you all is: Does YOUR school hold a Christmas Program? If so, is participation optional?
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    MIne does,tonight is the last of 3 Christmas concerts. But we're not run on public funds.

    My first question would be as to WHY the principal chose to end the program. That would determine my reaction.

    He's got to have a reason, and it may be a very valid one. It may be that the cost of all those costumes, of getting the auditorium, of paying maintenence, of paying teachers for all those rehearsals and to watch the kids not performing, all amounts to money being taken away from education in tough economic times.

    Perhaps he's decided that it makes more sense to have a "Winter Concert" in January or February, when parents and teachers have more time to devote to an evening out.

    Perhaps the auditorium is about to get a new roof, and is unsafe at the moment. Or, as a new principal, he simply didn't realize he had to reserve the date, and the only night the auditorium is free is Christmas Eve.

    My point is that the parent of a 5th grader isn't always privy to all the details that cross the desk of a principal. I say he gets the benefit of the doubt until you know all the details.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Last night was our holiday concert--classes from kindergarten to grade 3 had the option to prepare and perform. Because of numbers, the kindergarten and grades 1-3 had separate concert times. We used to have older classes and the bands and choir perform as well, but it just became too big and time-consuming. The bands and choirs will have their own concert evening in May.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I have no idea what his reasoning is but one possibility is he could feel that "Christmas" has no place in a public facility. Again, there are a lot of reasons as Alice presented. The parent could ask.
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    We do not have a Christmas program, but we do plan a band and a choir concert in December every year.
     
  7. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    We had our christmas program today. It wasn't really anything but sets of christmas songs that the music teacher had the kids perform for the parents.

    Participation is optional, however, if they don't participate they get left behind at school. They are not even allowed to go see the program.

    Ours was in the morning, so they missed that half of school and most left after we got back to school. We don't ever do anything after hours that I know of. We have free use of our school's performance center so we just rode the bus over there and back.
     
  8. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Our school does a program for each grade level. We do them during the school day. Doesn't take any longer than about 30 minutes or so. Our principal so wants to put Christmas back in the school that he encouraged the music teacher to have a religious song in each of the programs. We even called our fundraiser event, Christmas Festival.
    The middle school and high school bands had their concert together the other night. It was free to attend. The choir concert was not free. None of my kids have ever done choir so I don't attend these.
     
  9. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    No, we don't.

    But to be honest, if his only reason was "Christmas programs don't have a place in a public school", I really can't much argue with that. If someone suggested a "winter themed" program and he still didn't approve, I could also understand various circumstances that would lead to that decision. For example, if they are struggling with test scores, he may not be able to justify the time and resources that would go into such a program.

    All this said, when we were in sixth grade, every sixth grader participated in the musical program. The year before it was at Christmas time...some annoying Surfer Santa program...but during my sixth grade year the big annual program wasn't during the holidays. I actually said to a colleague this week that a grade-wide performance would have been fun. Miss all those extras of yesteryear...
     
  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    As a student, I always HATED having to be in the Christmas program . . . but I had to endure it for six years until I went to middle school.

    At least in middle and high school I was choosing to be in the band and perform in those concerts, and I wasn't being forced into a play.

    That's one of the reasons I like teaching secondary--NO CHRISTMAS PROGRAM!
     
  11. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Dec 17, 2011

    Only our music program has a concert. It is the choir and tone chimes and they each have 3-5 songs. They are made up of 4th and 5th graders and they practice before school once a week and during their music classes each day.
     
  12. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Dec 17, 2011

    We have a Winter Concert put on by the music teachers. One vocal, one instrumental, 2 different times. Therefore it takes no time away from teaching.

    We also do a Black History program in February & a Trip Around the World program. Both of those require the teacher to put something together, but we work with a partner, usually a grade level teammate.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 17, 2011

    Our fourth graders put on a winter concert. While I personally celebrate Christmas, the winter theme approach was respectful for our school which has a diverse population.

    Regardless of the principal's rationale for cancelling the show,there will be plenty of other wonderful moments in her children's life to which the upset parent can look forward.
     
  14. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Our k-8 school had a Christmas program The parents were invited. It was nice. My first teaching year in the South and I was surprised it was Christmas...not Holiday or Winter program. The kids seemed to enjoy it. You only partcipated in the program if you wanted to (exception drama club, band where it was mandatory) otherwise you were in the audience. I wonder why the Principal would cancel? The P at my former school tried to cancel halloween costumes but the outcry from parents overroad him. Wonder if the P gave the parents a good reason.
     
  15. Ambrosegirl84

    Ambrosegirl84 Companion

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    Dec 17, 2011

    The Christmas program is one of the "cornerstone traditions" at our country school, so for the past 5 years much of my November-December has been devoted to thinking up some kind of an hour-long program to do with 7 kids or fewer. These past 3 years I've had 4. It's always a wonderful time, but it's **** preparing for it.

    This year we're doing "Christmas Around the World" (the kids wanted to do every continent but that would have involved me writing about 5 skits--not happening this year!). I've tried to cut out "extra things" like read-aloud and PE to give the kids time to practice, but this past week or so it's taken about an hour since we've been practicing the whole thing every day.

    The thing I think it prepares the kids most for academically is public speaking. Over the years my kids have learned a lot about facing the audience, facial expression, speaking loudly and slowly, waiting for the audience to stop laughing before continuing, etc. They also write a lot of the material themselves. I hope they can transfer these skills on to high school and college presentations.
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Why wait for high school and college?

    Create opportunities in your class for students to apply their presentation skills to content.
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think any opportunity for public speaking/performing is wonderful for kids.

    But I'm not sure that it has to tie into Christmas, particularly in a public school.
     
  18. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Please tell me this is a private school. :( If it's public, how does your principal justify imposing this on children of other religions or those who don't even have a faith?

    It's called public school, not children-who-share-the-principal's-faith school.

    Can't Christmas be celebrated in the home? Nobody's stopping them there.
     
  19. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Dec 19, 2011

    There are many people who celebrate Christmas, but don't celebrate any of the religious aspects of it. Part of it has to do with the Christmas spirit; caring, kindness, giving. Those are simply good character traits. Other celebrate Christmas simply in the commercialization aspect of it. If they are Jewish, you can add in some Happy Hannukah's.
    I see nothing bad about celebrating and recognizing Christmas as a whole; to me it just brings out the good and joy in people. Nothing wrong with spreading a little bit of that around.
     
  20. MissJill

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    It's inconsiderate. Other people have holidays that they celebrate, don't leave them out. Throwing in a Happy Hanukkah is nothing. Teach diversity. Either celebrate and learn about them them all or just celebrate the winter. I can't imagine leaving some of my students out or isolating them because I chose to focus on the more 'popular' holiday. Christmas is definitely a way to spread cheer, but it's selfish to think that we should just celebrate it without recognizing anything else.
     
  21. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    No, this is not a private school. We live in a small town where the majority of students celebrate Christmas. We do have a small amount of students who don't. These students are accommodated per parent request. If they don't want to come to our Christmas festival then they don't. If they don't want their children participating in the party, or Christmas program then we find alternative places for the these children during those times. Like I said it is a very small number, out of 111 that we have in first grade there was only one student who we needed to accommodate and maybe two or three others per grade level.
     
  22. MissJill

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    So they're isolated? That's so sad.
     
  23. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    That is the choice their parents make for them with not celebrating Christmas.
     
  24. MissJill

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    You cannot be serious. That was a joke right?
     
  25. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    I was going to say the same thing. Their parents are the ones that make the choice, not us the school.
     
  26. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    MillJill, I am Christian. I believe in everything that Christmas is meant to be about. I believe this country was founded on those beliefs as well. I believe that the more we take God out of our country just to try and be politically correct, the worse off our country gets. Christmas is a good time of the year, it is a time that many people who believe, but don't celebrate actually take part in what it all really means. Christmas can quite often bring out the best in people and encourages people to do things they should all year, but don't. That is part of the Christmas spirit that comes alive during this season. I refuse to take Christmas out of what I say and do whether at home or work just to be politically correct. I don't preach it, but I'm not going to avoid it. I don't believe any harm can come from hearing about or partaking in things that are reffered to as Christmas themed. If someone believes in something else, that is great, I am not saying that have to change. But Christmas in this country should not have to be hidden. If you choose to believe something else, that is your choice you should not be stopped from that. Once again, it is freedom of religion, not freedom from.
    So to answer your question, no it was not a joke. If parents want to keep their children from any exposure to the mention of Christmas, whether there are any religious undertones or not, that is their choice. To me, they are not doing their child any good, because I don't see how it can harm them. So they are exposed to something, if they don't believe it, again that is fine, but the exposure to something like Christmas, can't hurt someone.
     
  27. MissJill

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    They're parents decide what they celebrate so the school has a complete hands of stance on the manner? Your schools do not celebrate diversity? Are they still segregated where you are too? It's 2011. This to me is crazy
     
  28. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    :thumb:
    :agreed:
    :thumb::thumb:
     
  29. MissJill

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    But to not celebrate or learn about what they celebrate is telling them that they and what they believe in is worthless. If they were to do that with Christmas, how offended would you be?
     
  30. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    I never said we didn't learn or talk about how they celebrate or why they don't celebrate the season. In fact we spent an entire day talking about how others do or don't celebrate Christmas in our Christmas around the world. We included those students, because it was a social studies activity, not a religious one.
     
  31. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    That sounds perfectly acceptable, some grades in our school have done this as well. And in our grade we do learn about other cultures throughout the year and how they celebrate certain things.
     
  32. MissJill

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    It's just not necessary to include this in your school celebration even if it means that one kid won't be excluded. I cannot stand arguing with close minded people.
     
  33. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    And it's not necessary to call people closed minded just because they don't happen to agree with you.
     
  34. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    And I have never understood the concept of changing everything you do for 1. The world is not fairest place. Not everyone gets included all of the time. As a man working in an elementary school (there are a few of us there), there are many things throughout the years that we are not included in. That is just the way things work. Yes, I chose this profession and knew that going in. Those parents choose not to have their kids participate. They could choose to have them participate and more than likely, no harm would be done.
     
  35. MissJill

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    Agreeing with me? No. Recognizing that there are other things in this world that could be celebrated to make some children feel as if they belong? Doesn't seem like it would be hard to agree with that.
     
  36. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I'm fortunate to live in a country where the law protects me. Things are often changed just so one person can enjoy. One such example is ADA accommodations. Without it I would not be as independent or able to participate fully in my own care.

    As for schools and Christmas celebrations, this year on AtoZ I have decided that there is no reason for them. The law tells us to separate church and state for a reason. We are culturally ingrained to include them but it doesn't mean we should. It isn't related to our job function.
     
  37. Joy

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    People have really come to misunderstand the original meaning of separation of church and state. It began so that government was not sticking its nose in churches and telling them what to do. Somehow, people in recent years have turned it around saying that churches and religious people cannot tell the government what to do. This certainly goes against what our Founding Fathers wanted! After all, we are "one nation under God."
     
  38. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    The majority in our country do celebrate Christmas but there is a time and a place for everything. In schools I believe we need to provide a caring, safe and nurturing environment for all. Excluding people from different backgrounds does not fit this bill.
     
  39. MissJill

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    Totally agree.
     
  40. MissJill

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    btw, I have to get back to my Christmas present wrapping and spreading holiday cheer to all. Even my students who don't celebrate the holiday.
     
  41. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I completely agree as well, that is why all of my students were included in my Christmas party. We had snacks, listened to Christmas music, had a craft, shared some gifts, and overall enjoyed each others company before the Christmas break.
     
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