Christmas tree in the classroom

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Lotte, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. Lotte

    Lotte Companion

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    Oct 15, 2012

    I just love the Christmas holidays.
    This year I would like to have an advent calendar in the classroom before Christmas. I'm thinking of buying a cheap artificial Christmas tree and buy a full set of decorations (no religious shapes or forms, just circles), and have one child each day hang a decoration on the tree. No religious songs or anything by the three, just for the decoration.

    I do have several religions represented in my classroom but I'm thinking a Christmas tree is more a cultural common symbol than a religious one.

    Any concerns about this that I should be aware of?
     
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  3. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Ummm I wouldn't do it. Maybe if you have your tree and hang all the decorations yourself it would be fine. I would feel bad about pressuring a kid to hang ornaments if they didn't want to. In first grade they'll do it just becasue everyone else is doing it.
     
  4. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    Oct 15, 2012

    Honestly, I would not do this. The advent calendar is always religious, as it leads up to Christ's birth. As for the tree, I don't think it is a common holiday symbol. I don't know many (if any at all) non-Christian people who have a decorated tree in December. I just think you run the risk of making some kids uncomfortable and not included. But that's just my opinion, maybe others will feel differently:)
     
  5. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Candles are pretty universal among the winter holidays of different religions, but please remember that not all of your students will have a particular religion. I would not do it.
     
  6. Lotte

    Lotte Companion

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    Oct 15, 2012

    Okay, I'll take your advice and not do it. Thanks :)

    Maybe I can do something with candles instead..

    Any ideas? ;-)
     
  7. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    It depends on who you are and where you're at. Would I do it? Probably not. But our 35+ year math teacher puts one up each year. He decorates it himself though.
     
  8. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Oct 15, 2012

    From an American point of view I wouldn't, but seeing as you're from Norway isn't there a state church: The Church of Norway.

    I know Norway is rather secular now (my ancestry is 100% Norwegian), but I think even so a Christmas Tree is really just a cultural symbol as the whole idea is Germanic in origin and not necessarily universally Christian.

    I guess I've never heard of there being an issue with a tree, rather the symbols that adorn the tree.
     
  9. thirdgradebuzz

    thirdgradebuzz Comrade

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    Oct 15, 2012

    My school itself puts up multiple trees in the building. I've had a mini tree in my room for several years alongside some other decorations. I'm in a very small-town, generally religious area. I grew up here, and had never met anyone Jewish, Muslim, or any other religion besides Chrisitian until I went to college.
     
  10. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Oct 15, 2012

    We have trees in my school as well. We study holidays around the world and learn about many different cultures and traditions. I think it depends on your area and your group of students. I have only had one student not celebrate Christmas in 6 years and her family wanted her to be aware of the cultures and traditions of everyone and she participated in everything but the party we had.
     
  11. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    I put a small tree up every year in my classroom and the kids make an ornament for it every day. We spend the last 15 minutes of the day making an ornament, then we hang the new ornaments on the tree and take the old ones home. This way our tree looks different every day and the kids take home an ornament every day!
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Oct 15, 2012

    A lot of trees here...our school has them in the lobby. Advent calendar, no.

    I don't put up a tree at home or school.
     
  13. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    I put up a small tree every year. No one has ever complained or been offended. I hang candy on it-and we have a countdown to Christmas vacation. Each day a student takes off a piece of candy until break!
     
  14. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I've had a Christmas tree every year. My ornaments are ones that kids have made or given me in the past. (Lots of frogs and animals :D). At the beginning of the year I send home a form for parents to fill out and in it, I ask if there are any holidays that they wish for their child not to take part in. I get a few Halloween's from time to time, but that's it. I know location has a lot to do with that. I'm in a smallish, rural school. I would talk to other teachers at your school to see if it's a common thing to have the tree up. I usually put the tree up with everything except the ornaments and fake snow. I have the ornaments spread around and those who want to can take a minute during the day to hang one or two. Then they all get to throw on the fake snow (their favorite part, lol).
     
  15. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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  16. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Oct 15, 2012

    I've always put up a small one and decorated it myself unless I have some kids who are trying to get off the naughty list and offer to do it for me. :haha: It's not a big deal around here - we have Christmas trees in the lobby of our building.

    Beth
     
  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Oct 15, 2012

    How about a paper tree? And students make paper ornaments to stick to it that have pictures of them and information about them?

    You can even theme curriculum around Christmas and have paper ornaments be a thing to do for each subject (foldables and such), and your tree will gather more and more ornaments the closer you get to Christmas.

    You can do number lines as garlands, or the alphabet.
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    We do, but I'm in a Catholic school, not a public school.
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 15, 2012

    Advent is a religious season. I grew up in a public school where classrooms had trees. I wouldn't do in in my classroom...it seems disrespectful of other religions and those who aren't religious. Commercial or not, a tree is a symbol of a Christian holiday.
     
  20. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Oct 15, 2012

    :agreed:
     
  21. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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  22. FourSquare

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  23. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    I say no to both. It just doesn't feel right in a public school.
     
  24. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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  25. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Almost everyone in my building puts trees out at Christmas. We also make some sort of ornament.
     
  26. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I put up a small tree and decorate it with purple ornaments. I ask each student to wrap up their favourite book from home and they put it under our class tree. Each day in December 1 student opens their present and reads their book to the class.
     
  27. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I see you are from Norway. In your country this might be okay. In the United States this is okay in Christian schools, but not often allowed in public schools. If your principal is okay with it, then you might be okay. I know when I taught in a United States public school, this never would have been allowed in that school. Now I love being able to do this in the religious school I now teach in.
     
  28. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I have taught in four public schools, my dad was principal in three other schools, and everyone of them allowed teachers to put up trees. I think region might play a bigger role.
     
  29. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Given what you've stated about your classroom, I would avoid it. I have done Christmassy things with classes before, but only when I knew they all celebrated Christmas.

    Having said that, I would have no problem doing a Christmas activity with them, as long as I did another activity that represented other religions... I remember my mother coming in to my grade four class to discuss Christmas, because my teacher was Jewish. Feel free to have a parent come in and discuss their holiday traditions and perhaps lead an activity of some sort.
     
  30. Lotte

    Lotte Companion

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    Oct 16, 2012

    Thanks for all your comments :)
    I've never had such a diverse class before, so I figured I ask others with more experience; You guys :)

    I love your ideas and might have to think about it some more
    before deciding.

    I really liked the wrapping up your favourite book idea - and then we can read from it during lunch? And maybe light some candles while reading.

    Norway has had a Christian state church up untill last year, where church and state separated, mainly because religion for the most part has become secular here.
    Advent calendars are used, usually baking gingerbread cookies, numbering them and hanging them in the window and have each child pick one every day during December, wrapping up gifts from home to give to the poor on the last day of school before Christmas etc. It's also quite normal to light purple lights in the classrooms, one for each of the four Sundays before Christmas, or having whole- or half school assemblies following the advent Sundays where the kids sing Christmas songs.

    However I am uncertain since it's a new school and quite diverse.

    Thanks for your responses. I see now that even in a diverse country like the United States, opinions vary even in the public school system.
     
  31. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Oct 16, 2012

    The tree is a pagan symbol that was taken over by the Christians a while back.
     
  32. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Oct 16, 2012

    I am a pagan. FB did it to me.
    We have a small school and one year we got a 16-18 ft tree, drug it down the hall and put it into the library (20+ foot ceiling) it was a amazing. Another time we decorated the big Leyland Cypress tree outside.
     
  33. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    That is so cute! What a great idea!
     

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