I have a Jehovah's Witness in my class... holiday help???

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by srfjeld, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. srfjeld

    srfjeld Companion

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    Dec 3, 2009

    This is my second year teaching and this year I have a Jehovah's Witness in my class. I LOVE Christmas but I know to be sensitive. She was absent yesterday so I read Polar Express and gave all the kids their own wishing bells.

    Craftwise, I'm planning on having the kids make snowflakes and snowmen.

    What other ideas do you have so that I can still have "winter" fun with the kids and be sensitive to her religion?

    Thank you,

    Stephanie
     
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  3. alilac

    alilac Rookie

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    Dec 3, 2009

    You can't do anything religious with her. JW's are only allowed to do religious things through other JW's. I suppose you'd keep it strictly as seasonal themed crafts.
     
  4. CiniMini

    CiniMini Rookie

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    Dec 3, 2009

    You can do gingerbread men! I'm am a JW and that's what I plan to do with my kids. (For those of you worried, I do have parents doing a party.)
     
  5. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    In that same situation, I have known schools that taught all holidays as they relate to the traditions of different countries. The parents of that student may be willing to sign a waiver that will allow the child to participate as part of a "multi-cultural" study. Check with your school and district.
     
  6. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I had a JW two years ago. I did Holidays Around the World. We did Christmas and Holiday traditions -- not just Christmas, also New Years in China and Vietnam. Her parents allowed her to participate since I was talking about the history and family "norms" of the region. I found the best way to avoid problems was to be open and honest with the family. I had a wonderful relationship with the family. The little girl recently came to a football game with her older sister. She looked for me and let me know that she missed me. She told me that I was the only teacher that ever thought of her and her feelings. In fact her parents moved her and her sister to the town seven miles away because of issues with the older sister. In fact her older sister took my husband's class last year because the family felt that since I worked so hard to include her that my husband would do the same thing.

    Over my 17 years, I have taught probably 5 or 6 JW children. I believe the key is to be open and understanding. It doesn't take much longer to find a tree without ornaments for her or a gingerbread man instead of Santa.
     
  7. MandaNicole01

    MandaNicole01 Habitué

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    My jw can do gingerbread, snow, snowmen. No candy canes or anything else Christmas. She can't even do our "winter party" because it's a party and she doesn't do parties period!

    I'm still doing some holiday things she won't do...like make a reindeer for the letter Rr next week and Christmas ornaments. Her mom and I have discussed alternate activites...the child is allowed to paint, draw, or work on the computers during this time. She doesn't even ask permission...I tell her whenever we talk/sing/or read about something she isn't comfortable with she knows her options. We did this with Halloween and Thanksgiving. So far, it's worked great.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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  9. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    I also do Holiday Traditions around the world. I think ti's good for kids to learn about other traditions than their own anyway. :D
     
  10. 4myclass

    4myclass Cohort

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    Dec 5, 2009

    It does get hard sometimes finding alternatives when so much of what we have is holiday themed. I have trouble finding alternatives to the activity sheets I get from places like Mailbox.
     
  11. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    I'm really loving the suggestion and may do this next year!
     
  12. cmgeorge626

    cmgeorge626 Companion

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    Dec 6, 2009

    As far as themed worksheets go, it's not too hard to type up a new copy of the worksheet that has the same problems but no pictures.

    We'll be doing lots of Christmas stuff next week. I let my JW (who reads on a fourth grade level) decide on a unit of study. He chose penguins, so I put a few lib. books, songs, poems, and a penguin shaped book with assignments in it for him. He keeps it in the office and when we do something he's not comfortable with, he goes to work on his project. This way he's still being productive and I can get grades for him.

    As someone else said, he doesn't ask permission, he just catches my eye and gives me a little wave to let me know he's leaving.
     
  13. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I had a Jehovah's Witness first grader in my class last year. The mom did not expect me to change anything regarding what I did with the rest of the class on account of her child.

    Whenever we did anything that was not "kosher" (just couldn't help it :) ) he was trained to self monitor and exclude himself. In other words, he could be there for the Christmas party, he just couldn't eat a cookie. If a kids mom brought cupcakes for their child's birthday, he was very good about not accepting one.

    I don't know of all Jehovah's Witness children are so well trained, but this one was and the mom was very reasonable.
     
  14. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    I've had JW in my classes before and I've just gone about my routine, slightly altering for the JW student and that worked well. This was in grade 7. For example, he sat out and read or did other homework while we practiced for our Christmas concert. When we did "Dear Santa, I can explain..." (a spin on the Dear Santa letters for older kids) letters, he did a "Dear Mom and Dad, I can explain..." letter. Personally, I think it's unreasonable to expect other kids not to be able to do holiday related things, afterall, it's so widely celebrated in North America that everything closes down. I've never had any problems, but then again, this was a small country school. Smaller numbers equals less complications when it comes to things like this because there isn't such a wide range of backgrounds.
     
  15. rosewood39

    rosewood39 Rookie

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    Hello I know this is an old thread but I have a JH this year and I am wondering what I can do with them. I do a Holidays around the world unit with my kids and I am not sure what they can/cannot do. We are going to learn about Hanukkah and play the game, gingerbread men and how the originated in Germany. Poinsettias, st, Lucia, old Befana, stars from Russia, Nutcrackers, Kwanzaa mats, and Polar Express. Are any of these things ok for him to do? If not what are somethings he can do?
     
  16. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I would double-check with the child's parents.

    I have a JW student in my classroom, and his parents won't let him participate in anything that is even a substitute/cover-up for a holiday. For example, he can't sing a song, write about, or do a project with pumpkins, turkeys, hearts, snowmen, gingerbread, etc.
     
  17. parkerc3

    parkerc3 Guest

    Nov 30, 2013

    What about a wreath? I make wreaths for all sorts of occasions so it shouldn't interfere with their religion.
     
  18. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Nov 30, 2013

    Before you plan anything, I would really have a talk with her parents. As with any religion, there's a lot of different takes on the JW guidelines. I've had JW students who did everything we did (including Jackolanterns, Mardi Gras, etc) and ones who did nothing. I've had 7 or 8 over the years. With each I tried to stay in close contact with parents and stressed for them to let me know right way if there was something going on that went against their religion. My personal religion is really important to me, so I try to keep that thought in mind as I go. Yes, it can change what you do, but I would never isolate or alienate that child for her beliefs.
     
  19. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Nov 30, 2013

    Well said, Christy!
     
  20. KimberlyBest

    KimberlyBest Comrade

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    Nov 30, 2013

    Definitely talk to the parents. They really should have approached you in the beginning of the school year to help you understand their comfort level with various topics. I have JW students in my class almost every year. Each family is different and sometimes the students really don't know what's "okay" and what's not because they are still young and learning the intricacies of their religion as it compares to others. In my class right now I have one that is allowed to eat a cupcake when we are celebrating a birthday but can't sing the song or make a card. Then I have one that breaks out into a panic attack when she doesn't know an answer because to her guessing an answer would be a "lie" and lying is a sin.

    One thing I talk to my JW parents about is that their student is required to participate in any work that is part of our curriculum. So for instance, our curriculum requires us to teach the War of 1812 which includes the writing of Frances Scott Key's Star Spangled Banner. The student's aren't allowed to sing the song because of their religion (as it praises something/someone that is not Christ) but I require that they study it just as the other student's have to as well as do any worksheets/assessments, etc. that are part of the curriculum.
     
  21. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Honestly, I do isolate my JW student sometimes. Because his family is SO restrictive in what he can do, I wouldn't be doing anything even seasonally related if I were to stick to their beliefs 100%. The other 22 students in my classroom do celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc., and, let's face it, that is ALL they can think about in the weeks leading up to that holiday.

    My JW student is also in special ed, so the SPED teacher takes him sometimes to do intervention work while I do seasonal/holiday work with my other students. He also leaves the room every day for writing, so I incorporate many activities into our writer's workshop time.
     
  22. msaly

    msaly Comrade

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    Nov 30, 2013

    I had a JW in my class a few years ago. She knew what she could and could not do. Her mom was very nice and explained to me at the beginning of the year. If someone brought food for a birthday, she could not be in the room when we sang happy birthday but after she could come in and eat the cupcake, cookie, etc. she just couldn't be around the celebrating part. She went to the class next door during those times. For Christmas we made cookies and ornaments with cookie cutters, she couldn't have a Christmas one so instead she chose an ice cream cone cookie cutter. We made snowmen and she made a princess instead, we made wreaths she made one but used blue and pink instead of red and green. If there was ever something she wasn't comfortable with she asked to go next door. If it was a school wide party like valentines day etc she would go to the office and do an activity or her grandma would pick her up and bring her back after the party.

    I would just talk to the parents to be sure.
     

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