Is this appropriate?

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by MMRbella, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. MMRbella

    MMRbella Companion

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    Dec 2, 2007

    I'm a 1st year teacher, so I'm not completely clear on what's okay, and what's not.

    I was told that I can teach about holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa (etc) as long as I don't bring God into it. I was also told that I can call it "Christmas", and decorate my room with things from all the December holidays. I plan on getting really into all the holidays, as this really is the most wonderful time of the year, no matter who you are! :)

    Here's my question... I like to play music softly in the morning during morning work. I've download all sorts of fun holiday music-- from the Grinch, chipmunks, Charlie Brown, Muppets, as well as classics like Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. I've even downloaded a few Hanukkah songs. (I could not locate appropriate Kwanzaa music). Some of these songs use the word "Christmas", but do not mention God. Is it okay for me to play them in the morning? Please advise!

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I played Christmas music for my class last year, along with music from the Polar Express.
     
  4. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Dec 2, 2007

    yeah go for it.
     
  5. daisyduck123

    daisyduck123 Companion

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    I play Disney Christmas CDs every year. Target has one every year for about $6.99. My class loves those!! At my school, it's perfectly fine to play such music. If I were you, I'd check with a veteran teacher at your school, just to be sure it's ok.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Dec 2, 2007

    When in doubt, ask your administrators. They're good about letting you know what's okay and what's not okay.

    I wanted to do a Harry Potter Latin unit with my Latin III Honors class. I was positive that the admins would shoot down the idea, but they LOVED it. We did the unit, the kids got a kick out of it, and that was that.

    On the other hand, I was going to bring in some authentic materials in the form of Christmas songs in Latin. Because all these songs are really church songs, I thought I should get permission ahead of time just as a formality--I was sure they'd okay it. It turned out that the administration was very uncomfortable with the whole idea... go figure.
     
  7. JerseyTeach

    JerseyTeach Rookie

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    Dec 3, 2007

    Where I am in Central NJ hell has broken loose around the holidays regarding this matter (*befitting of the holiday spirit). Some schools haven't had to deal with enraged parents much... but it could come.

    Check your school policy. Ask a higher up.

    My general rule of thumb is, if I do one religion, I must represent the rest as well to the best of my ability. I suppose this can be more of a "big deal" in more diverse areas.
     
  8. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Dec 4, 2007

    Well, you were told you could say Christmas but not God. So go for it. I say, don't draw more attention to what you are doing than you need to. You were given guidelines, just follow them and have fun! Our kids need to know the songs associated with our culture, and you have been given the green light!

    It is your class and you are in charge - you don't always have to ok something with a teacher who has been there longer. Just go for it!
     
  9. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    I think it depends on your school's policy. We actually have a holiday assembly right before break & sing Christmas songs. I had my classes choose their favorites. I stayed away from directly religious ones like Away in a Manger. The most popular Jingle Bell Rock, Deck the Halls, Frosty, Rudolph, My 2 Front Teeth., Up on the Housetop And many mention Christmas!
    I was recently told Christmas is now considered a National Holiday...so it takes the emphasis off religion! :p
     
  10. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Christmas is a religious holiday just like the others are. So if you can mention the other holidays without bringing up their specific religious meanings or Gods then you can say Christmas equally as well without worrying about whether or not it is mentioning a God just because the word Christ is in it. Does that make sense?
     
  11. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Congress proclaimed Christmas a federal holiday in 1870. In 1999, a federal court acknowledged these secular aspects in rejecting a claim that the holiday impermissibly endorsed and furthered a particular religious belief.
     
  12. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Dec 4, 2007

    Go Kinderkids
     
  13. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    Dec 5, 2007

    See this makes me mad....Christmas is about God and Jesus...so we am teaching about it....why can't we mention it??? What are we really teaching, santa and elves???
    ( I would never mention God in my room b/c I know it would lead to trouble...but it gets me mad).
    IMOP, it should be fine to talk about holidays and religions as long as you do not present them in a way that send a message of "this is what you must belive and this is what will make you a good person"
     
  14. tm91784

    tm91784 Comrade

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    Dec 5, 2007

    I teach in a Catholic school, but that is my view on how it should be taught in public schools. We could just present to the children why some celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa.
     
  15. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Dec 5, 2007

    Guys, we need to push the envelopes. What is happening in our schools is ridiculous and makes no sense. Some people want to wipe out our heritage and culture, which HAPPENS to include Christianity. It does not include Islam or Hinduism! Maybe one day it will, fine. But the last 200 years have been a culture of Christianity and the traditions and holidays that go with it.

    Mention God if it comes up naturally especially if the kids ask. You just are prohibited from trying to use your authority and influence in the public school setting to get kids to believe as you do. That is it.

    We need to stop being so timid about stepping on someone's toes. If we step on toes, we can say "I'm sorry." We are trying so hard not to step on toes that we are going 50 miles around the toes! Not necessary. Come on, let's be Americans! Don't let anyone pressure you to ignore our true history.

    Teachers deal with peer pressure too. Think. Make up your own mind. Then see what happens.What are they going to do if you let the kids color a Christmas tree??? Take away your birthday???
     
  16. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Dec 5, 2007

    bonneb, I totally agree....America is starting to become un-American.
     
  17. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Yes. We are so afraid of everything that we don't say or do anything. That is not the American way! The American way is to stand up and DO something, anything, just do something you believe in.

    Denying Christmas as an historical fact of our heritage is like denying the holocaust happened - it is not a true representation of history. We have an historical culture that includes Christianity.
     
  18. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Dec 5, 2007

    I've posted this before but I really resent the way these holidays were represented in my classroom last year. I sat there and watched my teacher read a pretty good book about Hanukkah that described a brief historical event as the background for why this holiday is celebrated (not just that people celebrate by using the menorah, etc). I didn't watch her read about Kawanza so I can't say anything there. But then when Christmas comes up, instead of a story about a baby being born we got Santa. No one said you had to go into the belief that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, but Santa?! I don't mind the secular being represented because that is also a cultural thing. I just resented that it was okay to present Hanukkah in a way that to me would have been equivilent of us doing a child appropriate story on Jesus' birth (minus all the heavy things about God). I said something and she told me we can't mention God and religion. I wasn't going to get into it with her but I wanted to say, "you already did." If you are going to do one, I absolutely agree to doing them all. If you aren't going to do them, then that's fine too. Just don't pretend that doing everything but Christianity is okay. It's just as discriminatory.

    A kid today asked another kid, do you celebrate Hanukkah or Christmas. I thought it was cool that no assumption was made. Then I watched to make sure it wasn't something he intended to say against it. He didn't. He was very nice about a holiday other than his own being celebrated by his classmate.

    Then yet another kid, in my class, told another child that his holiday, Hanukkah, was really boring. The behavior consultant caught it and when she confronted him he was even more completely disrespectful about it. He earned lunch detention complete with a lecture about the different types of winter holidays and respecting that. What I love about our cafeteria is they seem to be the ONLY department that is completely unashamed to represent all the holidays and include the nativity scene as part of their bulletin display. It doesn't jump out at you. I had to point it out to some people last year who overlooked it. So it isn't like they were trying to "influence" anyone but they weren't ashamed to use the nativity scene as part of their display either along with more than just the three we talk about.

    We teach kids from all backgrounds and we can't tell them they are all wrong if they aren't of Christian faith even if our country was founded on it and even when it represents a minority in the area. We do have to respect the people we serve. I believe we should respect everyone anyways. That's what America's basic philosophy tries to be. It's the American Way. The objection comes from the fact that we have swung the pendalum in the opposite direction in the effort to be fair and respectful.
     
  19. MMRbella

    MMRbella Companion

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    Dec 5, 2007

    I agree completely. So, I've been playing the music for the past two days, and there has not been any problems. My kids love the music (especially Alvin and the Chipmunks). I'm definitely covering all the holidays though. I have a student who celebrates Kwanzaa, so she brought in a book she received as a gift once, and read it. We made "mkekas" (Kwanzaa mats) and talked about the symbols and principles.

    Today we talked about Hanukkah. When I distributed the Hanukkah packet, one of my more outspoken students said "Is this about God?". I cringed, as I answered accurately "This packet is not about God' (as it did not mention God at all). I'm Christian, but it disturbs me that I have to tone down the meaning of these holidays. And the fact that I cannot call my christmas tree a "Christmas Tree", but a "Holiday Tree" urks me also. It's like, it's fine to talk about the holiday, as long as I don't state what I believe. :mad:
     
  20. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Dec 5, 2007

    Check this site out to answer many questions you may have about YOUR rights and the rights of your students MMRbella.

    here
    Specifically, see #6
    The Supreme Court has never ruled that the Constitution requires government bodies to censor Christmas carols or displays, eliminate all references to Christmas, or silence those who celebrate Christ’s birth.

    Merry Christmas.....it is okay to say it!
     

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