for Holidays in the Classroom
One of our Social Studies units is called "Celebrations" and is supposed to focus on why, how, what, when people celebrate things. I used to think it was a fluff unit, with no meat until I put in a section about traditions. We sent a letter home asking parents to tell their children about a family tradition and then to answer a few questions about it. The answers that come in are so fantastic they give me chills! The families take this very seriously and their pride comes through in their written answers. I share them with the kids and together we decide if we want to display them somehow so others can read them.
During this unit we create charts and matrices comparing holidays and celebrations around the world, read and discuss Byrd Baylor's I'm in Charge of Celebrations, and integrate art, music, math, writing and poetry into all activities. I have come to enjoy this required unit a lot more.