Saturday, December 04, 2004


Tis The Season..FA La La or Bah Hum?

It's very hard during the month of December to decide how to handle "The Holidays and Cultural Celebrations," especially in a culturally diverse school. What should a teacher do to be inclusive but not offensive?
I've given this much thought over the years and decided to put together my own, original list of options you may want to try with your students so that all people feel comfortable during a time of year that is "left up to the beholder;" And is oftentimes not spoken about.

Anyway, here are some (hopefully) helpful suggestions...

1) wish lists - instead of asking your own students for their individual wish lists ask them to research online children's wish list's from other parts of the world. For example, what would a typical child in Uganda wish for during this time of year.

2) prepare a Holiday Taster's Breakfast or Luncheon. This will give students an opportunity to share their favorite dish during the holidays.

3) have the students work in groups and write "December Class Holiday Songs." This will be sung

4) have students focus on the weather and seasonal themes for decorating the library or class rooms.

5) invite members from different cultural/ethnic backgrounds in to share what makes their holiday unique.

6) have students become reporters and interview someone from a different ethnic background. Have them be prepared to share with the class their findings of the five Ws.

There are many, many ways to celebrate the holidays without feeling like you're leaving someone out. I think the key is just to make an "Open Door Policy" when it comes to learning about culture. And maybe, just maybe we'll look forward to December and NOT dread it for fear of offending someone.

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