Monday, October 10, 2011

Can't celebrate holidays....

I have a couple of students this year whose families don't celebrate holidays or birthdays for religious reasons. Because we want to respect their choice and "celebrate" each others differences (didn't mean that in a bad way, but it's the only word I can think of haha) we do not celebrate holidays in the classroom other than a short party on the day of, where the child can go to another place during that time. I'm having a hard time with it this year because I am seeing all of your super cute Halloween themed games and lessons! I so badly want to talk about them and explore themes in the classroom, but am afraid of offending certain families (we have had this happen in the past).

It's not that we pretend holidays and celebrations don't happen, we just don't make a big deal out of them. I can tell I am going to have a HARD time with this at Christmas! It's already hard for me to not talk about the meaning behind Christmas, even when families do celebrate it! :) Do any of you have advice for me?? What do you do??

Oh the joys of public schools.... :)
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Jennifer Knopf said...

Can you do pumpkins and scarecrows instead of jack o lanterns and trick or treating? I usually go with a Fall theme. You could even do candy corn I'd imagine. Also, if you teach Christmas as part of a Holidays around the World social studies theme, then you can incorporate a lot of traditional activities, as well as learn some new traditions! If you haven't conferenced with the parents yet, mention to them that this is your plan and to let you know if there are any specific activities their children cannot participate in.
Good luck, it's hard to respect so many different cultures/religions and not just ignore all of the holidays all together!

Jennifer @ Herding Kats In Kindergarten

Sneaker Teacher said...

not being able to play Christmas music is the worst for me...I just love to play it in the classroom while the kids work, but really, since that is what I celebrate I should be able to. It's not like I am telling anyone they have to believe, it's just music...

Mrs. Payton said...

I had a child a few years ago that didn't celebrate and basically I told the parents that it was in our SCOS to cover holidays and that I would be covering it, but not forcing them to celebrate it and they could go elsewhere for the parties.

Mrs. Berg said...

This has happened to me every year for six years! You are still allowed to teach or do activities pertaining to a holiday as long as it is part of your curriculum. I am sure your grade level expectations include something in Social Studies about exploring different cultures. As long as you talk about more than one holiday and always mention not everyone celebrates it, you are good.

I do agree with Ms. Knopf. Do lots of seasonal arts and crafts and if you do not want the kids to miss out who do celebrate, have a choice between making a pumpkin or a Jack-o-lantern etc.

Good luck!

First Grade School Box

Mrs. Krull said...

I am struggling with this too! After talking with the parents, we have come to a bit of a compromise. Tomorrow, for example, students are decorating a jack-o-lantern with shapes, graphing the shapes used and writing about it. My student will stay in the classroom during this activity, but instead he will use the shapes to create something else of his choosing, graph it and write about it. I hated to send him out of the classroom all of the time, but I also hated for the rest of my students to miss out on fun, engaging learning activities! It has been a bit of a challenge to differentiate all the activities, and some I just won't do this year, but I think it is all going to work out in the end! Good luck!

Mrs. Krull
Of Primary Importance

Teresa said...

I tell the parents what i am doing and they usually choose to keep their kids home for a couple of days at Halloween and Christmas because i am going to visit the Halloween house and i am participating in the Christmas- whoops- winter concert.I do celebrate other holidays as well when I have students who have emigrated. Last year we celebrated Diwali.

Chrissy said...

There are challenges at a private school, too. I am at a Christian school and we are not allowed to mention Halloween. Of course, some (most) of my students do trick-or-treat and they want to discuss costumes and candy! We will graph our favorite candies, learn about pumpkins, and study fables during the next two weeks. I will also have a dress-up day for storybook characters. :-)

Christmas and Santa are incredibly challenging. Again, most of my students believe in Santa, but the minority have seniority, so to speak. I treat Santa in the same way I treat the question "Where do babies come from?"---ask your family! And, the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny...sadly, the welcome mat is NOT at the door!


Little Ms. Fun said...

I remember in elementary school there was always one kid in my class that would need to go to the nurse's office. He had to sit out of all the "holiday" activities because it was against his religion. All of our classmates would always ask about it.