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Teaching about Christmas and Kwanzaa

This Christmas season, encourage your students to learn about how others celebrate the holidays. Children around the world are celebrating Christmas in different ways, and learning about these cultures can help our students to have a larger, more accepting world view. Teaching your students about Kwanzaa as well will help them learn to appreciate the fact that other cultures celebrate holidays in December that are different than Christmas.

Christmas Around the World

Visit the North Pole to learn about Christmas around the world. Travel around the world from the comfort of your classroom and celebrate Christmas in Australia, Brazil, Bethlehem, China, Whales and more! The North Pole has click-able links to each country, which takes you to a page that tells about the customs and traditions celebrated by families during Christmas time.

Use this website as a one stop shop for your students to write a report about how children celebrate Christmas in different countries. Every country has unique traditions and customs that the students can compare and contrast to their own traditions and customs. Depending on the age of your students, you can require a report including any number of the different countries listed on the site.

To modify this assignment for students with special needs, create a worksheet for them to fill out while they complete their internet research about each country. If you are going to have the whole class write a paper about five different countries, consider allowing the special education students write about three different countries. The worksheet should have fill in the blank questions with the specific information that they need to find.

Learn about Kwanzaa

Another holiday celebrated during December is Kwanzaa, an African American Celebration. Visit this site with your students in order to learn all about this holiday. At this site, you can learn about how Kwanzaa got started, what colors are used during the celebration and why, the rituals preformed during this holiday and more. There is a resource link that lists additional internet sites with information about the holiday for further study.

Have your students put together a report about Kwanzaa. Encourage them to search further with the resources link to see what other information they can find about the holiday. Another project idea is to have your students compare and contrast Kwanzaa and Christmas. Using the resources you provide them, they can learn to appreciate the differences that we all have and celebrate the similarities that we share.

Modifications for special needs students can include a lesser requirement for project length, as well as a worksheet to fill out as they complete the research. Instead of encouraging students to visit other sites on the resource page, consider providing the web links directly to eliminate that decision process. Have fill-in-the-blank questions for the students to answer so that they learn the pertinent information about the holiday.

Christmas and Kwanzaa are widely celebrated, and yet are very different. Christmas by itself is celebrated very differently all around the world. Using the resources available on the internet, have your students research these holidays and learn how other cultures are similar and different from their own.

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