Students have already looked at places and people in a community. They have considered how communities are cared for by residents. Now, at the end of the unit, it’s time to celebrate! This lesson asks students to consider how communities celebrate, what they celebrate, and to record their impressions. Gather a few photo and music files and have a mini-celebration in recognition of the community celebrations we all enjoy.
To understand that communities celebrate special events together. (AASL 3.1.5, “Connect learning to community issues.”)
Each child will record an image or keywords in six different categories to reflect his understand of community celebrations.
Remind students that in their unit of inquiry they have looked at people in a community, helpers in a community, and special places in a community. Today, it is time to think about how communities celebrate special events. Ask the students what kinds of celebrations they know about in their communities. Answers might include:
- National Days (Examples: Unification Day in Germany, 3 October. National Day in the UAE, 2 December. Independence Day in the U.S.A., 4 July.)
- Harvest Festivals (Examples: Canadian or U.S. Thanksgiving)
- Winter Festivals (Example: Snow and ice sculptures in Harbin, China.)
- Spring Festivals (Examples: Nowruz, Persian New Year. Holi, Indian Spring Festival.)
- Religious Festivals (Examples: Ascension Day, Corpus Christi, Easter, Eid-al-Fitr, Hannukah)
- Celebrations of Important People (Examples: Martin Luther King, Jr Day, Gandhi Jayanti – International day of non-violence observed on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday.)
- Political Holidays (Examples: Australia Day, Armed Services Day, VE Day, etc.)
- Local Holidays (Examples: Cabbage Festival, Strawberry Days, Pioneer Days, etc.)
Pull together a few photo and sound files to match these categories:
Example: Dancing around a maypole.
Example: First day of First Grade “Cone” of gifts.
Example: Fasching or Carnival
Example: Mahatma Gandhi
I have not collected samples because your choices should reflect your own school and host country culture. But, it should not be hard to pull a few local photos and music files together for this sharing part of the lesson.
If there is enough time, give the children a few minutes to use a computer to find examples of their own home country cultural celebrations. The lesson will be more meaningful if they share a few personal examples.
Share the photos and recordings you have gathered. If you would like the lesson to have an element of writing/note taking, use the student handout and ask the children to sketch a simple picture or make a few notes in each category. However, this is optional.
Ask the students to talk with their elbow partners about their favorite celebrations. Encourage the kids to check out some of the holiday books and to talk to their families about important celebrations. Remind the children that communities celebrate special events together.
- Student Handout (attached).
- Paper, pencils, and basic art supplies
- Nonfiction books as described below
- Photos of celebrations commonly held in your community of cultural area. Use your own or find them online in a royalty-free photo collection.
- Images from Wikimedia Commons (or other royalty-free image site)
If you can, decorate the library to look like a party. I particularly like paper decorations that the children can make. Whichever time of year this unit comes up, make decorations with the kids and let those stay up for a while. Let the Community Celebrations lesson help the library look more festive!
Recommended books for this lesson:
Everything from your nonfiction collection on holidays and celebrations. These might include Chinese New Year, Ramadan, Yom Kippur, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Holi, Labor Day, Independence Day, Martyr’s Day, Reunification Day, etc.
Celebrations, Holidays, Performances