The holidays are right around the corner and you know what that means, it’s time to celebrate! And instead of spending the last couple of days before the holiday break in a homework slump, host a Holiday Spirit Parade at your school and you can have a little fun while adding to the learning environment, too.
Everyone knows that Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but beyond the turkey and stuffing, presents and carolers, they may not be able to tell you what the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays signify. To help your students relate to the true meaning of the holidays, you can add a little educational fun to your classroom by hosting a holiday spirit parade.
Teachers would agree that students enjoy learning when they are interested in and actively engaged in the classroom concept. To start, have a list of people or themes surrounding the events. For Thanksgiving, some concepts may include: pilgrims, food, clothes, history, the land, religion, fasting, and the celebration. For Christmas, some concepts may include: St. Nicholas, heritage, the third century, religion, poverty and hunger, Santa Claus, how the giving of gifts came about. You can adjust the themes and concepts according to their age/grade to meet their educational needs. For younger students, keep it simple and for older students, attempt to divulge higher order thinking. Divide the children according to their chosen interests. Group activities are often the key to students having fun while learning. Let the kids research and explore their given topics. Once they’ve researched their concepts, let them put it all together.
Putting it All Together
Have students come to the parade dressed accordingly to the holiday they’re studying. Make or pass out recipes of meals that would coordinate with the events. (For Elementary students, try having your classroom invite another classroom over for a Thanksgiving meal. But, don’t forget your place settings). Decorate the classroom, hallways, cafeteria, etc. with the appropriate look to recreate the original Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities. Hang a Thanksgiving banner or Christmas banner at the entrance of your classroom to welcome your holiday tourists or carry it at the front of the parade to welcome your parade onlookers. Place cornstalks around the classroom, hallway, or school to show recognition to the first Harvest or a nativity set to honor Christmas. Talk to your band or choir teachers, see if they can teach their students a Thanksgiving or Christmas related song and have them follow along with your class as you parade around the school sharing the knowledge and good news of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Learning in Motion
You can make your parade as big or small of an event as you and your school are able to accommodate but the key is turning a hands on activity into a fun and educational event all at the same time. Children will enjoy learning the true meaning of the spirit all while having a jolly good time.