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Global Education, Teaching Resources

Creating Classroom Community This Holiday Season

The holiday season encompasses many different traditions, foods, experiences, and more. Ask your students which holidays their families observe in December and take some time to learn about and teach your classroom about each of the different ones so that all feel included!

The holidays are a wonderful time of year to celebrate the many things that bring us all together. While people may have different customs or traditions that they observe, there is a joyful sense of community and togetherness that accompanies this season. One way to become a more engaged member of this community is to take some time in your classroom to focus on the many different holidays that students celebrate.

Teach about the history and traditions of multiple holidays

As our world becomes more interconnected and diverse, this time of year presents a great opportunity to acknowledge that not all students in your class will celebrate the same holidays or honor them the same way. An easy way to ensure that your students feel heard and valued is to ask them what holidays they celebrate and the types of traditions their families practice during this time of year.

Showing students that you care about their holiday stories and customs helps each individual feel respected and understood by his or her classmates. In addition, this encourages students to develop empathy and social-emotional skills, as students will grow to be respectful of other’s beliefs and life practices, even if they are different from their own.

To help distinguish the history and meaning of all December holidays, Education World has created this compare and contrast chart that you can use with your students. With this resource, your students will be able to map out the different signature symbols that accompany many holidays such as food, songs, decorations, and more. You could also have students add in family holiday photos or have them write in their family traditions to make the project more tangible.

Making global connections

With a better understanding of the holidays celebrated in your classroom, take time to learn about the December holidays celebrated by different countries, regions, and people groups around the world. One useful approach for making these global connections is to show how each holiday can be celebrated in a number of different ways all around the world.

Participate teacher Joyce Montero helped her students create global connections by having them present how different countries around the world celebrate Christmas.

Take the lead in sharing

As your students are given a voice to share their holiday practices, don’t forget to tell them about your own! Lead by example and contribute your own traditions, customs, and culture to the classroom discussion. As your students observe your willingness to speak up and take part in the conversation, they will likely become more willing to participate themselves.

This holiday-centered community doesn’t have to stay confined to the classroom. Does your school have a holiday festival or celebration coming up? Share your culture there, too. Below, see how a few cultural exchange teachers represented their Colombian and Venezuelan heritage at their school’s Holiday Concert!

We hope that this holiday season is filled with joy and cheer for you, your classroom, and your school! To learn about how to create a welcoming classroom community, year-round, check out this blog post to learn about the importance of helping your students develop social-emotional skills.