Teacher Sign Up
Sign In
Monday Morning Ready12.15.2016
Jumpstart Your Week!

At the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur mall in Malaysia is a Christmas tree. It towers 75 feet over holiday shoppers. But its height isn't the most interesting thing about it. Nor is the fact that it's the first of its kind at the mall. Rather, the secret is in its sparkles. It's made of 175,000 glittering Swarovski crystals. These are separated into 3,100 six-and-a-half-foot strands and valued at about $700,000.... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Think about the most festive holiday celebration you've ever been to. What did it look it like? What was it celebrating? What did people do?

Grade 5-6

According to the article, people in Asia tend to plan gatherings and outings at malls to celebrate festive occasions. Why do you think that is? What kinds of places do people gather for celebrations where you live?

Grade 7-8

Imagine that you had the resources to design a one-of-a-kind, over-the-top holiday decoration. What would you create? How would you make it unique?

Grade 9-10

According to the article, Christmas is celebrated in Asia without religious context. Rather, it's an excuse for friends and family to get together and have a good time. Do you think it's become that way for many Americans, too? Why or why not?

LESSON PLAN
Explore Holiday Traditions

PROCESS:

  1. Instruct students to select a holiday. It can be one they celebrate or one they've heard of and know little about. Give them five minutes to write what they know about the holiday. 
  2. Have students conduct research to learn more. Instruct them to discover how the holiday began and where, when, why and how it is celebrated. Tell them to identify its most important traditions. Challenge them to uncover ways the holiday has changed over time, including places where it is now celebrated that it wasn't in the past.
  3. Provide a variety of art supplies. Have students draw or create something that embodies the meaning of their holiday. Then have them write a report or choose an appropriate mode of writing-such as a poem, a song or a card-to tell what they learned about the holiday and its traditions.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their presentations with the class. Discuss how and why each holiday and its traditions have changed over time. Challenge students to identify similarities and differences among the holidays.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:     

Grades 3-4:
As a class, select a holiday to investigate. Then divide the class into small groups. Have each group conduct research and then write a brief report about the holiday and its traditions. Give each student a piece of plain white paper. Have each group member draw a picture that shows something important about the holiday and its traditions.

Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to select a holiday to investigate. Then tell groups to conduct research to learn more about the holiday and its traditions. Have them write a brief report telling what they learned. Give each student a piece of plain white paper. Have each group member draw a picture that shows something different about the holiday and its traditions.

Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct each pair to select a holiday. Have partners conduct research to learn more about the holiday and its traditions. Provide access to art supplies. Instruct students to create a traditional object associated with the holiday. Then tell them to select the most appropriate way to write about the holiday and its traditions. Give pairs time to finish their presentations.

Grades 9-10:
Instruct each student to select a holiday. Have them conduct research to learn more about the holiday and its traditions. Provide access to art supplies. Instruct students to create a traditional object associated with the holiday. Then tell them to select the most appropriate way to write about the holiday and its traditions. Give students time to finish their presentations.

SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Songs to Make Winter Bright: Traditions of Singing at Christmas and Other Winter Holidays
Invite students to listen to music samples and view the audio slideshow on this webpage from the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The site discusses the role of music in winter traditions around the world and in the United States. It focuses on Christmas and Chanukah.

Carnival Celebrations: Masks
Use these grade-level lessons from the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access to introduce students to the culture of Puerto Rico. Students learn about the annual Carnival and the masks worn by revelers.

The History of the Christmas Card
Borne out of having too little, the holiday greeting has boomed into a major industry. Read this Smithsonian article to learn how.

A Brief History of Figgy Pudding
Read this Smithsonian article to learn how this dense, spicy dish has been giving good cheer for centuries.

From Possums to 200 Pounds of Bologna: Weird Things Cities Drop on New Year’s Eve
Who needs a ball? Read this Smithsonian article to learn how cities get creative on New Year’s Eve by dropping objects that reflect their local products and culture.

Shopping on Black Friday Makes You Feel Like a Well-Loved Warrior
Read this Smithsonian article to learn how the powerful cocktail of social bonding and competitive adventure compels more than 95 million people to hit the stores on one day.
ALSO ON TEENTRIBUNE.COM