I have always enjoyed teaching holidays! It is a great way for students to learn about cultural and social traditions from all around the world. A majority of the time, we teach about holidays that directly impact our students, which is important, too. However, our students should also be learning about celebrations that impact people all around the world. This is why I encourage your inclusion of diverse holidays all year long!
Research & Make a List of Diverse Holidays You’d Like to Include
First, you will want to do some research. Check out a few different websites and resources to find different cultures, religions, and countries’ holidays that you’d like to include in your instruction. I like to make a list of the holidays in order from August to July. This will help when you are trying to fit them into your lesson planning! Don’t forget to include the more common national holidays, as well!
Decide Where You’re Going to Fit This Instruction In
Once you have a list of holidays that you’d like to include in your instruction, you can start planning. There are two ways that you can go about this. First, you can incorporate the holiday content into your reading and writing instruction. Holiday activities are great for cross-curricular integration! Or, second, you can teach holiday content independently during your social studies block!
Because students will need to be reading and writing about the holidays, you can slide those activities into your ELA block. For example, throw a holiday read-aloud into your mini-lesson. Have your students read or watch a video about the holiday in their partner or independent reading time. Assign a writing prompt that is holiday-themed. These are all simple ways to add holiday information into your instruction without taking time away from your other content areas!
If you would rather teach about the holidays exclusively, you can plan lessons for your social studies block. Sometimes, these time slots can be limiting. If you only have 20 or 30 minutes, I would recommend starting with an introductory book, presentation or video, before moving into a project-based learning activity.
Find Passages & Research Activities for the Holidays You Want to Teach
Now, it is time to find activities to include in your lesson plans. When looking for holiday activities, I recommend using some form of informational reading and writing. Reading about the holidays can be excellent comprehension and informational reading skills practice. For writing, this can be done as informational writing, research writing, or even narrative writing!
Coincidentally, many of the holiday resources include reading and writing activities within them. The activities above come in both printable and digital formats. As you can see, there are reading passages, comprehension questions, writing prompts, research activities, and more. Having ready, no-prep resources is going to make planning and instruction so much easier on you!
Teacher Pages That May Offer Instructional Videos
Don’t forget to look into your usual resource sites, as well. These are great resources for articles, instructional videos, and interactive activities. Look for digital informational texts on EpicReads! These can be assigned to your kiddos for independent, partner and even small-group reading. National Geographic for Kids has excellent informational articles and even videos and lesson resources. Last, but definitely not least, BrainPop and BrainPop, Jr. almost always have videos and activities for holidays from around the world!
Suggested Resource That Will Help Make This Easier
If you are looking for a ready-to-go resource to make your holiday planning easier, look no further! This Holidays No Prep Social Studies Unit has digital and printable activities for 35 holidays! Each holiday has reading passages, comprehension pages, writing prompts, and research activities.
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Interested in learning more about integrating social studies into your daily teaching? Check out these blog posts!