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Middle School Diwali Lesson

Use this middle school Diwali lesson to help your students learn more about the celebration in an engaging and informative way.

Help your students learn about Diwali with this middle school Diwali lesson plan. It is important to recognize all major holidays in your classroom – not just the traditional North American commercialized celebrations. Middle school lesson plans for Christmas or Thanksgiving are easy to find, but this is not always true for world holidays.

Did you know that over a billion people worldwide celebrate Diwali each year? Despite this, engaging rigorous lesson plans focused on this holiday can be hard to find.

You may not have students who celebrate this holiday in your classes, but helping students build background knowledge and understanding of world cultures is an important goal.  I use the Article of the Week format to help my students build their background knowledge.  To help with this knowledge building, you can use this middle school Diwali lesson that focuses on reading a nonfiction article and completing comprehension tasks.  In this Diwali lesson, students will learn what Diwali is as well as this important holiday’s history and traditions.

When I want to bring awareness to holidays, important days, or significant events, I always start with a quick video and then a high-interest non-fiction reading. Starting with a quick video catches students’ attention and activates any prior knowledge they may have about the topic. Non-fiction articles are a great way to build students’ interest and background knowledge (schema) about a topic.

When learning about important days, I do not try to have students replicate cultures, events or symbols through crafts or games in order to avoid cultural appropriation.

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What is Diwali, and why is it celebrated? 

Diwali is the popular Hindu festival of lights that is India’s most important holiday of the year. Diwali marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year.

The 5-day celebration occurs in October or November, based on the lunar cycle. There are three messages of Diwali: good triumphing over evil, light winning over darkness, and knowledge conquering ignorance. 

The name ‘Diwali’ comes from a Sanskrit word meaning “row of lights.” Light is very important to the Diwali festival, and families and temples will decorate with rows of clay lamps filled with oil. 

What are some of the traditions of Diwali?

Diwali is a time for giving gifts, visiting friends and family, eating lots of food, cleaning and decorating the house, buying new clothes specifically for the celebration, and lighting fireworks. 

The 5 days are: 

  • Day One – Dhanteras
  • Day Two – Chhoti Diwali
  • Day Three – Diwali
  • Day Four – Govardhan Puja
  • Day Five – Bhai Dooj

Learn more about each day with this video from Miss Jessica’s World that reads through Ajanta & Vivek’s book Let’s Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali. 

Middle School Diwali Lesson

  1. Complete a pre-reading activity like a K-W-L chart.
  2. Watch a short video about Diwali.
  3. Have students read a non-fiction article about Diwali.
  4. Students will work on their non-fiction reading comprehension skills with short answer questions and a multiple-choice quiz.
  5. Have students work on a long answer critical thinking writing prompt like “What comparisons can you find between Diwali and another celebration you are familiar with?”
  6. Students can share their ideas post-writing with the class through a class discussion. Class discussions can take place in person or through digital means like Flipgrid, Zoom, and Google Meet, or by having students record their ideas using Online Voice Recorder and uploading them to Google Classroom or another LMS.

Want a No-Prep Middle School Diwali Lesson?

Use this middle school Diwali lesson to help your students learn more about the celebration in an engaging and informative way.

Students will learn about the celebration of Diwali in this non-fiction article. This resource contains 1 non-fiction article and 3 reading activities to assist with reading comprehension, standardized test prep, and cross-curricular learning. This resource contains Google Slides formatted lessons for 1:1 schools as well as individual PDFs of student pages.

Resource Includes:

  • Teacher lesson plan
  • Pre-reading K-W-L chart
  • 1 Non-fiction article (regular and modified versions)
  • An audio file (mp3) of each article (regular and modified versions)
  • 3 Post-reading activities: comprehension questions, grammar questions (2 options: paper and self-grading Google Forms), long answer writing response

Find this resource on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.

Middle School ELA Sub Plans

2 Peas and a Dog has some great Middle School ELA sub plans that you can use over the holidays that dive into topics related to the holiday. 

  • With Diwali comes lots of parties and get-togethers! But these can generate a lot of waste. Try the sub-plan on Party Planning to learn more. 
  • As with a lot of holidays, there are always sugary treats. The sub-plan on The Effects of Sugar can help bring insight to your students on this topic. 
  • There can be a lot of take-out meals when a holiday rolls around. This sub-plan on Reusable Take-Out Containers can enlighten your students on the different containers used and their benefit to the environment. 

Any of these sub plans would be a fantastic addition to your middle school Diwali lesson.

Podcast Listening Comprehension Lessons

Along with sub plans that you can use during Diwali, there are also some informative and interesting podcast listening comprehension lessons you can use. 

Any of these sub plans would be a fantastic addition to your middle school Diwali lesson.

Books to Celebrate Diwali

There are many books out there to help your students understand Diwali; this is just a selection. 

How can I celebrate Diwali in my Classroom?

  • Read Books Reading books is a great way to reinforce the learning of different holidays for students. These books can be used in stations, they can be read aloud to students, or they can be a starting point for a biography or non-fiction event study. Learning about Diwali might even get your students interested in learning more about Indian culture and important figures. 
  • Use Engaging Diwali Lesson Plans – Try this engaging Diwali lesson with your students.
  • Watch videos about Diwali. – Use these videos with your students to help them develop their knowledge of Diwali. Get started with background information about Diwali by watching these videos: Diwali – Festival of Lights | National Geographic and What Is Diwali and How Is It Celebrated?  See how the Thakur family celebrates Diwali – and how they celebrated during the time of social distancing: Local family shares Diwali traditions

For more information about Diwali: 

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