Inclusive Holiday Celebrations

Inclusive holiday celebrations are important in the middle school classroom. In this blog post, find holiday-themed lesson plan resources.

Inclusive holiday celebrations are important in the middle school classroom. The focus of holiday celebrations and learning should not solely focus on the holidays and celebrations that are important to that teacher. 

Reflect Students’ Holidays In Mentor Texts

Classrooms need to be places where students see themselves reflected in the texts being read and the holidays being celebrated.  Another important consideration is that teachers need to cover their curriculum expectations (standards) when celebrating or learning about holidays. A way to recognize and celebrate holidays is to incorporate them into your daily lessons plans. Learning about holidays should not be an afterthought or add-on. 

Teachers can plan inclusive holiday celebrations by using picture books about holidays as mentor texts for units, offering students creative writing opportunities, reading non-fiction articles and using digital escape rooms. Try to connect with your school’s teacher-librarian or a children’s librarian from your local public library to find books about the various holidays you will be celebrating in your classroom. 

Use Non-Fiction Articles

I love to use non-fiction articles incorporated with my weekly Article of the Week lessons to help students learn about a variety of holidays and celebrations.  Another option is to use non-fiction articles as different stations and have students rotate through each station to learn about different celebrations.

Survey Your Students

At the start of a new school year ask students to share on your back-to-school survey what holidays they celebrate and/or that are important to them. Use this information to create a list of holidays that are important to your students. It is also important to note that not all students and their families are permitted to celebrate holidays for reasons of religion or creed. It is important to reach out to those families and ask what their child is permitted to partake in or what special considerations must be made.

I had a student who did not celebrate any birthdays, holidays or days of significance. This was a middle school student who could tell me specifically what they were permitted to learn about and take part in. I would send home an email to parents ahead of any holiday-themed lessons to ask for their input. An accommodation that I made for the whole class was to offer choice in our lessons.

For example, I love giving students the opportunity to work on their creative writing skills. I have 9 different choice boards that are either holiday or seasonal themed. I double-sided photocopied the holiday choice board on one side and the seasonal choice board on the other. Students could select any of the writing prompts. They did not have to select a holiday writing prompt if it did not suit their needs. Students of all ages love having choices when completing lessons and assignments.

In this blog post, I have provided a few lesson ideas and suggestions for each month. Check out this list of Canadian holidays and observances for 2022. Once you visit this website you can change the country to suit your needs. 

Note: This is not an exhaustive list of inclusive holiday celebrations lessons. I have put together a list of holiday resources that can be read about from this blog or purchased from the 2 Peas and a Dog store. 

Inclusive Holiday Celebrations

January 

Inclusive holiday celebrations are important in the middle school classroom. In this blog post, find holiday-themed lesson plan resources.

 

  • January Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA – Use these January lesson plans for middle school ELA classes to help reduce your planning workload.
  • Lesson Plans For After Winter Break – Try these engaging ELA lesson plans for the week after Winter Break. All your planning is done for you!
  • New Year’s Goal Setting Activity and Reflection Sheets –  Use these FREE goal setting sheets to help reset the tone in your classroom after the holiday break.
  • Winter Digital Escape Room – This winter-themed digital escape room provides students with the opportunity to work independently or with their peers to solve 10 hot chocolate-themed challenges. This is NOT Christmas-themed. All clues are about hot chocolate and its ingredients.
  • Winter Creative Writing Assignment – Students will select one of the provided character roles: winter coat, ice skates, coffee shop owner, local sledding hill, lost mitten, and create a written or visual product based on the character’s specific writing prompt.

February

  • February Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA – Use these February lesson plans for middle school ELA classes to help reduce your planning workload.
  • Chinese New Year Non-Fiction Article – Help your students learn about different global holidays with this Chinese (Lunar) New Year non-fiction article. In 2022, the Chinese New Year occurs on Tuesday, February 1. After students finish reading about this exciting holiday, they will complete 3 post-reading activities to work on their reading comprehension and writing skills.
  • Groundhog Day Non-Fiction Article – Use this non-fiction article to help your students learn why we celebrate this day in North America. 
  • Free Winter-Themed Digital Escape Room – Try this FREE winter-themed digital escape room. Students must solve the different challenges to escape the art room supply closet they accidentally got locked in. 
  • Valentine’s Day Digital Escape Room – This Valentine’s Day-themed digital escape room provides students with the opportunity to work independently or with their peers to solve 11 Valentine’s Day-themed challenges. 
  • Valentine’s Day Creative Writing Assignment – Students love two things about English class – choice and creative writing! In this Valentine’s Day, Creative Writing Assignment students select 1 of the 5 writing prompts: Lost Valentine, Candy Hearts, Box of Chocolates, Stuffed Animal and Flowers to create a written and visual final project.
  • Valentine’s Day Unit – This engaging Valentine’s Day Unit for middle school grades, contains 5 different activities that will help reinforce your students’ reading, writing, and creativity skills. Students will learn about the historical background of Valentine’s Day traditions and prepare for a Valentine’s Day discussion about current customs.

March

  • March Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA – Use these March lesson plans for middle school ELA classes to help reduce your planning workload.
  • Daylight Saving Non-Fiction Article – Help your students learn about daylight saving time with this reading comprehension article. 
  • St. Patrick’s Day Non-Fiction Article – Have you ever wondered why St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated all over North America? Your students don’t have to wonder anymore after they read this St. Patrick’s Day non-fiction article.
  • Spring Digital Escape Room – This spring-themed digital escape room provides students with the opportunity to work independently or with their peers to solve 10 spring-themed challenges. 
  • Spring Creative Writing Assignment – Students LOVE creative writing! It lets them demonstrate their ideas and personality. In this spring creative writing assignment, students select one of the provided character roles: bear, grass, snow shovel, bird, professional gardener and create a written or visual assignment based on the character’s specific writing prompt.

April

  • April Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA – As the days get warmer and brighter, I want to help you beat cabin fever and keep your lessons engaging.
  • April Fools’ Day Non-Fiction Article –  Have you ever wondered about where the tradition of April Fools’ Day came from? I bet your students would want to know! Use this April Fools’ Day non-fiction article which contains both a regular and modified text as well as 3 post-reading activities.
  • Earth Day Non-Fiction Article  – Earth Day is important to help students reflect on their contribution to the environment. Use the Earth Day non-fiction article (both modified and regular text) to help students learn about the origins of Earth Day and reinforce their literacy skills. 
  • Ramadan Non-Fiction Article – In 2022, Ramadan begins on Saturday, April 2. Help your students learn more about Ramadan with this non-fiction article. This article comes with both the modified and regular text as well as mp3 readings of each article. 
  • Easter Digital Escape Room – This Easter-themed digital escape room provides students with the opportunity to work independently or with their peers to solve 11 Easter-themed challenges. This escape room is non-religious and focuses on chocolate, candy and animals. 
  • Easter Creative Writing Assignment – This Easter creative writing assignment has students select one of the provided character roles: Easter Bunny, Easter Egg Basket, Zookeeper, Candy Store Owner, Chocolate Inventor and create a written or visual product based on the character’s writing prompt. 

May / June / July 

Inclusive holiday celebrations are important in the middle school classroom. In this blog post, find holiday-themed lesson plan resources.

 

August

September 

  • September Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA – Planning your first month of school lessons can be overwhelming. Read this blog post to see what I teach during the month of September.
  • Fall Digital Escape Room – This fall-themed digital escape room provides students with the opportunity to work independently or with their peers to solve 10 fall-related challenges. 
  • Fall Creative Writing Assignment – Students will select one of the provided character roles: coffee shop employee, garden rake, tree, family pet, squirrel and create a written or visual product based on the character’s specific writing prompt.

October 

  • October Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA – Planning your second month of school lessons can be overwhelming. Read this blog post to see what I teach during the month of October for middle school ELA. 
  • Diwali Non-Fiction Article – 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. Use this middle school Diwali lesson to help your students learn more about the celebration in an engaging and informative way.   
  • Halloween Unit – This engaging Halloween Unit contains 5 different activities that will help reinforce your students’ reading and writing skills. Students will learn about the historical background of Halloween traditions and prepare for a Halloween discussion about current Halloween costumes.
  • Halloween Digital Escape Room – This Halloween-themed digital escape room provides students with the opportunity to work independently or with their peers to solve 10 Halloween-focused challenges. Students must solve these required challenges to “escape” from the haunted house that they have accidentally locked themselves into. 
  • 10 Halloween Costume Ideas For English Teachers – Find 10 creative Halloween costume ideas for English teachers in this blog post.
  • Halloween Costumes for English Teachers –  It’s not always easy to think of good teacher costumes that are both creative and appropriate. Check out this list for inspiration.

November

  • November Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA – Find engaging November Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA for reading, writing, speaking/listening and media literacy. 
  • Remembrance Day Unit – Help your students develop a deeper connection to Canadian Remembrance Day in this two-week-long unit. Teachers are provided with 10 in-depth, engaging and relevant multimedia lessons to help their students explore and understand key concepts related to Remembrance Day. 
  • Veterans Day Unit  – Help your students develop a deeper connection to Veterans Day in this two-week-long teaching unit. Teachers are provided with 9 in-depth, engaging and relevant multimedia lessons to help their students explore and understand key concepts related to Veterans Day.

December 

Inclusive holiday celebrations are important in the middle school classroom. In this blog post, find holiday-themed lesson plan resources.

  • December Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA – Find engaging and rigorous December lesson plans for middle school ELA.
  • Tips For Teachers On How To Reduce Holiday Season Stress – The weeks leading up to the holiday break can be very stressful if you don’t plan ahead. Read below for our top tips for reducing stress before, during and after the holiday break.
  • Regifting Non-Fiction ArticleStudents will learn about the pros and cons behind regifting in this non-fiction article. This is not a Christmas-themed lesson. It discusses present-giving in general.
  • Global Holiday Celebrations Research Assignment – Help students learn about different cultures, celebrations, and faiths with this holiday research assignment. Students will work in pairs to research 1 of the 16 suggested holiday and/or cultural celebrations. Students could also choose to research a local holiday or cultural celebration. 
  • Hanukkah Non-Fiction Article – This resource contains 1 non-fiction article and 3 post-reading activities to assist with reading comprehension. 
  • Kwanzaa Non-Fiction Article – Students will learn about the history of Kwanzaa and its current traditions in this non-fiction article. This resource contains 1 non-fiction article and 3 post-reading activities to assist with reading comprehension.
  • Christmas Unit – This engaging Christmas Unit contains 6 different activities that will help reinforce your students’ reading and writing skills. 
  • Christmas Digital Escape Room – This Christmas-themed digital escape room provides students with the opportunity to work independently or with their peers to solve 10 Christmas/world geography-focused challenges. Students must solve these required challenges to find the escaped gingerbread men as they travel around the world to avoid being captured. The clues are related to global Christmas traditions or world geography general knowledge.
  • Christmas Truce of 1914 Media Analysis Unit  – This historical event took place during World War I between the British and German troops along the western front trenches in France. In this unit, students will reflect on this significant event that occurred during the First World War. 
  • Teacher Gift Guide – Check out this teacher gift guide to help you find affordable and stylish teacher gifts.

I hope this detailed list of inclusive holiday celebration ideas can help with your weekly and monthly lesson planning.

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