Addressing the December holidays in public school classrooms

| December 22, 2011

For many, December brings with it a myriad of emotions. The weather is changing, the semester is ending, and holidays are coming. Along with exams to take or grade, there are cards to write and gifts to buy. Many feel excited, stressed, or anxious as one year ends and another is set to begin.

For public school teachers, there is an added complexity: how to address the holidays in the classroom. Should they be celebrated, ignored, or something in between? For Social Studies teachers in particular, teaching religious holidays through a historical framework can be a safe route to take. But when you have a classroom full of students vibrating with the energy of the holiday season, where do you draw the line with respect to seasonal celebrations?

Here are a few resources that explore these questions in different ways.

Anne Obrian, a blogger for The George Lucas Educational Foundation’s Edutopia, offers her perspectives on the issue in her article “The December Dilemma: Acknowledging Religious Holidays in the Classroom.”

Sponsored by a variety of religious and secular educational organizations, Religious Holidays in the Public Schools is a guide that examines the historical and legal implications of religious education and celebrations in school.

Education World offers a smattering of lesson plans centered on how to teach and address various religious holidays in public school classrooms.

Share your thoughts on this issue or ideas you have for addressing the December holidays in the classroom below!