Holidays are a great opportunity to teach students about different traditions and infuse fun into learning. For some English Language Learners they might now be familiar with holidays that their classmates have celebrated for years. It can be helpful to go over basic holiday traditions and facts before the holiday begins. For American holidays such as Martin Luther King Day, Groundhog Day, or Veterans day most students will celebrate them (though it is important to be aware if this is not the case.) For cultural holidays such as New Year’s or Valentine’s day there is a greater chance that some students might not participate.
Teaching about religious holidays requires more care. Not all students will celebrate the holiday. Even aspects of the holiday that may not seem religious still connect to the religious holiday. One way to integrate these holidays into lessons is to find aspects that are similar across different cultures. For example in the winter time looking at how different cultures and religions use the symbol of light in their winter holidays.
If there are parents, teachers, or students willing to share their own family traditions around a holiday this is a great opportunity for cultural exchange.
If you are looking for an activity or materials to help teach about Hanukkah, here is a FREE resource to use.
Also check out these Hanukkah Search and Find coloring sheets: