Tuesday, October 29, 2013

No holiday in here

Years ago I decided that holiday related art was not the way to go.  Someone always gets offended and I was constantly worried about hurting a child's feelings or worse the dreaded phone call from a parent because they did not celebrate or recognize that particular holiday.  This year, one of the gym teachers asked what I did during this time of year.  They are doing a "ghost hunt" game and a few kids were not going to participate.  I told her to send the sweeties my way, I would take them!  She was surprised that I did not do a Halloween activity.  I told her there were ways to make everyone happy and comfortable.  For example, I haven't done jack-o-lantern pictures in years.  Instead I find fun ways to do pumpkin pictures.  Pumpkins are a seasonal vegetable.  I talk about the pumpkin life cycle.  Seed to plant to pumpkin.  This also applies to Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I teach kindergartners how to draw steam engines like in the Polar Express or Thomas the Tank.  I think she was surprised there were alternatives to holidays in art class.  
Other non-Halloween lessons that don't offend:  Bones in the body and the connection to Dia de los Muertos in Mexico (we have several Hispanic children) and this is a cultural tie in not a holiday observance, Space Aliens with 3rd graders as a conclusion to the Outer Space Unit which I do to integrate science (no aliens in the serious project).  This is what works for me, anyone else have similar lessons or projects that avoid holidays altogether?

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