Celebrating the Holidays Inclusively in the Classroom

A student making a winter-themed diorama.

The excitement that the holiday season brings is almost unbearable. Classrooms are often filled with eager students, and sometimes, questions about other holidays.

As you talk to your students about the holiday season, we’ve come up with six tips to help you talk about holidays inclusively and celebrate the holiday season, no matter what you or your students celebrate.

Our education team has developed winter activities to support your holiday conversations. Check them out here and add them to your Lumio library:

  1. Ask your students what they celebrate and be responsive

  2. Leading up to the winter break, ask your students what they celebrate. Look for commonalities amongst your students. Maybe you have two students who celebrate Kwanzaa and you didn’t know that before. Now is a great opportunity to celebrate and share students’ lives beyond the classroom.

    Be responsive to the cultures that are present in your classroom, and relevant to their families and communities. And, include your students, families and community members in the celebrations. Invite them to educate the classroom on their traditions, and what the holiday season means to them and to celebrate together. I have come into my own kids’ classes to teach the dreidel game as a center because it’s always more authentic coming from a family member.

  3. Check your sources to avoid using stereotypes or outdated materials

    It’s crucial that students learn proper celebrations without stereotypes or outdated ideas. If you don’t have experience with a holiday your class is learning about, no problem! Do your due diligence and make sure that what you’re sharing, is accurate and respectful. 

    Families and community members can also be a great and willing resource for ensuring you’re speaking about traditions accurately. Ask your student's families questions or invite them into the classroom to speak about holidays authentically.

    Teachers Pay Teachers has great resources for busy teachers that need ready-made content. Check out their library on holidays around the world for print materials that you can use in your own classroom.

    Lumio has ready-made lessons that you can add to your Lumio library, customize or share with yours students immediately. Check out our holiday and winter Lumio lessons here.

  4. Experience the holiday with Read-Alouds!

    Read-alouds can be really impactful for students that may not understand new ideas right away. The power of story can transport students into a place, idea, or feeling and enable them to think empathetically.

    Read-alouds, preferably ones from a child's point of view, that show the kids celebrating in a typical way will help students understand the different parts of that holiday. Oftentimes, there are so many similarities between holidays that students can relate to. Maybe they’ll hear about families gathering for a special dinner, special food that’s made only for this holiday, giving and receiving gifts, holiday songs, etc.

    Connect a Read-Aloud with a Think, Pair, Share to encourage your students to think critically about the stories and share their ideas with their classmates.

  5. Look for commonalities

    Commonalities help students ”transfer” new learning which happens when there is background knowledge for the new info to stick to. This helps kids remember and make meaning about the new holiday or tradition they are learning about. My students would often say things like “we play something like that” or “I help my aunt cook like that.”

    It’s important to not mute others’ differences because that’s what makes them special. However, showing points for connection helps little ones understand deeper and appreciate it more.

  6. Get creative

    Art is a beautiful way to build understanding and appreciate the intricacies of the holiday. Task your students to create something related to the value of that holiday, whether it be gift-giving, lights, gathering or being around loved ones.

    If you have students in your class that celebrate different holidays, ask your students to create something that represents their traditions or what the holiday means to them. Then have your students present their art to the class along with what it means to them.

  7. Don’t be afraid to have some fun!

    What gets kids excited about learning faster than games? It can be a center exercise, indoor recess for the cold weather, or even a game-based activity in Lumio! Research and play a game from that culture’s tradition. Students will eat this one up! This is a buy-in for kids as they’ll see  why it’s so special to celebrate the culture's traditions.

    Put on some tunes! There are a lot of instrumental versions of songs to play for each respective tradition while they play.

    So what are you waiting for? Explore holidays in your classroom with Lumio!

Winter Activities in Lumio

Let it snow with Lumio!

We’ve created some fun, engaging, ready-made wintery activities and templates for you. Best part? They’re FREE! Add them to your Lumio Library and engage your students on their devices.

Winter Lumio Lessons