I am so excited to be a part of the 12 Days of December Blog Hop and Giveaway! I am working with some amazing secondary educator-authors to write about how we can bring “comfort and joy” into the classroom during the holiday season.
As educators, it’s really exciting to add some sparkle and bling to our classroom or office around the holiday season. We want to create that feeling of warmth and joy for all of our students. However, It can be easy to forget with all of the festivities and holiday cheer that everyone does not have the same religious and cultural beliefs. It’s easy to become comfortable with our own customs, and consider that the norm. We need to consider that what we display on our walls and the graphics on our assignments may give some students feelings of discomfort, which is the exact opposite of what we are trying to portray. Students who do not share the same beliefs or customs may feel left out and not seen as important. They do notice that they are different, they may just not share these feelings of discomfort. When students see themselves reflected in the signs, decorations, and activities, they feel more valued, validated, and a greater sense of self-worth.
There are so many great cultures and customs that exist, it can become overwhelming to know where to start. Here are several ways to begin to understand and incorporate cultural diversity in your classroom or office during the holiday season, to make sure everyone feels comfort and joy:
Find out if there are policies in your school or organization–
These choices may be restricted under certain regulations created by your district, school, or organization. (Remember some schools can’t display anything dealing with religion).
- If there are restrictions, here is an easy fix: begin to incorporate neutrality. These are found in most winter themes. They could include: gingerbread people, penguins, and snowmen in scarves, snowflakes. And for some who have never see snow, so you can always throw in a palm tree with white lights.
Know and research your youth populations –
What do students in your class celebrate? What are their cultural and religious backgrounds? Don’t get bogged down with specifics of the origins of holiday, but rather learn, acknowledge, and embrace others differences. Here are a few holidays in the month of December. There are many more…
- Hanukkah or Chanukah – Check out this amazing clip art from TpT clip artists
- Kwanzaa – Check out some more amazing clip art from TpT clip artists
- Feast of Our Lady Guadalupe
- Bodhi Day
Reflect on the materials you currently use in your classroom –
Do these images reflect diversity?
- Do all of your images portray the same perspective?
- Do you display only a “white Santa Claus and Angels”?
- We are not a society made up of solely white faces, but a diverse rainbow. Santa Claus is supposed to reflect the spirit of giving. You work hard to provide for your family and want to provide for them. Many families do not reflect the look of a white man, and it is very difficult accept telling children that a white man can provide you gifts, but a person of color can’t. Some parents use to paint and color in the faces on Santa’s and angels to reflect their own racial backgrounds. Now you can buy black Santa’s and angels. After all, if Santa is so quick and we’ve never seen him, how do we know what his racial ethnicity is? if he lives in the North pole, maybe he is of Native Eskimo descent.
Display a variety of religious and cultural holidays –
What other cultures, customs, traditions, and religions do I want to incorporate for more diversity?
- There is a tendency to focus on Christmas, colored lights, white Santa Claus, reindeer, Christmas trees, and angels. Just be cognizant that everyone does not share the same holiday.
- “If I add in other cultures or religions in my classroom or office, I am promoting these religious beliefs.” If you hang up a picture of Santa Claus or reindeer are you telling all your students that they should all go to church? Of course not, it’s a symbol of the holiday season.
- I’m not saying throw away all of your decorations and activities, but begin to incorporate other religions and cultures into your classroom.
Use your new additions to facilitate conversations –
What information do I want my students to learn about? These conversations could address the specific cultural or religious customs. It could even start a conversation about how amazing and special we all are based on our differences.
We want to display cultural, racial, and religious sensitivity, by making everyone feel comfort and joy and enriching the lives of our students to learn and embrace others.
Check out Lindsay Ann Learning to see here fantastic post!
Don’t forget to check out all of the other amazing secondary bloggers sharing their ideas for creating comfort and joy in your classroom all winter long and be SURE that you enter our amazing giveaway! We are raffling off gift cards on December 1st, 4th, 8th, and 12th, so be sure to enter early and often to get your shot at some seriously crazy prizes!
Check out Some Great Freebies!
Some more fantastic posts you don’t want to miss!