Tara, Science in the City: As a science teacher, I have a difficult time. I would like to, and there are many connections that could be made, but I often don’t think I do enough because I feel very pressured by the curriculum. One thing that I do try to do in my Earth Science class, which I am proud of, is at the start of each season we do an activity on solstices/equinoxes and causes of seasons. Its great review/reinforcement, and is seasonal and timely.
Sara, Ms. Fuller’s Teaching Adventures: Since I teach English I find it easy. I typically go more seasonal than holiday for PC reasons. I’ve done a unit on The Iditarod and read To Build A Fire by Jack London in the winter. I like to do Edgar Allen Poe and have students write scary stories around Halloween. I can typically find poetry for all seasons. Shakespeare’s love sonnets are great around Valentine’s day. One year, for Easter (I decided to risk the holiday bent) I put paper Easter Eggs around the room with famous first lines of books. For extra credit students could find the eggs and identify the lines from the books.
I wish I were more knowledgeable about other cultures and religions because I think as long as I was being all inclusive I could include more of that into my classes. I think it’s kind of sad that as students get older they miss out on some of the “fun” they had when younger.
Lauralee,The Language Arts Classroom: I do so carefully because I want to respect religious beliefs when applicable.
I often have students do a writing assignment that gives them freedom in the actual subject matter. That is they can write about a holiday, but take whatever perspective they want: gifts, food, family, traditions, etc. When I have students address something important in their lives, they are willing to focus on other work too. It helps that I acknowledge a large portion of their lives – obviously it is almost summer and they want out of school!