Monday, December 4, 2017

Dealing with the December Dilemma

The Infamous December Dilemma

We've all been there - caught between our own traditions for the holidays - whatever they
Elizabeth Chapin-Pinotti Dealing with the December Dilemma
may be or may not be - and being sensitive to the increasingly diverse students in our classrooms - but December doesn't have to be tough and confusing - but rather a chance to embrace our differences and try to understand each other and...perhaps help make the world a better place through our students.

Shameless Plug for FREEBIE:

I've written a book called  Kwanmisadomakuh Big Time! and while you can purchase the book for $9.50 on - you can get a digital copy to the project or print-out for your students at: storytimebyelizabeth - my other blog filled that is with always free projectable stories - including this one. Kwanmisadomakuh Big Time! is about a fifth/sixth-ish grade student, attending public school for the first time, and discovers that Christmas is not celebrated by everyone. It is a sweet story about understanding and acceptance that I feel is easier attained by children than by the adults in the world.

To complement the story is a comprehensive December workbook - Dealing with the December Dilemma $10.90 on The blackline masters are also available on - if you don't want a hard copy of the book and it's activities on a myriad of holidays including: Ramadan, Hanukkah, Christmas, Miwok Big Time and others - the digital version is only $1.50. 

Don't Be Too Sensitive to the Whole Thing

What?! Don't be too sensitive? What I mean is most students, and their parents, don't mind students learning songs (and singing them), studying traditions, decorating holiday cookies and doing other fun December activities - just send out a letter in advance, tell them exactly what will be taught and give them the mandatory opt out. In your letter be sure to emphasize that you are not teaching religion, but culture and traditions and what other religions do and and celebrate. Here is a great article by Margaret Hill, of Three Rs - about the December Dilemma and how to be culturally sensitive to students and parents' feelings: Religious Holidays in Public Schools.

Other December Dilemma Resources

Activities and Lessons on Teacher's Notebook:

Great Multi-Cultural Books for December

About Kwanmisadomakuh Big Time!

Elizabeth Chapin-PinottiIt’s Janie’s first year at public school, but when December 1 arrives she discovers that not everyone celebrates Christmas. At first she is horrified her parents would subject her to an environment different than her own, but when she and her friends discuss their holidays – they discover some common themes -- trying to be good, peace on earth and good will to everyone. With these elements in mind they create their own celebration Kwanmisadomakuh Big Time! After the story read about Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Christmas and the Miwok Big Time Festival in the non-fiction section.

Lights of Winter: Winter Celebrations around the World by Heather Conrad

Lights of Winter is a picture book about winter celebrations including: Solstice, Yule, Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukkah, Teng Chieh, Diwali, Soyal, Las Posadas, Zagmuk, Saturnalia. For ages 3-9. Thirteen color illustrations.

The premise of December Holidays From Around the World is that Christmas is not the only holiday in December and while it is indeed celebrated around the world - there are other December celebrations too - including ways different cultures celebrate Christmas. This book will introduces some of them. Knowing these facts will help paint a picture of worldwide diversity in beliefs and cultures. 

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