Just thinking about Santa Claus and presents can get a lot of kids excited about Christmas. However, there's a lot more to the holiday than the gifts under the tree, including a long historical and cultural tradition. Second-grade lesson plans can teach kids about some of this history while also engaging them in fun activities to get them excited about the holiday and to look at it in a new way.
Christmas around the World
Second-graders are more grounded in reality and less in a fantasy world, according to Education.com. Therefore, they may respond favorably to exploring how other cultures around the world celebrate Christmas instead of focusing exclusively on their own Christmas traditions. Share trivia with them about other customs, such as that the Japanese celebrate on Christmas Eve or that the Scottish observe a quiet church ceremony instead of a loud and festive celebration. You can make a banner of flags to hang on the wall and include information about each country.
Decorate the Room Together
Education.com says second-graders are more adept at hand-eye coordination, making them interested in creative activities. You can enlist their help in decorating the classroom and teach them interesting trivia about the symbolism of Christmas traditions. For example, an evergreen tree was chosen as the Christmas tree because it signaled to people that winter would eventually end and spring would return. Stockings have their origin in the legend of St. Nick, who is said to have thrown coins down a chimney to support a poor family, and the coins fell into a stocking hanging by the fireplace to dry. Second-graders will enjoy hearing these bits of trivia, which may help them appreciate the tradition of Christmas even more.
Create Your Own 12 Days of Christmas
Songs and games are fun ways to exercise creativity. Invite students to make their own list of what they'd like to get for each of the 12 days of Christmas. The class can sing each student's new song together. You can even make a game out of it by asking students to sing in turn, with each one adding a new item for the new day and then having to remember all the previous items from the previous days. You can also talk about what the "12 days of Christmas" are and how the tradition originated.
Convince the Grinch
Many students are familiar with the story of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," which teaches a lesson about the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of spending time with the people you love. You can invite students to participate in the story by writing a letter to the Grinch trying to convince him not to steal Christmas. Students should talk about what they most love about Christmas and why it is a special holiday. You can conduct the activity as a group discussion, or you can invite students to write out their letter or to write their thoughts in a journal.
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