'Tis the Season in Room 213 - Room 213

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'Tis the Season in Room 213

Thanks to Julie and Lauralee for gathering us together again for a holiday blog hop.

I seriously cannot believe that the calendar page is turning to December on Tuesday.  The fall flew by with the usual flurry of any school year.  It's been a good semester for me, and one thing I love most about December is that by now, my classes are all gelling; we've gotten to know each other and we feel comfortable. So, for me, it's like having multiple "families" that I can enjoy the excitement of the season with.

However, my school families are made up of a wonderful mosaic of cultures.  Our province takes in a lot of immigrants and refugees, and 20% of out school's population is made up of students who have come here from another country.  In my classes, I have students from China, Korea, Nepal, Syria, Iran and the Philippines. Obviously, not all of my students are Christian, so I try to be very aware of the fact that not everyone celebrates Christmas. Christmas isn't "banned" from our schools, though, so I don't ignore the fact that many of my students do celebrate it.  

One thing we all have in common is our humanity, so I try to focus on the caring part of the season.  I set up a collection can in the classroom and the kids will put in their spare change -- or some large bills, if they so desire.  I tell them I will match whatever goes in there, and before we leave for the holidays, we will select something from the world vision catalogue to use our money on.  In the past we've bought a rooster, some fruit trees and classroom supplies, but this year I'm going to suggest that it go to help Syrian refugees. We have a lot of Syrians in our community already and are expecting more refugees after Christmas, so I'm hoping my students will agree to reach out in this way, whether we send the money to World Vision again, or give it to one of the various local organizations that are sponsoring a refugee family. 

It's an activity I look forward to every year, because it puts the focus on the real meaning of the season, rather than the materialistic part we get so caught up in.  It's also an activity that is not connected to any one religion or culture, but one that focuses on the fact that we all need to reach out and help each other.

As I write this, I'm thinking about the fact that we get so excited about helping at Christmas, but that after the decorations are put away, we kind of forget about it until the next year.  Maybe I'll leave the can out for all of 2016 this time!

If you'd like to get your students even more involved in service to others, check out my Christmas Research Project.

Happy Holidays!



9 comments

  1. The diversity in your community sounds wonderful, and I love the generosity towards immigrants and refugees, particularly Syrian refugees. As teachers, we have the ability to encourage kindness in our students and it sounds like you really succeed with this in your classroom. Happy Holidays, Jackie!

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  2. Jackie, I love your statement that there is one thing we all hold in common - HUMANITY! Students so value that fact that is taught and practiced as part of their learning. So proud of the way Canada is stepping up to show that care in helping those who are forced from their homeland - and that students can get involved in learning to care! Thanks for the inspiration, friend! Happy Season! Ellen

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  3. It looks like you've found a nice balance. It is important that teachers recognize that not all students celebrate Christmas. I'm sure your non-Christian students appreciate that.

    Happy Holidays!

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  4. Teaching children while they are young about service to others is a wonderful thing to do. I like the way you go about your project and allowing the students to pick the place for the donation. When my kids were little our Girl Scout Troop and Cub Scout Dens went together and sent their November and December dues to the Heifer Project. My kids are 30 & 26 and still remember. Service to those less fortunate reminds us about kindness and being friendly as well as reverence by being respectful to the beliefs of others. It never occurred to me continue this sort of tradition in a school setting. Thanks for setting off the light bulb! Happy Holidays and a blessed New Year...

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  5. Thanks for making me aware of the world vision catalogue, and thank you for sharing! It's great that you are so inclusive of all of your students.

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  6. "Leave the can out" -- I can see that becoming a symbolic motto for the idea of remembering the true meaning of this season all year! Thanks for joining us on the hop!
    ~Julie

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  7. I love this idea of choosing a gift from the World Vision catalog - it's a strong teaching moment for kids to understand the power of these gifts. Focusing on Syrian refugees is perfect... it's timely and I think kids will really understand the value in what they're doing.

    Merry Christmas!

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  8. Love LOVE Love this idea. Like your classes, not all of my students celebrate Christmas. I have diverse classes who celebrate different holidays, but we all want to make a difference in this world. Thanks for sharing.

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