Get Ready; Get Set; Let's Go Around The World For Christmas!
Kids and Christmas seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly and is a big reason why I choose to incorporate a Christmas Around The World unit to teach geography in December. Hop on board the Global Holiday Express and enjoy a reindeer ride to Mexico, Canada, England and other parts of the globe.
The internet has brought our world closer and put it virtually at our fingertips. We are truly just a click away from the Far East where we can grab some spices for our gingerbread creations.
Are you ready for an adventure? Then come celebrate Christmas Around The World. Click on the link for 115 pages of fun!
First stop, we need to make a cereal box suitcase. It comes complete with travel stickers and a luggage tag that helps students practice writing their first and last name as well as their address.
Two file folders become a briefcase that holds a passport that children create. This also reinforces name and address writing and is a math extension where students measure each other to determine their height.
The Christmas Around The World suitcase is the perfect place to put souvenirs that represent the countries they visit! (Completed art projects, maps and papers.)
There’s also a pocket that holds airline tickets. Children have a ticket for the country that they’re researching, one for the USA and one for their favorite country, to be determined after the unit.
Besides traveling to foreign countries, students also learn about their own state. Children write a page about their family’s Christmas traditions or winter festivities if they don’t celebrate Christmas.
Their “State” pages and these two personal pages become part of their suitcase; and copies are made into a class book.
There are many graphing opportunities in this study: Do you hang a stocking? Do you have a fireplace? Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
Each student chooses a country and armed with a list of websites to check out, must find 4-5 facts about how Christmas is celebrated there.
They are given a map and flag of their country; this is cut and glued on their Christmas Around the World page, along with how people say “Merry Christmas” in that country.
When students finish their research/writing assignment, they share it with their classmates; and a copy is made for another class book.
All students keep a Christmas Around The World travel journal, of all the countries visited.
They put a sticker dot on their world map, locating the country that is being shared. Each time a student shares a country everyone’s passport is stamped.
The Christmas Around The World crafts I’ve chosen to share, are ones that you could plug in for quite a few countries. Putting up a tree and lighting candles seem to be universal practices for many.
The poinsettia is perfect to represent Mexico, but also the USA. Did you know that an average of 65 million are sold nationwide, grown commercially in every state, and that California is the leading producer?
Besides America, gingerbread also fits several countries, especially Germany where Nuremberg is known as the gingerbread capital of the world. However, England and France are famous for their gingerbread “fairs”, and several places in Canada have Christmas cookie exchange parties.
December wouldn’t be complete without climbing aboard The Polar Express, and reading stories like Mem Fox’s Australian animal tale Wombat Divine, and Robert Barry’s tale from England, Mr. Willoby’s Christmas Tree, as well as several different gingerbread stories that can be compared and contrasted; they all make great additions to your Christmas Around The World adventures.
While celebrating Christmas Around The World we also sang songs like, We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands, adapted for this unit.
Besides singing, we also played games that reinforced report card standards for math, such as Santa’s Cookies and Milk, and Snowman Clock What Time Is It? I've included these math extensions in the Christmas Around the World packet.
Whatever you’re doing this season as you study geography, I hope you hear the jingling of those sleigh bells.
I hope it’s magical, and that you get a chance to embark on a most extraordinary adventure, discovering unique cultures and traditions, that although different, bring you a little bit closer, as your students celebrate Christmas Around the World.
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"God bless us everyone!" -Tiny Tim