• Students learn about a variety of celebrations during holiday season

    What many second-grade students in Lata Anantheswaran’s Benner Elementary School class have noticed is that no matter what holiday people celebrate, there are many similarities that include delicious food, fun and laughter, gift-giving, music and lights, and spending time with family and friends.

    Students began learning about holidays they might not have been familiar with otherwise, starting with Diwali that’s annually celebrated in India. This year, it started Nov. 4 and lasted five days during what’s also known as a festival of lights. Students in Anantheswaran and fellow second-grade teacher Nicole Harris’ class even got the chance to connect via Zoom with students their age in New Delhi to learn more about the holiday and culture. Learn more about the activity, here: Connecting with India

    2Equipped with a packet, each page is designed to provide information to the class about different holidays. Anantheswaran said because students are most familiar with Christmas, they started the packet learning about the meaning behind the Christian holiday. From there, other holidays were discussed, which included Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan and the Chinese New Year.

    For instance, during the return from Thanksgiving break, students spent a part of the morning learning something new about Hanukkah, which lasts through Dec. 6. The packet additionally allows students to compare and contrast the other holidays to Christmas, and then find its similarities.

    “It’s always feasts and music and dance and presents and happiness and laughter,” Anantheswaran said. “And that’s what they’re learning from it – that a lot is the same.”

    Students have also been making accompanying crafts that complement the holiday lessons such as rangoli, or sand art, and the Star of David made of pipe cleaners.

  • *By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD