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Make Up Your Own Holiday

Students will pick a theme for their own new holiday, decide how and when it will be celebrated and create an item that signifies the central meaning of their new holiday.

PROCESS:

  1. As a class, make a list of holidays. Encourage students to identify songs, dances, objects, rituals or traditions that are closely associated with each one. If you like, have students name something and challenge classmates guess which holiday it refers to. Guide students to recognize that these factors are what make each holiday unique.
  2. Remind students that the article identified three reasons people create new holidays. New holidays can be consumer-oriented, meant to spread awareness about a certain issue or invented just for a laugh. Discuss the pros and cons of each reason.
  3. Give students time to come up with an idea for their own new holiday. Instruct them to analyze the topic and the reason it would be celebrated. Based on the results, have students pick the perfect day to celebrate their new holiday.
  4. Encourage students to brainstorm a list of ways people could celebrate this new holiday. Assign or have students pick one item from the list. Give them time to draw, write or create in some other way an example of this item. Have students then write a brief summary explaining the item's role in celebrating the new holiday.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their items and summaries with the class. Challenge them to explain the significance of their items and why the date they chose is the best day to celebrate their new holiday.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
As a class, choose a topic and a reason to celebrate a new holiday. Discuss and pick a date. Then brainstorm a list of ways people could celebrate. Divide the class into small groups. Assign each group one item from the list. Give groups time to draw, write or create an example of their items and write their summaries.
Grades 5-6:
Have students complete the activity in small groups. Challenge each group to identify the reason it wants to celebrate, select a topic, analyze information so they can select the perfect date and compile a list of things people could do or use to celebrate the new holiday. Give groups time to draw, write or create examples of their items and write their summaries.
Grades 7-8:
Have students complete the activity in small groups. Challenge each group to identify the reason it wants to celebrate, select a topic, analyze information so they can select the perfect date and compile a list of things people could do or use to celebrate the new holiday. Have them choose one item from that list for each group member. Then give group members time to draw, write or create examples of their items and write their summaries.
Grades 9-10:
Have students complete the activity in small groups. Challenge each group to identify the reason it wants to celebrate, select a topic, analyze information so they can select the perfect date and compile a list of things people could do or use to celebrate the new holiday. Have them choose one item from that list for each group member. Then give group members time to draw, write or create examples of their items and write their summaries. Once they are finished, challenge all group members to work together to create a plan outlining how they intend to spread word of their new holiday and encourage others to celebrate the holiday with them.