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Monday Morning Ready12.13.2019
Jumpstart Your Week!

Spending quality time with family, drinking cider by the fire and playing Secret Santa all encourage getting into the festive holiday mood. So, too, is taking out your ugly Christmas sweaters-and, if you're really lucky, showing off your tackiest at an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. ... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Why do you think people want to wear ugly Christmas sweaters? Would you?

Grade 5-6

How do you think ugly Christmas sweaters came to be a holiday tradition?

Grade 7-8

Not everyone celebrates Christmas. What strange traditions can you think of that people celebrate on other holidays?

Grade 9-10

In your opinion, are all sweaters that feature holiday-inspired patterns ugly? What would a pretty holiday sweater look like?

LESSON PLAN
Design an "Ugly" Holiday Sweater

PROCESS:

  1. Point out that the article they just read is about ugly Christmas sweaters. But not everyone celebrates Christmas, and ugly sweaters are a tradition that people can enjoy on any holiday of their choice.
  2. Invite students to conduct research to find photos of ugly holiday sweaters. Encourage them to share their examples with the class. As they do, have students identify what they think is the ugliest part of the sweater they found.
  3. Make a list of those ugly sweater features. Then tell students to use that list as an inspiration for ugliness. Have them pick and choose features from the list to design the ultimate ugly holiday sweater. Give students time to brainstorm ideas and draw a picture of their ugly holiday masterpiece.

ASSESSMENT:

Have students post their drawings on the board. Then have the class vote to identify the ugliest holiday sweater in the bunch.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Prior to conducting this activity, find several websites that feature ugly holiday sweaters. Share the sites with the class. As you do, invite students to describe what they think is the ugliest part of each sweater. Make a class list of ugly features. After viewing the final sweater, invite each student to use that list as inspiration as they draw a picture of an ugly holiday sweater.
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Have each group search for and select one ugly holiday sweater. Encourage each student to share what they think is the ugliest part of that sweater. After all groups have shared and the class list is complete, invite each student to draw a picture of an ugly holiday sweater.
Grades 7-8:
As a class, compose a list of holidays. Have the class vote to select three holidays from the list. Then divide the class into pairs. Assign each pair a holiday, and have partners search for and select one ugly sweater that celebrates that holiday. Encourage each student to share what they think is the ugliest part of the sweater they found. After all pairs have shared and the class list is complete, invite each student to draw a picture of an ugly holiday sweater. Have the class vote to identify the ugliest sweater for each holiday.
Grades 9-10:
Have students complete the activity on their own. Encourage them to find and share details about the ugliest holiday sweater they could find. Then challenge them to design and draw a picture of the ugliest holiday sweater ever. Encourage students to think big, incorporating features such as gaudy fabrics, flashing lights or tacky holiday messages into their creations.
SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
It’s a Wrap
In this problem-solving, action-oriented activity from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, students will explore the impact that wrapping paper has on our landfills. Elementary students will brainstorm ideas to address the problem and also write an article to educate adults and peers about the issue and inform them as to what action they can take to alleviate the problem.

Holiday Music from 24 Nations: Smithsonian Folkways Music Map
Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa holiday traditions feature an incredibly diverse range of music accompaniment. This sampling from the Smithsonian Folkways collection includes 56 songs from 24 nations.

Saris, Kimonos, Togas & Smocks: Exploring Clothing Across Cultures
The way that people dress is an important means of expressing identity, status and cultural values. In this activity from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, middle school students will conduct collaborative internet research on the social purposes of clothing. They will lean about ancient Roman clothing, Japanese kimonos, Indian saris and Elizabethan garments. They will create a presentation to share what they learned with classmates.

Holiday Shopping Bags
In American cities large and small, especially between 1920 and 1960, holiday displays were both a public treat and a commercial enterprise. At Christmas, shopping malls across the country still feature visits with Santa and stores offer seasonal shopping bags to hold holiday purchases. Explore a selection of those bags from the Smithsonian’s collections.

Designing Masks for a Purpose
In this Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum lesson, high school students will discuss the origin, creativity and evolution of Mardi Gras Masks and examine the implications for seasonal and out-of-season demand. Students will learn about the materials used to create the masks and procedures of design. Then they will create their own masks.

Why Japan Is Obsessed with Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas
Thanks to the successful “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky for Christmas!) marketing campaign in 1974, Japan can’t get enough KFC on Christmas Day. Read this Smithsonian magazine article to learn more.
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