Saturday, October 15, 2011

Controversial Holidays

There is a school district that's been on the local news lately.  They don't allow their students to celebrate Halloween in school.  I know, there are a lot of districts that no longer allow Halloween celebrations because of its connection to witchcraft, which many believe is too controversial and offends the beliefs of others.  It's something that teachers have had to be careful about.

But it's not just about Halloween.  The students at this school have been told they can't celebrate Columbus Day and Thanksgiving as well!

Check out the news clip on eliminating fall holidays!

OK, I realize that Columbus was as little shadier than we learned while we were kids.  But he was a key factor in exploration and the Europeans settling in the new world.  He's part of our history.

But....Thanksgiving?  How can giving thanks be offensive to people?  Are turkeys offensive to people?  Or is it the cranberry sauce?

Honestly, it's the celebration of these fall holidays that keep the spirits up!  We are so burdened with "teaching to the test" and Core Curriculum and NCLB and AYP... I could keep going, but I won't!   We need these holidays to have something fun for the kids to enjoy while practicing their skills.  Brain research indicates the need to keep learning fun and keep the interests of the learner in the picture.

Just an example: Search Halloween at Teachers Pay Teachers and you'll notice 1,118 results.  Most of these are directly related to curriculum areas such as reading, math, and written language.  (Check out this gem:  Halloween Packet by yours truly.)

What do you think about giving up Columbus Day, Halloween and Thanksgiving?  I'd love to hear your opinion!
Sally

7 comments:

  1. Honestly, I think it should be left to individual teachers to decide what is best for their particular group of children...most teachers are sensitive to these issues. However, if a school district is going to step out there and ban two holidays, then I feel they should just go ahead and ban all of them, otherwise it makes no sense to just ban two or three. If Thanksgiving is offensive to some, then I don't see how Christmas or Valentine's Day isn't also. I guess I am just astonished at how easily people pick and choose what they find wrong. As I said before (concerning my opinion), I feel it should be left to the teacher's discretion- as long as they are respectful of diversity and not making kids feel excluded.

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  2. I feel that as diverse as our country is, as long as there is fair representation it should be up to teachers and their particular class grouping to decide. Our school doesn't celebrate Halloween (no witches, jack o lanterns etc) but yet we will have a storybook character parade and we take off for Rosh Hashanah! How does that make any sense?

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  3. Jennifer, I agree, teachers should decide what is best for their group.

    I still haven't figured out how Thanksgiving is offensive to anyone!

    Sally

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  4. Sandy, that's funny that you do Rosh Hashanah, but not Halloween! I wish my school could have a character parade. Kids love to dress up, and what could be better than making story characters come alive?

    Sally

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  5. where i live, the schools don't celebrate any holidays because of religion issues. we have a fall party and a winter party. even at that, we don't do much for any parties because they want to focus on learning instead of having parties. i think it's kind of crappy, to be honest.

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  6. Jess, I agree, the kids need a party just for the sake of letting loose. It's not in anyone's best interest to work all the time! There is a need for some celebrating!

    Sally

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  7. At the school where I teach there has been a lot of discussion on this topic recently. We have decided that we will still do a lot of celebrations in school ,but not "holiday" celebrations. We will find fun and creative ways to celebrate topics of study and achievements in academics. Lately there has been a lot of focus on attendance goals, so we will be celebrating those as well.

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