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Brianna Donnelly

American and World Culture

Cultural Holidays
Grade 3
Background Information

Cultural Holidays
This lesson introduces holidays in different cultures such as St.Patricks Day,
Kwanza and Cinco De Mayo. The students will spend the period learning about
each holiday in centers and will then complete a chart with information they
learned about each one.
Students will be given background knowledge on the three holidays mentioned
in the text
-Saint Patricks Day
-Cinco De Mayo
Duration of the lesson: 45 minutes (one full period)
Integration of Learning Outcomes

-Students will gain an understanding of three dierent holidays (Saint Patricks

Day, Cinco De Mayo and Kwanzaa) mentioned in the text book and be able to
complete a chart containing information of all three for homework
-Students will explore the cultures through print, clothes and music
-Students will be able to dierentiate the three cultures and describe important
aspects of each
-Students will complete and turn in a visual that compare and contrasts the
three cultures

I Culture
a) Explore and describe similarities and dierences in the ways groups,
societies and cultures address similar needs and concerns
PA Standards

Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps)
with other information in print and digital texts.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source;
provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or

Anticipatory Set

Alright boys and girls, today we will learn about a few cultural holidays. As a
globe, we celebrate many holidays. Many of these countries carry these cultural
holidays and celebrate them in the United States.
Does anyone here celebrate a cultural holiday they would like to discuss or
bring up?
Great! So right now we will be reading about three cultures that originated
around the globe but are celebrated in our country.

The teacher will briefly read the paragraphs in the beginning of Chapter 10 that
gives some background knowledge on Saint Patricks Day, Cinco De Mayo, and
Now class, I am going to give you a chance to explore each of these cultural
holidays in stations. Everyone will retrieve a class tablet. While you go around
the stations, I would like you to take notes and pictures of the things you learn
about in each holiday. Feel free to explore, share ideas and most of all HAVE
The class will be set up into three stations. The teacher will divide the groups
accordingly. Each station will represent a cultural holiday mentioned in the text.
The students will have about 12 minutes to explore each station as a group. At
each station, the students will be responsible for taking pictures and writing
down notes of what they are learning. They are also able to discuss their
findings. The stations will each contain material to read, music and clothes
pertaining to that holiday.
Now class, as you can see there are three stations. You will have about 12
minutes to explore each one. I want you to understand that it is extremely
important to take notes and pictures as you are engaging in the activity. We will
be using our notes later on so make sure they are detailed! Each station
contains materials to read, music to listen to and clothes to wear! You can
choose to put them on or just look at them. You are aloud to experiment with
the CD player and listen to the dierent songs dierent cultures use to
celebrate their holiday. I will set a timer and give you a five minute warning
before you are to be finished with your station. Does anyone have any
After questions are answered, the teacher will place each group at their station
and let them begin to explore. Each station is as followed:
Station 1 ( Cinco De Mayo)
This station will have a laptop with the History channel website up ready to
explore the origin of Cinco De Mayo. The students will also be able to view the
videos attached to the website. Students will learn the dierence between
Cinco De Mayo in America and in Mexico.
The CD player will be playing mariachi music. The CD player will have a note
attached explaining that this music is called mariachi music typically used to
celebrate the holiday.
The wardrobe will contain a female and male costume from head to toe. There
will also be sombreros and props used in parades such as musical
instruments. The students will be encouraged to photograph the props and
costumes for their individual notes.
Station 2 (Kwanzaa)
This station will have a laptop with the History channel website up ready to
explore the origin of Kwanza. The students will also be able to view the videos
attached to the website. Students will learn about the seven principles and
symbols of the holiday.
The CD player will be playing songs about the seven nights of Kwanzaa.
The wardrobe and prop station will contain the seven symbols (plastic crops, a
place mat, an ear of corn, the seven candles, a candle holder, the unity cup
and the idea of gifts. (continued at the bottom)


For the higher level students - Students will be encouraged to conduct

further research for their assignment. Students will be able to use their iPads in
the stations to look up more information on the topic when they are done with
the other things oered.
For the lower level students - Students will be provided with more
background knowledge to assist them in the activity. They may also need pre
printed notes that they will just have to fill in as they move around the room
learning about the dierent holidays.

Once each group is finished with each of the stations, the class will come back
to their original seats.
Alright boys and girls, now that we have become experts on these three
holidays, we are going to apply our knowledge.
The teacher will pass out poster paper with a table diagram to each student.
The table will have each holiday listed as well as categories to fill out. The
dierent categories will include, When is it?, Who celebrates it? How did it
begin? and What does the holiday represent?.
For homework, you are going to complete this table chart. You will use your
tablet notes to help you fill it out. You may also use outside information if you
decide to do further research at home. I encourage you to print out the pictures
youve taken or take pictures from reliable internet sources and glue them on..
Does anybody have any questions?
Awesome! You guys did an excellent job exploring these terrific cultural
holidays, I cant wait to see your table charts tomorrow!
Formative / Summative Assessment

Formative assessment - The first assessment will be the overall participation

in this activity. I will be constantly circulating the room making sure the
students stay on task and are discussing the stations appropriately. The
second part of the formative assessment will be the homework which is the
table chart. I will use their assignment to decide if the lesson needs to be
modified. It will tell me if I provided enough information for the students to
work o of or if I need to extend the lesson.
Materials / Equipment

-Laptops (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2015, from
-CD players OR YouTube music can also be playing on laptops
-costumes for the holidays
-venn diagram poster

-laptop for research
Reflection on Planning

This lesson could really dier depending on the class. If I were to use this
lesson in a classroom, I would have to make sure my class was able to work
successfully independently. This lesson depends a lot on the students
independent work. I would also need to know how to scaold. With a lower
level class, I might have to spend a day just going over background
knowledge. I might even have to go over how to go about the stations and
take notes on the information.
In an ideal classroom setting, I would be able to keep the opening of the
lesson brief because stations would be a normal activity to do. The process
wouldnt be something Id have to constantly go into detail with and it would
run smoothly like this lesson is written out to run.
I really like the idea of students having the freedom to educate themselves. I
think that is really powerful for a child to be able to go about their own learning.
I also think researching is a very important skill for children to have even at an
early age. I also picked this activity because even though it is a great concept,
its not vital information the students will need in the future. Its a lot of quick
factual information the students would be able to individually accumulate. I
wouldnt use an independent lesson on vital information that required direct
instruction. So, even though I feel like I went out on a limb with the amount of
independent work, I think this is one of the best sections to take that risk with.

Content Outline

Lesson 2 - Holidays and Traditions

Cultural Holidays

Saint Patricks Day

March 17


Began as a religious holiday and has grown to

celebrate Irish culture

Read Hooray for St. Patricks Day! by Joan Holub

Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence


The Fifth of May

1862- a small Mexican army won an important battle

against France

September 16th- celebrate their independence from


The Book of Life


Week-long holiday in late December

Celebrates the importance of family and community in

African American cultures

Festival- a joyful gathering for celebration

Spend a day celebrating the different holidays the students


Add these dates to the calendar created in the previous


The station will also have the bright and colorful costume for male and female
for this cultural holiday. It will also include the decorative hats.
Station 3 (St Patricks Day)
This station will have a laptop with the History channel website up ready to
explore the origin of St Patricks Day. The students will also be able to view the
videos attached to the website. Students will get to pick and choose from the
dierent categories to learn more about the holiday.
The CD player will be playing Irish jig music.
The wardrobe and prop station will be very green. It will be decorated with lots
and lots of clovers. There will be plastic corn beef and cabbage as the holiday
meal. There will also be a leprechaun outfit.