Martin Luther King Jr. Day is coming up in the States next week. Sadly, so much has been in the news lately about civil rights violations all over the world that it’s difficult to comprehend that anything has improved since King’s legacy survives. As a teacher, I want to be sure that my students learn empathy and respect for others. But it’s hard to find lessons that hit the right chord with every grade level I teach.
For integration with current events, middle and high school teachers should definitely check out the multitude of lesson plans for civil rights on the New York Times’ Learning Network.
Do you teach Kindergarten? You can teach a lesson about civil rights, too! Check out this adorable idea from Joelle Trayers, where she assigned her students to imagine what rights snow people would demand!
UPDATE 12/1/2020: If you are looking for more holiday ideas, here is my new Winter Holidays Wakelet that I will be continually updating throughout December. I also just posted a S.C.A.M.P.E.R. Through Winter Jamboard that you can access here.
One of the creative thinking tools that my students learn is S.C.A.M.P.E.R. It is an acronym to help people to remember different ways inventive ideas can happen: Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Another Use, and Rearrange. It was originally developed by a man named Bob Eberle. The holidays lend themselves to this type of thinking, as the students are already feeling a little loose and silly – willing to take risks with unusual ideas. Here is a link to a first grade teacher’s activity in which her students had to think of ideas for the putting candy canes to another use. And here are some other ones I’ve used:
Substitute other materials for making a “snowman” for a place where it never snows.
Combine two holidays and draw a picture of a family celebrating them.
Adapt Santa’s sleigh to another environment – like the desert or outer space.
Modify (Magnify or Minimize) a holiday dessert.
Put flying reindeer to another use for the rest of the year.
Eliminate presents from a holiday. What could be done to celebrate instead?
Rearrange the holiday calendar. What months would have which holidays, and why?