Holiday Traditions

Brittany Zae

This lesson is designed to help students understand what holidays and festivals are important parts culture through multiple activities, discussions and research surrounding holidays.

Grade Level: K - 2nd

Subject: Social Studies

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

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Objectives & Outcomes

Students will be able to demonstrate an appreciation for a holiday that is celebrated by another country or culture by sharing what is learned about the holiday and creating unique symbols to represent the important components of the holiday.

Materials Needed

  • The Polar Express book - Get it here
  • construction paper ‘boarding pass’ for each student (this can easily be made)
  • markers
  • stickers


Opening to Lesson

Brainstorm American traditions and other traditions for Christmas as a class, using a bubble map or other graphic organizer on the white board or smart board.

Body of Lesson

Direct Teaching

Read The Polar Express aloud to students

Guided Practice 1

Move the desks into rows with an aisle down the middle to make our Polar Express Christmas train, and give students their Polar Express train tickets (a simple picture you can print online) and punch it with a hole punch to make it official! (CFU: talk about all of the Christmas/holiday traditions the students do at home with our families.)

Guided Practice 2

Have students write about a traditions  they have in their family, complete with one sentence describing it, one colored picture representing the origin of the tradition, and the month or date it is celebrated.

Independent Practice

Have students compare and contrast their celebration with the celebrations of their elbow partners. (CFU: Observe as they work together in groups)


Introduce the venn diagram to the students and fill the graphic organizer on the board as you have volunteers share their traditions with the class.

Read our guide on Teaching Holidays in the Classroom.

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Assessment & Evaluation

Through guided questions, close monitoring and informal observation; the teacher will be able to assess student’s ability and understanding of the subject being introduced. Through individually assessing during independent practice and reviewing during guided practice the teacher will be able to evaluate students.

Modification & Differentiation

Students may work in groups or individually in order to complete their assignments. In order to accommodate for all students, allow extra time to review for lower students and extra worksheets to occupy the time of advanced students

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