Writing About the Holidays
The holiday season, for many, extends from November through February. Families will be celebrating Diwali, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the New Year at various times during these months. Writing about holidays is a wonderful way to share cultures in words, pictures, and music. Yes, holidays also can be an emotionally difficult time for your students. So, being sensitive to these emotions, you can design lessons for which students can write about real or imagined celebrations. You know your students and can adapt the lesson to fit the setting in which you teach.
Now is a time to plan writing assignments that draw on their real or imagined experiences with family and friends. This is a great time to tap into their creativity in writing sensory images – literally and figuratively. The assignment can be published on your class website or shared with other classrooms across the nation. Remember, to confirm new sites with your administrator before launching a class site for your students.
I’d recommend beginning the assignment before the holiday breaks and picking it up when the students return. Starting prior to break will encourage them to be alert and maybe even journal while away school. Hey, I’m the eternal optimist. This linked assignment “Holiday Memory” can get you started.
Kick it up a notch and ask students to include x number of figurative images, too – metaphors, similes, personification, hyperbole, synesthesia, etc. How about onomatopoeia, assonance, and consonance too.
Adding, substituting figurative images usually works well during a revision step. You could ask students to circle the images already used, and then experiment with ways to substitute or expand with figurative images, more concrete nouns, or vivid verbs. When students have a goal, they usually meet it.