Strawberry Mansion: Final Stretch to Winter Break

First grade students created Kwanza's Kinara during an arts and crafts activity.

The students at L.P. Hill Elementary School already have their sights set on the end of the first half of the school year, most commonly known to them as holiday break.

“They get anxious knowing that break is only a few weeks away,” said Lacey Yoder, a first-grade teacher. “We try to use their excitement and incorporate an educational spin to it.”

And it works.

Aside from the normal curriculum, teachers incorporate the upcoming holidays into their lesson plans. They do not just focus on America’s mainstream holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah. They take the opportunity to explore other culture’s holiday celebrations as well.

“We’re going to do the Latin American tradition and how they celebrate Christmas, Kwanza, the Dutch tradition and other European traditions,” said Julianne Stoll, a first-grade teacher at the school.

First grade students created Kwanza's Kinara during an arts and crafts activity.

With her lesson plan, Stoll does her best to promote creativity by having the kids do various arts and crafts activities where they actively create an object. She finds the activities to be more beneficial than having the kids spend time with pre-made coloring sheets.

“I like to do more hands on crafts,” Stoll said. “To get the kids to think about how they can create, on their own, something brand new. It helps their thought process.”

The kids enjoy taking time out of their normal day to focus on a new culture and to be able to do a fun educational activity. It gives them the opportunity to learn something that they never knew existed.

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