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Wesmere ES first grade teachers take students around the world to study holidays

  Wesmere Elementary School first grade teachers Shannon Nelson and Wendy Traina “virtually” took students around the world to study winter holidays and new cultures.

The Holidays Around the World lessons touch on many parts of District 202 curriculum including social emotional learning, social studies, writing and math.

Students received paper luggage with a travel scrapbook and country stickers to put on their luggage after each visit, Nelson said.

Each day students travel to a new country via plane, helicopter, or train. Nelson and Traina dress like flight attendants when they travel by plane.

Students study the country’s culture through books, music, interactive activities. They also talk about winter holiday celebrations including Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, and the Chinese New Year, Nelson said.

Students take notes for their travel scrapbooks to include the country’s flag, location, and pictures of a holiday tradition like a yule log in France, Traina and Nelson said.

Special guests also visited virtual classrooms to talk about countries including Poland, Sweden, and Brazil.

Nelson and Traina include the Holiday Around the World unit each year but modified it with technology this year due to remote learning.

“We can’t take away first grade fun just because we are in remote learning,” Nelson said.

Students love the activities and cannot wait to log onto Zoom in the morning, Nelson and Traina said.

“I am lucky to be able to do this because I have first graders,” Traina said. “The play along with me and use their imaginations with me.”

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