All aboard Winter Airlines for an unforgettable, eight-country tour of holidays around the world.
That’s what first-graders in Breton Downs Elementary teacher Stacey Szczepanski’s class were treated to in the weeks leading up to winter break. Jodi Westgate and Molly Anderson’s first-graders embarked on similar journeys.
“It connects so well with our (studies of) culture and traditions, along with our map units in social studies,” Szczepanski said. First-graders also visited Frederik Meijer Gardens to see the annual holiday trees around the world display.
Teachers simulated the airplane boarding process — with colored rows called instead of those real-life “zones.” There were in-flight movies about destinations that included Israel, Germany, the Netherlands, Mexico and Russia.
Each journey also included baggage claim and “suitcase” folders that students packed with worksheets about the destination countries. Reading, writing and handwriting, phonics and art were integrated into every lesson.
As Szczepanski’s students filled in worksheets recently on Netherlands holiday traditions, they shared traditions at their own houses.
Artley Townshend said her mom makes pumpkin bread. Awna Burrell said she gets chocolate waffles.
Jackson Dill said his family “has these little things (party poppers) we all pop after dinner.” Pete Baker said he gets to stay up extra late.
Quinn Brown said he visits friends and family. “My cousin has a hot tub, and we get to go in it,” he said.
And Phineas Rood said his family sometimes visits his grandmother in Florida over the holidays. He couldn’t recall the town, but “it’s the white house with the flat roof,” he said.