Learning About Family Traditions
Students will be able to describe their family traditions with relevant details and add drawings to descriptions to provide additional detail.
- Share an anecdote about a favorite tradition from childhood. Explain that this is something that you did repeatedly, maybe seasonally or yearly, depending on the circumstances of the celebration. (e.g., On the first weekend of every new year, all of my family meets together at my cousins' house. Then, we go to the skating rink at Bear Mountain. We get there just before the sun goes down, and we skate while it's dark out and the rink is lit up by the lights. Then, we get hot chocolate to warm up from the cold. Our parents did this before we were born, and my cousins and I have done this since we were very little. It's a special time that we get to spend together to kick off the new year together as a family.)
- Explain that this is something your family does together because it is special and meaningful. This is called a tradition.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(10 minutes)
- Write the word tradition on the board, and ask students to repeat the word after you. Invite students to turn and talk to each other about what the word means.
- Define a tradition as the beliefs and ways of doing things that are passed down from grown ups to children. Point out that traditions have usually been used for a long time, but that sometimes people decide to start new traditions as a family.
- Utilize some of the picture books in the Suggested Media section to give more examples of traditions people honor at different times of the year.
- Call on students to share some of the fall family traditions they talked about at home with their loved ones. (e.g., pumpkin picking, carving or painting pumpkins, bobbing for apples, reading a specific fall-themed book together, going to see the leaves changing colors, apple picking, going on a hayride, decorating the house, attending a fall festival, etc.)
- Display your complete copy of the worksheet (the Fall Family Interview worksheet is for lower grades; Conduct an Interview: Fall Family Traditions is for upper grades) and share some of the traditions you participate in with your loved ones. Point out that traditions do not only have to be with family. They can be shared with friends, at school, or in another area of life, like a place of worship, on a sports team, or in your neighborhood. Go over the rest of your worksheet with the class.
Guided Practice(20 minutes)
- Instruct students to take out their interview worksheet and tell them that today, they will share their fall traditions with the class.
- Give students one minute to review the tradition they will talk about, thinking about the important things they want to share about the tradition.
- Divide the class into groups of three students, and give them time to share the important information about their traditions with each other. Then, put two groups of three together to create a group of six students. Provide time to allow each individual to share in this larger group.
- Display a teacher copy of Part 2 of the worksheet, and write a few sentences that describe one of the traditions from Part 1 of the worksheet.
Independent working time(15 minutes)
- Instruct students to complete Part 2 of their interview worksheet independently.
- Give students time to write sentences. For the lower grades, provide time and coloring materials for them to draw an illustration to go with their writing.
- Give students a word bank of key words to use in their writing.
- Provide sentence frames for students to use when sharing answers.
- Invite students to work in a small, teacher-led group to complete the independent work.
- Challenge students to write more sentences about their tradition. Encourage them to use more details, or include an anecdote of a time that stands out in their mind.
- Have students compare two of their favorite traditions in their writing and illustration.
- Invite students to create a fall family tradition bulletin board in the classroom or the hallway, highlighting the variety of traditions shared by students.
- Instruct students to focus their writing on the meaning and origins of the tradition, rather than the facts and details about how it is celebrated or honored.
- Tell students that they will complete a sentence by speaking, writing, or drawing. Instruct students to reflect on the traditions their classmates shared in today's lesson and think of a tradition they liked or one they are curious about. Write the following sentence frames on the board:
- I like the tradition of ____ because ____.
- I want to learn more about the tradition of ____ because ____.
Review and closing(4 minutes)
- Have students share the sentences they completed with a partner. Then, call on volunteers to share with the group.
- Remind the class that traditions are the beliefs and ways of doing things that are passed down from grown ups to children, and traditions are honored for many different events and times of the year. Tell students that they themselves could suggest a new tradition to do in their family. It is important to keep old traditions alive by continuing to celebrate them, but it's always fun to add a new tradition. And remember, a tradition can be something as simple as a trip to the park/movies after a special meal (e.g., Thanksgiving).