In December we put up a Christmas Tree, hung lights and exchanged gifts. One of our students asked if we would be celebrating in May and June for Ramadan and Eid. Of course! All of our students are encouraged to share their customs and traditions with us and we’ve been learning all year from each other. We celebrated Chinese New Year, Ukrainian Christmas, World Hijab Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and now we’re getting ready for Ramadan and Eid.
We speak eleven languages in our classroom this year. Out of twenty-nine students, eight were born outside of Canada (three in the United States, two in Syria, one in Palestine, one in Turkey and one in Russia). We have a greeting on our door in English, French, Spanish, Urdu, Arabic, Russian, Tagalog, Filipino, Portuguese, Ukrainian, and Mandarin. We are Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, but we are all in the same class in the same school-so we are a family.
Next week we will start hanging our decorations. Students were encouraged to bring in lightweight cardboard from cereal boxes. We cut the cardboard into stars and crescent moons. Using a one hole punch, we punched a hole into each which for a string that is used for hanging. We used metallic tempera paint to paint the stars and moons. For coloured cardboard, it took a few coats. Some of the students used glitter glue or glitter paint to add some sparkle to their pieces. We even experimented by covering the cardboard with tin foil (mixed results-use white glue and let dry for 24 hours).
We used coat hangers and hung the stars and moons off the hanger. Some students combined their projects together creating a mobile which we hung in the centre of the room and others hung their from anything we could find (the curtain rods, the random nails in the walls etc.) We hung up the white Christmas lights again and made some paper lanterns (similar to the Chinese Lanterns found everywhere online).
We collected books about Ramadan (see our upcoming post for some of the titles) and shared our favourites with each other.
Most of all, the feeling that we were all in the room celebrating together has made our Muslim friends feel welcome and included in all of our traditions. Some of them are fasting during this time, so we’ve also been careful to plan our social and celebratory events for after Ramadan.
How do you acknowledge different faiths, languages and celebrations in your classroom? Be sure to share your ideas with us by commenting below.