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Red Bay celebrates Christmas Around the World

By Brandi Miller For the FCT


The magic and meaning of the Christmas season is something children look forward to every year. The anticipation, pageantry and magical season make this holiday a favorite among children all around the world. Red Bay High School first grade teachers Jill Hester and Dawn Shotts are making sure their students know the traditions and customs that make Christmas special worldwide.

“I enjoy teaching the children about other countries and traditions,” said Shotts. “A major skill in first grade is comparing and contrasting. Christmas Around the World is a fun way to incorporate this skill. Students learn best when learning is fun. I love that my students come in each day wondering where we will travel to that day. We have learned we can travel in our minds and use our imaginations.”

First grade Christmas Around the World began in America with a discussion about how Americans celebrate Christmas. Then the classes “journeyed” to Mexico. Joy Berry shared with the first grade about a mission trip she went on to Mexico in which she learned about the cultures of the country. Two first grade students, Melody Cupples and Yostin Ramirez, modeled a dress and sombrero from Mexico. The students were able to taste guava, and Berry reported “mixed reviews” as to whether the tropical treat was enjoyed by the students.

The next stop of the Christmas global tour took students to Guatemala. Isabel Makepeace shared with the students the traditions and celebrations of the Guatemalan culture. She shared about how there is no heating or air conditioner systems. She shared with the students the food, customs and weather that Guatemala comprises.

“We didn’t have power until 5:00 each day when they started the generator,” said Makepeace.

A favorite among the students was hearing Makepeace speak Spanish during her presentation.

“This has been so much fun for the students,” said Hester. “I have loved watching how excited they are each day while we are doing Christmas around the world. The guest presenters have made this project especially authentic, and we would like to thank them.”

The students begin the Christmas Around the World tour each session by gathering their “suitcases” – folders in which to collect all the data the students gather on the trip. The students then make little booklets about each country, color the flags of the country and list the facts of the country.

“I like getting our suitcases and discovering new places,” said first grade student Ariana Dostica.

Barbara Gonzales will be presenting Chile to the students, Kathy Norman will be presenting Columbia, and Lowell Humphres will be presenting Ecuador before the project concludes.