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According to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, schools should not only focus on students’ mastery of core subjects, but also promote their understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes into those subjects. One of these themes is global awareness, which involves learning from and working collaboratively with individuals representing diverse cultures, religions and lifestyles in a spirit of mutual respect and open dialogue.

Here are some ideas that will help you enhance your students’ global awareness during this holiday season.

Around the World

It’s winter holiday time, a time when many Americans end the year gathering with relatives, enjoying special foods and giving gifts. It’s also a great time of year to teach students about the importance of having an open mind about different cultures and traditions.

Kimberly Nelson, a teacher in Sarasota County, Florida, has created a website on which she’s posted a unit entitled Holidays Around the World. During this unit, students “visit” several countries around the globe and learn how winter holidays are celebrated in each area. The countries include France, Germany, England, Holland/The Netherlands, Italy, Mexico, Israel, Sweden and Africa.

Here’s to the Bright New Year

Although New Year’s Day comes during the winter school break, it provides a great springboard for a number of educational activities. TheHolidayZone.com features many activities that you can use effectively either before or after the holiday. They include art and craft projects to celebrate the new year, discussion topics about New Year’s Day, language activities related to New Year’s Day, children’s songs for New Year’s Day, reproducible coloring and activities sheets as well as recommended books and links about New Year’s Day.

Here’s to the Things That Are Yet to Come

In an online article entitled “Winter Celebrations,” National Geographic spotlights the unique traditions, celebrations and holidays that occur around the world during December and January. Students will learn about the Chinese New Year, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Day, Three Kings Day and Winter Solstice.

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