Archive for December, 2008

Ms. Caputo’s Classes Movie “Christmas In Spain”

Christmas In Italia

If you come by room 306 you will see what we have been up to in V44. What have we been up to? Well we have been learning about Buon Natale or Christmas in Italy. As you may know in Italy they eat a lot of pizza and macaroni. Here some ways they celebrate Christmas in Italy.

Manger scenes or Nativity54569zooma

In Italy a very religious and catholic country the Nativity is a major symbol of Christmas time. You see pictures and statues of the Christ child’s Birth everywhere. They consist of figurines, in clay or plaster , of the infant Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Italian Santa Claus, Strega Nona and La Befana6a00b8ea0716eb1bc000cd9703b4094cd5-500pi

In the United States you are familiar with Santa Claus or St. Nick. He comes down the Chimney and brings presents to good people. Not so in Italy.

In our class we read a book Christmas Strega Nona.It is based on the story of the Befana. In the book Strega Nona a witch has magic. It is Christmas Eve and Strega Nona did not want to use her magic, because she felt Christmas had it’s own magic. She tells her nephew Big Anthony to do chores for her. But he does not do them. This makes Strega Nona very upset because now they cannot have their Christmas Celebration. So Strega Nona goes to mass and she lets every one know that she will not be having the annual Christmas feast. She returns home and everybody surprises her with a beautiful Christmas feast that Anthony put together. big_anthonyStrega Nona is surprised at how thoughtful Big Anthony was.

This story comes from an ancient tradition in Italy. The tradition of La Befana. aosta_1It is said that Befana lived in the town of Aosta in Northern Italy. The story of La Befana says that Befana an old women or witch is working very hard. sm_010_8_0001-copyThey call her Busy Befana. She cleans her house and bakes all kinds of treats. She works all day.

magi_in_cammino_small When Christ is born, The Three kings pass her house on the way to Bethelehem to see the Christ child. They invite her to take the journey with them to find the Christ Child. She says she is too busy. Sweeping Constantly.

befana012She goes to sleep and the Christmas star wakes her up. She changes her mind and wishes she went with the three kings.

She goes to find the three kings and angels come and help her fly. She brings her baked gifts to all the good children and looks for the three wise men. To the bad children she brings coal and ashes. Now every year in Italy the good and bad children wait for the Befana, their version of Santa Claus.

How to Celebrate Christmas in Spain by Ms. Caputo’s Class

We are learning about Christmas in Spain. We did some research about Christmas in Spain. In Spain they have a tradition called the Hoguerashogueras. This takes place on December 21st. This is an old tradition. In it people jump over small fires on the Winter Solstice the shortest day of the year. They believe this will prevent illness and sickness for the long winter ahead. The fire blesses them for the Winter.

c982re2At Christmas one of the best things they have is the beautiful markets. They are gorgeous. Selling flowers, fruits, candy and all kinds of gifts.

Spain is a catholic country so they are very religious. On Christmas Eve they ring the bells telling everyone to go to Church. This is the mass of Rooster.

75448673_ebcc9012a4The most beautiful of the Candlelit service is in the monastery of Montseratin the high mountains of Barcelona. They also do a Nativity scene that has the baby Jesus in it. The Spanish word for it is Nacimiento.In Barcelona they bring lit candles to the mass. The Spanish call this Mass La Misa Regallo.

Then comes Christmas dinner and it is never eaten until way after midnight, the people do not eat food all day, they fast until the midnight meal. christmas_around_the_world Click on the Christmas quilt to hear a Spanish Christmas carol

After the meal they sing Christmas carols. They sing until the early morning hours. Christmas Day is spent at Church and feasts.

Christmas in Spain by Ms. Schron’s Class

map-of-spain-1We are learning about Spain and how they celebrate Christmas. pesebreThe Nativity is the one of their main things or as they call it the Nacimiento. Every home has a nativity with a baby Jesus in it

Christmas Markets

spanish-christmas-markets001Every year at Christmas they have elaborate Christmas markets. Every year they set up markets flowers, candles, handmade gifts, and decorations. These markets are very special and only come at Christmas.

La Misa Regallo


On Christmas Eve they hear the ( click on the bell)j0269082

bells ring calling them to La Misa Regallo or the mass of the Rooster. After the mass they have a big feast which the main meal is turkey or pavo. They never eat dinner till after midnight.

The Three Wise Men


Santa does not bring gifts but the three wise men do. The Spanish Christmas lasts until January 6th, On the Eve of Epiphany, January 5th, children place their shoes on the doorstep, and in the secret of the night, the Three Wise Men pass leaving gifts. January 6th, they have parades in the streets.

Christmas in China by Mr. K’s Class

china-w1China is the fourth largest country in the world.great_wall_of_china China has a special wall that is thousands of years old, and thousands of miles long called the Great Wall of China.

giant-panda-china-big1There are many animals in China but the most popular animal in China is the Giant Panda.The Giant Panda is the most endangered animal in China.

dragon000624_1In their culture the Dragon symbolizes good luck and is used as a good luck charm.

This Christmas our class is studying about how they celebrate the Christmas holiday in China. China is a very special country and they have a big Christmas celebration in some parts of China. Not all are Christians in China. China has different religions. So not everybody celebrates Christmas.

1999906-red-lanterns-will-brighten-the-homes-of-the-chinese-2China uses the dragon as a symbol during celebrations of Christmas. The signature colors in China are red and gold/yellow. The Chinese people hang red and gold paper lanterns all over their homes and outdoors at Christmas time . Some Chinese people even have a Christmas tree like us.

2418839698_822a74da5f On their tree Chinese people use a lot of different kinds of paper ornaments,lanterns, flowers, animals, and especially the dragon. All of these ornaments are handmade.

cimg1091_peking_duckAt Christmas in China they eat peking duck, and they eat delicious dumplings, Bow ties, walnut cookies and of course rice. 200512_reuters_paul_yeung-thThey have a Santa Claus like ours but he is called Dun Che Lao Ren which means Christmas old Man.

And how do you say Merry Christmas in Chinese? Well in Mandarin it is Kung Hsi Hsi Nien bing Chu Shen Tan and in Cantonese it is Gun Tso Sun Tan Gung Haw Sun.

Well Kung Hsi Hsi Nien bing Chu Shen Tan (Merry Christmas) to all ,and to all a good night!

Mr. Mac’s class is creating a Webquest about Christmas in Cuba

sclausYou are a reporter who has been sent to Cuba to conduct research for an article on how they celebrate Christmas. You will work with a partner to compare and contrast the facts that you have gathered and to write an article about how Christmas is celebrated in Cuba.

At the end of your journey you will discover how Cubans traditionally celebrate this special holiday.

Process: use These Websites to answer the following questions:

Background: For many years Christmas celebrations were frowned upon and in 1969 the Cuban government imposed an outright ban on this cherished holiday.

1. When did they start Celebrating Christmas in Cuba, after it had been banned by Fidel Castro?

2. What does Noche Buena mean? What Date does it take place?

3. Name 4 foods that are traditional to the Cuban Christmas dinner?

4. What are some traditional desserts in Cuba served at Christmas?

5. What is Los Reyas Magos? Describe this traditon.

6.When date do Cubans receive Christmas Gifts?

7.Describe the Cuban Christmas Tree and traditional decorations?

8.Discuss how Cubans celebrate New Years Eve.

9.When did Cuba become a Christian country?

10. What does La Misa De Gallo refer to? What is the English Translation of this word?

After you answer these questions use this information to write your Report on Christmas in Cuba for the Newspaper!

Christmas In Mexico By Ms. Brassfield’s Class

Los Posados


Our class is learning about Mexico and how it celebrates Christmas. In Mexico Christmas is a religious holiday. They focus on the birth of Jesus and the Nativity. They start celebrating their Christmas on December 16th. It is called Los Pasados. For nine days they celebrate before Christmas Eve or Bueno Noche’ “Good Night”

This is a time of celebration when Mexican children have the Posadas before Christmas. christmas3For nine days they dress up like Joseph and Mary and lead the neighborhood children from house to house singing a songs that asks for a place to stay where the baby Jesus can be born. Singers inside the houses they pass sing a song that refuses to let them stay there.

Finally, they arrive at the third house where they are invited in. Once they let them in, the group of guests comes into the home and kneels around the Nativity scene to pray the Rosary and they then they have a party. Usually, there are severalpinata008 piñatas filled with wrapped candies and small toys. The kids, one by one, are blind-folded, given a strong stick and allowed their turn at whacking the piñata until it breaks and the toys and candy spill out.
The Posados starts on December 16th and lasts until December 24th with each family taking a turn hosting the party.

Guest Post: Peruvian Christmas by Ms. Dickerson’s Class

Peru is a country in South America.peru_map

Our class is doing a project on how they celebrate Christmas in Peru.

Christmas Eve is very important in  Peru,  or as they call it Noche Buena, which  means “Good Night” in Spanish. On Christmas Eve, the 24th of December the families get together late at night. The Christmas holiday in Peru is very much for children. Traditional Christmas dinner includes Pavo ( which means turkey in Spanish) and apple sauce.

If you get invited to a Christmas Dinner, a traditional gift to bring to dinner is Paneton which is a tall bread like cake.

Children in Peru receive gifts from Santa Claus who dresses in his usual red fur coat, even though it is summer in Peru in December and much to warm for Santa’s heavy coat.

In Peru at Christmas the Nativity scene is very popular, they use altars called Retablos

peru-retablo which are boxes with statues of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. People crowd around them at Christmas time to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

At midnight in Peru on Christmas Eve the families fire off fireworks

fireworks like we do on the Fourth of July.

After midnight, children are supposed to go to bed. This is when the Christmas for the grown ups begins. Families have big parties in their own houses. A living and dinning room will typically become the dance floor. A good salsa song is always welcome. This is the adult Christmas party.

These tonos, or house parties, may last until 5:00 AM or even 6:00 AM, the summer season and warm temperatures make it a party atmosphere.

We hope you have a ¡Feliz Navidad y un prospero año nuevo! (Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!)

Winter Holidays Around the World, And Guest Posting!

worldOn the right side of this blog I am in the process of posting links to research Winter Holidays Around the world for our Multi-cultural holiday celebration. . If you don’t see your country of choice please let me know.

a-winter001This is also an invitation to all teachers to guest post about the countries Holiday that their class is studying. You could write a group piece with your class, take photos of your class making something, or even create a podcast/vodcast of your class exploring their countries holiday celebration.

December 7th: Pearl Harbor Day

pearlharbor-topperDecember 7: General Interest
1941 : Pearl Harbor bombed

At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II.

With diplomatic negotiations with Japan breaking down, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his advisers knew that an imminent Japanese attack was probable, but nothing had been done to increase security at the important naval base at Pearl Harbor. It was Sunday morning, and many military personnel had been given passes to attend religious services off base. At 7:02 a.m., two radio operators spotted large groups of aircraft in flight toward the island from the north, but, with a flight of B-17s expected from the United States at the time, they were told to sound no alarm. Thus, the Japanese air assault came as a devastating surprise to the naval base.

Much of the Pacific fleet was rendered useless: Five of eight battleships, three destroyers, and seven other ships were sunk or severely damaged, and more than 200 aircraft were destroyed. A total of 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,200 were wounded, many while valiantly attempting to repulse the attack. Japan’s losses were some 30 planes, five midget submarines, and fewer than 100 men. Fortunately for the United States, all three Pacific fleet carriers were out at sea on training maneuvers. These giant aircraft carriers would have their revenge against Japan six months later at the Battle of Midway, reversing the tide against the previously invincible Japanese navy in a spectacular victory.

The day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, President Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress and declared, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941–a date which will live in infamy–the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” After a brief and forceful speech, he asked Congress to approve a resolution recognizing the state of war between the United States and Japan. The Senate voted for war against Japan by 82 to 0, and the House of Representatives approved the resolution by a vote of 388 to 1. The sole dissenter was Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, a devout pacifist who had also cast a dissenting vote against the U.S. entrance into World War I. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States, and the U.S. government responded in kind.

The American contribution to the successful Allied war effort spanned four long years and cost more than 400,000 American lives.