As the days of the school year before the holiday break receded down to single digits, one teacher at Tucumcari High School found inspiration for education with the upcoming holiday.
High school’s Spanish instructor Mary Haase used the holiday for a special cross-cultural lesson for her students.
The instructor had her Advanced Spanish Class of 12 students look into not just the holiday of Christmas in both Mexico and the United States but also the celebrations of Chanukah and Kwanzaa which also take place in December. The lesson was called “The Holidays of December.”
“Each group had three students and they researched their subject in the library,” said Haase. “We spent seven days on it.”
When the research was done, the students did an illustrated report on the holiday and some of its traditions and specific aspects of its celebrations. The reports were placed along the east wall of the teacher’s classroom.
To illustrate the American Christmas traditions the students decorated a Christmas tree. To symbolize the Christmas traditions of Mexico, the students made the cones traditionally given to those taking part in Las Posadas.
Las Posadas is where people recreate the trek of Joseph and Mary from inn to inn looking for a place to stay by going from door in a specific area. It finally ends in a location designated a manager where a mini service is held.
To symbolize Chanukah the students displayed an example of the seasonal Menorah with its eight candles and also a dradle the toy Jewish children play with around Chanukah.
For Kwanzaa a replica of the seven (three green, three red and one black) candles which represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa was made.
“I think this did a lot for the students,” said Haase, “and it wasn’t just my advanced students that got advantage of this, but also the other students can see the presentations here (on her classroom wall) and learn from it. So it’s being shared.”