Mexican Holiday Traditions and Fiesta

¡Hola Mexico!

We won’t be having your normal party. There won’t be any cupcakes. No balloons or pointed little hats. This December, Room 130 is going south of the border to learn more about our neighbor —Mexico.

Over 17% of our country is Hispanic, which is the largest minority group in America, and according to the New York Times, America has more Spanish speakers than Spain. More than half of the foreign-born population in the US is from Latin America, with more immigrants coming from Mexico than any other country.

Yet, many of us have little exposure to the rich culture of a significant and growing population in our own country and an important neighbor to the south.

In December and January, Room 130 will experience Mexico and its traditions through a look at the holidays Mexicans celebrate during this time of the year.

Nuestro Fiesta de Navidad

Our class will learn about Mexico through study of the following traditions celebrated during this time of the year:

  • El Nacimiento—the primary holiday display in most Mexican homes, a nativity scene complete with moss, lights, animals, cactus, mountains, and many people.
  • Arbol de Navidad—typically a decorated artificial tree or shrub. Ours is will be displayed with Flores de Noche Buena (poinsettias).
  • Las Posadas—celebrated from December 16th to December 24th (Noche Buena). This is a reenactment of the story of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter in Bethlehem. Entire towns in Mexico form processions to “seek shelter” in the inn (posada) and have a huge fiesta when they finally find room in the stable. Children are usually treated to a piñata.
  • Noche Buena—December 24th, the last night of Las Posadas processions. This evening usually involves a meal with traditional tamales (corn husks lined with corn dough and filling and steamed), and champurrado (a corn-thickened hot chocolate). Buñuelos de Navidad (fried flour tortillas with sugar and cinnamon) are also enjoyed.
  • Dia de los Reyes—Three Kings Day, January 6th. This is the traditional day in Mexico that children receive gifts. Their shoes are left out and they awake to find little gifts in their shoes left by the visiting Wise Men.

In addition to studying about these Mexican traditions, we will have a fiesta that will include making traditional Mexican tacos (not like Taco Bell!), buñuelos, and Mexican hot chocolate (move over Swiss Miss!), having a piñata, singing a few traditional canciónes (songs), and playing games. Later in the day, we’ll play the Jewish dreidel game and compare that game and tradition to a similar game Mexican children play.

The ultimate goal will be to experience the culture of such a large and growing portion of our own country and one of our nearest neighbors. This will allow us to celebrate the differences among cultures, appreciate the wealth of diversity our country enjoys, and recognize the value of our own traditions and cultures. The hope is that the world will become a little smaller place to Room 130. And so, to that end,

¡Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo!

Does your family have a holiday tradition that you would like to share with our class? Feel free to comment, email or send in a note and we’ll compare and contrast with Mexican traditions.

Class activities for Friday, December 6

Spelling: None today.

Cursive: Cursive pp. 36-38 are available and due on Friday.

Reading: We read a text about two kids thinking about how vision works.

Writing: We talked more about writing moment by moment action details so the reader can see what the characters are doing and how they are moving.

Students also started working on revising.

A fiction story is due Sunday, December 15. Homework on weekdays is to work on writing for 15 minutes. Your student should be finished with their draft and revising by making changes. One change could be to add more talking, more action or more visual details. Ask your student to read their story to you and you can give some ideas.

Math: None today due to art. Homework on weekdays is to practice math for 15 minutes using MobyMax or Khan Academy.

Science: We read about how light moves and helps use see.

Social Studies: We used this time to make a holiday decoration in our class. We’ll be learning Mexican traditions this December as a way to undertand a culture that is different than ours.

Character Strength: We are learning about kindness this week.

Notes:

  • Our field trip to the Michigan Capitol and Historical Museum is Thursday, December 12. Students need to arrive to school at 7:15 am and will need a sack lunch with disposable containers.
  • Have you started a Daily Homework Time with your student? If homework causes tears or battles, or if you have had to deal with missing assignments or low grades, read more about Daily Homework Time and start one with your student. It will help!
  • Check out our class calendar to stay up-to-date.
  • View grades, assignments, and attendance at JupiterGrades.

Our Mission:
All students in Room 130 will do their best and get ready for 5th grade.

Class activities for Thursday, December 5

Spelling: Students practiced spelling words with common patterns for the long /e/ sound: e, ee, ea, y.

Cursive: Cursive pp. 36-38 are available and due on Friday.

Reading: Today was a Literature Circles reading day.

Writing: We talked about writing moment by moment action details so the reader can see what the characters are doing and how they are moving.

Students also worked on drafting.

A fiction story is due Sunday, December 15. Homework on weekdays is to work on writing for 15 minutes. Your student should be finished with their draft tonight, with an ending that solves the problem.

Math: We practiced multiplying using the partial products method today. Homework on weekdays is to practice math for 15 minutes using MobyMax or Khan Academy.

Science: We used a model to show how light shines on a prey, reflects off of it and shines into the eye of a predator. The eye sends a message to its brain so it can see the prey.

Social Studies: We learned more about how presidential vetoes and overrides by Congress are a form of checks and balances.

Character Strength: We are learning about kindness this week.

Notes:

  • Our field trip to the Michigan Capitol and Historical Museum is Thursday, December 12. Students need to arrive to school at 7:15 am and will need a sack lunch with disposable containers.
  • Have you started a Daily Homework Time with your student? If homework causes tears or battles, or if you have had to deal with missing assignments or low grades, read more about Daily Homework Time and start one with your student. It will help!
  • Check out our class calendar to stay up-to-date.
  • View grades, assignments, and attendance at JupiterGrades.

Our Mission:
All students in Room 130 will do their best and get ready for 5th grade.

Class activities for Wednesday, December 4

Spelling: We worked on MobyMax Language today.

Cursive: Cursive pp. 36-38 are available and due on Friday.

Reading: Today was a reading skills practice day using MobyMax Foundational Reading and Reading Stories.

Writing: We talked a little more about stretching out a scene by writing five sentences of visual details to show a setting, instead of just one word or sentence.

Students also worked on drafting.

A fiction story is due Sunday, December 15. Homework on weekdays is to work on writing for 15 minutes. Your student should be finished with about 30 lines half page of their draft by tonight. The characters in the story should be trying to solve the problem.

Math: We practiced estimating products by rounding again today. Homework on weekdays is to practice math for 15 minutes using MobyMax or Khan Academy.

Science: None today due to the late start.

Social Studies: None today due to the late start.

Character Strength: We are learning about kindness this week.

Notes:

  • Our field trip to the Michigan Capitol and Historical Museum is Thursday, December 12. Students need to arrive to school at 7:15 am and will need a sack lunch with disposable containers. We still need two more chaperones! Find more details or request to be a chaperone here.
  • Have you started a Daily Homework Time with your student? If homework causes tears or battles, or if you have had to deal with missing assignments or low grades, read more about Daily Homework Time and start one with your student. It will help!
  • Check out our class calendar to stay up-to-date.
  • View grades, assignments, and attendance at JupiterGrades.

Our Mission:
All students in Room 130 will do their best and get ready for 5th grade.

Class activities for Tuesday, December 3

Spelling: Students continued working on their Words to Learn list by correcting words they missed on the last spelling test. This is your student’s custom spelling list to practice for the next test.

Cursive: Cursive pp. 36-38 are available and due on Friday.

Reading: We used this time to research facts about the poinsettia plant. We learned why it has that name, where it is from, who named it, what kind of plant it is and if it is poisonous. Ask your student for the answers!

Writing: We practiced stretching out a scene by writing five sentences of visual details to show a setting. Many visual details make a place seem real.

Students also worked on drafting.

A fiction story is due Sunday, December 15. Homework on weekdays is to work on writing for 15 minutes. Your student should be finished with a half page of their draft by tonight.

Math: We practiced multiplying two digit numbers using the area model. Homework on weekdays is to practice math for 15 minutes using MobyMax or Khan Academy.

Science: We used a simulation to see how light reflects of an object and goes through the pupil into an eye. Then a message is sent to the brain so that a creature can think about what it is seeing. Homework is to finish notebook pp. 22-23 if not done in class.

Social Studies: We used this time to research poinsettias. We will be learning about what December is like in Mexico. Poinsettias are from Mexico, and we have several of them in our room!

Character Strength: We are learning about kindness this week.

Notes:

  • Our field trip to the Michigan Capitol and Historical Museum is Thursday, December 12. Students need to arrive to school at 7:15 am and will need a sack lunch with disposable containers. We still need some chaperones. Find more details or request to be a chaperone here.
  • Have you started a Daily Homework Time with your student? If homework causes tears or battles, or if you have had to deal with missing assignments or low grades, read more about Daily Homework Time and start one with your student. It will help!
  • Check out our class calendar to stay up-to-date.
  • View grades, assignments, and attendance at JupiterGrades.

Our Mission:
All students in Room 130 will do their best and get ready for 5th grade.