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Let's Party!

Main Core Tie

Social Studies - 1st Grade
Standard 1 Objective 1

Time Frame

6 class periods of 45 minutes each

Group Size

Large Groups

Life Skills



Utah LessonPlans


Students will be motivated to reflect on family traditions and customs of celebrations. As they share these 'unique' practices discussion will bring to light the differences and similarities of families. Students are introduced to other celebrations from around the world as well as right here at home.


For the Teacher: chart paper and markers;TV/VCR video clips of celebrations (i.e.,Parenthood, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Nutcracker); cassette tape of birthday song, Christmas carols, and/or Channukah songs;

Background for Teachers

I use this lesson right after Thanksgiving as an introduction to the holiday season. This will help the children to understand the concept of celebration and the differences/similarities so that they will have a foundation for the whole month of December. I introduce the students to several different celebrations that take place in December and spend a few days on each; Diwali, Channukah, Kwaanza, and Christmas around the world.

Intended Learning Outcomes

1. Identify similarities/differences of celebrations. 2. List ways to celebrate, reasons to celebrate, outcomes of celebrations. 3. Celebrate our 'uniqueness.'

Instructional Procedures

Motivation for discussion of celebrations is a short video clip of the birthday party in 'Parenthood' or 'Mrs. Doubtfire' (or any other video that is appropriate for first grade. After viewing the video clip the discussion begins with these teacher questions: 'What did we just watch? What was happening? How do you know that it was a birthday party?' Students volunteer observations. (Viewing a second time might help sutdents recall what they watched.) T: 'Let's make a list of the things that tell us this is a birthday celebration.' CELEBRATIONS Chart - Column 1 will be labeled 'Things We Use to Celebrate'. As children volunteer their observations be sure to put child's name by his/her observation. T: 'Let's read a story about a birthday.' After reading the story, ask students if there is anything else to add to the list. T: 'We are going to look at another video clip.' (View a Christmas party, Channukah party, or Kwaanza party.) 'Is this the same kind of party? What did you see at this party? Can we add anything to our list?' (Add student's additional observations.) T: 'Do you think we should add a new column to our chart?'What Different Things Do We Celebrate? As students volunteer different celebrations put his/her name beside contribution.


1. Have student draw, color, paint, collage, or write about his/her favorite celebration. Remind him/her to use the chart for ideas to add to the detail of the picture.
2. Expand the study of celebrations by researching other December holidays/celebrations; i.e., Channukah, Diwali, Kwaanza, and Christmas around the world. During math I have the students make 'deepawali's', oil lamps from India's celebration of Diwali. The student lamps are made out of construction paper and we make as many as we can (red = 1's, tuquoise = 5's, and green = 10's) and string and hang them from the ceiling to represent the 'deepawalis' decorations counting by 1's, 5's, and 10's.
3. For a language arts experience during Kwaanza, we read the recipe for Benne Cakes from the Kwaanza website and talk about recipes for special celebration foods. Then we write the recipe down and we make the cookies in the classroom. The students then have a treat idea to take home.
4. We visit the Channukah websites and learn about the celebration. We send Channukah cards from the bluemountain website to the other first grade classrooms.
5. As a culminating project we plan our own 'Class December Party' using the chart to prompt ideas for the ways to celebrate, the reason to celebrate, the emotions of our celebration, etc.

Assessment Plan

The assessment of this project will be the successful completion of the different tasks assigned in the course of the unit. The students should be able to tell why the family traditions of celebrating is important. Students should be able to compare and contrast the different ways people celebrate and be familiar with the different reasons families and neighbors celebrate.


Hoban, Russell A Birthday for Frances (Scholastic Inc., 1994)

Created: 03/31/1999
Updated: 02/04/2018