Celebration

Celebrating the Winter Holidays – Part 5

Finally, our last Winter holiday to celebrate is the Chinese New Year. This year it will be celebrated on February 5th and will be the Year of the Pig. This is a very important holiday for the Chinese. All the family members will gather together. There are parades, fireworks, plays and feasts. Children are given red envelopes filled with money for the new year. People decorate their homes with red – the color of good luck! To ensure prosperity for the New Year, there are certain things that you must not do on the new year.

Pig for Chinese New Year
Year of the Pig – 2019
  • Don’t say any negative words!
  • Don’t break ceramics or glass.
  • Do not clean or sweep – make sure to have all the cleaning done before the new year!
  • Do not visit the wife’s family (That is saved for the second day of the year. To visit sooner brings bad luck to the marriage!).
  • Do not demand debt repayment.
  • Avoid fighting and crying. Don’t take any medicine.
  • Do not give new year blessings to someone still in bed!

Avoiding these actions is supposed to help usher in a prosperous new year. Some of our favorite ways to celebrate the Chinese New Year is to make masks, lanterns and of course paper dragons! This site has some great masks you can print and cut out for your own Chinese New Year mask. All 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac are included in this free download. Make sure to print out on card stock for best results! Lantern making is one of our favorite activities! There are simple lanterns for the younger crew and more complex lanterns to challenge the older kids. Whether you string these together for a fun garland or hang them all about the house, they make for a festive and fun decoration. Bonus points if you decide to decorate your lantern with Year of the Pig drawings. Here are some basic instructions for the simple lantern.

  1. Using red construction paper, fold the paper in half on the short side of the paper.
  2. Measure 1” from the end of the open long side of the folded paper and mark the line with a pencil. This is your ‘stop cutting’ line.
  3. On the opposite side of the folded paper from the line you just drew, measure 1” increments along the folded long edge. These are where you will use the scissors to cut the ribbons of your lantern.
  4. Using scissors, cut along the folded edge to the ‘STOP’ line you marked at each of the 1” marks
  5. Decorate your lantern along the bottom or top using gold ribbon or red ribbon, beads or other paper.
  6. Make the lantern shape by connecting the long ends of the paper with a staple or tape.
  7. Use a ribbon or another piece of 1” paper for a handle and connect to the inside of the top of the lantern and hang as you please!

    Red Chinese Paper Lantern for New Year!
    Finished Product – Paper Lantern

No Chinese New Year celebration is complete without a lucky dragon! There are so many different crafts on how to make these and several templates that you can use. Red Tent Art has a neat paper plate twirling Chinese Dragon craft that is quick and great to do with little kids. Do a search for yourself to find a dragon you want to make to bless your home, or just get creative!

I hope that reading about all these wonderful celebrations will inspire you to explore the Winter holidays around the world with us! I found some great resources from Teachers-Pay-Teachers that have made this endeavor so much more manageable. I will include links at the end of this blog post if you would like to check them out for yourself. I have also included links in each of the paragraphs providing more information about each of the regions and have tried to make sure to include links to recipes as often as I could. Enjoy your trip around the world!

 

Global Learn Day wants to embrace all cultures and education around the world. Help us do so by Joining the Voyage Today!

 

I was able to find some resources that I thought were incredibly useful and I have listed them below!

 

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Celebrate Winter Holidays Part 4

Kwanzaa is a fairly new holiday invented for those of African descent who live in the Americas in 1966 by American Black Power activist and secular humanist Maulana Karenga. It was created to celebrate the seven principals of Kwanzaa and allow African Americans the opportunity to reconnect with African concepts and beliefs. Many celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas as Kwanzaa starts on December 26th and continues for 7 days until January 1st. Each day of Kwanzaa is dedicated towards celebrating one of the principals.  The principals are Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith). Like Hanukkah, there is a special candle holder called the kinara which holds 7 candles (Mishumaa Saba), each candle representing one of the principals. People decorate with corn, fruit, colorful African cloth like kente and women wear traditional caftans. As part of the celebrations, the participants drink out of a common chalice called the Kimkombe cha Umoja and remember ancestors and give thanks. Drumming, reading stories about Africa, and a feast round out this celebration.

In Italy, La Befana visits on January 5th. She, instead of Santa Clause is the bringer of presents to children all over Italy. La Befana is an old friendly witch who flies around on her broomstick and fills their stocking with sweets and presents if they are good and lumps of coal or dark candy if they are bad. She likes things tidy, so will often sweep the house before leaving as further evidence of her visit. Santa’s trip down the chimney most likely originated with Befana as she enters the home by the chimney. Prior to her arrival, children spend time caroling. On Christmas night, many families eat a traditional meal of 7 fishes and celebrate eating cake called Panetonne with a cup of hot cocoa.

In Russia, Christmas is celebrated on January 7th. This is because the Russian Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar. Some may celebrate on the traditional December 25th but most celebrate after the new year. Grandfather Frost (Ded Moroz) brings presents to the children. He is always accompanied by his Granddaughter (Snegurochka). Families gather to eat sochiro – a porridge made with rice, honey, fruit and nuts. Sometimes families will fast on Christmas Eve and not eat until they can see the first star in the night sky. Children will go out and carol in their community, being rewarded at eat house with treats of cookies, sweets and money.

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Celebrate Winter Holidays Part 3

Yule or Winter Solstice is celebrated on Dec.21st. Many indigenous cultures celebrate this day around the world. Recognizing it as the longest night of the year, many tribes take this time to reflect and pray for health for their family, the animals and the Earth (as a living being). Nations like the Sylix in Washington State & British Columbia celebrate with songs and dancing – sometimes for several days! Other tribes use this time for storytelling. Staying up to see the suns return is a big part of honoring this tradition. Of course, we can’t mention the Winter Solstice without mentioning Stonehenge in England, and Newgrange in Ireland which have been specifically designed to recognize this time to year. Druids and pagans of all types have celebrated the Winter Solstice with feasting, story telling and a vigil – staying up all night to welcome the return of the sun!

Christmas is celebrated in so many wonderful ways all around the world! In Germany, they celebrate Christmas with the ChristKind. Instead of Santa, the Chriskind – a young girl wearing a long white and gold dress – walks around and brings presents to the children. The decorating of the Christmas tree is thought to have originated in Germany, a tradition started in the late Middle Ages. Songs are sung like ‘O Tennenbaum’ to celebrate. Gingerbread houses are a main part of holiday celebration, with elaborately decorated gingerbread villages. If you are naughty, Krampus – a scary monster might come instead of Christkind and whisk the misbehaving child away! Krampus is growing in popularity again and can be seen in various holiday parades throughout Europe and even the US.  In France, we eagerly await Pere Noel! Yule logs made out of cherry wood are often burned in people’s home. The logs are left burning all night with food and drink in case Mary and the baby Jesus pass by in the night. Children will leave their shoes by their fireplace in hopes that Pere Noel will fill them with gifts. They will end their celebrations by eating sweets, the most popular being the bûche de Noël (chocolate rolled sponge cake). In Australia, it’s Summer when Christmas is celebrated. Instead of the usual Winter scenes, you have snowmen made of sand, and a Santa in shorts surfing. They decorate their houses with ‘bunches of ‘Christmas Bush,’ a native Australian tree with small green leaves and cream-colored flowers. They enjoy caroling by candlelight (often changing the words of the carols, replacing words describing Winter scenes with local words of Summer) and each city will host regional events. Instead of reindeer, Santa uses kangaroos!

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Winter Celebrations

Celebrate Winter Holidays!

Let’s Keep Celebrating Winter Holidays!

Learning about Hanukkah was so much fun, but there are so many more holidays to experience!

Next, we will learn about St. Lucia Day and Sweden! Another festival of light, St. Lucia is a woman who wore candles on her head so that her hands would be free to hand out food to the poor and starving. Originally, this holiday was celebrated using the old Julian calendar which meant Dec. 13th coincided with the Winter Solstice.

Today young girls are selected to represent St. Lucia by wearing crowns of lingonberry branches, with structure to support 7 candles. Battery powered candles are fine to substitute! Boys can dress up as Stjärngossar or Star Boys. Both the girls as St. Lucia and the Star Boys wear white but the girls also wear a red sash around their waist. The Star Boys have instead of a crown, a tall pointed hat (without a brim) decorated with stars. On the morning of the 13th, the girl who is acting as St. Lucia should wake everyone up early with St. Lucia buns, called lussekatters and coffee or hot cocoa. We encourage you to try out the recipe for your learning experience! Cooking helps with math and is fun!

The day should be spent singing St. Lucia songs and eating traditional Swedish foods like meat balls, St. Lucia crown cake and glogg. Once the sun has gone down, the spectators light and hold a vigil candle. All other light sources should be off. Then St. Lucia and her procession of maidens and star boys walk through with their costumes and candles lit singing a St. Lucia song. This symbolizes the suns return – light emerging from the darkness. This is a great holiday that I am excited to celebrate! You might want to purchase a book sharing this experience. One fictional story is available here.

Fun side note – in Sweden, the Tomten, or Christmas gnome is the one who delivers presents. He goes around with his with his goat to deliver the  presents to all the girls and boys, who leave porridge outside for them to eat instead of milk and cookies.

After St. Lucia Day, we rush into the celebration of Las Posadas! Las Posadas is a Mexican tradition that is observed from Dec. 16th – 24th. It recreates the story of the baby Jesus when Mary and Joseph were trying to find shelter. Generally there is a procession where people recreate the journey of the pregnant Mary and Joseph as they ask for shelter by walking down a street and knocking on doors asking for entry. Finally, someone grants them shelter. Children carry poinsettias and at the end of each evenings march, there is singing and celebration. Star shaped clay piñatas are filled with treats and then broken apart by celebrants wearing blindfolds. In many areas, local churches offer a Las Posadas celebration. You might be able to find one near you!

Consider joining our voyage so that you can participate with Global Learn Day all year long!

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Winter Celebrations

Celebrating Winter Holidays – Part 1

Celebrate Winter by Exploring Cultures around the World!

Fall winds are blowing and here in my house we are eagerly looking forward to the coming Winter and all excitement of the holidays. As a homeschool parent, this of course screams ‘learning opportunity’ so this year, I am going to go all out! We have chosen 12 different holidays/cultures to learn about. I am prepping materials to help us learn how the various cultures celebrate the many different Winter holidays.

We will explore Kwanza, Hanukah, and Yule/Winter Solstice. We will discover La Befona in Italy, Pere Noel in France, Christkind in Germany and Los Pasadas in Mexico. We are excited to learn about the Tomten and celebrate St. Lucia Day in Sweden (This is one of my sons’ favorite countries because of the Sami people. They keep huge herds of reindeer and live in the far northern parts of the country.). We are going to find out how they celebrate Christmas in Australia and Russia. Then we will finish our studies with a virtual adventure in China where we will learn all about the Chinese New Year which is one of the last holidays of the Winter!

We are going to have so much fun! I am excited that I am learning just as much as my son. He is 8 and will be the perfect age to really get into these activities. I have a giant inflatable planet with the political boundaries labeled on the continents, so we will be using that as a reference point and using tape and string to demonstrate how far away each place is from us in our cozy home in Eastern Washington. At the very end, we will measure the strings and see which country was furthest away!

Over the next two weeks I will be providing you, via these blog posts, with an opportunity to follow along and participate on our Winter Adventure!

Our Winter adventure will begin with Hanukkah. This year (2018) Hanukkah is celebrated on December 2nd and ends on December 10th. It is a beautiful festival of light that uses candles and a special candle holder called a menorah. The candles may only be lit after sundown and in a specific order. One candle the first night, and then two the following night until 8 days later all the candles are lit. Each family member is encouraged to have their own menorah, or a communal menorah can be used in which all the family members, including the children take part in the lighting of the menorah candles. The candles or lights must be on for at least 30 minutes and during that time, all attention should be on the candle flame with no other sources of light. Prayers are said over each candle as it is lit. You are encouraged to tell stories about the holiday and enjoy traditional food like potato latkes and sufganoit (doughnuts).

Menorah
Lit Menorah during Hanukkah

It is also customary to gift children with gelt after the candles have been lit to reward them for good behavior. The children are usually encouraged to use part of their received money to donate to a charity. Children will often play games with dreidels (spinning tops). The dreidels have four sides. On each side there is a symbol. Nun, Gimel, Hay and Shin. Nun stands for nes or miracle. Gimel stands for gadol or great. Hay stands for haya or was. And finally Shin stands for sham or there. The game that is played with the dreidel is a bit of a gambling game but lots of fun. If you roll Nun – nothing happens. If you roll a Gimel – you win everything! If you roll Hay, you win half of whatever was bet. If you roll Shin, you lose everything! You can imagine how exciting this game would be to play with little ones that have just been gifted with their gelt (money – often the golden chocolate coins that come in a bag).

Check out these Dreidels and get ready to celebrate with your children this year!

We’d love to hear what holidays you celebrate during this Winter Season! Reach out to us and be sure to Join the Voyage today!

 

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Meet a Presenter – Backyard Adventures

Adventure is everywhere when you are learning!

When young Liam Finn McCool began to show an interest in science his mother encouraged him by taking the time to explain in depth why something was the way it was. How does a flower create seeds? How does a volcanic eruption works? How were the people of Pompei frozen in time during the eruption in the first century of the Current Era? She recognized that even at the young age of three, Liam was interested in learning and would absorb information. So, she painstakingly took the time to explain in detail answers to his questions believing that what she was really doing was telling him that his interest was legitimate. She was right.

By five, Liam had begun sharing videos on YouTube where he gave information about different spiders and insects that he found in his backyard. Backyard Adventures with Liam Finn McCool had officially begun. Last Global Learn Day, inspired by videos his mother showed him, he asked if he could participate. They reached out to me and I said, “Of Course”. The result was this gem.

Liam loves the camera and he will learn more about any given topic if he knows that he gets to share that information with the world later on. Inspiring young learners always depends on the individual. What inspires a drive to learn for one child may do nothing for the next. As we go through Global Learn Day and enjoy presentations from around the world, we invite you to consider how to best encourage the children around you to love learning.

Liam is proof that it is never to early to begin sharing knowledge. At six years old, he is an educator and our youngest Global Learn Day Presenter. Recently, he launched his own website and this year he will be sharing another great video of a Backyard Adventure that he filmed for our event.

Liam is well on his way to being a Life Long Learner! Way to go, kid!

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Meet A Presenter: Stepping Stones to Music

Did you learn how to sing when you were a child? Do you hope your child will become proficient in music? We all know the traditional way of learning music–first comes reading music then progressively learning more difficult techniques with long hours of practice. What if there is a better way to learn music?

 Stepping Stones to Music: Cultivate Your Child’s Love of Music in 10 Minutes

Our presenter, Cecilia Yeung is a music teacher who wants to cultivate a love of music in every child with a very special approach. She holds a double degree in music and education. Cecilia has taught instrumental music in both Australia and the United Kingdom. She has also worked as a classroom music teacher in both countries.

Cecilia Yeung discovered the Kodaly method for teaching young children music through song and is now looking to teach the world to sing! She has taught students from all ages and abilities.

gld 2018

I’d Like to Teach The World to Sing

Since discovering the Kodály methodology, Cecilia is committed to teaching and learning music using this approach. She further studied at the Kodály Institute in Kecskemét with music educators from around the world and earned a Diploma in Kodály Concept of Music Education.

Thank you, Cecilia Yeung for joining our crew. We look forward to creating harmony through out the world with your special music lessons.

teach the world to sing

Come Make Music with Us!

Do you have a gift or passion to share? We would love to have you present on Global Learn Day 2018! Help us unite the world through education!

 

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Meet A Presenter: Creature Crazy

Learning and education can never start too early. Neither can participating in Global Learn Day. This year, we have two young presenters. Our first is wild about the outdoors! You could even call him a little crazy–Creature Crazy!

A Young Explorer with A Big Idea!

Samuel Hansen is 9 years old and entering the 5th grade. (He would want you to know that he’ll be 10 really soon!) As a curious homeschooler, he is always looking for something new to explore.

When his chores and school work is done, Samuel can most often be found in his backyard studying nature, tracking animals, and adding to his amazing collection of nature artifacts including a seagull skull, complete snake skin, and several kinds of insects exoskeletons.

Samuel had a “brilliant” idea, what if he started a backyard nature show! The show would be aimed at regular people to teach them more about the animals around them so, they can understand the amazing creatures living right in their backyard.

creature crazy

Teaching regular people about what’s in their own backyard!

The idea of Creature Crazy was born. That is when Samuel signed up for Global Learn Day. He wanted to share his knowledge and debut his wonderful video series. For someone who loves all creatures around the globe, the opportunity to teach his passion to the world was just the opportunity he wanted.

Creature Crazy is a nature show designed and produced by a young “creature adventurer” that is basing his show off of the Kratt Brothers. “They are my inspiration!” says Samuel, “I can help people learn about creatures from a young host’s point of view.”

What's living in your backyard?

When Samuel isn’t  learning about creatures and observing them in the wild, he is busy playing soccer and basketball, participating in rabbit 4H, and volunteering as a Mary’s Meals Ambassador. He also enjoys creating games, building inventions, and reading good literature, especially historical fiction or anything by E. Nesbit!

Welcome aboard, Samuel Hansen! We can’t wait to explore the fascinating world of our own backyard with you.

What Can You Teach The World?

Everyone has something to share! What can you share with the world? Have an interesting hobby? Are you an unofficial expert in your current obsession?

Whatever you are learning about today can be a great lesson for someone else tomorrow. Please consider becoming a Global Learn Day 2018 presenter.

Everyone is also invited to participate in Global Learn Day, this is YOUR celebration of education. Check out our participation packet that is full of activities, celebration ideas, and planning tools. It’s free as a way to say thank you for being a part of this special project.

 

 

 

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Meet A Presenter: Silence, On Lit!

Today we meet two special teachers from France who will be presenting their program called, “Silence, on lit!” (Quiet, we’re reading!)

Elise Boirel is a 44 year old mother of two boys aged 14 and 13. She lives in the Paris suburbs. Ms. Boirel has a BA in Marketing, a teaching degree, and a certificate of English proficiency from the University of Cambridge.

Ms. Boirel was a marketing executive who transitioned to becoming an English teacher in 2004. She has been teaching middle school since them. “I love working on projects with other teachers, ” she says, “especially on projects combining English and history

 

Ms. Boirel’s colleague, Karine, is joining her on this project. Karine Riviere is 42 years old, married for 16 years, and the mother of a 15 year old son and 12 year old daughter.

Mrs. Riviere studied history at the Pantheon Sorbonne University in Paris. She also holds a degree in contemporary history and a certificate in geography. She has been the CAPES of history and geography for the past 17 years, and has been at her current school for 13 of those years.

Mrs. Riviere is the principal teacher of the 8 year old class. She has had many exciting opportunities to orchestrate projects with her students. These include a memorial for la paix a Caen with a visit to the deployment beaches in Normandy and the American cemetery at Omaha Beach. Another project included the study of a play by Moliere, the aristocratic gentleman, that included a visit to Vaux le Vicomte. In addition, Mrs. Riviere has studied the history of the American Revolution, the philosophy of the Renaissance and its consequences on the French Revolution with her students.

This year, she launched a campus wide project, “Silence, on lit!” which she eagerly looks forward to presenting for Global Learn Day.

We welcome everyone to teach the world something new. Do you have something to share? Let us know, there are a few slots left!

Welcome aboard Ms. Boirel and Mrs. Riviere, we can’t wait to be your students!

 

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Five Ways to Learn While Having Summer Fun

It’s mid-summer in the northern hemisphere. Summer vacation is in full swing for most children. If you are wondering how to keep that learning going, here are five fun, family projects to facilitate learning without going to school.

Go Swimming

Swimming is a life skill, one that you don’t truly appreciate until you are in a dangerous situation and need it to save your life.  Learning how to swim is a right of passage for many children. Having fun splashing around does more for the brain than just learning a new stroke, though.

Swimming is not just a survival skill, it is also a path to better learning. Swimming has proven benefits to the brain, including increased blood flow and mood elevation. However, swimming also leads to new neuron creation and development of the centers for language.

Children who swim regularly will experience a boost in language and reading skills simply from kicking around in the water! In addition, swimming in natural water is highly beneficial to the brain AND the body.

Open a Lemonade Stand

The iconic kid-run enterprise is a wonderful learning opportunity. Marketing, accounting, customer service, planning, and time management are just some of the skills kids will pick up from running their own micro-business.

This is the type of lesson that makes learning real. It isn’t just word problems on a page that need to be answered. The work invested is engaging and enlightening. Most kids probably won’t even realize how much math they are using, they will just be happy to count their profits no matter how big or small.

 

Take a Hike!

What was your last encounter with nature? Nature Deficit Disorder is real, and serious. Children need time outdoors to grow and learn. Spending time out in nature teaches much about biology and the world around us, along with encouraging inquisitiveness that leads to more learning.

Plan to spend time in nature regularly, but don’t just plow on through the trail. Take your time, give the children time to stop and investigate, to chase a butterfly and see where it goes, or just spend time taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells around them.

Experiencing nature up close and personal gives children a better understanding of the world at large. It also feeds their senses. Plus, fresh air helps the body in many ways, including improved sleep!

summer education

 

Fun & Games for Learning

Do you like playing board games? Why not make your own? Gather a good supply of cardboard, foam board, markers, paper, and all kinds of arts and craft pieces and let the kids go to town.

Make sure that each game comes with directions, game pieces, and a clear objective. You may be surprised at what they create. Once the games are finished, have a family game night to test them out. This is a perfect time to teach constructive criticism and allow them to go back and tweek parts of the game that didn’t work after their “beta test.”

 

Let Them Get Bored

Boredom is not a terminal disease, it is actually a great catalyst for innovation. Pinterest and magazines are chock full of ideas to beat summer boredom. So, it may seem like something to avoid like the plague. However, boredom is actually good for children. It leads to self awareness and the ability to occupy oneself.

Sure in the beginning there will be much whining and gnashing of teeth, but don’t give in. Let them stay bored long enough and great things will happen! The best part about learning through boredom is that it costs nothing and can be used over and over, again!

How are you learning this summer?

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