Beginning with New Year's Day and going throughout the year to the winter holidays, lesson plans with themes based on the holidays are effective tools for teaching students about their culture as well as those of others.
Whether students are in preschool or high school, holiday themes can enhance a lesson. For instance, when students learn the history behind a particular celebration, they become more aware of why that day is special. In addition, they can write about it (Write a story about your best Fourth of July), use elements of it in math (How many pumpkins are in the pumpkin patch?), as well as use the ideas as a springboard for science studies (What happens in the winter when the days get shorter?).
Note: It's important to recognize that many holidays observed in the US today were once holy days. Sensitivity to students' individual cultures and beliefs is imperative when teaching lessons about cultural celebrations.