Lesson plan

Holidays Around the World

Use this lesson to give your students an opportunity to learn about winter holidays that are celebrated all over the world. Learners will utilize a graphic organizer to guide their research of their chosen or assigned holiday. Then, they will share what they learned with their peers. Your students will hone their research skills by using the internet, books, or other available research materials, and they will practise their speaking and listening skills when they share the interesting facts and details they found. Designed for a second through year six reading and writing curriculum, your learners will enjoy learning about some of the many holidays that are celebrated around the world.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards

Students will be able to research and describe a specific holiday with facts and details.

(5 minutes)
How to Make a Mini BookHolidays Around the World Research Graphic Organizer
  • Write the word HolidayOn the board in a circle. Define the word as: a special day to remember or celebrate something.
  • Ask students to share what they know about holidays. Record their answers around the circle to create a concept web with facts and details about holidays.
  • Invite students to share some of their favorite holidays from anytime during the year. Have them share with a partner, and then call on volunteers to share with the whole group.
  • Prompt the class to think specifically about winter holidays celebrated in December. Ask them to share the holidays they know of or celebrate at that time of the year. Record the holidays on the board.
  • Share with the class that they are going to learn about winter holidays that are celebrated around the world in this lesson by researching about the holiday. Then, they will share what they learned with the rest of the class.
  • Tell the class that there are a lot of winter holidays celebrated around the world that they may not know much about. Share that they will research a winter holiday that they do not celebrate in their own home.
  • Display a list of winter holidays, but point out that this is just a sample list that does not include all of the winter holidays celebrated all over the world. A sample list could include:
    • Winter solstice
    • Hanukkah
    • Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe
    • Christmas
    • Kwanzaa
    • Las Posadas
    • Omisoka
    • Boxing Day
    • St. Lucia Day
    • New Year's Day
    • Three Kings Day
    • Chinese New Year
  • Explain that the research will be recorded on a graphic organizer. Share that a graphic organizer is a great tool to use when gathering information because it helps to keep you organized while you search for lots of different facts and details.
  • Pass out a copy of the Holidays Around the World Graphic Organizer to each individual.
  • Display the graphic organizer on the document camera, and go over each of the sections and the type of information that will go there. For younger grades or students new to research, take the time to discuss key words they might look for in their research to help them find the appropriate information. Highlight key words or jot them down on the graphic organizer. (e.g., Point out the key word SymbolIn the section titled "A symbol that represents the holiday.")
  • Go over the research materials to which your class has access (e.g., websites, encyclopedias, library books, etc.) and review any specific guidelines for research in your classroom.
  • Assign a holiday to each individual, or allow them to choose a holiday on their own. Make sure that each holiday is represented by a student so the class is able to learn about a variety of holidays. In the lower grades, pair students up to complete the shared research and writing project in this lesson.
(30 minutes)
  • Complete the Holidays Around the World Graphic Organizer for a non-winter holiday, like the 4th of July or Memorial Day.
  • Invite students to help you with facts and details, and record information in the graphic organizer. Point out that information in a graphic organizer does not have to be in complete sentences, but that the information must make sense to you when you come back to it after doing the research.
  • Remind students of good key words for each section of the graphic organizer as you go through this guided portion of the lesson.
  • Give learners time to access materials to support their research of their assigned or chosen holiday. Circulate and provide support as needed.
(20 minutes)
  • Give students a blank sheet of computer paper and guide them through creating their own mini book.
  • Have them label each of the pages based on a section of the graphic organizer, and give them time to complete the mini book. Allow students the freedom and independence to design their mini books with pictures and words that teach about the holiday they researched.
  • Invite students to share their mini books with the class by displaying them on the document camera or having students sit on the carpet while others present their work.


  • Give students a word bank of key words to use in their research.
  • Provide sentence frames for students to use when recording answers in their graphic organizers.
  • Invite students to work in a small, teacher-led group to complete the writing portion of the lesson.


  • Challenge students to gather more information about their holiday. Include extension topics like: additional interesting facts, the holiday's origin, famous people who celebrate the holiday.
  • Have students compare the holiday they researched with a winter holiday they celebrate with their families.
  • Invite students to create a Holidays Around the World bulletin board in the classroom or the hallway, highlighting the variety of holidays that people celebrate around the world.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that they will complete a sentence by speaking, writing, or drawing. Instruct students to reflect on the holidays they learned about in today's lesson and think of a holiday they liked or one they are curious about. Write the following sentence frames on the board:
    • I like the holiday of ____Because ____.
    • I want to learn more about the holiday of ____Because ____.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students share the sentences they completed with a partner. Then, call on volunteers to share with the group.
  • Remind the class that holidays are special times that are meant to remember or celebrate something. Encourage them to take the opportunity to learn about new holidays they do not celebrate with their families, and share what they have learned today with others. Learning about the customs, traditions, and holidays that are celebrated by other people in the world, and even in other places of the world, help us grow in our acceptance and understanding of others.

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