Away in a Manger…

In kindergarten we study traditions.  A big part of this unit is talking about traditions that various cultures have for different celebrations.  Since all the kids can think about these days is Christmas, I figure we may as well embrace that and use it to our advantage.  So we started talking about varying cultural Christmas traditions – but first we spent some time clearing up why Christmas is actually celebrated.

After reading a board book called The Christmas Story to the class, we began talking about Christmas celebrations in Mexico.  One thing we learned is that lots of families have a nativity scene, but not necessarily a Christmas tree.  To help retell the story of the first Christmas, I printed out pictures of nativity scene figurines and we taped them to the board while putting together our own Nativity.

Let’s just say it is a good thing I was there to facilitate the retelling of the Christmas Story. Without my fact and vocabulary corrections, the Christmas story would have gone something like this:

Mary and Josephine rode in on a zebra.  Mary had a baby named Moses and laid him in a crib that fell over.  The three men in neat matching hats came from a long ways away to visit him.  They rode on a cow.  The angel (who wasn’t scary at all) went to tell the butcher, the surfer, and the singer who all watch the sheep that Jesus was born.  God and the devil were there too.  Then we all sang away in a manger and the itsy bitsy spider.  the end.

So – raise your hand if you are not passing “able to retell a story” on your kindergarten report card…

And some side notes:

  • If you guess that a shepherd is called a surfer, no way are you able to laugh at the kid who guesses “singer”.  At least singing is associated with Christmas!
  • The solo rendition of Away in a Manger may be one of the most high pitched versions I’ve ever heard.
  • The three wisemen, or three kings, are depicted in our nativity scene as wearing crowns.  It is not by chance that their hats are matching.
  • Donkeys and zebras are not really the same.

After the nativity fail nativity learning experience,  I showed a YouTube video that was entirely in Spanish about Las Posadas and piñatas.

  • I expected my native English speakers to be a bit disengaged (they were more into it than I expected).
  • I hoped that my Spanish speakers would not hear/understand the narrator to be saying anything sketchy (fortunately it all seemed to be on the up and up).
  • I definitely did not anticipate my African girl exclaiming, “I am just a Kenya girl.  I do not understand this!

And just so we are all clear on the real Christmas story, I have asked Linus to help remind us…


3 thoughts on “Away in a Manger…

  1. I will be the happiest girl in the whole world if I open up my nativity Christmas present from gma this year and it is either a zebra or a surfer.

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