This year as I think I've mentioned I am at a different school in a very diverse neighbourhood. I have been apprehensive at times about what is celebrated or recognized and to what extent. This has been especially at the forefront this past month or so with Christmas. One thing I knew I wanted to do was to have students write letters to Santa. I knew I could pull my pedagogical hat on if I was approached as to why I had done this activity, but I knew the excitement with the end result was well worth it.
I found a template off canadapost.ca and got everything ready. We read "The Jolly Christmas Postman" and modelled our letter writing to preparation. We sat down as a class and wrote our letters, even adding in a drawing or two. I had explained to the students that I would drop them in the mail that very afternoon right after school. I was worried that they wouldn't arrive at the North Pole in time for them to be returned before the holiday break. We had worked right until the deadline! EEEKKK!
Jump forward to December 15th... the magical envelope had arrived!!! I was giddy with excitement as I brought the envelope up to our classroom. I had to find the perfect time to give them the letters...not before a lesson but not too late so that I didn't have to rush them out the door. There was no perfect time that day. Amidst practicing for the holiday concert and trying to keep a lid on the excitement, I decided to forgo a new art project and pull out the magical envelope. At first they didn't know who could be writing us letter, but then it clicked. SANTA!!!
I made sure to hand out all the letters before letting them open them and had our iPad ready to video their reactions. I am so glad I captured the moment because it was unbelievable. (I am still trying to figure out how to post the video!)
**Note: Keep in mind 95% of my class does not celebrate Christmas in the commercial or religious sense, so this was a first time experience for them. This is what made it even more magical!
Needless to say, if they remember nothing from this year except that Santa wrote them back, it won't bother me!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and as my students would say Mele Kalikimaka!