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Traditions Around the World: Las Posadas

Essential Questions of the Unit:

Why do people celebrate traditions?
What are some ways that different cultures celebrate their
Guiding Questions for the Lesson:
How do people in Mexico celebrate Las Posada?
Where is Mexico?
What does a poinsettia represent?
-1.C.1 Understand the diversity of people in the local community.
-1.C.1.2 Use literature to help people understand diverse cultures.
-1.H.1.2 Explain the importance of folklore and celebrations and
their impact on local communities.
-1.V.1 Use the language of visual arts to communicate effectively.
-1.V.1.2 Create original art that expresses ideas, themes, and events.
-1.V.3 Create art using a variety of tools, media, and processes, safely
and appropriately.
-1.V.3.3 Use the processes of drawing, painting, weaving, printing,
stitchery, collage, mixed media, sculpture, and ceramics to create art.
-1.CX.1 Understand the global, historical, societal, and cultural contexts
of the visual arts.
-1.CX.1.1 Recognize how visual arts are used in customs and traditions of
various cultures.
Students Will:
1. Develop an understanding of how people in Mexico celebrate La
2. Identify Mexico on a world map and understand its geographic
relation to the United States.
3. Listen to a story about the tradition of La Posada.
4. Create a representation of a poinsettia.
5. Act out the journey, La Posada.
1. Gather the children together and show them the poinsettia plant. Pass
it around so they can have a good look.
I will say: what different colors do you see? What different shapes do you
see? What types of textures do you see? Look closely to the bright red
petals of the flower and you will notice that they are not petals at all; they
are actually leaves. In the middle, you will see a small cluster of yellowish
flowers. These are called cyathia.
2. Then, I will show the children the country Mexico on the world map. We
will discuss the location of Mexico in relation to the United States.
I will say: Think back to the type of plant that we just learned about. There
is actually a story about the poinsettia that comes from Mexico. I am now
going to read The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola to teach
you all about the history and story of the poinsettia in Mexico.
3. In small groups, I will then show the poinsettia plant to the children
again. I will tell them that they are going to make a representation of the
bright red flower. Walk them through the following directions before hand.
Distribute a piece of green construction paper to each child and have
them put their name in the top corner in black marker. Give each child a
brush and a paper cup with red paint. Ask each to paint one hand with
the red paint and then press it on the top half of the paper, straight up at
12:00 towards the top. Then, they will each to make three more prints.
Assist each in making them at 3:00 on the
right side, 6:00 on the bottom, and 9:00 on
the left side, with the palm prints slightly
overlapping. This should create the red
leaves of the poinsettia.
4. Display the poinsettia plant. In small
groups again, ask each child to recall one

part of the story of the poinsettia legend as they dip one finger in the
yellow paint and make ten yellow dots in the center of their "poinsettia" to
represent the cyathia. When all students in the small group have retold
the story, repeat with the next group. Later, laminate for placemats to be
used at the culminating fiesta.
5. Show the children the world map and ask a volunteer to identify
Mexico. Explain that most Mexicans celebrate Christmas. In Mexico, the
people do not just celebrate for one night! Christmas holidays starts on
December 16th and last 9 nights. Each night families act out the journey
that Mary and Joseph made to Bethlehem. They knock on doors asking
for shelter, which is a place to stay warm and dry. At the last place they
traveled to, the families are welcomed in and celebrate with a piata
and fiesta, which means party. Tell them that we are going to have our
own Posada by acting out the journey at our school. Pre-arrange with
nine classroom teachers or school offices that you will be acting out La
Posada. This is a great opportunity to visit people like the principal, nurse,
custodian, librarian and the first grade teachers.
6. Act out La Posada by visiting the various classrooms and offices. At
each stop, have two or three students knock on the door and ask, "Do
you have shelter?" After the eighth location, return to your own class and
knock on the door. Parents will have set out the poinsettia placemats with
treats. The parents should surprise the children by answering the door and
saying, "Yes, we have room. Come in! Come in!" Celebrate with the treats.
Play traditional music from Mexico during this time.
Assessment Plan:
-During each of these lessons, the students will learn about where the
tradition is celebrated, how the tradition is celebrated, who celebrates
the tradition, when they celebrate the tradition, and why they celebrate
the tradition. The students will all have their own Travel Journal that will
look like a little suitcase. They will show me their understanding by filling
out the previously mentioned aspects of traditions in this journal. Once I
have checked their work for understanding, they will receive a sticker of
the countrys flag they just visited to place on the front of their suitcase.