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Social Studies for December

By Naomi O'Brien


December is tricky. We say this because, for years and years, Christmas themed topics, books, activities, etc…. dominate the primary classroom. To people with religious privilege (meaning the holidays your culture celebrates are recognized and celebrated nationally…even providing time off work/school, etc…) this may not be a big deal. We live in America, though. While for a lot of people, saying something like, “hey- teaching Christmas themed activities in your class isn’t inclusive” might seem un-American, when you think about it…that’s the most American thing ever. Because freedom, right? And, side note: this blog post is curated by two Jesus LOVING Christian women. But…if we are being culturally responsive, equitable, and inclusive- we have to rethink what has traditionally been done for decades.

So. December social studies.

We learned about the International Day of Persons with Disabilities which happens annually on December 3rd for sociology. We love finding things that are happening in the world and leaning into them. We, of course, pulled up videos from some of the notable people that this organization suggested and learned more about their life with a specific disability. We learned about Christopher Reeve, Wilma Rudolph, and Frida Kahlo. Students had amazing conversations about equity and access- and raising awareness.

We also learned about the very curious history of a “White Elephant” gift exchange. Why is it called that? Well, fascinating story. I’ll let some snapshots from our eBook tell it.

Isn’t that something?! We thought that this was an incredible story that allowed students a little history behind a phrase that is commonly used.

What kinds of topics do you enjoy studying in December?



Hi, I'm Naomi

I have been teaching elementary students for over 10 years. Effective reading instruction and accurate social studies at the primary level are huge passions of mine! 

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