Multicultural Holidays Through Student Artwork

Multicultural Holidays Through Student Artwork

by Judie Haynes

Celebrate the culture of your English language learners. Have students draw and write about holidays in their countries. This activity helps ELLs develop pride in their cultures and builds self-esteem.

An English language learner may feel confident at home and in their native language social milieu, but their self-esteem suffers when they are in their U.S. school environment. They often feel painfully isolated by their inability to express themselves in English and frustrated when trying to become a part of the social and academic life of their classrooms. ESL teachers can help ELLs development pride in their cultures through a multicultural holidays unit. This unit is ideal for mixed ability groups as beginners can draw a picture and label it.

Lesson Plan:

Multicultural Holidays Through Student Artwork

Grade Level:


Ability Level:

Advanced beginner to intermediate ESL


Instructional Sequence

1. Ask students to tell you about a holiday in their countries. ( If students donít give much information, it may be because they do not view their holidays as interesting or as a worthy subject of study. )

2. List some possible holidays: Seul-Lunar (Korean New Year), Oshu-gatsu(Japanese New Year), the Harvest Moon Festival (Chinese ),Chu Suk, (Korean Thanksgiving) Dawali (India), Dia de los muertos (Day of the Dead).

3. Have students think about questions people might ask them about these holidays. (Do you do a special dance? What food do you eat? What do you wear?)

4. Have students in Grades 5-8 research their holiday on the internet.

5. Ask parents to help their children choose a holiday and discuss it with them using the list of questions the students had generated.

6. Review with students how to write a paragraph.

7. When students finish the discussion of the questions at home, ask them to choose one aspect of their holiday to draw and write about.

8. Have students draw their pictures and then write about their holiday.

9. Have students give a short talk to their ESL group about their holidays. They should practice giving compliments and making positive statements about each othersí work.

10. Ask students to take their work to their classroom to share with classmates and teacher.

11. Hang the work up in a visible place.