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In class when we had to answer the questions about different situations in the classroom, the one about the child being weak from fasting brought back a memory for me. When I was in Elementary School, specifically the 1st grade, I remember a girl in our class who's family were Johovah's Witness. I know next to nothing about this religion, but I do remember this particular girl having to sit out and not participate in our Holiday party ...or any birthdays. She wasn't able to participate in our secret santa, she could only sit out an watch. Is there a way to help this situation? With a child that young, it would really bother me to see this happening....but we can't change their religion...

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Maria Parker


Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:43 am
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i think it would be better not to do anything like this in your classroom. I do think you should address religions and what customs they have so your students can understand that people are different. Its not fair for students to have to sit out and some may feel they are being punished for what they believe or dont celebrate. Just be careful in your class what you do and say.

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Kristen P. Helton


Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:41 pm
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A Jehovah's Witness is an interesting example. Jehovah's Witnesses are protestant Christians who believe that people who believe in Jesus Christ should "guard themselves from idols." This a prohibition cited in the New Testament.

Maria's example is one in which the child's parents are teaching the child not to worship idols, according to their beliefs.

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Gayle Turner


Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:54 pm
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I would find some way for the student to either participate or do something else. I don't think it would be fair for him/her to sit and watch the group have fun. I might find something he/she could do (fun activities) and let him/her go to the guidance office. I could also ask another teacher (possibly the p.e. or music teacher) if they would let her come to their classroom during this time. It would take his/her mind off the fact that they are not participating. It would also let the other students know that he/she was doing something else. This might cut down on teasing.

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Heather Holland Crow


Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:38 pm
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I think it is unfair to separate a student from celebrations in the classroom for any reason other than punishment. Holidays are a tricky thing because of different religions, however, I think there are ways to get around it. Maybe talking with the child's parents before deciding to celebrate something could be helpful. If you present the holiday celebration as a learning experience of a culture, the parents may accept it and allow their child to participate. If you try to regard several cultural holidays in your classroom and approach them as learning experiences, rather than just parties of a holiday that most of us celebrate, then it might be easier to keep the child in the classroom.

My goal as a teacher is to present all of the topics I have to teach in the most fun way possible. This may include celebrations of some sort on a topic we are learning. I really believe that students learn things best by experiencing them. Maybe presenting your teaching philosophy to parents at the beginning of the year and telling them that in "celebrating different cultural holidays", you are not condoning a certain belief, you are rather teaching students experiencially about them.

This may or may not work....But just a suggestion?

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Emily Fox :)


Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:15 pm
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I completely agree that it is not fair to make a child sit out. I just remember seeing this as a first grader, it bothered me then, and I still do not agree with it now. I do agree with the suggestions that perhaps either the child's parents be contacted and it explained to them that it is a learning experience of different cultures, or if it cannot be worked around, then the class should just find something else to do. Keeping the parents as informed as possible, and being as well rounded in the classroom as you can be seems to be the best thing to do.

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Maria Parker


Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:44 am
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