The Library of Congress

Learning Page Chat, November 7, 2002: Holidays

MichaelAH [to All]: "welcome to tonight's Learning Page Discussion forum"

MichaelAH [help desk] says, "tonight's topic is "Holidays""

MichaelAH [help desk] says, "as always, let's start with introductions"

LeniD says, "Thank you, Michael."

LeniD says, "I'm Leni Donlan. I'm the coordinator of the Learning Page project at the Library of Congress."

LeniD asks, "Next?"

BJ [HelpDesk] waves hi. I'm an art teacher in Pennsylvania and a helpdesk volunteer for TAPPED IN

LeniD exclaims, "Hi, BJ!"

MichaelAH [help desk] waves hi. I'm a social studies teacher and the host of the TAPPED IN Social Studies forum

KarenSN ["Primary Source Heaven"] says, "My name is Karen Needles. Former education specialist with the Library of Congress and the National Archives. "

GailGP says, "Hi from Rochester, NY - I'm a recently retired librarian who is now working part-time at the Library of Congress."

GailGP says, "And Doris Waud is here too - Doris is a 5th grade teacher."

BarbaraHM says, "Hi- I am an elementary school counselor from New Jersey"

Anita [guest] says, "I am a teacher in Chula Vista, CA just looking around:)"

MichaelAH [to Anita [guest]]: "welcome to our session... this is the Learning Page Discussion forum (Library of Congress)..."

GailGP says, "Stay for a bit and learn about the wealth of primary sources available on the LOC."

MichaelAH [to Leni]: "you and Gail were having an interesting discussion about a thanksgiving project before we got started... want to go back to that, or start with something different and come back to it?"

LeniD asks, "Before we begin our discussion, let's have Gail recap and finish that activity that Doris does at Thanksgiving. Definitely!"

MichaelAH [help desk] nods

BarbaraHM says, "thanks- I missed the discussion"

GailGP says, "OK - here goes."

LeniD says, "It's a good one, Barbara...hence the recap :-)"

GailGP says, "Doris does an activity called Simple Gifts."

GailGP says, "She does it around Thanksgiving time and the kids love it."

LeniD says, "(5th grade, right?)"

GailGP says, "5th grade - yes. At their family Thanksgiving gathering..."

GailGP says, "students interview a relative to find out a simple gift that was given at some time in their life."

LeniD asks, "An older relative?"

GailGP says, "Yes, hopefully the oldest present."

GailGP says, "The students ask what the simple or special gift was"

GailGP says, "who gave it, and does the relative still have the gift."

GailGP says, "After vacation, students write a short essay about their interview."

LeniD asks, "Do they ask why it was so special to them?"

GailGP says, "Then they word process their work and it is compiled into a class booklet."

Anita [guest] asks, "What do that have to include in the write up?"

GailGP says, "They each get their own copy and give it for a holiday gift."

GailGP says, "Yes, they ask what makes it special."

LeniD exclaims, "Oh, Doris! That's wonderful!"

GailGP says, "In the writeup - first the students tell about the relative."

GailGP says, "then they tell about the gift, the giver, the occasion and if they still have the gift or is it just a memory."

GailGP says, "Doris likes the activity because the students are creating a document of their own."

Anita [guest] says, "Neat idea."

LeniD says, "I love that, Doris."

GailGP says, "Doris is a great thinker."

LeniD asks, "I'm wondering if those of you who are working in schools would answer a question for me?"

Anita [guest] says, "sure"

GailGP says, "She displays the writing in the hall and uses a wrapping paper background for the title - Simple Gifts."

GailGP says, "Doris says sure too."

LeniD says, "When I was teaching in the public schools (now almost ten years ago), we could "celebrate" holidays..."

Anita [guest] says, "We still can, unless there is a child in the class who can't and then they normally have to do an alternative activity."

LeniD says, "During the Christmas season, we had activities to celebrate all the winter religious hoidays, but we cooked, and sang and made gifts and decorations...had a tree...etc."

GailGP says, "At Doris' school, holidays are "observed" - pretty much like Anita."

LeniD exclaims, "Ahh...and that was my question, Anita. Thanks!"

GailGP says, "Last year they had a mitten tree in the hallway."

GailGP says, "Full of mittens brought in by kids to donate to charity."

Anita [guest] says, "That is a neat idea-the mitten tree."

LeniD says, "That's a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing that, too, Gail."

GailGP says, "Yes, it was sponsored by Student Council."

BarbaraHM says, "I don't know if we are strictly on the holiday season but...We do a nice event for Veterans Day...we have a luncheon where the children can bring a friend or relative who is a vet...the cub scouts do a color guard and the child and their guest eat together. The children announce their guest, their relationship to them, and the war they served in. Food service people plan to serve hero sandwiches or a thanksgiving meal. We take pictures and give a favor of a small frame that the picture can be put into. The vets bring a picture of themselves in uniform and we create a wall of heroes in the hallway...which fits with our character ed program. We also have a poster and essay contest and display the artwork and writing in the hall."

LeniD exclaims, "Barbara, that sounds super!"

LeniD exclaims, "Well...I'm glad to hear that this kind of activity still happens in our schools!"

Anita [guest] exclaims, "Last year I learned to make snow globes!"

BarbaraHM says, "We put up a big foyer bulletin board display on the best gifts to give and receive with presents that say friendship, laughter, sharing, love, encouragement, etc..."

GailGP says, "Tell us how, Anita."

Anita [guest] says, "You use recycled glass jars."

Anita [guest] says, "Kids first decorate the lid by using a juniper bush piece as the tree."

Anita [guest] says, "Then they fill the jar w/wate, glycerin, and big glitter."

Anita [guest] says, "oops, water. It takes a while for the glue to seal the lid on, but then they are safe to shake:)"

LeniD says, "Ahhh...I can see the falling "snow", now! :-)"

GailGP says, "Doris does a "tree lottery" for the kids."

GailGP says, "she has two little 8 inch artificial trees with small decorations to sit on students desks. They draw names - two per day - and the winners get to have the tree on their desks for the day. The "gifts" are candy and the tree holders of the day get to eat the presents."

LeniD says, "Barbara, we had a yearly Thanksgiving Feast that was much like your Veteran's Day Luncheon...."

LeniD exclaims, "but the kids did all the cooking, serving, hosting, etc.!"

LeniD says, "I'd want to sleep for a week after that one...but it was wonderful."

LeniD says, "Many children had grandparents coming from out of town. This allowed them to share in a very special way."

Anita [guest] asks, "Where do you teach?"

GailGP says, "Another idea: Doris has the kids eat in the room on the day before Thanksgiving vacation. She brings in tablecloths, artificial flowers, place cards, etc. and they feast."

GailGP says, "Her feast is easier than yours, Leni."

LeniD says, "I was teaching in Whittier, CA at that time.

BarbaraHM says, "I know counselors who do a grandfriends luncheon for Grandparents Day in Sept."

GailGP says, "I just appeared as a "Grandma" at my grandson's school."

GailGP says, "It was great and meant alot to the children."

LeniD says, "I suspect we could continue in this vein for the rest of our session...but I do have some things to show you from the Learning Page."

LeniD asks, "I hate to stop the sharing. Shall we stay with this or move on?"

BarbaraHM says, "Our Thanksgiving feasts tend to be cross graded - little ones served by our exiting grade (grade 4) who were their orientation partners from the beginning of the year."

BarbaraHM exclaims, "oops. sorry- would love to learn about your resources!!"

LeniD says, "LOL...I'd feel guilty if I didn't share them, though this discussion is really more fun! :-)"

LeniD says, "Let's share a bit from the Learning Page..."

MichaelAH [help desk] says, "this is a pretty good discussion (even though I'm not an elementary ed teacher"

LeniD asks, "Ready? Michael will you remind folks about what happens when I show a page?"

MichaelAH [help desk] projects project note. --------------- When I "project" an URL, you'll see the website appear in another browser window. This is normal. If you are using a "text client", you'll need to "copy and paste" the URL in a browser window. You may need to switch from one window to another to see the webpage. DO NOT close THIS window! ---------------

LeniD says, "Thanks, Michael."

LeniD asks, "Does everyone know how to find the American Memory collections and the Learning Page?"

BarbaraHM says, "No"

Anita [guest] says, "no"

KarenSN ["Primary Source Heaven"] says, "yes"

GailGP says, "Yes"

LeniD says, "OK...let's start at the front door, then, for Barbara and Anita."

GailGP says, "Good idea."

LeniD says, "We start at the Library of Congress Web site:"

LeniD projects the URL:

GailGP asks, "Can everyone see the page?"

MichaelAH [help desk] checks to see if everyone got the LOC web site

Anita [guest] says, "yes"

LeniD says, "This is the "front door"."

GailGP says, "Full of treasures."

LeniD asks, "Barbara, do you see it?"

BarbaraHM says, "Yes, thanks - just backflipping"

LeniD says, "You will note an icon and link to American Memory in the upper left."

LeniD says, "American Memory is the repository of digitized treasures of the Library of Congress."

GailGP exclaims, "Photos, sound files, movies, maps and more!"

LeniD says, "Further down the main page, you will see a section that says, "Especially for...""

LeniD asks, "And a link that says, "Teachers". See it?"

GailGP says, "I see teachers ;-)"

Anita [guest] says, "I see it."

GailGP says, "I see it"

KarenSN ["Primary Source Heaven"] says, "I see it"

GailGP exclaims, "I guess we all can!"

LeniD says, "OK...that link will take us to the Learning Page. Here we go..."

LeniD projects the URL:

GailGP exclaims, "Beautiful!"

LeniD says, "You will note that we have a chat tonight :-)"

LeniD asks, "Does everyone see the Learning Page?"

Anita [guest] says, "yes"

GailGP says, "Yes,"

MichaelAH [help desk] does

BarbaraHM asks, "Yes- just looked at lesson plans- are there only gr. 4-12? I am not seeing any early childhood...?"

LeniD says, "Barbara, the lessons were created by practicing educators...Fellows of the Library of Congress."

GailGP says, "Many of them can be adapted."

greta [guest] projects KarenRL. School Media Specialist working at Hutchinson Elementary School in Detroit, MI.

LeniD says, "Most of them were middle school and high school teachers...we had some upper elementary teachers as well...hence the lessons at those levels."

BarbaraHM says, "I was excited to see them but looking at the suggested grades it seems they start at 4..."

LeniD says, "Gail's point is valid, though. You can use these lessons at many grade levels with adaptation."

LeniD says, "They do, Barbara."

GailGP says, "I've found that just using parts works well."

BarbaraHM exclaims, "We need to recruit some lower elementary fellows?!"

Anita [guest] asks, "Any lessons from there you suggest?"

KarenSN ["Primary Source Heaven"] says, "Remember that the teacher knows best how to use the resources in the classroom. Primary sources were not created for specific reading levels or grade levels."

GailGP says, "Having you join the discussion and bring your friends is a good start."

LeniD exclaims, "I was just going to say, we would love to accept exemplary lessons for younger students!"

BarbaraHM says, "and put the adaptations for the lower levels up on site"

GailGP says, "Wonderful idea, Barbara."

LeniD says, "Let's go further into the Learning Page..."

LeniD asks, "to the Community Center. Ready?"

GailGP says, "yes."

BarbaraHM says, "yes"

MichaelAH [help desk] is ready

LeniD projects the URL:

GailGP asks, "Can everyone see the list of monthly themes?"

Anita [guest] says, "Yes"

MichaelAH [help desk] nods

LeniD says, "This is a new section of our web site...and we hope it will help us to bring the voices of teachers to the Learning Page."

LeniD says, "This month's theme, as you can see, is holidays. Let's take a look..."

LeniD projects the URL:

LeniD says, "I'll let you catch up :-)"

LeniD says, "Anita asked if there were lessons I would recommend. You will note that we have compiled a selection of our lessons for this theme..."

LeniD says, "that might be a good place to start, Anita."

Anita [guest] says, "Thanks, it looks good."

LeniD says, "We also have compiled the relevant "Collection Connections"..."

LeniD says, "which are an up close look at specific American Memory collections."

LeniD says, "In addition, there is a bibliography chock full of books for teachers and students of ALL ages."

GailGP says, "Which you are invited to add to :-)"

LeniD exclaims, "LOL...remember what I said about who wrote the lessons, Barbara. I'll look forward to getting some from you and your teachers! Seriously!"

LeniD says, "Yes...the bibliography is definitely ready to accept YOUR favorites."

Anita [guest] says, "The bibliography section of suggested books it great."

LeniD says, "But what I really want to show you is in the middle, left section."

GailGP says, "There will be one to accompany each theme."

LeniD says, "There we have gathered the special activities and features that touch on the holidays...those that provide teachers with context and background..."

LeniD says, "and those that are for students."

LeniD exclaims, "Let me quickly show a few... in two weeks when we meet again, we will delve into this material!"

LeniD asks, "Ready?"

GailGP exclaims, "Yes!"

MichaelAH [help desk] Is ready

Anita [guest] says, "yes"

LeniD projects the URL:

LeniD says, "This is a feature presentation. It provides background information and links to items from the collection."

LeniD asks, "Near the top of the page is a link to the Thanksgiving Timeline. Why don't you explore this for a moment?"

GailGP says, "The timeline could be used with younger students."

LeniD asks, "Are you ready to go on?"

MichaelAH [help desk] is ready...

LeniD says, "What WOULD holidays be without food. Barbara, here's something else that can be used with younger students..."

Anita [guest] says, "I really like the timeline, ready to move on though."

LeniD projects the URL:

LeniD says, "Thanks, Anita :-)"

LeniD says, "Go on in and look around :-)"

LeniD exclaims, "We would love to get recipes and stories from you AND your students!"

BarbaraHM says, "I think that your resource is magnificent - well worth sharing with as many of our middle and high school colleagues as possible...It is obvious that a lot of work and time has gone into its creation in terms of comprehensiveness and breadth. I am not trying to be negative...just somewhat stunned- since, if, as a nation, we want to engender respect for other cultures within our students, it needs to begin way before grade 6...I understand your invitation to submit lesson plans but they would pale in complexity to the MS and HS versions. Awareness vs higher level concepts. Yes- the little ones could contribute to the cookbook without a doubt"

BarbaraHM says, "Thanks for taking time to point out elementary application"

Anita [guest] says, "Its been great chatting w/you and seeing all of the great resources for teachers."

LeniD says, "My pleasure."

LeniD says, "One last thing..."

LeniD says, "This will be the main topic of our next chat..."

LeniD projects the URL:

LeniD exclaims, "This is a brand new activity created by Gail!"

BarbaraHM says, "Leni- the site is a wonderful find- thank you for sharing its many facets with us"

GailGP says, "And do check out the Looking into Holidays Past, Barbara"

GailGP says, "This could definitely be used with all ages."

LeniD says, "It invites your students to begin to analyze and explore primary sources."

LeniD says, "It could be used with any age. We will spend time with this at the next chat."

LeniD says, "Thanks for joining us...unfortunately, our time is just about up."

LeniD asks, "Questions? Comments?"

BarbaraHM says, "Our school has the mobile cart with 30 laptops so that each child can have one for their research...this lends itself to that beautifully"

GailGP exclaims, "It has been great to "meet" with you!"

LeniD exclaims, "Barbara, you are right! You can do marvelous things with such a set up!"

GailGP exclaims, "We'll be anxious to hear more - please do visit again!"

LeniD exclaims, "Thanks so much for joining us. Please come back on the 21st and talk with us about anlyzing primary sources..we would love to see you again!"

KarenSN ["Primary Source Heaven"] says, "See you all in a couple of weeks."

MichaelAH [help desk] waves

BarbaraHM says, "Bye- thanks again"

BarbaraHM says, "g'night"

GailGP says, "I'll say goodbye now"

LeniD exclaims, "Bye, BJ..thanks!"

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Last updated 09/26/2002