The final grade 2 unit – “Celebrations” is underway. The children quickly began to wonder just what exactly a celebration is. So we spent last week investigating and researching celebrations from around the world. Traditional favourites such as New Year and Halloween have featured but some also chose some very unusual celebrations such as La Tomatina Festival near Valencia in Spain. This celebration of the region’s Tomato growing prowess involves a giant tomato hurling melee.

The colourful Tomatina festival.

The children then came together and compared different celebrations that they had researched. They used a variety of methods of comparison to look for common themes in celebrations and thus form an answer to the question as to what exactly a celebration is.

Comparing Natsu Matsuri, Japanese summer street festivals with Divali, the Hindu celebration of light using a Venn diagram. The list in the middle shows commonalities between the two.

Here La Tomatina and Halloween are compared. The childrens illustrations really reflect the vibrancy of these celebrations!

Together as a class we had a discussion and wrote down all the common elements we had found in celebrations through Venn diagrams and other methods of comparison that the chidren had selected such as discussion and playing snap.

Here they are-

chocolate people special parade music food food celebration fun games presents candy jokes cakes pranks celebration games food happy fireworks sweets pranks lights people presents people presents fun fun pranks costumes games parade family decorations food fun friends decorations games presents candy food music chocolate music dance fun fireworks pranks candles tomatos lights jesus  laughs going out candy presents parades cheering hats screaming scary surprise

Then we put them into a word cloud generator which turns lists of words into art where the most frequently occuring words are highlighted in bold.

The end result gave these as the most prominent celebrations words – Food, fun, fireworks, games, costumes, music, dancing, family & friends and decorations.

In this way we were able to answer the children’s first big question about the celebrations unit, “What exactly is a celebration?”