Kindergarten New York


This inquiry encourages kindergartners to expand their study of self and others by deepening their understanding of the role of traditions, holidays, and symbols in establishing cultural identity and unity. The compelling question “What makes holidays special?” reflects an enduring conversation about how and why people engage in ritual and tradition. It is respectful of kindergartners’ intellectual efforts as they are likely to be interested in knowing more about traditions and holidays and are likely to have a meaningful entry point into the discussion based upon personal experiences.


Compelling Question:

What Makes Holidays Special?

Staging the Question:

Identify and describe favorite family celebrations.

Supporting Question What are holidays and traditions?

Formative Task Brainstorm a list of holidays and traditions.

Sources Source A: Image bank—Holidays and traditions


Supporting Question How are holidays celebrated with traditions?

Formative Task Construct a group T-chart that identifies various holidays and associated traditions.

Sources Source A: Teacher and student-located books on holidays and traditions


Supporting Question What symbols make us think of certain holidays?

Formative Task Choose three holidays and draw symbolic representations for them on a calendar.

Sources Source A: US Symbols

Summative Performance Task

Argument: What makes holidays special? Construct an argument that addresses the compelling question using specific claims and evidence.
Extension: Interview family members and report back to classmates about why particular holidays or traditions are special.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Accomplished through Formative Tasks 1, 2, and 3
Assess: Decide on a tradition that students would like to begin as a class.
Act: Establish this new tradition with a representative symbol and invite other kindergarten classes to join in the celebration.