I bought the little, shiny pink tree from Urban Outfitters nine years ago. I know the tree’s age because the first class to decorate the tree was in Skokie, Illinois. The next year was the first secret Santa year. The tree is definitely not PC. Church and state are colliding when I carry in my Christmas tree. The tree will enter the classroom on the 15th of December for the last week of school before break; I don’t want to give admin too much time to notice or think about the tree. Ornaments will be simple this year. In a time of bell-to-bell, scripted instruction, I can’t be caught making tree ornaments that don’t directly relate to the lesson. Maybe I can think of a way to turn ornament-making into grouping like terms. Maybe I will have students decorate bodily organ systems and hang them on the tree. Whatever. We’ll work it out.
We’ll have secret Santa, too. The kids have drawn names for my class and the class across the hall. They are excited.
No one in my classroom will be offended. They are all Christian, mostly Catholics. If I had a student from another religious group, I’d be sure any activities honored multiple traditions.
Eduhonesty: This tree has seen classrooms with chalkboards that used real chalk, overhead projectors, computers with floppy drives, new laptops, Chromebooks, and smart boards. It has seen kids from 11 to 20 years of age. (If you start school at eight in Mexico, we will let you finish high school.) It’s been decorated in Play-Doh and geometric, paper shapes. I like the idea of bodily organ systems for the year 2014.
I am happy to pull out the tree for what I believe will be the last time. I’m a little sad, too. I have loved the kids in these classrooms. I will miss them.