Maconaquah Elementary School fourth graders make parol stars during Christmas Around the World. Parols are are a traditional Christmas decoration of the Philippines.
Photo courtesy of Eric Stoff
Maconaquah Elementary School fourth graders make parol stars during Christmas Around the World. Parols are are a traditional Christmas decoration of the Philippines. Photo courtesy of Eric Stoff

By Eric Stoff
stoffe@maconaquah.k12.in.us

Maconaquah Elementary School fourth grade teachers and students continued a young tradition this week by participating in Christmas Around the World.

The event consists of fourth grade students rotating between different classrooms, which each explore how Christmas is celebrated in that country.

Mac El fourth grade teacher Pat Carver said this is the second year for the three-day event.

“We hope that students will learn the geography, cultures, and traditions of different countries,” Carver said. “Since we study Indiana History in fourth grade, this is a fantastic way to compare and contrast with Indiana cultures and traditions.”

Fourth graders Jacob Bretzman and Kira Ropes said they enjoyed learning about what other countries do for Christmas traditions.

Bretzman learned about Christmas in the Philippines on Tuesday. He said he didn’t know much about the country before Tuesday, and he was excited to make a parol star, which is a traditional Christmas decoration in the Philippines. He said he would take it home and put it on his Christmas tree at home.

Ropes was learning about Christmas in Germany Tuesday morning. She said other countries likely don’t have as much of an emphasis on gifts like Americans do.

Argentina was her favorite country that she’d ‘visited’ in Christmas Around the World, and she said Argentines place cotton balls on their Christmas trees to make them look like they are covered in snow.

Carver said the students like rotating between different fourth grade classrooms. She said students learn that Spanish is spoken in Mexico before coming to her class, so when they learn that Spanish is also spoken in Argentina, “they are amazed.”

“Students need to learn about different cultures to build their background knowledge, appreciate our culture and traditions, and learn to appreciate other cultures and traditions,” Carver said.