Nothing welcomes spring like a dance around the Maypole. The old European tradition is still carried on today both in Europe and the Americas. There are many ways you can celebrate May Day in your classroom. For example, you can have your elementary school children create their own Maypoles. Many teachers use crepe paper and wrap them around a flag pole, or even themselves, to carry on the tradition. You can have your students make May Day baskets with student made paper flowers, and leave them on doorsteps, pass them out at a local hospital, or a senior center, and bring smiles in with the bright May sun.
Holidays are always a great way to explore comparative studies. You can discuss the history of May Day with your students. There are different traditions followed throughout the world. In Victoria Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and the United States there are different customs. Students can compare and contrast the practices in these areas in order to come to a better understanding of the traditions, and an awareness of how these traditions have evolved.
May Day, celebrated on May 1st, celebrates the start of spring, and in some areas, is a day to honor workers. You can have your students discuss spring, and learn about May Day's connection to agriculture. You could also discuss how May Day is used to honor workers in different communities. There are many ways you can make a celebration of May Day an educational experience. More May Day activities can be found below.
May Day Activities:
In this lesson plan which emphasizes the May Day traditions followed in Victoria, Canada students make a “triarama” featuring a Maypole and Parliament. The lesson discusses various May Day traditions followed throughout Canada. Designed to be flexible, this lesson works for fourth grade on above, and has adaptations for students with special needs.
This lesson has elementary school students learn about holiday symbols and discuss their meanings and origins. May Day is one of about ten holidays examined in this lesson plan. Students discuss personal family symbols, and design their own.
In this lesson students learn about different holidays and create their own television specials to talk about a holiday. This lesson could be adapted for use with May Day lessons, and would offer a way to integrate technology into the lesson plan.