Overview: Students will learn about Diwali, research for additional information about the holiday, and then write a descriptive paper about the holiday's origins, its history, and its traditions.
Subject: Social Studies: Holidays, Cultural & Social Studies, World History, Religion;
English Language Arts: Expository Writing
Grades: 6th, 7th, 8th
Duration: 2 days
Related Concepts: Research Process, Indian Culture, India, Hinduism, World Religions, Festivals of India
Students will be able to:
- Demonstrate understanding of the Indian festival of Diwali by writing an expository essay.
- Complete the research process for their essays, including gathering, verifying, and citing reliable sources.
Essential Questions: What is Diwali? Who celebrates Diwali? What traditions are associated with Diwali?
Vocabulary: Diwali (Divali, Deepavall, or Dipavali), India, Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Buddhism, culture, Vishnu, Rama-chandra, Ravana, Lakshmi
Common Core Standards Addressed:
- ELA: Writing
- W.6.2, 4, 7, 8
- W.7.2, 4, 7, 8
- W.8.2, 4, 7, 8
- ELA: Language
- W.6.1, 2
- W.7.1, 2
- W.8.1, 2
- Writing for History/Social Studies
- WHST.6.2, 7
- WHST.7.2, 7
- WHST.8.2, 7
Introduce the Festival of Diwali. Tell students they will continue their research and use the information they discover to write a three-paragraph descriptive text on the holiday, its origins and its associated customs.
Review aspects of descriptive writing with students. Provide one or more appropriate graphic organizers. Review choosing reliable sources and internet research strategies. Generate a class list of guiding questions to serve as a basis for research, such as "Who celebrates Diwali? How did this holiday get started? What traditions are associated with this holiday? How has this holiday changed over the years?"
Have students work independently using the internet and optional provided print resources to discover details about Diwali, including its origins/history, which group or groups celebrate it, and what traditions are associated with the holiday. Remind students to use reliable sources for their resources, to include a list of sources used, and to edit and proofread their work.
Allow students to complete their projects during the second class period.
Assign a worksheet as homework for students.
- Individually assess student writing.
- Check for accuracy, completeness, included source list, and organization.
- Score the writing for grammar, punctuation/mechanics, and spelling.
Provide accessible resources and activities for ESL students or those who struggle with reading.
Have advanced students research multiple Indian holidays and write a compare/contrast paper.
Provide an outline for struggling readers or writers to use in planning and organizing their work.
Allow students with writing impairments to use computers with word processors to assist with spelling/mechanics/legibility.
Continue the study of Diwali.
Prepare recipes associated with Diwali and share the foods with students.
Assist students in planning and hosting their own version of Diwali using some of the traditions and decorations used in India.