Thursday, October 3, 2013

Celebrating Traditions!

This week Mrs. Yollis' class started
a new unit in Language Arts called Celebrating Traditions!

 A tradition is something that family, friends,
or another group of people has done for many years and continues to do on a regular basis.

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The story for this week is "The Keeping Quilt".

 In the first story, "The Keeping Quilt," by Patricia Polacco, the author retells the story of her family's handmade quilt. In the story, a Russian immigrant mother and family arrive in the United States. She plans to make a quilt from a basket of old clothes, telling her daughter, "It will be like having the family in back home Russia dance around us at night."  The quilt is passed along from mother to daughter for four generations. It becomes a Sabbath tablecloth and a wedding canopy. It even becomes a blanket for new generations of children. "The Keeping Quilt" is a heart-warming story about one family's tradition.
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In the comment section, please 
share a tradition your family celebrates. 

It can be an annual party, a holiday, or any traditional event.

Please include details about: special foods,  decorations, songs, and/or activities.

 Your comment should be 4 to 6 sentences long. 
 Students: Your comment is due on Friday, October 11th!


  1. Dear Class,

    One family tradition that I thoroughly enjoyed when I was growing up was our annual trip to Pelican Lake, Minnesota. When school got out in June, my mother would pile my two siblings into our 1968 Chevy Bel-air wagon, and we endured the long 1,800 mile journey from California. At Pelican Lake, we fished for rock bass and walleye with my Uncle Paul. At night, we dined on Grandma Smillie’s delicious cooking. One of my favorite dishes was Hungarian goulash. After dinner, we coated ourselves with mosquito repellent and dashed outside to play Kick-the-can with the neighbor kids. This annual vacation was a tradition I looked forward to, and I cherish those memories today.

    Mrs. Y♥llis

  2. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Every Friday, my family and I go out to dinner, we have lots of fun together. Each family member takes turns picking which restaurant we will go to eat at. My mom's favorite place to eat is El Torito, she loves Mexican food. I like to go to the Habit, they have the best hamburgers. My sister's favorite place is Baja Fresh. My dad's favorite is Indian food, he loves the nan bread, and so do I.

    What is your favorite food?


  3. Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,

    I personally love this post because we get to learn each others traditions! My tradition is a friendly football game called the Turkey Bowl. Can you guess what holiday it follows? If you guessed Thanksgiving, you are correct!

    Here are some details:

    1. My family always invites friends.
    2. My family always buys gatorade every year for energy drinks.
    3. My brother and I are usually team captains.
    4. We use a Pee Wee football for the game.
    5. It is a very fun tradition to celebrate and I treasure it.

    Do you have have a tradition you treasure?



  4. Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,

    A tradition that my family celebrates is the Jewish New Year, known as Rosh Hashanah.

    On Rosh Hashanah, we eat apples and honey to symbolize and wish each other a SWEET year!

    We also eat the head of a fish, not the tail! We don't eat the tail because we want to be smart like a head, not not smart like a tail!

    On Rosh Hashanah, we empty out our pockets into the river in a tradition referred to as "Tashlich," to send all the negativity away so that we may start a positive new year.

    We also hear the blowing of the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah! Some of the things we think about while quietly listening to the sounds of the Shofar are:

    1. Our actions and deeds in the past year.

    2. What we can do to better ourselves in the new year.

    3. That each individual can choose to become a better person.

    Do you celebrate Rosh Hashanah?

    If not, what is your favorite holiday or tradition?



    1. Dear Chloe,

      No, I don’t celebrate Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. However, My family and I do celebrate the Persian New Year, Nowruz. Nowruz celebrates the beginning of spring and starts a new year in Iran. Special foods that we eat are colorful candies made of marzipan and covered in sugar. We set a table in our living room and decorate it with seven symbolic items. Something we put on the table are the Iranian flag, a couple goldfish, eggs decorated with paint, and a mirror. My family and I put on Persian music and watch the count down.

      Have you ever heard of the Persian New Year?
      What do you celebrate that your ancestors also celebrated?

      Your classmate,

  5. Dear Mrs. Yollis and Class,

    One family tradition that I enjoyed when my daughters, Kari and Sarah, were young was our weekly outings to breakfast and the public library. Every Saturday, we would take turns selecting a place to go out to breakfast. We usually devoured omelets or pancakes with maple syrup!

    Then it was on to the library. Kari and Sarah would choose the books they wanted to check out. Then they would take turns finding a book for us to read to them. The following Saturday morning, while we waited for our breakfast to arrive at the table, each of the girls would read one of the books out loud to their dad and me.

    It warms my heart to recall this special tradition now that my daughters are all grown up. I am sure that it is one of the reasons they both love to read so much today.

    Traditionally yours,
    Mrs. Ranney

  6. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Every Friday, my family and I go out to dinner, and we have lots of fun together. Each family member takes turns picking which restaurant we will go to eat at. My mom's favorite place to eat is El Torito, and she loves Mexican food. I like to go to the Habit, they have the best hamburgers. My sister's favorite place is Baja Fresh. My dad's favorite is Indian food, he loves the Naan bread, and so do I.

    What is your favorite food?


  7. @ Mrs. Yollis,

    My tradition is every year, I go to my grandpa's house. I sleepover for one day. When I go I have to wake up really early so we can get there on time. He lives near LA and it is a long drive. I go somewhere when I get there and when I wake up. Last year we to Legoland two times.

    Do you visit a family member? If so who?


  8. Dear Mrs Yollis and Class,
    Sometimes traditions appear where you didn't know they existed, and you create your own! I didn't realise we had one this weekend... my kids asked why we hadn't been searching for conkers yet as it was October, and I had thought they would want to be hanging out with their friends now they are a bit older, but not a bit of it - they were outraged that we might consider NOT going! They said it was 'tradition' - we go to a ruined abbey close to our home with two massive horse chestnut trees in the grounds. This year there was a bumper crop and we spent ages throwing sticks up into the branches to make the conkers fall, then pulling them out of their prickly cases to reveal the white velvet interior and smooth brown conker. Then they reminded me the tradition is to go to the ice cream parlour nearby for a waffle cone! Hmmm! So that's just a family tradition, not one that is something all English people do... do you have conkers? What do you do with them? This year we put them in bowls around the house because they look gorgeous, and apparently spiders don't like them and we get enormous house spiders at this time of year... so we're seeing if that is true!
    What do you like about Autumn? Do you experience it much where you are? How do your seasons change?
    From your friend,
    Mrs Monaghan

    1. Aashi, Sydney, and AllisonOctober 14, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      @ Mrs. Monaghan,

      Thank you so much for the fantastic comment about your family tradition. We thought it was funny that you didn't realize that you had a tradition.

      We looked up conkers and "British tree" and discovered that conkers are the seed of a chestnut. Are we correct?

      Can you eat a conker?

      What type of spiders do you get in your house? We get daddy long leg spiders and orb weavers are found in the garden. Here is a photo of an orb weaver:

      What flavor of ice cream does everyone enjoy? Aashi likes vanilla, Sydney likes chocolate, Allison enjoys caramel, and Mrs. Yollis adores German chocolate cake.

      Happy autumn!

      Sydney, Allison, and Aashi

  9. Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,

    Every Friday night it is a tradition for our family to celebrate the Jewish Sabbath which we call Shabbat. In the Keeping Quilt we read last week they mention Sabbath too.

    To start Shabbat my mom, sister and I light candles. Sometimes my brother joins in too. Then we sing a Shabbat song and my dad says a prayer. The kids drink grape juice and my parents drink wine. We then say another prayer on the challah, a special bread we eat on Shabbat that is braided. I love eating the challah and putting butter on it. After all that we eat the Shabbat meal which is food my mom chooses.

    I like Shabbat because it brings my family together once a week.Do any of you celebrate Shabbat? What do you like about it?

    Your student and classmate,

    1. Dear Jemma,

      Yes, I also celebrate Shabbat! I love challah! You are right, it is especially good with butter. Every single Friday we have different food for our Shabbat dinner, but we always have that delicious challah. Two examples of what we eat on Shabbat are: steak and couscous and salmon with lemon sauce. My favorite part of Shabbat are the different meals that we have. We always sing songs. My grandfather says prayers. I celebrate with my grandfather, grandma, brothers, and mom. Sometimes my aunt and uncle come. We really enjoy celebrating Shabbat. It's so nice to hear about someone else in my class who also celebrates Shabbat like me.


  10. Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,

    My family tradition is spending Thanksgiving with my family in Lake Tahoe. I go with my cousins, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, and of course my mom, dad, and my sister. One year we built a slope behind the house for sledding. One of my cousins and I sledded down the hill so fast that we both landed on the other side of the slope were there were there lots of bushes and twigs.
    Have any of you been anywhere that it snows?


  11. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    My family tradition is to share an "oplatek" on Christmas Eve. An "oplatek" is a blessed wafer with decorations. We break pieces of the "oplatek" and share them before dinner. We get the "oplatek" from our family from Poland.

    your pupil Nicholas

  12. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Every Thanksgiving my family travels about two hours away to see my grandparents. My grandparents live in Palm Desert. My cousins, aunts, and uncles come along too. We eat all the foods that you would eat at Thanksgiving like turkey, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. Sometimes my Aunt Selma would make apple pie, carrot cake and coffee cake. I don' t think that is what you would normally have at a typical Thanksgiving Day celebration.

    If I'm wrong, tell me what you feast on that not a lot of people eat at Thanksgiving. ( if you noticed that was a command )

    I can' t wait for this year because Hanukkah starts when I'm still celebrating Thanksgiving!

    Does anyone in your family make a type of a delicious desert?

    Your friend,


    1. Dear Shayna,

      Every Thanksgiving my family travels about five minutes away to my grandparents house for a delicious feast. The feast has just a few other alternatives with the grand food that you had mentioned. Turkey, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, gravy for the turkey and this particular year chocolate gelt and latkes. I did notice that that was a command because you put the answer right splat next to it. I usually have an apple pie on the table because we hold the party at my grandparents house and my grandfather will not have a true party with out apple pie. Although nothing else on that list, but it does look delicious.

      That is coincidental because the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah is right on the dot the same day as Thanksgiving. On the holiday we usually have great parties on two out of eight days. Then the next six days after the two company days we just get presents and relax with the friendly family that come every year. The farthest that one of our family members come from is Maryland.

      Yes, in my family my mom and I make an apple pie that my family is always delighted to have.

      Your Tradition loving friend,


  13. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Every Thanksgiving my family celebrates together.

    Here are the main courses with the people who make it:

    My grandma comes down from Dallas,Texas, and she makes chicken soup with the bones in it. My aunt makes a special kind of Spanish rice. My mom lets me help hollow out the turkey with her. It may seem a little disgusting pulling out the organs and other things, but I think it is fun.

    After I am done helping mom, I set the table. My mom hands me the things that go on the table: for example the bowl of stuffing, the main courses, and drinks.

    When everything is ready for our feast, we sit down and enjoy our family dinner.

    On Thanksgiving I often think to myself about the Indians and Pilgrims. I am so happy that the Indians shared a feast with the Pilgrims.

    Do you think about the Indians and Pilgrims on Thanksgiving?


  14. Dear Mrs Yollis

    I would like to share one of my family tradition it is Hanukkah.
    Hanukkah is a fabulous Holiday with a beautiful story of braveness. We light one candle of the Menora every day for eight days to symbolize the miracle of the can of oil that lasted eight days. We eats lots of yummy food like special donuts and Latkes. This year the holiday falls on Thanksgiving day and it is even more special - I get to celebrate both of my favorite holidays at the same time!
    My grandmother invited us to Palms Springs for a family vacation and we will all celebrate together.
    I cant wait to taste my grandmother's donuts and play with the dreidel.It is so much fun playing with the dreidel.



  15. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Every year, we celebrate Chinese New Year. On this day, we throw out a big party for relatives. Cousins, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, all different kinds of relatives! For dinner, we usually eat dumplings, but sometimes we eat something else that is related. We launch firecrackers and decorate our home with lanterns. Kids get red envelopes with money inside. We wear traditional clothing that is mostly made out of silk. I wore a Qipao every year. A Qipao is a Chinese dress that goes down to your knees and is wore for special events. At the very end, we watch the moon. Does anyone else celebrate this tradition?

    We have more than one tradition that I want to share. Some are Thanksgiving, Christmas, July 4th, Easter, and Halloween. The one I that is coming up is Halloween, so I want to share that one!

    On Halloween night, we walk out in our costumes. We wander around our neighborhood scouting for candy. We especially like the houses with decorations that make scary sounds and light up. For a combo, sometimes they would give us two pieces of candy. I've seen people run out of candy, and when they do, they would give out pennies. This year, maybe I will participate in a charity called UNICEF. Do you know this company?

    Your tradition-loving friend,

  16. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I celebrate many Indian traditions, but Diwali is the biggest and my family's favorite one.

    Diwali is also called the festival of lights and is traditionally a five day celebration.

    It symbolizes and represents the victory of good over evil. Each of the five day's has its own significance.

    During Diwali, everybody wears traditional Indian clothing and jewelry and share sweets and snacks with family and friends.

    First, we make our house and surroundings beautiful by cleaning and decorating. We light oil lamps called "Diyas" and put them around the house to brighten it up.

    We also make traditional "Rangolis" floor painting with all sorts of dry colors outside the house.

    Next, my family and I worship and welcome God by performing a "Pooja" ritual and offerings of sweets and snacks. We offer prayers for welcoming good and defeating evil.

    We burst firecrackers in the night to celebrate the driving away of the evil .

    We celebrate by eating tasty Indian food and sweets.

    Diwali is a wonderful festival because there are different activities and rituals that we perform on each day.

    Do you wear any traditional clothing during any of your favorite tradition or holiday?


  17. Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,

    One of our family traditions is having Thanksgiving Dinner at our house. We invite friends and family. Everyone is welcome, even friends that we don't know, especially ones who have no where to go. I like to help my mom make the pumpkin pies. My brother and I also make place cards for everyone. We make extra in case more people come. Something we put out every year is a stuffed animal turkey, it goes right in the middle of the dinner table.
    What decorations do you put out every year on your Thanksgiving table?

    Your classmate,

  18. Dear Mrs. Yollis and Class,

    One very special tradition in my family is Birthday Breakfast. When it is my birthday, we go out for breakfast with my family and friends. Sometimes we go to Michael D's where I see my friend Allie who is our waitress. For my birthday breakfast I like to have hot chocolate, pancakes and eggs over easy.

    What do you do for your birthday?

    Your student,

  19. Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,
    I am writing about my family's tradition on Christmas. Before Christmas starts, my family invites a lot of people for a Christmas party! To get ready for the party, we find a Christmas tree and decorate it. In my opinion, decorating the tree is the best part. Then we all have fun at the party, eat a bunch of treats and candy, and play with my friends. How do you celebrate your favorite family tradition?

  20. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    We have a few special traditions in our family. One of my favorites is celebrating the Persian new year, which is called Nowruz. Nowruz means a "new day" and we celebrate this holiday on the first day of Spring. We celebrate Nowruz by making a special table called a Haftsin. On the Haftsin we place seven special items that begin with the sound "s". Actually, Haftsin means "seven s's". We also love to celebrate Thanksgiving. My family is made up of many cultures and Thanksgiving is one holiday that we all share and celebrate together. My family from New York usually comes to our house to have a big Thanksgiving dinner and every year my mom decorates the table with Thanksgiving placemats that my sister and I have made every school year. Do you have anything special that you put on your Thanksgiving table every year?

    Your student,

  21. Dear Mrs. Yollis,
    One of my family traditions is going to Sacramento to visit my cousins once a year. We usually play in the snow, go out to eat at least one time, talk and hang out with each other. We usually go over Thanksgiving break. My favorite part is playing in the snow and making snow angles.
    Can you find Sacramento on a map? If so is it north, south, east, or west of our suburb?


  22. Dear Mrs. Yollis,
    My husband and I have a fun summer tradition. Our friends love to participate in the Beaver Lake Triathlon that is held near our house.
    Every year my husband finds out which one of our friends is competing. Then he makes a huge sign that reads "Go Debbie or Run Dee or Go Tara" or something like that. He spraypaints the words on a large piece of cardboard or plywood.
    Then on race day, we carry it down to what we call "Hembree Corner" and set it up. My husband brings a huge orange safety cone and I bring cheerleader pom-poms.
    As the racers go by our corner we cheer them on. My husband use the orange cone as a megaphone and you can hear him a block away. I used to clap but after a few years of having red and sore hands, I bought some pom-poms. They are a lot of fun!
    The racers know us know after 9 years and always smile when they get the extra encouragement.
    For us, it's a fun summer tradition that makes everyone happy.
    Mrs. Hembree

  23. Dear Mrs. Yollis and Class,
    We have a wonderful tradition of going to Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware every summer to go camping .
    We have such a great time visiting with my Nana, Papa and Uncle Carl. We go bike riding and fishing. Every evening we have a campfire with s'mores. Before we go to bed my mom likes to tell ghost stories, sometimes they can be pretty funny.
    I look forward to going with my family every year!

    What do you like to do in the summer?

    Your classmate and student,

  24. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I would like to share one of my family tradition, and it is Hanukkah.
    Hanukkah is a fabulous holiday with a beautiful story of braveness. We light one candle of the menora every day for eight days to symbolize the miracle of the can of oil that lasted eight days. We eat lots of yummy food like special donuts and latkes. This year the holiday falls on Thanksgiving day, and it is even more special - I get to celebrate both of my favorite holidays at the same time!
    My grandmother invited us to Palms Springs for a family vacation, and we will all celebrate together. I can't wait to taste my grandmother's donuts and play with the dreidel. It is so much fun playing with the dreidel.



  25. Dear Mrs. Yollis,
    We have a lot of traditions in our family, one of them is after a long weekend at the swap meet we all go to North Woods for dinner.

  26. Dear Mrs. Yollis,
    I married into a fun family tradition...pumpkin smashing! Don't get the wrong idea, I don't go around smashing people's pumpkins. The Sunday after Thanksgiving, we gather as a large group and bring all our pumpkins or gourds we used for decorations over the fall season. These past couple years, some family members even started to bring fruit like watermelons and apples. Then we have fun playing baseball or golf with the pumpkins. Pulling pumpkin guts out of my hair is gross but it is sure worth the fun!

  27. Dear Mrs.Yollis and class,

    One of my traditions that my family and I celebrate is going to our family Hannukah Cousin Club party once a year. We play ping ping, sing songs, say prayers, and eat good food! My favorite food is the latka which is like a potato hash brown. This Holiday is awesome because I get one present every night for Hannukah, which is eight presents for eight nights that the holiday lasts.



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