Monday, October 8, 2012

Celebrating Traditions!

This week Mrs. Ranney's class is starting 
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.

 *     *     *     *     *

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 backhome 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.

*     *     *     *     *

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 19!


  1. Dear 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

  2. 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 the family 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

  3. Dear Mrs. Ranney

    One of my family`s traditions is, on Christmas Eve we go down Candy Cane Lane and get In and Out burgers and shakes.

    I enjoy this because the lights are really big and light. I like In and Out burgers and shakes because they are really big and good.

    Another traditon is, Thanksgiving week my grandma rents a beach house. I like this because my cousins come from Las Vegas and Huntinton Beach and play with us.

    My family traditions are really fun!


  4. Charlotte and RussellOctober 9, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    One of our family traditions is getting together for Thanksgiving. I have a very big family with lots of aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins. Everybody gets to participate by bringing a dish that they love the most. My favorite dish is always the sweet potatoes because I get to eat the roasted marshmallows off the top. YUM!

    My least favorite thing about this tradition is cleaning up. There are so many plates, cups, and a ton of silverware. The last couple of years we have gone to using plastic which makes clean up much easier.

    Of course, lets not forget about dessert. Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, Apple Pie, Brownies, and so many more treats usually grace the table after the main course has been cleared. By the time we are done eating, man are we full.

    Best wishes,
    Charlotte and my dad (Russell)

  5. Dear Mrs.Ranney

    One of my family traditions is,on Easter all the kids have a giant Easter egg hunt. There are usually about 50 eggs.

    All of the shinny eggs have money in them. The gold egg has five dollars in it.

    Last year I got 16 dollars.The Easter hunt was very fun.

    My family's traditions are exciting!


  6. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    One of our family traditions is that we invite family over for New Years Eve. We cook delicious foods and bake home-made chocolate cake. After dinner we all open presents. When we are done opening our presents we either play with them or dress them up. My cousins and I play board games and sometimes we have pillow fights while the adults talk at the table. The most fun part of this tradition is that we can stay up untill midnight and watch the crystal ball drop in New York.

    This is my favorite tradition!

    Best wishes,

  7. Noga (Rain's grandma)October 11, 2012 at 7:35 AM

    Dear teachers and students,

    We are Jewish, and we have plenty of traditions, most have to do with how to celebrate the Jewish Holidays. There are so many Holidays that my grandchildren are still trying to understand them all.

    Here I want to tell you about one unique tradition that my family had when I grew up and I hope to introduce it to my grandchildren. This tradition is a little play (acting) that the children were encouraged to improvise in a holiday called Passover. This Holiday is to commemorate the exodus of the “children of Israel” after they were freed from being slaves in a country called Egypt. The children of Israel spent 40 years in the desert before they made it to the promised land (Israel of Today).

    Every Passover, before we had a meal, I and my siblings put on us torn cloths and pretended we are the Children of Israel from the biblical time. We pretended to be tired from walking for such a long time; we went outside, knocked on the house door; my father let us in and asked who are we. We had to say that we are the children of Israel, that we walked a long time and we are very hungry. My father would ask us to prove we were Jewish by asking questions about our past experience and the experience of the Jewish people.

    When he was convinced that we really are children of Israel who came from Egypt, he invited us to come in and eat a nice Passover meal.


  8. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    My family tradition is that every summer we go to see my grandparents in Mount Vernon, Ohio. We also always try to go somewhere different, like somewhere educational.

    Once we flew to Ohio then we drove to West Virginia, for 2 or 3 days. Then we drove to Williamsburg, Virginia for 4 or 5 days. Then we took a 9 hour drive back to Ohio.

    Have you ever taken a nine hour drive before?


    1. Dear Jules,

      A nine hour drive is really long but I have been on a longer one. Every year we fly from here all the way to Macedonia that is in Europe. We usually fly through London. The flight from here to London is more than eleven hours. I like this flight because there are little TV screens on the back of every seat. While we are flying I watch movies the entire time. When I watch the movies it feels like it is much shorter than eleven hours.

      Have you ever been on a eleven hour long flight?

      Your friend,

    2. Dear Alexandra,

      The longest flight I`ve been on is a six hour flight to Hawaii. I like the TV`s also because it`s enertaning.

      My dad has been on a seventeen hour flight to Dubai. That is a city in the United Arab Emirates.

      Has anyone been on a seventeen hour flight?


    3. Dear Alex,

      My mom has been on a twenty two hour flight! Isn`t that cool she went from California all the way to South Africa.

      Cheers Tyler

    4. Dear Tyler,

      I have been on an a 15 hour flight. Brooke doesn't want to go on a 15 hour flight, but Brooke has been on a 6 hour flight to Hawaii. The 15 hour flight I've been on is to Israel. My grandma and grandpa (Lia's grandma and grandpa) have also been on a 20 hour flight from Israel to California. I have also been on a 13 hour flight to Belgium.

      What is the longest flight you have ever been on?

      Lia and Brooke

  9. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    Every year my family celebrates Hanukkah. It lasts for eight nights. My brother and I each get one present every night.

    My mom wraps the presents and puts them in front of the fireplace.

    After dinner we light the menorah and say a prayer. Then we run to the fireplace and open our presents. It is really fun.

    My mom also makes potato pancakes that are yummy.


  10. Hello Mrs. Ranney and class,

    I added some traditions to Mrs Yollis and her class blog but I thought I might share other traditions with you, this time traditions of my local area.

    For 33 years, my town has hosted an annual Jazz Festival. One of my favourite parts of the weekend is the Jazz Parade down the main street of our town. Hundreds of people come to watch the parade pass. People dress up, musicians play music and some people dance in the streets.

    If you are interested, you can see this year’s parade on You Tube. I added the video in June…

    Another local tradition is the town show. People enter cakes, crafts, photos, paintings, and clothes they’ve made. We have dressage and jumping events for horses and their riders. There are animals in the petting zoo, wood chopping, sideshows and show bags. Sometimes we even invite a circus people can see for free or have stunt cars or bikes. Each year can be different but our local show has been a tradition for over 100 years.

    I often act as the judge for children’s entries in arts and crafts as well as the photography judge but my favourite activity is taking photos for the show, especially the horses in action.

    Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

    1. Charlotte, Aidan, and A.J.October 19, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      Dear Mr. Mannell,

      Thank you for another spectacular comment.

      We wish we witnessed the parade. We have all been to a parade. For example, we have been to the Disneyland parade,California Adventure parade, and the Rose Bowl parade.

      Do you like parades?

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte, A.J., and Aidan F.

  11. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    My family tradition on Christmas Eve is special. First, I put on a suit and go to church. After church, I go home and eat delicious Shrimp Scampi. For dessert, we have a fabulous chocolate log. The chocolate log recipe came from my grandma's mom. After dinner, I go to bed. I try to wake up so that I can see Santa, but I always fail!

    What is your family tradition for Christmas?



    1. Alexandra and AnjoleeOctober 22, 2012 at 10:45 AM

      Dear Alex,

      We love celebrating Christmas! When Christmas comes, we invite relatives over. Then we play games for a while. Some of the games we play are Uno, tag, freeze dance, and of course we sometimes have pillow fights.

      When we finish the games, boy are we hungry! At the table we eat and eat. The food is very delicious! Finally we spend the rest of the night opening presents and playing with them.

      We love Christmas!

      Best wishes,
      Alexandra and Anjolee

  12. Dear Mrs.Ranney

    My family tradition is Thanksgiving. Every Thanksgiving my grandma comes to celebrate with us. We eat turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mash potatoes and green beans. After we eat we play games like battleship.

    What do you celebrate?



  13. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    Each year we celebrate Easter. We dress up and go to church where we pray. After church we go to Cheescake Factory to celebrate our holiday and spend time with our family. After that we go to our house for our Egg Hunt.



  14. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    One of our family traditions is on Hanukkah.
    We always have a party, and invite all our friends.

    What I enjoy the best about this tradition are the holiday dishes.
    We usually eat foods that are deep fried in oil to remind us of the oil used to light the menorah. My favorite foods are the jelly filled doughnuts and the potato latkes.

    All of the children play traditional holiday games such as the dreidel. Another game we play is with gelt, which are chocolate coins. Later we sing some songs for Hanukkah and
    then we light our menorahs.

    Does anybody else know know some more things about Hanukkah?


  15. Dear Mrs. Ranney,
    A tradition that out family does is for Halloween. My mom and I make caramel apples every year for our friends and family. I help her with dipping the apples in caramel, then in the sprinkles and wrapping them to give away. We always make enough for my class.
    Happy Halloween- Brooke

  16. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    My favorite holiday is Passover because I get to see my whole family. We all go to my grandma and grandpa's house and have a special dinner called a seder. But the best part is that we get to find someting called the Afikoman. The person who finds the Afikoman wins a dollar from my dad. The Afikoman is a really special matzo.

    Zachary and Dad

  17. Dear Mrs.Ranney,

    My favorite family tradition is Christmas. Our whole family wakes up early in the morning to see what Santa has left us under the tree. We drink hot chocolate and coffee as we open up the presents that Santa and my parents left for me. My parents like to video tape me opening up my presents. We also watch old family video.

    Best Wishes.
    Aiden R.

  18. Dear Mrs. Ranney

    I have lots of traditions in my family, but the one I can never do without is Friday night Shabbat dinner. I can't remember a Friday without. My mom usually cooks all day preparing for the big feast. We all sit around the dinner table along with any guests that are invited and share the weekly happenings. We pray and thank God for all that we have. Our Good health, our home, and our friends and family.

    Shai and Mom

  19. Dear Mrs Ranney,
    My favorite family tradition is on Christmas Eve. We put out milk and cookies by the fireplace and we eat gingerbread cookies before going to bed. We light a fire and enjoy sitting around wondering what Santa will bring. In the morning we open all our presents in one go and we play with them during the day. We go to the park in the afternoon for a walk and out to Chinese food for dinner. It's not a traditional Christmas meal, but it's my family's tradition so it's special to me.


  20. Christopher and MomOctober 18, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    One of our family traditions that I enjoy is our annual summer vacation trip to Maui,
    Hawaii, and we spend a week at The Grand Wailea Hotel and Spa. I enjoy this hotel because I love their water elevator in the pool. It fills up with water and has a little jet that pushes us to the top. If we want to make it faster we try to turn the wall so the bench that you sit on goes in circles and goes faster. When you get to the top, there are two choices. One choice is a big and scary fast waterslide, and the other waterslide has seven, small waterslides. The last one of the seven slides is called, "George Rapid Slide" where in the end, you enter a huge rapid! This is my favorite time that I spend with my family all year long!

    What's your favorite family vacation?

    Best Wishes,
    Christopher and Mom

    1. Dear Christopher,

      Our family tradition is going to Miami Beach. At the beach we swim and eat at a restaurant. The food is very good. We go to a nice hotel and order room service.


      Tyler and Aiden

  21. Dear Mrs. Ranney and Class,

    My favorite tradition is celebrating Hanukkah with my family. My mom makes her famous matzo ball soup. It is the same kind her grandma made for her during Hanukkah. It is the best soup and I can eat 5 bowls! Another tradition is opening presents. It is fun when I get to open good presents. Every year my mom gets us pajamas. That is my least favorite present. These are my 2 favorite traditions of Hanukkah.

    Best wishes, A.J.

  22. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    My favorite tradition involves shooting a cannon!

    When my dad was a kid, his grandfather and great uncles started lots of silly traditions to make family gatherings more fun.

    My great-grandfather, Roy, had a brother named Dale. Dale was an ambulance driver in World War 1 in France. Sometime during his travels, he brought home a small cannon the size of a medium-sized dog (about 50 lbs.). The canon shot a special black powder shell that had to be custom made. Black powder makes much more smoke and flame than more modern gun powder.

    Whenever there was a special occasion, and definitely on July 4th, they would shoot the cannon towards the flats, a grassy area behind the family's houses. They lived in New York State in the Catskill Mountains.

    In the evening on July 4th, my relatives would load the canon. An adult would cock the hammer on the back of the barrel, and then spread out about 20 feet of clothes line attached to the hammer. Then, when the coast was clear, the adult would call one of the kids to be the trigger man. The kid would yank on the line, triggering the hammer, and BBOOOMMMM!!!! a HUGE explosion would echo over the valley. The black powder would erupt in a spout and leave a cloud of smoke.

    Firing the cannon became a family tradition; first for my great-grandparents, then for my grandparents, then for my dad, and next it will be for me! Next time I go back to my dad's home town on a special occasion, I will ask if I can help fire the canon.

    Aidan F.

  23. Dear Miss Ranney,

    I have a tradition that every day before I go to sleep I give a hug to my mom and my mom kisses me (Rain). I do this because I love my mom. Another tradition is every few weekends I go on a camping trip. Recently, my brother started coming with me and my father. It is a lot of fun!

    Rain ☆ and (Tamar) (aunt) ♥

  24. Hello Mrs. Ranny,

    This is Tyler's Grandma. I have a tradition with Tyler's dog Bobo that happens each time I visit.

    Upon entering Tyler's house, Bobo barks, dances, and twirls in circles until I pet him and give him a kiss.

    Although this is not a "conventional" tradition, it is a tradition just the same.

    Thank you,

    1. Dear Sherry (Tylers grandma),

      Bobo sounds like a really cute dog!:) I have a dog named Boo. We named him Boo because he's white like a ghost! He jumps up and down when we get home, or when we have friends and family over. My family thinks he's kind of like a guard dog to us because he will bark at anything.


  25. Dear Mrs.Ranney and class,

    My family tradition is every summer we fly to the Ukraine. We have a big family over there and a lot of friends. When we go, everybody is very exited to see us! That's our favorite time of the year!

    When I am in the Ukraine I like to play with my friends outside. We play theater every night, so every child is preparing different story,song, or dance. We surprise our family and other neighbors with a different play every night.

    Does anybody else have friends or family in other countries?

    Anjolee and Yana[Anjolee's mom]

  26. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    My family and I celebrate Christmas. For dessert we have tamales and cake. All my cousins, aunts, and uncles are there. Sometimes our aunts and uncles give us presents.

    We have a pinata too!


  27. Dear Mrs. Ranney and class,

    My tradition is Chinese New Year. People who celebrate Chinese New Year usually eat dumplings for dinner. Kids also get red envelopes with money inside. They also launch firecrackers and decorate their home with red lanterns. Some people visit relatives and friends.

    This is what they wear: traditional clothing. I wore Qipao every year. It is really fun!

    Does anyone else celebrate Chinese New Year? If you don't, do you celebrate something similar?



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