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December 19, 2013

Horace Mann fifth-graders learn English customs via Skype

DUNCAN — Horace Mann fifth-graders could tell you celebrating Christmas in England isn’t much different than celebrating the holiday in the United States.

In fact, English children have quite a few things in commons with American children. This was one thing Horace Mann fifth-graders learned through a Skype conversation with students at the Cotswold School, a language and science academy in Gloucestershire, Great Britain.

The Skype conversation took place just after 9 a.m. (3 p.m. in England) Wednesday. Erica Stuck, Horace Mann fifth-grade teacher, gathered all three fifth-grade classes into her classroom.

“We did this last year with them,” Stuck said about the school in England. “We talked to England and Tennesee last year.”

The six-hour time difference between schools meant the English children were about to leave for the day, while the Horace Mann students were just getting settled into class for the morning.

The Skype conversation gave students from both schools and opportunity to ask about holiday traditions and cultures.

Horace Mann students inquired about what holidays the English children celebrated, including some Americans don’t celebrate, including Guy Fawkes in November. Guy Fawkes has been a tradition for more than 400 years and consists of a bonfire and fireworks, a celebration of the failed Gunpowder Plot against Parliament and King James I.

The Cotswold students asked about the difference between how Americans celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thanksgiving is a solely American holiday.

For American and English people, Christmas is mostly celebrated with families and the primary food served is turkey. One child from the Cotswold School said he was planning to eat McDonald’s on Christmas Day.

The conversation also including comparisons of activities students in both countries do outside of school. The English children talked about football (soccer), basketball, skateboarding and American football. The Horace Mann children talked about many of the same activities.

“They do a lot of the same activities,” Stuck said to the Horace Mann fifth-grade students. “They’re kids just like you.”

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