Sunday, 2 April 2017

What do you do when you have students who do not celebrate Easter?

It's happened to most of plan wonderful Easter Art and Craft and picture book activities and then you find out that one or more students in your class does not celebrate Easter. What do you do?

There are four books featured in this post that have similar themes and include a hen, a chicken and a rabbit as main characters, and one of the picture books having a possum as the main character.  

Finally, there are two wonderful rhyming texts by Julia Donaldson that could be introduced into the curriculum whilst other students are engaged in Easter activities, and these two books include rabbits as main characters but they do not relate to Easter.

There are many different versions of "Henny Penny" and "Chicken Little".  


In both "Henny Penny", and "Chicken Little", the main characters believe the sky is falling and they set off on a journey to tell the King.  Both characters gather followers along the way and both characters escape the sly plans of a fox.  Both texts are terrific for rhyming words based on animals' names and both main characters realise that the sky wasn't really falling by the end of the book.

These two picture books feature a hen or a chicken as the main characters, but they have nothing to do with Easter. Therefore, to support inclusion, students could still be engaged in any hen/chicken art and craft activities that don't involve Easter eggs or Easter chickens.

I love the concluding statement in "Chicken Little" ~
"They no longer believe everything they are told without thinking for themselves."

"Blossom Possum: The Sky is Falling Down-Under"  by Gina Newton, is set in Australia, and features Australian animals.  It has a similar structure to "Henny Penny" and "Chicken Little". However, this time, we infer that a gum nut must have fallen on Blossom Possum's head and she starts her trek to inform the Prime Minister.  Blossom Possum is terrific for introducing Australian animals, and in this case, it is By-Jingo Dingo who tries to trick the animals into his lair.
All four of these texts lend themselves strongly towards sequencing activities and story maps and when I was re-reading "Blossom Possum", it reminded me of "We're Going on a Bear Hunt", by Michael Rosen, due to its circular structure and repetition. 
Blossom Possum also ended up where she began, with the repetition of the route during the trek:

"She trotted off down the track, round the back of beyond, up the hill and past the black stump, until she bumped into..." and on the way home, the reverse:

This was reversed on the way home.  If children had drawn story maps, they could follow them on the journey back home and rich discussions could occur over some of the Aussie terminology in the picture book e.g. Where is the 'back of beyond'?  Where is 'the black stump'?

"They ran back through the bush, along the creek, over the hill, past the black stump, down another hill, round the back of beyond and up the track until...they were safely home."

"The Terrible Plop", created by Australian author Ursula Dubosarsky and  Australian illustrator, Andrew Joyner also fits into the text set above, with "the sky is falling" theme. This time, however, the imaginary fiend is an apple falling off a tree into the lake, making a terrible "Plop!" This terrifies and sends the other animals into hysteria, except a little rabbit. I'm not going to spoil the ending for you, but it makes another terrific addition to "the sky is falling" text set.
Finally, Julia Donaldson has written some wonderful picture books that are highly engaging and popular with children.  The two picture books pictured below both feature rabbits as main characters, but they are not Easter-related. 

 "The Rhyming Rabbit"   is about a rabbit who is a poet and feels lonely because the other rabbits do not appreciate his poetical talent.  However, one night he meets a fellow poetry enthusiast...  
In "Rabbit's Nap" poor rabbit is trying to have a sleep, but everyone else is too noisy.  Told through rhyme, the story lends itself so well to prediction, as children lift the flaps to find out who is being noisy and keeping rabbit awake.  

Again, both of these stories feature rabbits as the main characters, however, they are not related to Easter.  Therefore, children who do not celebrate or study Easter, are able to participate in any rabbit Art and Craft activities, as long as they do not have modern Easter-related additions (e.g. eggs, baskets of eggs etc.).

I created a resource linking "Blossom Possum - The Sky is Falling Down-Under" by Gina Newton, to the Four Resources Model (Freebody & Luke, 1990) and strategies for close reading.  Click on the red link above or the image below to find out more.

I would love to hear about any other strategies, ideas or resources you use to support those students you have when it is around Easter time and their family has requested that their child does not participate in Easter activities, for any number of reasons.  

Please share your ideas for resources and alternative activities for students who do not participate in Easter in the comments section below.  

I am happy to share a copy of my Blossom Possum resource with those of you who are following my blog and who take the time to do so :)  

Many thanks 


  1. Great Post!
    I manage to skip Easter this year due to the timing of the holidays and the cyclone. But I know I won't be able to do this at Christmas time. I will be asking for your advice then for my little JW students :)

    1. I will have to get my thinking cap on, Jenny. Thanks for leaving a comment...this resource might be a little above Prep, but I guess you could simplify it?? Kylie

  2. Thank you for this. I have two students this year that don't celebrate Easter.

    1. Hi Jennifer, I am happy to share a copy of my "Blossom Possum" resource with you if you would let me know the best way to contact you :) Many thanks, Kylie

  3. Useful article, thank you for sharing the article!!!

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