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Title of Lesson: Unite the School
Grade Level: 6-8
Subject Area: Multicultural/Interdisciplinary/Social Studies
Instructional Goal: To increase and celebrate the cultural diversities of our campus.
Toni Bordelon & Trudy Driskell
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Fly every nationality's flag that is represented by students attending that particular school and then start the fun of learning together! World Flag Database: http://flags.mmcorp.com/
Schools are "melting pots" of nationalities. The students in each school spend about 185 days together each year and need a peaceful atmosphere to "live" and learn at school. Respecting each other is important. Peer group pressure is a big problem. This interdisciplinary school project will help unite the feelings and make each student feel a very special part of their school. This project would be a great beginning of the school "opener" for students and their teachers. History, geography, art, music, drama, homemaking theater arts, physical education, computer, language departments and math are all integrated into this project. There are lots of "challenges" integrated into the project "Unite the School" and very many directions for creativity. Every teacher will work with her classes to brainstorm the possibilities of each concept that has been suggested by that teacher.
Nationalities represented by the students at the school must be identified. Contacts through the Internet established easily by e-mailing and using the World Wide Web. "Sister Schools" are identified and contacts for student e-mailing are made. Each student should have a foreign-culture e-mail partner from one of the countries represented by the study. The teachers may want to establish other foreign-culture "teacher resources" as well.
Teacher's note: When this was done on our campus a sequenced events throughout the week involved the total student body, in addition to our special groups: Band, Drama, META Club (Our Hispanic Girls Club), the faculty, cafeteria and maintenance staff, PTA, Choir, Art, the National Junior Honor Society and our community.
The students will lead this project and produce every "product" that is produced such as: Drama Department 1.) A video of each nationality's customs can be produced by students. Many times local television departments will instruct students about how to make great videos and even loan camera for a certain period.
Homemaking Department 2.) Cooking demonstrations of various foreign foods prepared by the homemaking department for a PTA open house (This might be a fund raiser or an ice breaker for families at the beginning of the school year). While the families are eating, games can be played from every nationality represented. Games tables should be arranged in one corner of the cafeteria.
Student Council/Drama Department/Special Filming Crew3.) Live (CUCME) or taped telecommunications contact with representative "sister schools" from each nationality to be shown to the students/families.
National Committee4.) Each holiday for each nationality is recognized at a special place throughout the year and mentioned by the "National Committee" (Students who are on this special committee who keep this project alive throughout the school year). This National Committee will be made up of students who are representatives of each nationality but not exclusive to that nationality.
Athletes Department: Learning the "Games of counties"
Social Studies Department: Customs, history, geography, weather, political figures, current events from the countries (WWW). Who are the heroes of each country: past and present? Who are the rock stars, athletes, political?
Music Department: Coral production with band accompaniment of nations songs. This could be a wonderful production with "multimedia graphics shows" shown on each wall of the darkened auditorium, p.e. students in a national dance demonstration using the music from the music department. "Colors" could be the theme.
Language Department: Small study of the each language.from the nationalities represented.
Computer Department: Responsible for posters, telecommunications, World Wide Web searches for downloading into a movable computer that would be used in the various classrooms to show subject specific information about what has been found on the web about the countries: maps, recipes, facts about each county, language, history, statistics about the country to possibly be used in a math class. Special multimedia group projects created and shown before school or during lunch.
Actual Projects for 1996-1997 Year:
Multicultural Jeopardywill be played during announcements. Winners receive prizes.
TIE OUT RACISM - Students brought an old tie from home and the ties were tied together around the outside of the school to represent the goal of cultural acceptance.
Multicultural Decoration- All classroom teachers were encouraged to decorate their doors, walls and bulletin boards for the celebration. Winners announced.
America's signature- Students will sign their name and national origin in beautiful, bold colors, or a large sheet of poster board located in the cafeteria.
Multicultural Lunch- the school district's cafeteria personal and the site cafeteria planned a day of cultural diverse meals for the campus student body.
Bake Sale - The members of student body sold cookies, candy and brownies.
Art-N-Facts - The history department was invited to coordinate cultural exhibits for the front display case in the foyer area of the school. the exhibits may include: multicultural art, photographs, books, clothing, jewelry, sculptures, paintings, cultural customs or writings. A short information card was prepared for each piece.
Teachers on the campus were encouraged in their team meetings to create lesson plans for their students that would include topics such as: Around the World, All American, Multicultural Book List, small group discussions on multiculturalism and possible cultural analysis using books, poems or stories about a culture different from yours.
Last Day Activities: "Guess My Garb" style show, multicultural luncheon & special guest performances.
There is a lot of preparation for this celebration.
Video cameras, food supplies for feast, flags of each country, music gathered from the students from every nation represented at the school, posters that would depict other cultures and heroes, games from other countries
Computer Hardware and Software Required:
Computers, modems, Internet connection, printers
School Library -This interdisciplinary lesson will allow students to explore the wonderful resources located in the library. Computers with CD ROM encyclopedias, atlases and of history will be used. The modem connected in the library can be a communication site for teachers and students. Books written by students about each country that is represented can be featured. Books about each of the countries identified can be purchased with monies from the PTA cooking fair.
World Wide Web resources-Many students will be able to use their computer connections at home to do research for this project and to communicate with their foreign e mail partner.
Guest speakers from the different nationalities.
Related WWW Sites
Name of Site
Description of Site
The World Heritage List
This is UNESCO's World Heritage list of Nations and links to information about those nations.
WCSU Lists: Social Sciences Internet Resources
Large site of links for multicultural studies
Intercultural Email Classroom Connections
This is the address to obtain email partners for students.
A supportive environment is important for the students to be creative.. Creativity "blockers" might be: overly focusing on each student's evaluation of their work, constant surveillance on the students group activities, rewards other than the pleasure of being creative (grades will be given but assessment should be more in an individual level), competition with each other sometimes kills the creative edge and restricting students choices (although limits must be set, that's understood, some students that play and experimentation are valuable forms of learning, Actual experimentation, the manipulation and testing of ideas in reality, provides children with direct, concrete feedback about the accuracy of their ideas as they work them out.
A growing body of research on collaborative or cooperative learning has demonstrated the benefits of children working with other children in collective learning efforts
The teacher serves as a guide, rather than the source, of knowledge. The performance required for this new role is far more complex than traditional classroom teaching (Ringstaff, Sandholtz, and Dwyer, 1991). The teacher engages the children by helping to organize and assist them as they take the initiative in their own self-directed explorations, instead of directing their learning autocratically. Flexibility is the most important feature of the new role the teacher will have to play in such an environment.
Each teacher that is involved will start each subject's project by working with her classes to find out what they envision as the possible goals and objectives for their part of the challenge project. These may change as their projects take shape. This is a big project and EACH student needs to "own" a part of the project and have their own responsibility. Teachers need to be flexible yet organized and focused on their subject specific learning goals. Students are constructing their own knowledge as the project takes shape and having fun learning together and sharing that knowledge with each other. Cooperative learning groups should be use for working and each group should have their own tentative goals and objectives set. 4. Construct the knowledge
A calendar should be posted with dates for each part of the project to be finished: PTA meeting, performances, cooking fairs, drama and music performances, game days, special guest speakers.
Prerequisite Student Skills:
All performances, multimedia productions and documents are completely planned and produced by students. These products are displayed and demonstrated by the students for the school.
Each group member should have a responsibility and teachers should have a method of assessing the quality of each students work.
Students need to first assess their own projects and learning. A self-survey could be taken. A pre and post survey could be written by the students and they could evaluate the project from their perspective. The students could identify the benefits of such a challenge and evaluate their growth. The questions used in part 2 should have been answered and question added: What did I learn? That question may not be totally answered because their may be throughout-the-year realizations of the knowledge and growth of each student due to the project study.
Each part of the challenge needs feedback but teachers and peer groups. Working an a concept to be learned, reporting on the efforts of the groups or individual and reforming the ideas or accepting that the efforts are going in the best direction, is very important to the learning concept.
Set New Challenge:
Shall this be an on-going project? What are some new and different concepts that could be spinoffs of this "Unite the School" project? Possibly having many schools work together on the project or the "Sister Schools" celebrating together although physically being apart.
Links to many lesson plans about cultural heritage and multiculturism.
Investigation of a Foreign Country
Objective: The students will learn something new about their country of study.
What time is it anywhere in the world?
Local Times Around the World
What is the weather anywhere in the world?
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