An Integrated Thematic Unit
Created by Caroline Butler
Completed as part of the requirements for El Ed 4050 Fall Semester, 1999, Jay Monson, course instructor, USU
The sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.
The behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group.
(Source: Webster's College Dictionary. Random House, 1997.)
Grade Level: 2
Table of Contents
Utah State Core 6020-0201:
"Identify cultural traits and values that are inherited and acquired; i.e., family, religious, and cultural traditions, physical characteristics, etc."
Science: The students will learn about climate and its effects on human life.
Math: The students will practice basic addition and subtraction facts and be exposed to both making and using graphs.
Spanish: The students will learn new Spanish words and practice previously-learned words in the context of encountering other cultures in books or through people in the community.
Art: The students will practice learning a new art technique and express and represent their ideas through drawing.
Writing: As a class, the students will create readable texts through shared writing and convey fact through writing.
Reading: The students will practice comprehension by drawing information from books read aloud.
Kaleidoscope: A Multicultural Booklist for Grades K-8, Rudine Sims Bishop - Editor. NCTE Bibliography Series. ISBN 0-8141-2543-3
See Bibliography that follows.
Parents of students in class who are from or who have visited other countries
Foreign Exchange Students
Utah State office of Multicultural Student Services (Logan, UT)(435)797-1733
Logan Library (Logan, UT)
Boise Public Library (208)384-4076 (Boise, ID)
http://family.go.com Try the "Education Bank" or "Craft Finder" for some ideas.
Reading Rainbow: Liang and the Magic Paintbrush An excellent introduction to Chinese culture
Children's Literature that Integrate Various Cultures
Bunting, Eve. A Day's Work. Illustrated by Ronald Himler. Clarion Books, 1994. ISBN 0-395-67321-6. Ages 4-9.
Francisco's grandfather has recently come from Mexico and does not speak English. Since Francisco is bilingual, he helps his grandfather to find a job on a Saturday. In order to get him the job, Francisco lies by saying that his grandfather is an excellent gardener. Since neither he nor his grandfather are excellent gardeners, they end up pulling up all the plants and leaving all the weeds. When the grandfather realizes the mistake he insists that they will return the next day to do the job right, and refuses payment until it is done right. As a result of his honesty, Francisco learns an important lesson, and the grandfather is hired permanently, because he is trustworthy.
Bunting, Eve. Going Home. Illustrated by David Diaz. Joanna Cotler Books, 1996. ISBN 0-06-026296-6. Ages 4-8.
This is a neat story about a Mexican-American family who returns to Mexico for a visit. The story is written from the perspective of one of the children who observes how hard his parents work in the fields and how much they love Mexico. He finally begins to understand the reason for and the magnitude of his parents' sacrifice in order to give their children opportunities.
Bunting, Eve. I Have an Olive Tree. Illustrated by Karen Barbour. Joanna Cotler Books, 1999. ISBN 0-06-027573-1. Ages 4-9.
This is a neat story about a girl's Greek heritage. Her grandfather gives her an olive tree on the island where he is from, and asks her to hang her grandmother's bead necklace on it. She and her mother make the trip to Greece where she finally sees her tree and realizes that it was a very special gift that her grandfather had given her.
Bunting, Eve. Moonstick, the Seasons of the Sioux. Illustrated by John Sandford. Joanna Cotler Books, 1997. Ages 4-8.
This book focuses on the Sioux tradition of marking a notch on a stick for each of the thirteen moons of the year. The book talks about what the Sioux traditionally did during each of the moons.
Polacco, Patricia. Just Plain Fancy. Illustrated by Patricia Polacco. A Bantam Little Rooster Book, 1990. ISBN 0-553-07062-2. Ages 4-8.
Ruth and Naomi, sisters in an Amish family, sometimes find their life a little too plain, especially Naomi. She just wants something fancy. One day Ruth and Naomi find a spotted egg and put it in their hen's nest to hatch. The unusual egg becomes an unusual chick they name Fancy. Fancy becomes a beautiful peacock...definitely NOT plain! They're afraid he'll be shunned by the elders, like people who are fancy, contrary to the ways of their people. Their fears were calmed when, after he displays his feathers in a public meeting, old Martha declares that those feathers are God's handiwork. Naomi is then also honored by receiving her white cap for giving good and faithful care to her chickens.
Polacco, Patricia. Mrs. Katz and Tush. Illustrated by Patricia Polacco. A Bantam Little Rooster Book, 1992. ISBN 0-553-08122-5. Ages 4-8.
This is a touching story about an African-American boy who befriends an elderly Jewish women when her husband dies. He gives her a kitten named Tush who she grows to dearly loves. As Larnel comes to help her care for the cat, Mrs. Katz and Larnel develop a close relationship, and she teaches him about her country, Poland, and about both her people and his and the struggles they shared. She becomes a bubee to him, and is part of his family as it grows and changes.
Polacco, Patricia. Pink and Say. Illustrated by Patricia Polacco. Philomel Books, 1994. ISBN 0-399-22671-0. Ages 4-10.
Pinkus Aylee and Sheldon Curtis, Pink and Say, become friends after Pinkus rescues Sheldon from dying from a gunshot wound. Pinkus' mom, Moe Moe Bay, cares for Say, only 15 years old at the time, although greatly endangering her own life. Pink and his family are former slaves and tell Say about their lives as slaves. Pink tells of his master teaching him to read, and that even though he was owned, no one can own his soul really. As the time approaches to return to the war, Say is afraid, and Moe Moe Bay comforts him. As the boys prepare to go, marauders come and Moe Moe Bay is killed. The boys are soon captured and taken to a prison camp where they are forever separated. Pinkus is killed, and Say endures the time at the harsh camp to live to be an old man...just like Moe Moe Bay said.
Polacco, Patricia. Thunder Cake. Illustrated by Patricia Polacco. Philomel Books, 1990. ISBN 0-399-22241-6. Ages 3-8.
Little Patricia is afraid of the thunder and lightning at her grandma's (her Babushka's) farm in Michigan, until her grandma teaches her to make Thunder Cake. She has to count the seconds between the lightning and the thunder to see how much time they have to make the cake. Every time she is scared, her grandmother reminds her not to be afraid and reminds her that she is there. At last they share their Thunder Cake as the storm rages, and little Patricia realizes that she is brave. She never feared "the voice of thunder" again.
Soto, Gary. Chato's Kitchen. Illustrated by Susan Guevara. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1995. ISBN 0-399-22658-3. Ages 3-8.
Chato is a low-riding cat who decides to invite the new ratoncitos (little mice) in the barrio (neighborhood) for dinner...as the main course. Since the family of mice has already invited a friend Chorizo over for dinner that night, they ask to bring him along too. When dinner arrives, the fun, surprise ending reveals that Chorizo is a dog, to the horror and disappointment of Chato and his cat friend who had expected another mouse. This book has wonderful illustrations and incorporates a few Spanish words very well.
Lesson Plan - Native American Counting Game to-pe-di (Math Integration)
Source: "Games We Play: Connecting Mathematics and Culture in the Classroom." Barta, James and Schaelling, Diane. Teaching Children Mathematics. March 1998. pp. 388-393.
The students will practice basic addition facts and be exposed to Native American culture.
~to-pe-di sticks which can be collected and made by the students (4 sticks about 8 and one-half inches long per group) One side is flat and one is round. The flat side is painted red. One of the rounded sides is marked with 2 lines near the middle. This is male and is named A-ku-a. The other is marked with two triangles that meet each other in the middle. This is the female and is called Pi-au.
~You will need red paint and a tool to carve to make the to-pe-di sticks.
~Multiple natural objects such as twigs or pebbles to be used as counters.
All sides the same = 1 point
Male and female up, the others down OR Male and female down and the other two up = 2 points
Three sides the same = 1 point
No other combinations earn points.
Tell the students that this is similar to a game traditionally played by the Shoshoni-Bannock Native Americans in Fort Hall Idaho. Find Idaho on a map. Fort Hall is in southeastern Idaho.
1. Demonstrate the game to the class. Hold all four sticks vertically to the floor and drop them on their ends. Score yourself based on the way that they fall, and take a counter for each point.
2. Have a representative from each group of four collect 4 sticks and some counters for their group.
3. Allow the students to play.
~As a class, determine the total number of sticks needed for a class set for playing the game.
~Allow the kids to collect and make their own to-pe-di sticks.
~Have students create their own game or rules.
Lesson Plan (Math and Literature Integration)
Source: Adapted from Math By All Means by Jane Crawford)
Objectives: The students will identify similarities and differences in currency and create their own.
Round and Round the Money Goes: What Money Is and How We Use It by Melvin and Gilda Berger
Currency from many countries
Magnifying glasses for each child or pair of children
Writing and coloring utensils, art supplies
Round, flat pieces of wood (for coins)...probably can be found at a craft store
1. Read the book to the class.
2. Discuss what kids trade and use as money. What have you traded? What type of money do you use? When is trading better and when is using money better?
3. Give instructions: As a group investigate money from other countries and from the U.S. Then develop a coin and a bill individually or in a group. Choose a group member to send to get a magnifying glass, currency, paper, and art materials.
4. Dismiss kids to work.
5. Allow one group at a time to get some foreign money and magnifying glasses for their group.
As they are ready to make their own money, one group member can collect paper, writing, and coloring utensils for the group.
Each group will develop unique currency.
Lesson Plan - Mrs. Katz and Tush (Literature and Writing Integration)
The students will make observations of the Jewish culture in the text and will create a readable text.
Book: Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco
Introduce the book to the class. Make predictions based on the cover. Who is Tush? Ask the class to watch for things in the book that tell them something about the Jewish culture.
1. Read the book to the class.
2. Ask the students what they noticed about what the Jewish people in this book ate, celebrated, etc. (For example, Foods: matzoh and kugel; Celebrations: Hannukah and Passover; Traditions: seder [meal at the beginning of the Passover], using rocks to remember)
3. After some discussion, ask for sentences that could be written for a non-fiction writing about Jewish culture. Write their responses on the chart paper.
4. Re-read the chart as a class, and leave it up for the students to read later. Also, leave the book in the class library for the students to read.
Culminating Activity: Class book - Our Class Culture
Each student will contribute a sentence to the book that reflects an understanding of what culture is.
A readable text will be created.
Preceding writing workshop time, refer to the rainbow culture chart, reviewing what the class has learned about specific aspects of other cultures.
1. Write an example of a class statement that would be true of the culture of the particular classroom. For example, "We live in America. We speak English, Spanish, and Chinese. We celebrate Thanksgiving." Ask the students for other class culture statements.
2. Write a personal example. For example, "I wear jeans and I eat cereal."
3. Ask for student "I" sentences about their culture. Write one at a time.
4. To maintain attention, take student contributions in two sittings.
5. When the chart is finished, re-read it as a class.
6. Publish the story in books that can be illustrated by each individual student and another one that can be kept in the class library.
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