Hands down, Christmas Around the World is always my favorite topic. In Kindergarten we would read great literature, eat cultural foods and my students would be exposed to different languages and cultures!
Christmas Around the World is a fantastic way to bring diversity into your classroom. Which I am a huge advocate for! This year I knew that I wanted to bring this engagement to my 5th graders, but was not sure how I would go about it.
Then, LIGHTBULB! We had just transitioned into informative writing and that was the route I was going to take. I would not be teaching my students, but rather they would be teaching each other!
Step 1 - Assign the Countries
There was no real solid method for how I did this. Essentially I printed off my brochures in duplicates, went down my list and gave the student their country by what brochure was in my hand. :) I have to say, I am SUPER excited for these research brochures!
Step 2 - Research
This was amazing because this is where the connections began. The first day we just read about our country. Then we dove in and started recording with our graphic organizer. Students minds were opened by reading about when Christmas presents are opened, foods that are eaten and different traditions that countries have.
I had my students utilize the search engine kiddle.co and whychristmas.com to gather their information. We worked on paraphrasing what we read and putting it into our own words.
Step 3 - Rough Draft
Now that my students have filled those brochures they are organizing their thoughts into complete paragraphs. Since this was their first writing I assisted them with their introduction and the forming of their paragraphs. I had my students label which fact they would focus on for each paragraph. I had all of my students utilize food as a topic because that is something that is so strong in every culture. The remaining two facts were their choice.
Step 4 - Publish and Present
Okay so this is that part that my students were very nervous about. They do not enjoy speaking in front of others and just can not understand how I do it all day!
I want to set my students up to be successful with this so I really broke it down for them. I did a sample presentation on a country that no one was assigned. We then used a note card to write down what we wanted to share with the class. Finally, they created a poster to serve as a visual aide and a talking point.
This was a fantastic experience for my students. One student was so into it that his family actually purchased a traditional food from France! How cool is that!