Cultural Fair - Lake County Schools

Cultural Fair
Purpose: To encourage our students to learn about other cultures, to celebrate what makes
us all unique and to recognize cultural traits that we share. We are not just citizens of the
United States; we are citizens of the world.
Who: Each grade level has been assigned a continent. Because most continents are divided
into countries, each class should select a different country (the culture of Russia is not the
same as China): K – Australia; 1st – Europe; 2nd - Asia; 3rd – Africa; 4th – South America;
5th – North America.
When and Where: Cultural Fair Week is May 19th – May 23rd this year. We will make plans
for sharing what we’ve learned (with your grade level? across grade levels? presentation
type?) as the date draws closer. Learning about your assigned culture does not have to be
assigned to that week. Write it into your reading plans – use library resources, internet
resources (like National Geographic for Kids), primary sources, graphic organizers, reading
strategies – and make it a multi-week unit. This is not just “language arts and crafts,” but an
opportunity for meaningful learning about ourselves through learning about another culture.
How: Start by asking yourself this question: What is important for my students to know and
how can I relate it to our experiences in the US? (graphic organizers)
Geography (make a map) - important physical and man-made features of your
country; how do the physical features affect the culture; what do the man-made
features say about your culture?
Historical events (timeline of important events) – do these correlate with important
events in out history; how did these events affect the culture of your country?
Daily life (Venn diagram) – foods, homes, entertainment, school, transportation,
sports, language
Government (T-chart) – what kind of government; who is the leader(s); how does
he/she come into power and for how long; what is the role of the people; the capital;
the economy?
Stories (folklore) from your country – what do they tell us about the culture?
Key vocabulary to know; current issues facing your country and how they impact the
rest of the world; ethnic groups/cultures within your country; important cities;
religions; heroes/important people
Activities to Try: (I have examples of many of these to share with you.)
Create a realia table in your room with books and objects representing your culture
that students can access (background knowledge)
Pen pals or web pals with a class from the country you are studying or teacher writes
letter to class as a person from the country you are studying, and the students
respond (or students write as if they are from that country and the teacher writes from
the perspective of someone from our country)
Make a book to organize your studies – a folder; a foldable book with labeled
pockets; a flip book; a “scrapbook”; etc.
A diary written as if the student lived in the country you are studying – an entry for
each topic you study (geography, family life, school, government, etc.)
A Writing Menu (from Melissa Forney) – create a list of activities related to your
study of a culture and assign them points (appetizers and desserts are worth fewer
points, main courses are worth more)
Reader’s Theater using a folktale from your country
Write a fractured folktale (i.e. The Israeli Cinderella or The Tortilla Man - instead
of Gingerbread Man) incorporating people, places, events that are important to your
selected culture
Incorporate reading strategies throughout – compare/contrast, sequencing, main idea
and details, problem/solution, etc.
Utilize small groups/cooperative groups/ jig saw groups to do research, then come
back together to share (i.e. Daily Life – assign each group a topic from above,
provide books and magazines for them to locate info, then have groups share, adding
their info to a Venn Diagram, complete the US and “both/shared” sections of the
Venn Diagram as a class)
Wax Museum – student groups plan and perform scenes from their culture like wax
statues in a museum; as visitors walk through the museum, a docent (tour guide)
explains the scene; relics (items that would be found in a museum)
Art Museum – student groups create art (in a variety of formats) that represents the
culture you’ve studied
Student-created Performances – plays, music, art pieces, etc.
Create a PowerPoint presentation about what you’ve learned - take your own
photos and use photos found on the web from your country (comparing two cultures)
or just assign each group a topic on which to create a PowerPoint page
Check with Michelle and Cindy for library resources – with enough notice they can
gather materials for you.
Call the librarians at your local library. They can also gather materials for you.
I have a book called Read Around the World with 20 Great Picture and Chapter
Books that may be helpful.
Ask Mr. Bonner and Mrs. Mickens if they have any suggestions or can incorporate
your topics in their lessons
Primary sources are those items related to your topic that come “straight from the
horse’s mouth” – people who are from your country, stories/articles written by
someone who lives in your country, items/materials from your country
Check out United Streaming
Web sites that may be helpful:
Kid Info Bits (kid-friendly research engine) – from the intranet homepage –
Destiny – RLE – Kids Info Bits
Scholastic for Kids – just type in your search term; good for current events
and research
Time for Kids
National Geographic for Kids
* (type your country’s name in the search field)
Reader’s Theater (look for one representing your country);
Pen Pals - (this one
has a good listing of countries within each continent – to help you choose a
country to study);;
Do a Google search (try different topics, like your country photographs or
your country culture) - some I came up with from a general “kids culture
resources” search: