This series of activities will help children to become familiar with other cultures and learn that people all over the world have things in common. Before beginning, the teacher should:
• Read Whoever You Are by Mem Fox, a book that celebrates the differences in different cultures. Visit her web site at www.memfox.com.
• Get patterns for clothes from different cultures from www.makingfriends.com.
• Get words and actions for greetings from around the world from www.FactMonster.com.
• Gather books from the library on various cultures.
• Students will respect and honor the different life styles and customs of different cultures.
• Students will create a Venn diagram to show how they and a friend are alike and different.
• Students will identify different ways people greet each other around the world.
• Students will work in small groups to show greetings, shelter and clothing from the various cultures shown in the book.
• Maps of the world
• Art supplies
• Computers with internet access
Day 2: Reread the book. Have the children complete Venn diagrams showing similarities and differences between the children in the book and themselves. Children can also create Venn diagrams to show the similarities and differences between themselves and a friend. Children can write responses in their homework journal.
Day 3: Use a world map to locate the countries or cultures you have selected. Have the children work in groups to show the clothing and greetings from various cultures. Children can divide the tasks of making the doll, showing the houses, coloring a map, and demonstrating the greeting. Children can use the internet or other references to find three facts about their region (may be done for homework).
Day 4: Students will present dolls made in groups. Children will demonstrate the greeting from their assigned culture. Have children respond in their journals: “Today I learned . . .”
Day 5: Brainstorm things that make us happy or sad. Brainstorm ways we can comfort people that are upset. Have children write list poems on what makes them happy or sad. Or children can write ways we can help others. (Use the link listed in the resources to help with the writing of list poems).
• Evaluate group presentations.
• Use a rubric to evaluate journal responses.
Extensions and Adaptations
• Invite parents to come in to share travel or career experiences.
• An author study of Mem Fox’s books, many of which have themes that can easily be used in character education lessons.
Related Links and Resources
Information on greeting and National Hello Day
Information on greetings and world maps
Patterns for Multicultural Friends
Information on the author and book
How to write a list poem