CULTURAL AWARENESS/SHARING TRADITIONS
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GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT: 4-12
In a multicultural secondary school setting many Students have built walls around their ethnicity. Friendships they had in earlier grades with students from other races, often are forgotten, and they form small cliques, along with prejudices, and stereotypes of others who are different than themselves.
The purpose of the activity is to have students within a small team get to know each other by sharing cultural traditions which make their families unique. It shows that all families are different, and it's OK to be different.
As a result of this activity students will
1. List cultural differences, attitudes, traditions which show that all families are different in some way.
2. Identify similarities as well as differences within the team and write about them.
3. Better know and understand students within the classroom.
This activity works well after the class has discussed what culture is and shared objects representative of different family cultures.
It is a good ice breaker and invariably helps foster new friendships.
Prior to activity:
Organize the class into teams.
Ideally teams consist of 4-5 students: mixed according to race, sex, and academic achievement. Students understand that they will be with the team 6to 8 weeks (your choice) and then the teams will be changed.
Teacher could bring slides or pictures and tell about customs in the family they were raised in, as well as cultural patterns in their own family. Bringing objects helps to trigger interest.
ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES:
1. Each member of the team discuss the ways in which their family does the following:
a. Celebrates holidays (pick only one or two)
b. Traditional foods and eating patterns
c. How house chores are assigned in family
d. Observance of religious customs
e. Traditional family trips, vacations
f. Cures for colds, flu
2. One topic is discussed at a time. While one student describes what their family does, the other team members take notes, and ask questions. As soon as the 1st student finishes the first item, then the other students follow suit, until all topics are discussed.
3. Homework assignment, is to interview a student outside of the classroom, not of their culture, or race and ask them the same 6 items.
4. Students write a paper explaining the similarities, and the differences among the team members and the random student.
5. If desired a master list could be make showing all the varied responses within the class. Students will see that even those raised in the same neighborhood in small towns have very different ways of doing things. Being different is OK.
6. Extensions could be developed where students as a team do a demonstration showing a unique custom from each student's family.
These could be role played, pantomimed, or done as a skit, or documentary.
TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:
1. Return student's notes, checking only to make sure it was done.
2. Evaluate comparison and contrast paper.
3. Encourage students to share what they learned with families.
4. Use as an introduction to folklore unit, oral interview unit, or cultural awareness unit.