Classroom Quilt of Cultures
Sharing cultural traditions and talking about cultural diversity in the classroom helps young children grow socially and broaden their viewpoints. They will begin to understand what they share among themselves within their own culture. And, they will begin to appreciate the similarities among cultures, leading to less prejudice and stereotyping in school.
Purpose: To guide students to be aware of, and appreciate, their own and other cultures
Materials: “Smile at Your Neighbor”; chart paper and large markers; 5” x 5” construction paper squares of different colors, enough for each student to have five pieces; markers, crayons, glitter, glue, and other art supplies; tape
Preparation: Cut out the construction paper squares, print out the lyrics to “Smile at Your Neighbor” onto chart paper or the chalkboard, and set up a way to play “Smile at Your Neighbor” in the class (download and play or use the computer and speakers).
Procedure: Play “Smile at Your Neighbor” as you help the students learn the words and sing along. Gather the class into a large circle, holding hands. Then, have them drop hands as they listen and sing along, acting out the lyrics of the song—jump down, turn around, spin down, twist down, smile, and wave “hello.” Have the children hold hands and walk in a circle as they sing the chorus.
After singing and dancing, gather the children together and ask them to say something special about themselves. Write the following words on the chalkboard or on different sheets of chart paper: favorite food, favorite holiday, favorite family activity, favorite animal, favorite sport. Ask the students to share some of their favorites and talk about likes and differences.
Next, distribute five construction paper squares to each student. Have the students draw pictures to describe each of their favorites. As the students complete their pictures, gather the squares and use tape to “quilt” the squares together.
Hang the “We Quilt” in the class to help children see that, although they may be different, they all fit together.
Optional Procedure: Add different languages to “Smile at Your Neighbor” by helping the students learn different ways to say “hello.” For example:
|Arabic: Marhabah (mar-ha-bah)
||French: Bonjour (bone-joor)
|Hebrew: Shalom (shah-lome)
||Italian: Buon giorno (bone-zhee-or-no)
|Mandarin Chinese: Nea how (nee-how)
||Russian: Priviet (pri-vee-et)
|Spanish: Hola (oh-la)
||Swahili: Jambo (zham-boh)
Have the children share ways to say “hello” in languages that members of their families speak.
Related Family Article: Appreciating Cultural Differences