Guest blog by Jodi Roper and Lisa Watson, 2nd-grade teachers at Martha Reid Leadership Academy in Mansfield ISD.
Traveling Around the World
Teaching students about the world we live in starts with learning about other people and their cultures. The holiday season is a great time to learn about how people, all over the world, celebrate different holidays. Holidays Around the World is an engaging, cross-curricular and culturally inclusive unit to cover. Whether you divide and conquer among your teammates or teach solo, this is a great way to engage your students. This year we took the engagement to a new level by transforming each second-grade classroom into a different country.
The students created a passport and prepared to “travel around the world” as they go from class to class. They then traveled to different countries to celebrate a different holiday tradition for that country. Students were able to travel to China, Australia, Italy, Mexico, and then followed Santa’s Journey at the North Pole. At each stop, students learned facts about the country and culture, traditions, food, and completed a craft activity. Here are the countries students visited and an example of what they did in each room.
- China – Students took shoes off to enter room. Room was decorated with Chinese lanterns for the New Year. They read The Runaway Wok and made a paper lantern with the year of the pig.
- Australia – Students made a Sandman and learned about the culture by watching a video. The room was decorated with Australian flags and beach decorations.
- Italy – Students learned about La Befana and the Italian culture. They ate a slice of the Italian Christmas Cake called ‘Panettone’. The room was decorated in Italian themed table cloths and flags.
- Mexico – Students made poinsettias and tasted a traditional cake. The room was decorated with pinatas, poinsettias, and a flag.
- North Pole – Students went on a virtual tour of the North Pole and followed Santa’s Journey using virtual reality goggles. The room was decorated to resemble the North Pole.
Students were engaged throughout all their traveling. This was our way to turn a simple activity into a grade-level transformation. This time around we chose to scale back on the transformation and do a mini-transformation. No matter how much or how little you choose to transform, the students will be excited and engaged.
Jodi Roper and Lisa Watson