Monday, January 12, 2015

Cultural Heritage Project

Before Thanksgiving every year, I explain our big Christmas Heritage Project to the kiddos. I introduce the project and encourage them to talk to their parents/grandparents over break to find out about their family's heritage and roots. 

The Project: 
After break, students share their family roots and we begin our research at school on how their ancestral country/culture celebrates "Christmas" or a winter holiday around the same time (ex. Diwali, Chinese New Year, etc.) . Students then do a web quest that has different Christmas Around the World websites to help guide their research. 
Some of my favorites include:
Santa Net 
Why Christmas
The North Pole
Christmas Around the World
Kids Travel
They use an I-chart to record their findings. After they have discovered a lot about their country and their celebrations, we use our information to write a short paragraph about the holiday, type them up the computer, and add a caption.
Researching how our countries celebrate Christmas or a winter holiday
 Reading LOTS of books on our countries 
The "at home" part of the project is the creation of an  Ornament that illustrates a tradition from the way their culture celebrates Christmas/Winter Holiday.

I use a rubric to grade their presentation of the ornament - it reflects: effort, whether it matches a tradition or just of the country, an in depth explanation of the tradition, and if the project was turned in on time.

 Presenting our Ornaments
In writing, students wrote an informational compare and contrast  essay

Incorporating geography, we also researched where our cultural country was located using maps, globes, and atlases. It was very interesting listening to the kids as they discover the SIZE comparison of other countries to our own. Many of them were shocked by how small their country was and at how BIG others were. Geography can be very eye opening for one's world view in many ways. 
Do you do anything to celebrate holidays around the world or family heritage? 
Happy Holidays!
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