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Multicultural cross-grade level unit plan

This unit of study integrates reading, writing, math, and social studies. It is designed to help first
and third grade students relate to other cultures of the world. They will understand and compare
the similarities and differences of children, families, and communities in different times and
places. They will analyze religious and other cultural traditions. They will apply basic
geographic concepts.
A lesson plan for grades 13 English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Social Studies
By Shirley Young

Learning outcomes
The student will:

read fiction and nonfiction material

read and interpret poetry
paraphrase information
use prewriting activities
compare/contrast with thinking maps
locate countries on map
learn basic geographic concepts
practice using spatial visualization/visual memory
organize information with a K-W-L Chart (What I Know, What I Want to Know, What I

Teacher planning
Time required for lesson
12 days


Fiction and nonfiction books to provide background

Books about other countries to use for research - see list of supplemental resources for
Encyclopedia for each country to be researched
World Map to display
Copies of poems
Overhead projector or document camera
Overhead transparencies of poem

Overhead transparency of Double Bubble Thinking Map to be used in comparing and

contrasting another country with the United States
Video: Kids Explore Mexico
Video: Victor
Video: Where In The World, Kids Explore

Technology resources

Access to the internet

Kid Pix
HyperStudio or PowerPoint


The class will complete a K-W-L Chart for each country that we study to show what they
know, what they want to learn, and what they learned as a whole group.
Students from other countries will name a country where they have lived and discuss how
that country is different from life in the United States.
Students will choose one of the following countries that they want to learn more about:
Mexico, Russia/Ukraine, Italy, and China.
The teacher will read a book about children from other countries to build background
The students will share prior knowledge about other countries.

1. The teacher and third grade students will read fiction and nonfiction books about different
cultures to the first grade students.
2. The teacher will provide students with a selection of newspapers and magazines.
3. The third grade students will read to the first grade students newspaper articles and
magazine articles about countries other than the United States and display the articles on a
multicultural bulletin board.
4. The students will choose a country they want to learn more about from the third grade
5. The students will read poetry about other cultures and illustrate the meaning of the poem.
6. The teacher and students will brainstorm an acrostic poem using the letters in OUR WORLD
as a whole class.
7. The students will make a list of cultural restaurants in the local area and obtain a menu from
each restaurant. The first and third grade students will work together to name the countries
in which the foods originated.
8. The students will create a national symbol to represent the country they studied.
9. Third and first grade students will work together to present a different country on a different
day. Part of the presentation will be tasting food from that country.
10. The students will add additional information to the multicultural bulletin board.

11. The teachers will pair up the first and third grade students that studied the same countries to
compare and contrast information on a double bubble-thinking map.
12. The students will make a poster about how families from different cultures celebrate
13. The students will take an imaginary trip to one of the countries that they studied and write
what they think they will see and do.
14. While reading Grandfather Tangs Story students will create animals that are described
throughout the story by using tangrams. Refer to the Tangram lesson plan by Dawn Coleman
for further ideas.


Observe third and first grade students sharing information about the U.S. and their country.
Make sure they compare and contrast at least three characteristics.
Kid Pix project that third grade students will help first grade students prepare. Each teams
slide must contain graphic, text, and sound.
Stories written about their life in another country and how it would be different.
Examination of Double Bubble Thinking Map.
Examination of the K-W-L Chart.

Supplemental information

The following poems from A Poem A Day by Helen H. Moore and published by Scholastic:
o Kwanzaa Time is Hear on page 60
o Happy Chinese New Year on page 61
The following poems from Poetry Place Anthology, which is compiled and edited by
Rosemary Alexander and Instructor Staff and published by Instructor Books:
o Hanukkah Quiz on page 34
o Martin Luther King, Jr. on page 54
o Millions of People on page 135
Children Just Like Me: Celebrations! by Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley and published by
Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Inc.
Our Multiculture World by Mollie Brittenum, published by Instructional Fair, Inc.
Grandfather Tangs Story by Ann Tompert, published by Crown Publishers, Inc., NY
South of the Border, Wonders of Mexico, published by The Rourke Book Co., Inc.
Take a Trip to China by Sally Mason, published by Franklin Watts Limited.
Pablo Remembers by George Ancona, published by Lathrop, Lee & Shepard Books
Hopscotch Around the World by Mary D. Lankford, published by Morrow Junior Books
Imanis Gift, at Kwanzaa by Denise Burden Putman, published by Simon & Schuster Books
How My Family Lives In America by Susan Kuklin, published by Simon & Schuster Books
Come Home With Me: A Multicultural Treasure Hunt by Aylette Jenness, published by The
Childrens Museum Boston
All the Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka, published by Morrow Junior Books
My Big Book of the World by Angela Royston, published by Smithmark Publishers, Inc.

Alyonushka (Russian Folk Tales), translated by Irina Zheleznova and Bernard Isaacs Raduga
Publishers in Moscow.

A multicultural unit will help students better understand the life of students from other cultures.
Some of the activities will be done in individual classes, some with first and third grade working
together, and then the entire group making presentations.
This unit of study could be done for an individual class instead of a cross grade level lesson.
Most libraries will have books on different countries available, if you dont have access to the
books that are listed. In addition, you could do these activities with countries other than the
countries listed for our students.

North Carolina Essential Standards


Social Studies (2010)

Grade 1
1.C.1 Understand the diversity of people in the local community.
1.C.1.1 Compare the languages, traditions, and holidays of various
cultures. 1.C.1.2 Use literature to help people understand diverse
Grade 2
2.C.1 Understand how various cultures influence communities.
2.C.2.1 Explain how artistic expressions of diverse cultures contribute
to the community (stories, art, music, food, etc.). 2.C.2.2 Recognize
the key historical figures and events that are associated...
Grade 3
3.C.1 Understand how diverse cultures are visible in local and
regional communities. 3.C.1.1 Compare languages, foods and
traditions of various groups living in local and regional communities.
3.C.1.2 Exemplify how various groups show artistic expression

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)
Grade 1

Goal 3: The learner will make connections through the use of oral language, written
language, and media and technology.
o Objective 3.01: Elaborate on how information and events connect to life

Mathematics (2004)
Grade 1

Goal 3: Geometry - The learner will identify, describe, draw, and build basic geometric
o Objective 3.04: Solve problems involving spatial visualization.

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 1

Goal 1: The learner will analyze how individuals, families, and groups are similar and
o Objective 1.03: Compare and contrast similarities and differences among individuals
and families.
Goal 4: The learner will explain different celebrated holidays and special days in
o Objective 4.02: Explore and cite reasons for observing special days that recognize
celebrated individuals of diverse cultures.