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Family Finding: Exploring Multicultural Families Using Film

Kathleen C. Rende

Contents of Curriculum Unit 05.01.07:

To Guide Entry

As children enter kindergarten, their world completely changes. Some children are coming to school for the first time, while some children are now attending school for a full day as opposed to half day or semi regular daycare. These children are now in a place where they must stay all day, learn rules and routines, and cannot see their families for six or so hours at a stretch. For some children, this experience can be an uncomfortable one, and this unit is designed with that in mind.

Kindergarten is an important time to foster a sense of wonder and curiosity, in a safe place where children can express their individuality and celebrate others' diversity. This unit is created so children can learn about families all over the word while relating that to their own family dynamic. Family finding is designed to be taught during the first six weeks of school while children in kindergarten are learning about how school works; all the while they are missing their homes and their families.

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In a world of turbulence and friction among cultures, what better a time to promote understanding between different individuals then when a child first enters school? With a carefully designed multicultural unit, teachers are the perfect vehicles to drive a healthy understanding of others. School provides the perfect forum for children to be exposed to different cultures. In kindergarten, children are expected to learn social skills like problem solving that they can partner with a respect for multiculturalism.

Culture is how we define ourselves. Culture can be as simple as what we eat in the morning or as complex as how we observe holy days in the year. Culture can be our language and traditions or just our daily behavior. As Americans, we are lucky enough to have hundreds of cultures living in close proximity with each other. But the truth of the matter is, sometimes those cultures don't always have an understanding of one another.

Within any given community there can be a number of cultures. Individuals conduct themselves based on their cultures traditions. We also have beliefs about other cultures, based on what we have observed or by comparing it to how we observe our own traditions. Creating an understanding among cultures can prove to be a difficult task. Sometimes beliefs among different cultures can be unhealthy, to say the least.

James Banks, a multicultural educator, views multicultural education reform movements as a "process whose goals will never be fully realized." (Morrison, 292-293) He further states that multicultural education equity is an ideal that will always be partnered with racism, sexism and discrimination against people with disabilities. Prejudice will always exist; this is why he also urges educators to continuously work to "increase educational equity for all students" (Morrison, 292-293).

Although James Banks is urging that all children of all races and creeds be allotted the same educational opportunities, our countries lack of equity stems from a lack of tolerance and understanding of different peoples. However, our children are the next voters and policy makers. They are the next to make change, so there needs to be a change in the classroom.

A school is a place where several cultures come together and learn on an equal plane. Children in kindergarten eat breakfast and lunch together, learn letters and numbers together and learn how to interact and get along with each other. Learning in this environment is the ideal situation for children to grow from each other, especially at such a young age.

In my classroom, I have watched two children, one from a Spanish-speaking home and one from an English-speaking home, work collaboratively to solve problems. What better time then in kindergarten to teach not tolerance, but to celebrate each other for what everyone adds to the classroom and how they are essential to society. Children in kindergarten come to school with so little prejudice, yet so little understanding of each other and themselves. What better time than now to help them develop healthy views of each and every one of us?

Teaching Multiculturalism

A good multicultural program that infuses culture into it's teaching fosters healthy views of different peoples. By differentiating instruction, children with many learning styles can have an equal opportunity to learn. There are some guidelines teachers can follow to help them teach multiculturalism (Morrison, 299) Get to know the different families in your classroom. By keeping an open-door policy and inviting families into your room you can get an idea as to how some family function.

Authentic situations help to make learning more meaningful. By showing students how people conduct their daily lives help the students see a culture first hand. Using film and books is an easy way to do that, easier than traveling to an area to show children how that culture lives. Also, using the children's own experiences and interests to plan for lessons contextualizes the unit and makes the students feel good about their own backgrounds.

Using an interdisciplinary unit can infuse culture into all aspects of learning. By using the different subject areas (i.e. math, language arts, social studies, music, art, science, etc.) the unit becomes developmentally appropriate for a kindergarten classroom.

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Unit Goals:

1. To use film to examine multicultural family customs.
2. To allow for students to discover their own cultural family norms.
3. To ease the transition between home and school for young learners.
4. To increase oral vocabulary development through classroom interaction.

In my kindergarten classroom, I have a unique population. I teach in a dual language kindergarten classroom where half my students are learning a second language through content. Throughout the day I must integrate different teaching strategies to make content comprehensible to all students in the classroom. By creating an interdisciplinary unit to explore the concept of family with my students, I can allow the students to investigate a topic with their diverse and individual learning styles.

One of our main goals of the dual language program is the development of oral language. New words and vocabulary are best learned while the concepts for those words are being experienced. When the students carry out the lesson with the teacher, they are always encouraged to talk about the experiences before, after and during to allow for the greatest manipulation of language. By creating a situation where children learn in a small group I help them gain skills like listening and thinking critically about the process in which they and their peers acquire information.

Sheltered instruction plays a major role in teaching a population of second language learners. Strategies such as instructional conversations, demonstrations and modeling can establish optimal learning of concepts and vocabulary. Sheltered instruction includes other methods like contextualizing a lesson to make it meaningful to a child's life. (Echevarria & Graves) The use of graphic organizers or hands on activities can help a student gain a better and deeper understanding of the content and the language.

Instructional conversations dominate in much of my teaching through this unit. An instructional conversation is a goal oriented conversation where the teacher takes a role more of a facilitator, rather then providing the students with information. Instructional conversations provide students with a small group forum to exchange ideas, and engage in thoughtful and reflective learning (Echevarria & Graves, 157-158) Through instructional conversations I can create a safe environment for all students to manipulate language and experiment with ideas. I can accurately assess for content understanding and quickly adjust a lesson to meet the needs of those students. Most of this unit will be taught using Instructional Conversations.

The activity plans are written with both a content and language objective because at this developmental stage in my students' learning, both are equally as important. As I work with my students I will not only be teaching them the content of the unit but since it is the first six weeks of school, I will also be teaching my students conversation skills. Children need help learning how to be an active and valued member of a conversation. By teaching them how to talk to each other, I am also teaching them how to listen to each other. If they are listening to one another, they are one step closer to understanding.

In my classroom, the students work in activity centers for most of the day so the teacher led activities will always have a follow-up center that usually consists of a writing/journal center where they will respond to whatever concept they explore in the teacher led activity center. All concepts and activities need to be clearly presented to the students before hand. The centers allow me to differentiate instruction so that the students will get several different learning experiences that can allow all students ample opportunities to acquire information.

The Use of Film

In some traditional classrooms, film is used to give students direct information, and are sometimes coupled with a viewing guide where students answer questions with the film or are followed by an assignment where students are required to respond a specific aspect of the film. In a kindergarten classroom, children are typically shown a film, usually a cartoon, where the characters are teaching the students about fire safety or teeth brushing. However, films offer many more benefits to instruction than direct information.

Using film in a classroom can benefit students' oral development, expose them to experiences that otherwise require expensive and time-consuming travel along with teaching them using the novelty of the screen. In a society where children are watching television more, teachers feel they are required to "enter-teach". They feel they must find more interesting and unique ways to get and keep a student's attention. The screen attracts the students' attention and the films feature children, so the target audience here will be captivated to watch.

The use of film for the goal of this unit is to provide students with brief sequences and ideas about what happens in other families. How do other families eat dinner? How do other families spend time together? Who lives together? How many people in a "family"? How do children get to school? These brief scenes are selected to initiate a response from the students and to get them to reflect on their own culture as well.

Each of these films features different and interesting scenes that can spark so much discussion among the students. In many of the films the students will see how different families eat together. For example, in the film Children of Heaven, there is a scene where the family eats together on a blanket, or in Maborosi a movie that takes place in Japan, the family eats at a low table using chopsticks.

As the students watch these carefully selected scenes, they will be given plenty of opportunities to speak with the teacher and each other about what they see and compare that to what they do. Each set of scenes can give the students so much rich information for them to use as output when they are required to create in one of the activity plans further along in this unit. A set of scenes from three different films all showing families going to school can be seen easily and quickly, allowing plenty of time for the children to create. In an already academically cramped day, film allows teachers to demonstrate very quickly.

These films show children from other countries interacting with their families and engaging in everyday routines. Films should not be shown in their entirety, with the exception of The Red Balloon. The Red Balloon is a short film that the children would really enjoy watching. The films are included merely to show scenes of international families performing daily rituals and routines. Films that are chosen are chosen solely to spark conversation for the students to compare their own daily routines to those of families from far off places.

Films Synopses

This is a list of the foreign films with a brief synopsis of each film. These films are not rare, they have been found in either national video-rental stores or the local library. It is easier to use films on DVD rather than VHS, since DVD's allow you to quickly move through the film to find feature scenes. These movies are just a suggestion to supplement this unit. If there are other countries that need to be covered you may want to use different films. Just be sure to view the films ahead of time to find the scenes you'd like to use and to make sure the film is appropriate. Some foreign films do not have the same rating standards as the United States.

Not One Less: China

A thirteen-year-old girl takes over a class in a rural Chinese province in this film about determination and the importance of education. The girl takes over the classroom when no one else will. The original teacher has to leave and as he leaves he tells the substitute that she cannot lose one child. They have already had a drop in the population of the students due to poverty among the families of the small village. These families need to send their children to nearby cities to earn a living. Unfortunately, the substitute does lose a child to the workforce and stubbornly travels to the city to retrieve him. This film is chosen because it shows children walking to school, children in school, and children going to bed.

Yi Yi: China

This film shows a family as they deal with an emergency concerning the grandmother of the family. When the grandmother suffers a stroke all members begin to think deeply about their lives. The story follows this family around Taipei and Tokyo. The young boy in the family engages in different routine activities such as brushing teeth and taking a bath. There are also scenes where the family eats a meal together.

The Secret of Roan Inish: Ireland

When a ten year old is sent to live with her grandparents in Donegal, Ireland, Fiona learns about her ancestors and how she is part "selkie" or a seal that turns to a human. After returning to an island her family formally lived on she spots a child who she believes is her missing brother. The film shows many different scenes where the family gathers to tell stories and eat meals.

Mostly Martha: Germany

This film contains more adult themes and issues; I chose it because it contains wonderful scenes where people sit down to eat, children go to school, and bedtime routines. The story centers on a talented chef who works in an upscale restaurant in Germany. The chef learns that her sister has died tragically and her niece will live with her until the father can be located.

The Red Balloon: France

This is a short film and can be shown in its entirety. There are images of children going to school and home. This is an enchanting film about a boy who finds a balloon and the two become quick friends. The balloon follows the boy wherever he goes and in turn the boy takes care of the balloon.

Vovochka: Russia

Vovochka is a ten-year old boy who causes trouble and wreaks havoc all around his town. Although he doesn't mean to do the things he does, he does seem to enjoy himself even when he is running from authority. This movie has scenes of a family celebrating the New Year, extended family and preparing and eating meals. This movie can also be shown in its entirety if the unit is adapted for use in older classrooms. It is a light, funny comedy and could spark much discourse in the class.

The White Balloon: Iran

This movie takes place in "real-time" during the Iranian New Years celebration. A little girl named Razieh wants to buy a goldfish for the celebration. After careful persuasion she and her brother convince her mother to give her the money but she loses it on the way to the store. This movie is included because of the scenes of family involvement.

Children of Heaven: Iran

Within the first 22 minutes of this film we see an Iranian brother and sister running errands for their family, talking with their family, doing homework, washing dishes and eating dinner. This film is perfect for this unit because it meets most of the characteristics of the Finding Families matrix. This film is about a brother who loses his sister's shoes. They have to share the boy's shoes until they find an opportunity to win a pair of shoes in a race.

Maborosi: Japan

When this family is destroyed by an apparent suicide by the father, the mother struggles with putting herself together for her infant son. Yumiko remarries and moves with her son to join her new husband and his daughter. She still struggles with finding meaning for the loss of her first husband but settles into her new life. Although the themes and story in this film are very "adult" there are many beautiful scenes where the family eats together with traditional Japanese customs. WARNING: there is some brief nudity in this film about an hour in so it's not an appropriate film to show in it's entirely but there are some other scenes that are so detailed and beautiful involving Japanese traditions.

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Classroom Activities

Unit Sequence

1. First the students will review with their families their own traditions and customs by filling out a survey.
2. Then they will report to the class what their families do traditionally and find common customs among the class.
3. After they will begin to explore other cultures and compare those customs to their own.
4. Finally, they will wrap up the unit by participating in a weeklong exploration of how other cultures eat lunch.

Activity Plan: Introduction to Unit: All about my family

Content Objective: The students will discuss with their families how they perform daily routines and family traditions by filling out a survey at home.

Language Objective: The students will report to the class how their families perform

daily routines and family traditions.

Materials: All about my family survey (See Appendix 2)

Chart paper


Film: Children of Heaven

Procedure: To introduce this unit, getting to know where the students come from will help contextualize the unit. Send the "Family Finding" survey home to your students' families. When the children return with them collect them and the photograph of their family. This lesson may take a few days, because children that would like to talk about their family should be allowed to. Do this lesson in a small group to allow students to feel more comfortable and secure.

With the chart paper and the family surveys, discuss with the students what their families have reported. Ask the students to elaborate on any of the point and have them use their family photos to tell the group more about their families. Begin to record all statements made by the students (i.e. "______'s family eats dinner in the kitchen at the table. Her dad cooks for everyone.") These statements will be used to review the matrix with the class.

Then briefly view the eating a meal scene in Children of Heaven and have the students describe what they see. Ask them to think about what is the same about the family in the film and their family and what is different.

Activity Plan: Finding Families: Introduction to the matrix

Content Objective: The students will activate prior knowledge by generating a list of

common family activities.

Language Objective: The students will use oral vocabulary provided by the teacher to

generate a list of common family activities.

Materials: Chart paper with student responses from previous lesson


Family Findings Matrix (see Appendix 1)

Procedure: In whole group, read what was recorded about the students' families and ask the students if they are hearing some of the same activities and routines. Begin to underline common phrases. Then show the students the matrix and explain to them that they are all different but they are all special because they have a family that loves and takes care of them. This part of the unit should take no more then 10 minutes considering it is the beginning of the year and it is whole group. It is not developmentally appropriate to make students sit for much longer then that. Explain to the students that they will be seeing other kinds of families doing many of the same things they do like eat, go to school and do homework. Read the matrix to the children.

To conclude the lesson sing the following song and have the students add in activities they like to do with their families.

Song: With My Family (sung to the tune of "Muffin Man")

Tell me what you like to do,

like to do, like to do.

Tell me what you like to do, with your family.

(Child's name) likes to (activity, i.e. cook dinner

cook dinner, cook dinner.

(Child's name) likes to (cook dinner)

With his family!

Activity Plan: Who lives in your house?

Content Objective: The students will demonstrate an understanding of the people who live in their home by reporting to the class from their family survey.

The students will compare their family members to those of the class.

The students will participate in creating and analyzing a graph.

The students will compare their class families to those in a multicultural film from a different part of the world.

Language Objective: The students will report on who lives in their home.

The students will discuss the results of the graph.

The students will discuss their comparisons of families.

Materials: "Who lives in your house?" graphing grid. (See appendix 3)


Circles to fit in graph grids

Television with a DVD or VCR

Films: Yi Yi, The Secret of Roan Inish

Mostly Martha The Red Balloon

Vovochka Children of Heaven


Procedure: With the students, review the matrix and what they had found out about different families. Then ask them to think about who lives in their home. Have the students find a partner and talk about the people that live in their homes. As the students speak to each other, you may want to circulate and stimulate conversation. Ask questions like, "who sleeps in your home" or "who cooks dinner?" questions about members of the family. Then have the students use their fingers to tell you how many people live in their home. Explain to the students that you are going to give them circles to draw their family members faces on and give each student whatever number they are showing with their fingers. As the students draw on the circles back at their seats, ask them whom they are drawing as they draw on each of their circles. The students may draw a mom on one circle, and a grandma on another circle. Give them as many circles as there are people in their home. When they are done, have the students place the circles in the appropriate row on the grid, (all the grandmas go in the grandma row, all the fathers in the father row, etc). When everyone has placed their circles on the graph, discuss the results of the graph, asking questions like, "how many people live with their aunt, uncle, mom, etc?"

Instructional Conversation: In a small group, have the students view the selected scenes from the films. In between the scenes use the matrix column titled "Who lives in your house?" to have the children discuss who they see in the film. Have them talk about who the people are in the film and what their role in the family is. Then have them draw a picture of the members of their families in the writing center. Assist them with labeling their illustration.

Activity Plan: Everybody Celebrate!

Content Objective: The students will demonstrate an understanding of different cultures celebrating occasions by comparing their own family celebrations to the families shown on film.

Language Objective: The students will describe how their family celebrates.

The students will describe how the families in the film celebrate.

Materials: Family surveys

2 hula-hoops

sentence strips



Films: Vovochka; The White Balloon; Mostly Martha

Procedure: In small groups read to the students what their families have written about holidays and celebrations. Write key words about the family traditions on the sentence strips, and then cut up (i.e. If the family states that they exchange gifts, draw or write the word "gift.") Then have the students view the scenes from the films where the families are celebrating. Ask the students to describe what they see. Record statements on the sentence strips (i.e. "they have fireworks!" just write the word "fireworks"). Try to get the students to describe the scenes or talk about the traditions of their celebrations. Pausing the film and having the students talk about a scene may generate a lot of vocabulary.

When all statements have been made, take the two hula-hoops and create a Venn diagram. Label one circle, "My Family" and the other side "International Families". Have the students help you place the cards on the appropriate sections of the diagram. Then have the students talk about some of the activities both their families and the other families. The cards that were created and placed on the "Other Families" section should be labeled according to countries and can placed on the appropriate parts of the matrix.

Authors Note: This lesson can be used for any of the activities on the matrix if time permitting. The children can discuss how other families eat together, how they do their homework, etc.

Activity Plan: Multicultural Lunch!

Content Objective: The students will celebrate other cultures by eating their lunch in the traditions of international families.

Language Objective: The students will describe what they have noticed when the families in the films share a meal.

Materials: Finding Families Matrix

Index cards to fit in the cells of the Finding Family Matrix.


Blankets and pillows


Films: Yi Yi The Secret of Roan Inish

Mostly Martha Children of Heaven


Procedure: In each of the five films above there is a scene of a family eating. Each day of the week (Monday through Friday) before lunch, show those scenes to the whole group and ask the students to draw a picture of how those families all eat together. For example, in Mostly Martha the girl and her aunt cook together but they eat sitting at a table with forks and knives. In Yi Yi the family sits at a table but they use chopsticks to eat. As mentioned earlier, in Children of Heaven the family eats on the floor. Then each day of the week, have the students eat lunch in the classroom in the traditional style of the country of the day. Then at the end of the week have the students "write" about their favorite way to eat lunch. Collect responses and bind into a class book titled "Our favorite custom lunch!"

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Teacher Resources

Ballenger, Cynthia. Teaching Other People's Children: Literacy and Learning in a

Bilingual Classroom. New York: Teachers College Press, 1999.

Cooper, Terry Touff, and Marilyn Ratner. Many Hands Cooking: An International

Cookbook for Girls and Boys. New York: Crowell Co., 1974.

Echevarria, Jana and Anne Graves. Sheltered Content Instruction: Teaching English-

Language Learners with Diverse Abilities. Boston: Pearson Education, 2003.

Harvey, Carol D.H. Maintaining our Differences: Minority families in multicultural

Societies. Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2001.

Hunter, Ilene, and Marilyn Judson. Simple Folk Instruments to Make and to Play. New

York: Simeon and Schouster, 1977.

Milord, Susan. Hands Around the World: 365 Creative Ways to Build Cultural

Awareness and Global Respect. Charlotte, Vermont: Williamson, 1992.

Morrison, George S. Fundamentals of Early Childhood Education. Columbus, Ohio:

Prentice-Hall, 1997.

Welsh, Janice R., & J.Q. Adams. Multicultural Films: A Reference Guide. Greenwood

Press. 2005.

Wolff, Jean. Kids Around the World. Grand Rapids, MI: Instructional Fair, Inc.

World Education Project. The Peoples of Connecticut Multicultural Ethnic Heritage

Studies Series. Storrs: WEP, Uconn.

Website: www.imDB.com

This website contains a search engine where you can search for virtually any film that has been made. It gives you complete information including directors and plot summaries.

Books for Students

Ada, Alma Flor. I love Saturdays y domingos. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 2002.

A boy talks about how on the weekend he splits his days with his grandparents who are or European-American and his other grandparents who are Mexican-American.

Beaumont, Karen. Being friends. New York. NY: Penguin Putnam Inc, 2002.

Two children talk about how they are different but they are still friends.

Bemelmans, Ludwig. Madeline. New York, NY: The Viking Press, 1939.

A classic story about a young, brave girl in Paris, France who stays at a boarding school. She suddenly falls ill and has to have her appendix out.

Bercaw, Edna Coe. Halmoni's day. New York, NY: Penguin Putnan, 2000.

Jennifer is taking her Korean grandmother to school for grandparents day. She is nervous because she doesn't really know her grandmother that well and her grandmother doesn't speak very much English. In the end Jennifer's grandmother tells a beautiful story to the class.

Borden, Louise. America is… New York, NY: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2002.

This book shows the many different representations of America from Native Americans to skyscrapers.

Boyd, Candy Dawson. Daddy, daddy, be there. New York, NY: Philomel Books, 1995.

This poetic book shows different fathers and children. Many different people are represented and the importance of being a dad is stressed.

Brandenberg, Franz. Aunt Nina, good night. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1989.

Many nieces and nephews visit their Aunt Nina and they just can't fall asleep until they say good night to everyone and everything in the house.

Brandenberg, Franz. Aunt Nina's visit. New York, NY: Greenwillow Books, 1984.

Six nieces and nephews anxiously await their Aunt Nina's visit because she has promised them each a kitten.

Bunting, Eve. Jin Woo. New York, NY: Clarion Books, 2001.

This is a story about an American family that adopts a baby from Korea. The book is written from a boy's point of view. The boy is going to be the baby's brother.

Bunting, Eve. A picnic in October. New York, New York: Harcort, 1999.

An Italian family travels to the Statue of Liberty to reminse about their grandparents trip to America.

Bunting, Eve. Going home. Harper Collins Publishers, 1996

For Christmas, a family of Mexican farm workers travel back to Mexico to celebrate with family. This book has beautiful pictures and many cultural references.

Calhoun, Mary. Tonio's Cat. New York, NY: Morrow Junior Books, 1996.

Tonio is a boy who misses his dog he left in Mexico when his family moved to California. He finds a cat in an alley and starts to feed him. Although the text is pretty long, there are many different pictures of family interaction.

Choi, Yangsook. The name jar. New York, NY: Random House, 2001.

In this story a girl travels from Korea to the United States. Before she leaves her grandmother gives her a wooden stamp with a symbol of her name. When she attends school her classmates struggle with Unhei's name and try to give her new one.

Cooper, Susan. The selkie girl. New York. NY: Margaret K. McElderry Book, 1986.

This is a tale of Scottish and Irish decent. This is a similar story to the one told in the movie "The Secret of Roan Innish", about a man who marries a selkie woman and begins a family.

Damjan, Mischa. Atuk. New York: North-South Books, 1964.

A boy in an Inuit village gets a Husky puppy which he convinces his father to hitch to the sled. Unfortunately his puppy gets killed by a wolf and Atuk vows to get revenge on the wolf. The illustrations in this book are beautiful and the story has a pleasant ending.

Kroll, Virginia. Masai and I. New York. NY: Four Winds Press, 1992.

This is a parallel story about how a girl fantasizes about living life as a girl from East Africa. When the girl in the city does something, she imagines how the girl in East Africa would do it. Two different families are represented here.

Lester, Julius. Albidaro and the mischievous dream. New York, NY: Phyllis Fogelman

Books, 2000.

The guardian of children, Albidaro decided that he wants to make all the children happy and play a trick on his sister by whispering to the children of the world to stop listening to their parents and to do whatever they want. Children from all over the world are represented in this story.

Maestro, Betsy. Coming to America: The story of immigration. New York. NY:

Scholastic Inc., 1996.

This is a quick story about the history of immigration and Ellis Island. Although this book is a bit advanced for kindergarten, the pictures are colorful and it can be used if the unit is adapted for older grades.

McKissack, Patricia C. Ma Dear's apron. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster,


This is a story about how a boy that can tell what day of the week it is by his grandmothers aprons. He knows what chores need to be done and talks about turn of the century southern life.

Medearis, Michael &Angela Shelf Medearis. Daisy and the doll. Chicago, IL:

Independent Publishers Group, 1994.

A girl named Daisy lives in Grafton, Vermont. She tells the story about her favorite time of the day, (when her family gathers to tell stories) and how she gets to recite a poem from a different country. She gets angry when she is given a coal-black rag-doll because she never realized that she was seen as "different".

Morris, Ann. Grandma Lai Goon remembers: A Chinese-American family story.

Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook Press, 2002.

This is a story about three families and their interactions between grandparents and grandchildren.

Uegaki, Chieri. Suki's kimono. Toronto, Canada: Kids Can Press, 2003. In this book there are many pictures and vocabulary words surrounding a Japanese girl and her love for her blue Kimono. She wants to wear it everywhere because her grandmother gave it to her.

Robinson, Fay. Chinese New Year: A Time for Parades, Family, and Friends. Berkeley

Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 2001. This book is about the origins of the Chinese New Year, and the meanings of some of the traditional customs.

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Appendix 1

(table available in print form)

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Appendix 2

Family Finding Home Survey

Dear Families,

We are learning about families for the first few weeks of school. Please discuss these questions with your child and answer them the best you can. Thanks!

1) How many people live in your home? ______________________________

2) Who lives in your home? Please circle:

Mom Dad Grandmother Grandfather Aunt Uncle Cousin


3) Does your family eat dinner together? Yes No

If yes, how do you eat dinner together? _____________________

(For example, "we eat at the table."

4) Who helps your child with his/her homework? ______________________

5) How does your child get to school? _______________________________

6) What is your family's favorite holiday? ____________________________

7) Please describe how you celebrate your favorite holiday. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you so much for your cooperation! During the first few weeks of school our students do miss their families. Please send your child to school with a family photo. They will use the photo to describe their family traditions.

Thanks, again!

Ms. Rende

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Appendix 3

Who lives in your home?









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Appendix 4

This unit addresses New Haven Public Schools District Kindergarten Social Studies Curriculum Standards:

Using the individual and the family as an area of study, kindergarten students will gather and interpret information to solve problems, make decisions and plans solutions; recognize and appreciate cultural diversity in order to participate successfully in social groups; define and apply basic geographic concepts.

Performance Standard 1.0: Diversity

Students will:

- Read, view and listen to multiple sources that reflect the diversity of culture.
- Distinguish differences and similarities among individuals and families.
- Describe various roles within the family.
- Identify and explore the diverse cultures within their school.
- Identify different holidays, traditions, and celebrations around the world.
Performance Standard 3.0: Geography

Students will:

- Read, view and listen to multiple sources concerning geography.
- Understand the use of a globe to locate land and water forms.
Explore places where similar traditions are celebrated.

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