1. Charting—The objective of this lesson is to develop students’ organizational skills while checking students’ comprehension of the stories read in this unit and to improve writing skills. This is an on going activity that can be done for the duration of this unit.
Procedure—After the first story used in this unit is read, the class should, as a group, develop headings for a chart to be used to classify information from each story. The class should be called upon to suggest headings that they think are appropriate for the story they have read and will apply to future reading. Examples of headings are: title of story, setting, main characters, time period, ethnic background of main characters, or specific cultural values described. The teacher should put these in chart form on the board after the students have brainstormed possible categories and then gone over them to prioritize for the four or five most important categories. This chart can be copied into student notebooks or the teacher can type it up and duplicate copies for the students.
Once the chart has been developed, the students will then use it to classify the information from each story. Once two or more stories have been read, the students can refer to their charts when looking for similarities and differences between cultures and their values. This information can also be used as the basis for discussions ant writing assignments asking students to compare and contrast the values portrayed in two stories or to describe the obstacles a culturally different person has to overcome in white society.
2. Writing from photographs—The object of this lesson is to develop students’ writing skills while learning about different family customs.
Procedure—Each student is to bring to class a family photograph taken at a family gathering. Holidays, of course, are the best source for these pictures but any family gathering will do, especially for those students who do not celebrate holidays, birthdays, etc.
Using these photos, each student is to write about the event that brought the family together, identify family members and describe the activities and traditions that took place that day. In order for students to identify their family traditions, a discussion should take place before hand that identifies what traditions are and have each student identify one of their own family traditions. It is important to stress to students that traditions do not just occur around holidays and food and to give them examples. For instance, a family tradition may be fishing with a parent in the evening after work or that the youngest member of the family sets the table for dinner or that Sunday afternoons are always reserved for family activities. Once these stories are written, they should be shared with the rest of the class and time allowed for students to discuss the writing in terms of their own families. These would also be important writings to be mounted with the accompanying pictures and hung up in the room to be enjoyed further and shared with visitors.
3. Interviews—The objective of this lesson is to develop students’ oral communication skills, note taking skills, organization skills and writing skills.
Procedure—this activity can be used in place of or in addition to the preceding writing activity. After a group discussion of traditions and after asking students to identify one or two traditions in his or her own family, students should be broken up into pairs. Allow five to seven minutes for one person in each pair to interview the other to find out more about his or her partner’s family traditions. The interviewer should take careful notes to be sure the information he has recorded is accurate. This process should be repeated so that the second person in the pair has the same amount of time to interview his partner. When this step is completed, each student is to organize and write up his or her notes into a narrative. The final step is to have each student share his narrative after telling the class the name of the person he or she interviewed.