Wednesday, February 20, 2013


The definition of cultural literacy usually encompasses the dominant culture of a country, and the citizens/residents' understanding of its language, customs, and history.  In our tutorial this is expanded to encompass an understanding of other cultures.  Without living in another country and immersing oneself in the culture, customs, and language, a person is unable to fully attain a cultural literacy outside of their own.  Yet we can encourage students in the classroom lesson plans and activities.  The assignment presented below is an example of this:

My (Christy) coworker, Claire, described one of her classroom cultural assignments to me.  Her 3rd grade students are picking one topic about Japan, such as dancing, music, food, or dress.  Next they write a paragraph describing the similarities and/or differences with America, and why their topic should be included with the Japanese booth at the local cultural fair.  This is a new project for the students, and was decided upon after looking at the curriculum objectives and Claire’s classroom objectives. She began this project by reading a Japanese folktale called the “Three Samurai Cats”.  Her students will also draw a picture of their topic, and these pictures will be scanned onto the computer and incorporated into a PowerPoint presentation.

(C. Stafstrom, personal communication, February 18, 2013).

Here are two cultural literacy lesson plans for the classroom (created by Christy):

Lesson Plan 1:

Warm up- The teacher could read a folktale or fairy tale from another culture.  Have the students pick out some of the differences/similarities between American culture and the culture from the folktale. 

Have students choose a culture they wish to learn more about.  Students can choose to work alone or in pairs.  The culmination of these projects will be a student cultural fair.  This can be done with the entire school, and each grade can contribute, or in just one classroom.  Each project will be shown at the cultural fair at the end of the section.

Lesson Plan 2:

Warm up- The teacher will present a short family history discussing where his/her family is from, when they came to America (if known), and what their cultural background is.  Alternate warm up- the teacher may want to ask students about where they are from.  Are there any students from a different country, or whose parents are from a different country? 

Students will give a short presentation discussing where their family is from originally, including a short informational speech about that country including food, dance, music, art, language, population… (The student may choose only one).

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