Part of creating a nurturing environment in my classroom is getting to know my students. I ask students to share their family traditions and background. To initiate this activity, I begin with an introduction of myself. This is also a great modeling activity because as I am telling students about my traditions and background information, I am modeling researching, writing, and speaking skills. ELA Common Core integrates all these skills, especially focusing on recounting an experience with relevant facts and details.
I introduce the students to my Promethean Flipchart lesson and begin with an introduction of our goal and rubric for today's lesson (See resource). Assessing students' prior knowledge about Indonesia, we fill out a KWL chart of what we already know about Indonesia. You can also adapt the KWL to assess prior knowledge of students' own background and prior knowledge by asking them what they know about their own culture. Then, I ask students to think of questions they would like to ask about Indonesia. We listed these questions in the "Want to Know" section of the KWL chart.
Then, we watch a movie clip of Indonesia. I ask students to pay attention to the visuals to see if they have more questions or comments by the end of this movie clip. Students discuss the images I shared and I encourage students to discuss these images. These images usually generate more questions and we add these to the "W" portion of the KWL chart.
We read an article at timeforkids.com on Indonesia and view images, pictures with captions, timelines, and listen to the language spoken: Bahasa Indonesia. The website covers Indonesian celebrations, traditions, food, music, clothing, resources, landscapes, etc. We discuss the facts that intrigue students about various sections of the timeforkids.com website. Then, we review our previous questions to see if we found answers to the questions from the resources we explored. Common Core focuses on building on present knowledge by gathering information from sources to answer specific questions.
I like to bring artifacts from my culture to show students and tell stories behind them. For example, I bring a flag of Indonesia and share stories of my childhood schooling. Indonesia students wear white on Mondays because it is a day we all stand before the flag to say our "Pledge of Allegiance". Then, I bring several dolls in traditional Indonesian garments to show students how clothing styles indicate the area of Indonesia you originate from. At this point, some students share their prior experience with their own traditions. This "Show and Tell" generates conversation. Common Core is about building on others' conversations and linking comments to the remark of others. The artifacts are catalysts in this process.
Afterwards, I ask students to create a mini-book of what they had learned about Indonesia. They are to draw and write about four facts that they learned today.
This activity can be adapted to include various student backgrounds and cultures. Sharing prior experiences and communicating knowledge by referencing these life experiences is the basis of Common Core English Language Arts.
After students create their mini books, we gather together to share our products. Students show their books as they describe each page. Once this is complete, I return to the KWL chart we partially completed. We fill out the "What we Learned" section of the chart. We take a post-test from the timeforkids.com website (see resource) and gauge how much we have learned about this country by comparing the improvements we made on the post-test from where we were on the pre-test.