St. John’s Students Get a Taste of Global Cultures
A heady but wonderful series of smells permeated the Sixth Grade foyer during the middle of January, as students enrolled in Mr. Smith’s “Cultural Mythology” elective presented their culminating semester projects. Tasked with researching a particular mythology of an international culture, students produced their multi-media presentations and the handouts that recorded the most significant content. It was, however, the samples of representative cultural food each group shared with the class that caused the most stir.
Students sampled treats from China, South Africa, Polynesia, Ireland, South Africa, Siberia, Slovakia, Japan, Mexico, and even from the mythical island of Themyscira, home of the Amazons. While not all culinary delights were truly representative of the specific culture (“Lucky Charms” embodying Ireland might be a bit of a stretch), students truly gained a global experience: learning about each culture’s historical context, mythology, and cultural values. As an added bonus, students also may have discovered some unfamiliar types of cuisine.
The “Cultural Mythology” elective — along with its sister course, “Scandinavian Mythology” – is an element connected with one of St. John’s Lutheran School’s Student Learning Outcomes: developing responsible global citizens. Students in Sixth through Eighth Grades are welcome to select the course.
By: Mr. Kevin G. Smith, 7th grade ELA
During the month of December the 5th graders embarked upon a journey to learn more about holidays and festivals around the world through the platform of PenPal Schools. PenPal Schools is a safe, online, global community where students from all over the world come together to learn from one another. The 5th graders read about various topics including New Year’s Day celebrations around the world and both religious and secular holidays around the world. They then shared their ideas on these topics by writing well crafted paragraphs to post online. This is where the fun started! The students were then able to connect with students from all over the world to read and comment on their writing. Our 5th graders connected with students from many different countries including Norway, Canada, Ukraine, Italy, Taiwan, Turkey, Sweden and many more!
The students were able to not only practice their reading and writing skills, but they grew in the area of digital citizenship through this project. When communicating with other students, we discussed making sure that the students showed their best work and treated others with respect. This was a great opportunity for our students to practice and utilize the digital citizenship skills that we have been learning throughout this year in a safe, real-life environment.
A few student reflections about this project:
“PenPal schools is very cool. I learned how people all around world celebrate holidays. For me, the most interesting one was how in some parts of the world they celebrate Christmas and New Years in the summer!” – Maddie T.
“I was so surprised that there were so many ways to celebrate one holiday. I also learned a few new traditions I can share with my family. Like covering the birthday girl or boy in flour from head to toe! I think this project was fun!” – Ella C.
“One thing that surprised me was that everybody was so nice and some people had different traditions and nobody would make fun of them and they only pulled out the good stuff about it.” – Miah L.
“Many things surprised me about this project. One is that there are so many different people from other countries. It is also interesting that so many people can write in English so well even though they speak a different language at home. It would be so cool if I could go to all of the places one day.” – Riley H.
By: Mrs. Keelie Knego, 5th grade