All Voices Heard–Supporting the Multicultural Classroom

Author: Carrie Ochs Toledo

Year: 2021

Seminar: Democracy and Expertise in Science, History and Literature

Grade Level: 5

Keywords: 5th grade, democratic classroom, diversity, ELA, Els, epistemic injustice, multicultural, storytelling

School Subject(s): English, Language Arts

This unit is designed for a highly diverse group of 5th grade students in the ELA classroom. With students in my classes representing a vast variety of cultures, countries, religions, and experiences there is a need to include an extensive collection of literature, music, and non-fiction, beyond Black History Month, Asian-American/Pacific Islander Month, etc. The intent with this unit is to gather demographic information from all students, create community and unity in the classroom by embracing all cultures, and sharing with each other in a nurturing environment. It also addresses the importance of current and exited ELLs receiving support and adaptations as they negotiate the curriculum. Students will create personal digital (or physical) narrative scrapbooks of their lives, interview each other and family members, and compare Cinderella stories using versions from several countries. Finally, it brings us all together as learners at Greenberg School. as Philadelphians, multicultural Americans, and as culturally literate global citizens.

Download Unit: Ochs-Toledo-Carrie.pdf

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Full Unit Text
Content Objectives

This unit is designed for 5th grade students in my English/Language Arts (ELA) classrooms in a K-8. Philadelphia public school. The unit will address the need for the availability of consistently diverse literature and non-fiction for regular use in the classroom, address special learning needs of English Learners, and promote genuine understanding, appreciation, and acceptance of all students regardless of literacy experience, gender, nationality, race, language background, culture, ethnicity, household income, religion, family configuration, sexual orientation, and physical or psychological exceptionalities.

I have three classes which cycle between subjects and I see them for 90 minutes daily for ELA.  While this unit has been developed based on the needs of a highly diverse school population, it can be adapted to meet the needs of classrooms with a variety of ethnic makeups.

Problem Statement

The first problem I will address is the reading and social studies curriculum in Philadelphia does not address the cultures and diversity found in my classrooms and my school. The chart below shows the basic breakdown of the students in my school.

Greenberg: Total Enrollment 784 (2020 Data)

Male 405
Female 379
African American 87 11%
Latino 60 8%
White 364 46%
Other/Multicultural 16 2%
Asian 254 32%
ELL 8%
LS 14.4%

This chart is far from the whole story. Within the broad categories of White, African American, Latino, and Asian, I have children of immigrants from India, China, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Greece, Spain, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Albania, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Algeria, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Peru, Sudan and Guinea.

This broad diversity of backgrounds means many languages other than English are spoken at home and encompasses a wide variety of customs and religious beliefs. The most common languages spoken at home aside from English are Malayalam, Uzbek, Russian, Mandarin, Arabic, and Ukrainian. (School District of Philadelphia, 2018)

The reading curriculum in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) ranges from required reading programs to freedom to teach novel units. White students are easily represented in literature and nonfiction. There is a wide variety of reading material featuring Black protagonists. We have Black History Month, Asian/Pacific Islander Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Women’s History Month, etc. In many schools throughout the city this covers the vast majority of students. In my school it does not. As Maya Angelou said, “It is time for parents to teach young children from early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” While parents are the child’s first teacher, this quote also holds true for educators who must make it a priority to represent the diversity of their students in a print-rich classroom environment. My research has shown there is no dearth of books out there representing every child in our classrooms, the problem is these books are not showing up regularly in our classrooms for our children to read, hear, and share. Budgets rarely stretch to accommodate books beyond the district mandated programs, so it is generally up to teachers to find the books we need to support the multicultural classroom.

But what is multiculturalism and how do we attain it in our classrooms? In his article, “6 Ways to Implement a Real Multicultural Education in the Classroom,” Mathew Lynch defines multicultural education as, “… a progressive approach for transforming education based on educational equality and social justice…content integrations, prejudice reduction, empowering school culture and social culture. These all relate and all require attention as they relate to the efforts of conflict resolution in today’s world. What kids learn in their classroom environments when it comes to interactions with those who are different from them translates into how well they will manage life in the global marketplace” (Lynch, October 24, 2015). Once this is defined in an educator’s mind, they can start to implement his other five suggestions– be aware of your biases, closely observe your students to value your experiences with diversity over textbook versions, know all students’ learning styles, encourage your students to be proud of their heritage, and create assignments that celebrate multiculturalism (Lynch, October 24, 2015). This is all logical and seems like something we should do naturally, but it’s not always that simple.

I thought I had a culturally sensitive classroom reading novels with Black, white, Asian, and Hispanic protagonists. Teaching virtually this year I realized really looking at the makeup of the classroom there are children who never see themselves in print. There has been an increase in children’s literature featuring Indian heritage and I have purchased several books with Indian protagonists. But I will be honest when I say until this year, I haven’t actively looked to buy books for other countries mentioned above. Parents and educators alike are constantly searching for quality children’s literature featuring all types of families and cultures. This led Svenja, an adoptive mother of two children who are of different races than she is, to start a blog, “Colours of Us” to steer parents and educators towards these books. “It’s good to see an increasing number of multicultural children’s books about transracial adoption and about different skin colours out there. Sadly though, there still seems to be a lack of multicultural children’s books with just “normal” everyday-type-of-stories, books in which the skin color isn’t the main point of the story…Sometimes people ask me if multicultural children’s books really are that important; if it really matters to children which skin colours they see in the books they read. These questions always leave me baffled (needless to say they always come from white people…)”  (Svenja, October 18, 2015). When I taught kindergarten and first grade, I always did a unit on Ezra Jack Keats and we discussed how this white author in the 1960’s did something groundbreaking for the time. In his words, Keats said, “My book would have him [a little black boy] there simply because he should have been there all along.” Keats illustrated countless children’s books and not one featured a black child. Without making the fact that Peter is black an issue or important to the plot, Peter and his mother were featured in The Snowy Day as just a kid having a fabulous day in the snow. How simple, yet unheard of for the time–a defining moment in children’s literature.

A second problem I will address is the first-generation student, where the primary language spoken at home is not English, but many are no longer eligible for ELL support by 5th grade. There’s often little chance for parental support academically at home, and they are processing reading and writing often in another language. This is a potential barrier to learning and understanding. I teach three sections of 5th graders reading and writing. Of my 75 students only 5 still receive full EL services, yet 36 of my students report that English is NOT spoken at home. By getting to know the whole student and students getting to know more about each other I hope to empower students who historically do not speak up and share their needs to know how to access all of the supports available to them, even if they don’t technically qualify for EL support.

Prior to this year I primarily left the handling of services to the English Learner support teachers in my school. The past year of virtual learning however has shown that I need to step up my role and utilize the school district’s support and information to modify my instruction and give full support in the ELA classroom whether or not they have EL services still identified. https://www.philasd.org/multilingual/instructionalresources/

A huge barrier to the equitable education of ELs is how to grade them fairly. In their article, The Five Pillars of Equitably Grading ELLs, authors Fener, Kester, and Snyder note, “In our work with educators of English Language Learners (ELLs), we often find that there is a lack of resources in our field about how to equitably grade ELLs.” They note the biggest obstacles facing educators are issues with the structure and content of report cards, lack of validity in grading content, and challenges with school and district policy. Their research is the result of reaching out to their online learning network on the Facebook pages, Colorin Colorado (the website where this article appears) and Advocating for ELLs, and asking their biggest challenges with ELs. They also asked them to share strategies that work–what point is there in looking at problems without offering solutions? As a result of this research, they came up with “The Five Pillars of Equitably Grading ELLs”. More detailed explanations can be found on the Colorin Colorado! Website (link in resources).

Pillar 1: Identify the content and language standard(s)

Pillar 2: Incorporate scaffolding to support ELLs in achieving the standards.

Pillar 3: Support ELLs’ progress toward mastery.

Pillar 4: Assess ELLs’ progress equitably.

Pillar 5: Involve ELLs, families, & colleagues.

While the unit activities do not specifically address ELs, the resources I’ve included are a start for me to have the tools to adapt the activities, rubrics, and assessments, and provide additional support as needed.

A third problem I will address is lack of cultural understanding and acceptance. While not specifically a problem with a major impact in my classroom, it is a broader issue. The lack of cultural literacy is there just below the surface. Starting with students to establish a culture of understanding, tolerance, acceptance and the ability to recognize shared commonalities, the hope is this will shape these children as they move on to middle school, high school, college/workplace and beyond. The learning will come from each other and be student-directed. The shift in education for a time was all or nothing regarding celebrating or learning about holidays and celebrations in schools, with “nothing” seemingly leading the way. I have noticed a shift in this however. For the first time, Philadelphia School District had off for Eid–marking the end of Ramadan. At least three children in each of my homerooms said they observe Ramadan and were fasting during the day. Most students had never heard of Eid and it was logical that I work in stories and lessons about Ramadan and Eid. Children in each class were happy to talk about the significance of Ramadan, how they fast, what age they start fasting, the celebration involved with Eid and their customs, and the students were responsive to questions from classmates. We read an article, watched videos, and did a read aloud about Ramadan to broaden the children’s knowledge. Even after all of the exposure to the holiday, I had four parents ask why we were off for Eid and what is that anyway. I explained and then suggested they also ask their children to see what they remembered about the holiday. Starting the year with the student questionnaire will serve as a reminder of the students I am serving and the materials I need to be sure they are all represented throughout the year.

I found two sources that illuminated the importance of hearing a person’s story. Author’s Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi start their book, “Tell Me Who You Are” (written while traveling the country seeking to cultivate racial literacy through interviewing a diverse array of people) with a Cherokee saying shared with them by Ahyoka from Oklahoma, “In our traditional way of life, we believe that I don’t tell you who you are. You tell me who you are, and that is who you are” (Guo, Priya, 2019). There is power in hearing a person’s story, and believing them. Conversely there is also danger in hearing one story and using that to make generalizations about a group, race, culture, etc.

In response to the cultural differences and the needs of my students, I am designing a unit to connect to a broader range of students than I have typically covered in the past. I do try to diversify the novels we read and realize it is nearly impossible to read longer texts representing multiple cultures and ethnicities with time for at most five novels a year. However, it is very feasible to cover every culture, country, orientation, religion, etc. represented in a diverse classroom through short stories, non-fiction, videos and music. This unit can be used and developed throughout the school year. Nigerian author, Chimanda Adichic Ngozi, shares her experiences with epistemic injustice (the idea that we can be unfairly discriminated against in our capacity as a knower based upon prejudices of the speaker) both as the perpetrator and the victim in her Ted Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story.”  She also recounts her experiences as a young reader and writer, and how book choices affected her, “Because all I had read were books in which characters were foreign, I had become convinced that books, by their very nature, had to have foreigners in them and had to be about things in which I could not personally identify…Now I love these American and British books I read. They stirred my imagination. They opened up new worlds for me. But the unintended consequence was that I did not know that people like me could exist in literature. So, what the discovery of African writers did for me was this: it saved me from having a single story of what books are” (Ngozi).  A powerful message that she couldn’t articulate as a young child but upon reflection realized this impacted the stories she wrote as a young girl–writing stories about English children until she knew she could write stories about girls like her.                                                                                                              

Rationale and Background

I teach at Greenberg Elementary School in Northeast Philadelphia. It is tucked away in a neighborhood of single homes in an almost suburban setting. You wouldn’t even know it’s there. There are many families that have lived in the area for a few generations and increasingly more families from other countries, often coming to stay with relatives here while they get established. I have never taught in a school with so much true diversity. Teaching virtually has illuminated some issues I have been overlooking in my classroom. There is a vast difference between surface level activities such as sharing food from your country of origin, and delving into the vast cultures in a deeper, more authentic way by having the students themselves guide us throughout the year. There is a need to create a learning environment where we don’t have one-off cultural celebrations but create a deeper level of understanding of all students, particularly the often overlooked ones who have either recently emigrated or are first-generation in America.

Seeing how many parents need to use the translate option on the parent communication app Class Dojo, and how many students truly had no support during virtual learning because their parents have limited English, illuminated the need to get to know my students, and for them to know each other on a deeper level. Embracing multiculturalism in the classroom is so much more than reading a book about a holiday or having students bring in food from their culture for diversity day (and yes, I was guilty of that at one time). Culture–and most of us have multiple cultures–is what our identity is forged on.

Even if students come from similar regions of the world, such as Russia, Ukraine or Belarus, their experiences and why and how they came to America are not the same. To create a learning environment that fosters cultural awareness we need to look at all aspects of a child’s culture that can impact their learning and perceptions of themselves and others. Even the child whose relatives have always seemingly come from Northeast Philly, and who doesn’t know when anyone came over to America because their family just considers themselves white, can benefit from understanding their relatives came from somewhere in Europe and there is a reason they came to live in Philadelphia.

For students, often race and skin color is one way they identify each other. For students from countries many Americans don’t know as much about, they are often lumped in with races that are similar in looks to theirs. I am guilty of it myself. Until I did a quick question of the day asking students where their families are from and what languages they speak at home, I had no idea I had a student from Bangladesh and a student from Cambodia. There are no obvious racial incidents at my school, but it is naive to think the subtle comments and gross generalizations aren’t happening to students who often don’t feel they have the voice to say anything. We are all guilty of ignorance towards many of our students from cultures not typically represented in most Philadelphia classrooms.

There are misperceptions both subtle and overt students and staff have about each other. Epistemic injustice in the classroom occurs based on race, gender, sexual identity, culture, and more. The concept of epistemic injustice is not new, but it is the work of English philosopher, Miranda Fricker that brings current cultural relevance. Fricker defines epistemic injustice as the belief that statements by members of particular groups are systematically neglected or discredited because of negative social stereotypes associated with them. (Fricker) Due to unjustified prejudice someone can be unfairly judged to not have the knowledge of reasonable beliefs that they actually have. This happens in all aspects of society including the classroom. For example, a teacher assumes a new Hispanic student has limited knowledge and comprehension of English because his parents only speak Spanish.

Fricker talks about two specific types of epistemic injustice. The first kind of epistemic injustice is testimonial injustice This occurs when a speaker is unfairly perceived to be lacking in credibility from a hearer due to prejudice on the hearer’s part. As soon as someone shares their truth with another person, they are vulnerable to testimonial injustice not just in a courtroom scenario as the name suggests. It can also be when a person gives you directions, recounts a situation, when you research something or watch the news. Again, depending on the hearer, there can be disparate opinions on what is credible testimony. Does the hearer have reason to believe the person testifying knows what they claim to know? In this case someone’s credibility can be diminished due to the person receiving the testimony due to their prejudice, not because the testimony is unreasonable. This occurs in relation to a person’s race, gender, age, accent, and sexual identity among other defining categories.

In his YouTube video for his students entitled, “Epistemic Injustice ep 3” Professor Burchian uses an example from critically lauded author and Civil Rights activist James Baldwin. In his famed 1962 work, “A Letter to my Nephew” Baldwin writes, “You know and I know that the country is celebrating 100 years of freedom 100 years too early.” At the time of his letter to his then 15-year-old nephew, the United States was on the verge of celebrating the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. He continues, “I know your country men do not agree with me here, and I hear them saying, ‘you exaggerate’. They do not know Harlem and I do. So do you. Take no one’s word for anything, including mine, but trust your experiences.” Having experienced testimonial injustice Baldwin anticipates white America’s reaction to his analysis of Black Americans progress in freedom.

The second main type of epistemic injustice Fricker writes and speaks about is hermeneutical injustice. Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation. Sometimes people just have a feeling or perception that something is not quite right but they don’t yet have a name for it. Think of the time before the Me Too movement, and go back further still before the term “sexual harassment” was commonplace and a concept now punishable by discipline in school, termination in the workforce, etc. But the act of sexual harassment wasn’t invented when the term became known. Women (and men) have experienced it for hundreds of years. It just didn’t have a name, it was accepted, “boys will be boys,” or dismissed as just flirting–you should be flattered. Before women were common in the workplace this prejudice was dismissed because worming women were an anomaly and not taken seriously.

Hermeneutical injustice can also occur based on where and how a person grew up. In his memoir, “Between the World and Me,” author Ta-nehisi Gates writes about growing up poor in a rough area of Baltimore. He recalls always being told he needed to study twice as hard, get the best grades, etc. to keep himself out of jail. He didn’t know exactly how he knew white boys his age weren’t receiving this same message–he had no exposure to them–but he just knew they weren’t and this shaped who he was.

There are countless examples of epistemic injustice occurring daily in the school setting. A teacher asks for some strong boys to help her move some boxes. A boy is picked to be the class rep in the teacher/student kickball game. A teacher shows surprise that one of his Indian students is struggling. A teacher expresses her disbelief that a blonde-haired blue-eyed girl is fasting for Ramadan. These are just a few examples off the top of my head that I have experienced at my school.

This is when Ngozi’s, “The Danger of Just One Story” shows its impact in various forms of epistemic injustices.  She shares many life experiences such as when she first came to study in America, her roommate pitied her and assumed she was uncultured because she only had one story of Africans–they were all poor, uneducated and fighting famine. The shoe was on the other foot however when Ngozi traveled to Mexico and saw happy, thriving people when she had assumed they’d be the abject immigrants. “I had bought into the single story of Mexicans and I could not be more ashamed of myself. So that is how to create a single story– show a people as one thing, as only one thing over and over again, and that is what they become. To only see the negative is incomplete; you never see the whole picture.”

Ethnicity and religion also come into play in my diverse school. It’s more about how students define themselves culturally from their nationality. Creating a classroom environment that develops understanding of these differences is a way to give our students the tools they need to be the change we need to counter the racial violence that has become too prevalent in their lives. Regarding religion, there have been some subtle advances. The vacation formerly known as Christmas Break is now Winter Break. We had the Muslim holiday Eid off for the first time. However, teachers still grapple with if and how to celebrate holidays in the classroom. But to have a fully inclusive classroom children should be free to share their religious customs, traditions, and holidays in order to increase mutual respect and understanding. In a democratic classroom all voices are heard, all beliefs honored. The word democracy means to rule by the people. A democratic society, including the classroom functions when the majority prevails while respecting individual rights.

Danielle Allen is a Harvard Professor committed to making democracy truly inclusive. On her visit to the Democracy Work podcast, she said, “we have a real calling out from Americans of all political stripes saying ‘look our institutions are not responsive they don’t empower us. They don’t give us equal voice. We need dramatic change’.”  While she’s referring to democracy on the whole, Allen is also describing a typical public-school classroom. In the ideal true democratic classroom, students help decide what and how they will learn. It should be emphasized this means ALL students, not just ones with the loudest voice. Students and teachers meet frequently to discuss classroom rules, policies, and procedures with the students ideally leading the discussion. As we are taught from our earliest education courses, when students make the rules in the classroom (with some guidance of course), they are more likely to follow them. In a true democratic classroom behavioral and educational issues will still arise, but they are resolved through discussion, not punishment. Because no classroom dynamic is the same between teachers and students, no two democratic classrooms are exactly alike. In keeping with the objectives of this unit, the democratic class represents all students. The hosts of the Democracy Work podcast, and educators such as Danielle Allen, are working tirelessly to preserve democracy in America. Educators must also strive to cultivate future democratic citizens, starting within their classroom.

Reading, music, videos, and sharing personal stories are the best resources we have for getting glimpses into other cultures and lifestyles. Weaving this throughout the year to represent the countries of all students while incorporating meaningful activities will create a sense of community, understanding, acceptance and belonging for all students. “Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign but stories can also be used to empower and humanize. When we reject the single-story, when we realize there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise” (Ngozi, The Danger of a Single Story, Ted Talk).

Teaching Strategies

Parts of this until will extend throughout the year and some strategies will be used throughout the unit, and some only for the specific part it supports. The following are strategies I will use with my classes throughout the unit to support students in acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the learning objectives.

Socratic Seminar: A formal discussion about a text or concept where students discuss open-ended questions. The questions can be developed by the teacher in advance (often helpful as the students are getting familiarized with the seminar format) or brought to the group by the students before the meeting. Students carefully reflect on the words of others and articulate their own thoughts. Student-lead.

Turn and Talk: During read alouds or class discussions teachers stop at key points and allow students to share their thoughts with a partner. This allows all students to have a voice in a non-threatening manner.

Think-Pair-Share: similar to Turn and Talk. In this case students think on their own for an allotted time before sharing their ideas with a partner instead of jumping right into conversation.

Small Group Discussions: small groups discuss a designated topic. Groups can be randomly selected, self-selected, or carefully selected based on teacher-set criteria.

Flip Grid Video: this video website tool allows teachers to post a video on a certain topic and students respond to the question in a video of their own that can be shared with the class.

Carousel: Students move around the room in a circular pattern (like a carousel) stopping at designated spots to comment on a question (on chart paper), or it might be a photograph too and students discuss specific topics, themes, headings or questions.  

Gallery Walk: students interact in small groups to share ideas, feedback, and responses to images, questions or projects around the room. They might designate one person to write responses on chart paper for each item in the “gallery”

Exit Tickets: a formative assessment tool that lets the teachers know how well the students understood the lessons. Can be done daily, weekly or monthly in a variety of ways.

KWLH: Prior to teaching a new concept, the teacher/class charts what they already know about the subject, what they want to know, and later as a follow-up, what they learned and how they learned it.

Unit Organization

Before starting the unit: At the beginning of the school year, I will assign them the following survey to help me best plan to meet their needs and fully embrace diversity and increase understanding in the ELA classroom. The actual survey is also shown in the materials section, Appendix A.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1FlttXAxXWnTVxTkuxkRmFvrACDwtAS9YSG_X88Cp1yg/edit

The unit is divided into three parts with distinct lesson plans. Part One is The Interview Project and will last approximately one week. Students will interview each other, and at least two family members using a set of questions given to them. The materials for part one can be found in Appendices B and C. Information for this part will be used in the culminating unit section where the students tell their own stories using writing and pictures for a physical scrapbook, or written and spoken words, pictures, objects for a digital video scrapbook.

Part Two is a comparative literature analysis unit using eleven versions of the classic Cinderella story. The different versions can be found in class materials under resources and also as Appendix D. We will read aloud the stories, use some passages for close reading, some parts for mentor text to teach grammar, and primarily compare and contrast the different versions. Students will be given graphic organizers Appendix E and F to help organize their thoughts, facilitate class discussions and to use as for a summative assessment on themes, cultural differences, plot development, characterization.

Part Three is the culminating unit project where students will tell the story of their lives. They will incorporate readings, pictures, interviews, and family stories. As a class we will try the different movie and video apps available for Chromebooks using the students’ infinitely better knowledge of this technology. They will also have the option of purchasing or making their own scrapbook with the same information.

The Fourth component of this unit is not an actual lesson with specific plans, but rather the cultivation of a classroom library and resources reflective of my students. I will start with what I have and sort books deliberately into bins using a colored dot system to make the upkeep for students relatively self-explanatory. I received many books and class sets on diverse cultures and topics through the ReadyGen program. Though I use novel units and not the texts in the program, the supplemental texts are outstanding. I will merge them into my classroom library. I am on the lookout for more grants such as FirstBook where I was able to order 250 dollar’s worth of culturally diverse books at very low prices. I will continue compiling my websites and books online to share with my students as well. I also will make this available schoolwide to support all of our students.

Major Unit Objectives

The unit is designed for my 5th grade English Language Arts classrooms but can be adapted for students in multiple grade levels.

Students will be comfortable having conversations about race, religion, ethnicity, gender, and sexual identity through exposure to literature, music, and in-depth conversations about themselves in order to forge their identities and increase understanding of others.

Students will read a wide variety of articles, literature, listen to music, watch videos and more in order to gain in-depth knowledge of the many countries represented in our classroom.

Students will work on a scrapbook (digital or physical) throughout the unit putting together their family history, culture, race, religion and ethnicity in order to tell the story of how their family came to America, and how they live now that they’re here living in Philadelphia.        The focus is the commonalities of being Philadelphians–some for many generations, some just this year, but here we all sit in Room 314 at the Greenberg School.

Classroom Activities

The Unit is broken up into 3 major sections. Strategies used are in bold

  1. The Interview Project
  • Students will interview at least two family members with a specific list of questions IOT understand how their family ended up in Philadelphia.
  • Students will interview at least 2 students with different backgrounds and cultures with a specific list of questions. Students will research their partners’ country of origin and come up with 5 original questions to ask based on their research in addition to the basic questions all students will ask each other.
  • Students with similar backgrounds will develop questions and use the Socratic Seminar model to find common ground and gain confidence telling their stories.
  • Students will use Flipgrid to make a series of videos to correspond with each part of this project.
  • The Interview Project will take approximately a week to complete.
Subject/Grade ELA/5th Grade (can adapt 3-6)
Topic Understanding Cultural Differences Through Interviews
Lesson Title Hello, My Name Is…
Lesson/Unit Duration/Type 2-3 nights home interviews

3-4 45-minute class sessions

Part of an ongoing unit throughout the year

Lesson is whole group instructions, then partners, whole group sharing

Knowledge of Students 3 ELA classrooms, averaging 26 students per class

Typical class make up is half the class or more either born in another country or first generation in the US. 7 students on average are English Learners or exited ELs. Full-time LS students are in ELA with an LS teacher, average of 2 part-time LS students in class. Students across my 3 classes each year represent on average 19 countries, an average of 7 students are from families who have lived in Philadelphia and/or the US for several generations.

 

Unit Goals, Lesson Goals/Objectives, Essential Questions:
Students will break down cultural stereotypes, misconceptions and misunderstandings and general lack of knowledge about students of different cultures, race, ethnicities, socio-economic status, language, sexual orientation, physical or psychological exceptionalities, gender, religion, countries, in order to appreciate our differences and similarities.

 

Students will interview a minimum of two family members and two classmates in order to develop a deeper understanding of their cultural background and experiences.

 

Essential Questions:

-How does where a person comes from and their family history make them the person they are?

-How can I better understand my classmates of different cultures and backgrounds?

-How will this knowledge broaden my understanding of the world around me and the events we all encounter?

-How can understanding more about my parents and grandparents’ experience help me better understand myself?

-Why is it uncomfortable or difficult to have discussions about race, religion, gender, culture, and past experiences?

Standards Addressed:
CC.1.5.5.A Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

CC.1.5.5.B Summarize the main points of written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally

CC.1.5.5.C Summarize the points a speaker makes and explain how each claim is supported by reasons and evidence.

CC.1.5.5.D Report on a topic or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly with adequate volume, appropriate pacing, and clear pronunciation

CC.1.5.5.G Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English when speaking, based on Grade 5 level and content.

Summary of Tasks/Actions/Strategies/Assessments:
●      Introduce the topic, activate prior knowledge and experiences with people “different” from them. Start simply to elicit responses and experiences

●      Introduce purpose of mini-unit–getting to know their classmates better. Walk through the family questionnaire and peer, “Hello My Name Is…” questionnaire.

●      Explain how partners are assigned (first someone of a somewhat similar background, then someone from a different background), and how family members can be chosen for interviews (being mindful that this might present an issue for some family situations and to have a plan in place for these children).

●      Model for them how to conduct the interviews, emphasizing how to draw out answers that are not monosyllabic and how to ask follow up questions when appropriate.

●      Students conduct the two interviews (partner A asks, then B answers and then they switch), over 2-3 (paired activity)

●      After interviews are conducted in-school, provide a wrap-up activity such as an exit ticket for students to reflect, give feedback and their take-aways.

●      Formative Assessment-check interview logs for completion, fully developed answers and evidence of listening and conversational skills.

Materials/Equipment: Hello, My Name Is…, and Family History Questionnaire (shown in Materials section), Chromebook for FlipGrid Appendices B and C
Next Steps/Reteaching:
●      Students will make a FlipGrid recording introducing the two students they interviewed and share at least five interesting things they did not know about each.

●      Students will make a FlipGrid approximately 2 minutes sharing info from their family interviews. Did they learn anything new or unusual?

●      FlipGrid videos will be shared with the class.

●      Students will have small group discussions and the chance to ask each other questions based on what they saw in the videos

●      Work with students in small groups if they were unable to complete interviews or share information to support completion of the interview project

Take Home Tasks:
Family surveys to conduct at least two-family interviews from 2 different generations if possible.
  1. Comparative Literature Unit
  • Over the course of 4-5 weeks students will read (read aloud) 11 (or more) Cinderella stories from around the world.
  • Students will research with a partner the origins of the Cinderella story…hint, it’s not Disney.
  • Students will use their reading journals to answer the same questions for each story:
    • What country is the setting?
    • How does it compare to the traditional, original story?
    • What about the story makes it unique to its home country?
  • Students will discuss characters, setting, plot, point of view, theme, compare and contrast and summarize during this unit.
  • Socratic Seminars–students develop questions to use during seminars
  • Students work either individually or with a partner to write a Cinderella story reflective of their own culture and background
Subject/Grade ELA/5th Grade (can adapt 3-6)
Topic Comparative Global Literature
Unit Title Cinderella Around the World
Lessons/Unit Duration/Type 1 month (approximately, supplementing ELA curriculum, not replacing it)

Part of ongoing larger “All Voices Heard” unit throughout the year

Lesson is whole group instructions, discussion groups

Knowledge of Students 3 ELA classrooms, averaging 26 students per class

Typical class makeup is half the class or more either born in another country or first generation in the US. 7 students on average are English Learners or exited ELs. Full-time LS students are in ELA with an LS teacher, average of 2 part-time LS students in class. Students across my 3 classes represent on average 19 countries, an average of 7 students are from families who have lived in Philadelphia and/or the US for several generations.

 

Unit Goals/Objectives, Essential Questions:
Students will read and listen to 11 different versions of Cinderella representing many cultures and identities in order to identify similarities and differences from the “original” (or traditional version)

in cultural representation, theme, plot, characterization, setting and point of view.

Essential Questions:

-How does country/culture play a part in the story?                                                                       -How can we determine the “true” Cinderella story? Can we even?                                             -What makes it a Cinderella story if it has a different name? Character names?                         -Which version most resembles the Disney version?                                                                    -What universal themes are present in each version? Love conquers all? Good triumphs over evil?

Standards Addressed:
CC.1.3.5.B Cite textual evidence by quoting accurately from the text to explain what the text says explicitly and make inferences.

CC.1.3.5.A Determine a theme of a text from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

CC.1.3.5.F Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in grade-level reading and content, including interpretation of figurative language in context.

CC.1.3.5.E Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.

C.C.1.3.5.G Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).

CC.1.3.5.H Compare and contrast texts in the same genre on their approaches to similar themes and topics as well as additional literary elements.

CC.1.3.5.K Read and comprehend literary fiction on grade level, reading independently and proficiently

 

Summary of Tasks/Actions/Strategies
Strategies:

*Gallery Walk Strategy: Posted printouts of all of the book covers to generate conversation about the books, countries, predict similarities and differences, etc.

*Comparative Charts with theme, setting, characters, basic plot. Post charts around the room throughout the unit for students to add to during Carousel activity.                                      *Socratic Seminar-groups bring questions to the group to discuss character determination, the effect of setting on plot propulsion, character development, themes, etc. Suggested timeframe once per week to discuss current read aloud versions. All eleven at once is too overwhelming.         *Turn and Talk will be used multiple time throughout the unit, stopping the read alouds at key points to discuss points of conflict, themes, character motivation, predictions

Actions:

●      Activate prior knowledge. What do you know about Cinderella? Basic plot? Have you seen the Disney movie? Any different versions of the book or movie?

●      Take a gallery walk of printouts of each book cover, laminated and put on chart paper. Students can walk around writing predictions, what they notice about the cover, questions, what mood the covers evoke.

●      Introduce the unit, hand out and explain the graphic organizers to be used in the unit (Appendices E and F), compare and contrast 2 stories at a time, chart each story with characters, setting, plot, conflict, themes, etc. Remind them that they will use this throughout the unit and for the final assessments. They can do this on a printout of in Google Classroom on a Google Doc

●      Read Aloud (or watch a YouTube reading if we don’t have that version) stopping at key points to turn and talk about key literary elements, emerging themes, character development, compare and contrast to another version, etc. Can either talk to a person to their left, right, or other configuration depending on seating.

●      After each read aloud students can sketch in reading journals, write in depth about the setting and complete their graphic organizer chart for each category.

●      Students will complete a Venn Diagram after every 2 stories to practice the compare and contrast skills and prepare for the Text Dependent Analysis question for the summative assessment

●      Continue with above procedures throughout unit

●      Twice a week hold Socratic Seminars. Half of the class will be discussing in the inner circle; the other class is observing and later shares observations with the class. For the first week students will get the questions to prepare the day before based on the readings. Questions should focus on the stories read that week but can and should also connect to other works read. After the first week students will generate their own questions to bring up to the group. During the last week seminars should consider all books in the unit.

●      As unit progresses, post/construct comparative anchor charts around the room for theme, characters, setting, etc. to complete together as a visual reminder of discussions and support for EL and below level students who need help completing individual charts with the same information. Use Carousel strategy to move from chart to chart to add responses with an assigned group.

Materials/Equipment:
-Accessibility (online or books in classroom library) to all of the Cinderella read alouds used in the unit (some hard copies, all have availability to online versions)

-Notebook and/or Chromebook

-Graphic organizers including Venn Diagrams, T-Charts, chart paper to compare information

(Appendices E, F)

Next Steps/Reteaching/Assessment:
Reteaching:

During independent work time pull small groups of ELs and students who struggle with completion, comprehension or both to complete the charts, discuss how they should do it and to monitor as they record their observations in reading journals. Be sure to do a more explicit review of what vocabulary, likely multiple-choice questions and preview the TDA question to help them be successful on the summative assessment.

Assessment-3 assessments (over 3 class periods)

  1. Vocabulary from the story. Students will have a vocabulary guide through the story to define words in context and will have a bank of words and choose 10 to write meaningful sentences for. Meaningful sentences use the vocabulary word such that the meaning of it is clear in context and is not interchangeable with words other than synonyms.
  2. Multiple choice: 25 multiple choice questions assessing questions from all 11 versions of Cinderella covering character, plot, conflict, themes, setting, main events, figurative language
  3. Text Dependent Analysis: Students can use their charts they have been filling out as we go to answer the following question.

We have read 11 versions of Cinderella from around the world. Use your charts and notes from this unit two compare and contrast two versions of your choice. Be sure to include the name, author and country of your two choices. Be sure to write about the differences and similarities in plot, characters, setting, themes, conflict, story exposition, etc. You do NOT have to cite evidence directly from the text, but your answers should reflect specifics to the story you choose.

Next Steps: Writing-students will write their own Cinderella story based on their culture or another culture/country of their choosing. They will get explicit instructions and a rubric for this towards the end of the unit. They may choose to do this in pairs or by themselves.

*CC.1.4.5.S Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research, applying grade-level reading standards for literature and informational texts.

 

Take Home Tasks: None specifically–homework possibly
  1. Scrap Your Life–Digital or Physical Scrapbook
  • Students will tell their life story in the format they are most comfortable online or with an actual scrapbook.
  • Students will be given criteria, a rubric and guidelines for constructing their scrapbook
  • Preparation for the project will take several months to complete with different focuses at different parts of the year
  • The actual narrative scrapbook will take approximately two weeks
  • Students will listen to the stories of subjects of Guo and Vulchi’s book, Tell Me Who You Are, to understand the power of telling your own story your own way
  • Students will be presented with the options of telling their stories digitally or creating a physical scrapbook
  • Students will use research gleaned from family interviews, personal questionnaires, pictures, maps, timelines, quotes to tell their family story
  • Part must include how their family ended up in Philadelphia. If the family has been in Philly for generations, they can focus on changes over the years from family accounts
Subject/Grade ELA/5th Grade (can adapt 3-6)
Topic Personal narratives (using technology or visuals and words in a scrapbook)
Lesson Title The Story of My Life
Lesson/Unit Duration/Type Culmination of the overall unit started in September.

This portion of putting together the movie, video, or scrapbook will last for two weeks using 1 period (of a two-period class) per day

Knowledge of Students 3 ELA classrooms, averaging 26 students per class

Typical class make up is half the class or more either born in another country or first generation in the US. 7 students on average are English Learners or exited ELs. Full-time LS students are in ELA with an LS teacher, average of 2 part-time LS students in class. Students across my 3 classes represent on average 19 countries, an average of 7 students are from families who have lived in Philadelphia and/or the US for several generations.

 

Unit Goals, Lesson Goals/Objectives, Essential Questions:
Goals/Objectives:

-Students will incorporate the lessons, literature, interviews, class discussions and readings into their cumulative project

-Students will proficiently use an online app/website or a physical scrapbook to tell the story of their life, including where their family is from, languages spoken, where they have lived in their life, how they got their name and other elements of the project guide and rubric

-Students will share their digital or physical scrapbook with the class or share in a small group if they are uncomfortable speaking to the whole class

Essential Questions:

-Consider this quote, a Cherokee saying, “In our traditional way of life, we believe that I don’t tell you who you are. You tell me who you are, and that is who you are.” What does this quote mean to you? How is it relevant to the project we are about to embark on? How do we tell people who we are?

-Why is it important to record our own stories? Who does it matter to? What can we learn from it?

-How do we handle talking or writing about uncomfortable topics?

-How can I best tell my own story? How will I incorporate family history?

Standards Addressed:
CC.1.2.5.G Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.

CC.1.5.5.B Summarize the main points of written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally

CC.1.5.5.D Report on a topic or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly with adequate volume, appropriate pacing, and clear pronunciation

CC.1.5.5.F Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.

CC.1.5.5.G Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English when speaking, based on Grade 5 level and content.

CC.1.4.5.A Write informative/ explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

CC.1.4.5.B Identify and introduce the topic clearly.

CC.1.4.5.C Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic; include illustrations and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension

CC.1.4.5.D Group related information logically linking ideas within and across categories of information using words, phrases, and clauses; provide a concluding statement or section; include formatting when useful to aid comprehension.

CC.1.4.5.F Demonstrate a grade appropriate command of the conventions of standard English grammar, usage, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling

CC.1.4.5.M Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events.

CC.1.4.5.S Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research, applying grade-level reading standards for literature and informational texts.

Summary of Tasks/Actions/Strategies
Strategies

*Think/Pair/Share-after students are presented with the unit outline, they will think about what format they want to present their story. They will discuss in pairs to brainstorm what they can do or want to learn. Then they will share what and how they want to do their project and as a class will decide options for making their movie/video or scrapbooks and what they need to do to learn it.

*K/W/L/H-students will share (chart) what they know about either making a scrapbook or making a video or movie. Then they will brainstorm what they want to know so we can set up lessons for learning and sharing technology knowledge.

Actions (timeframe-2 weeks)

●      The unit has already been introduced throughout the beginning of the year.

●      Read (use document camera or copies) the stories of father and son, Barry and Omar, and siblings Hamza, Ayesha, and Saboor from the book, Tell Me Who You Are. Discuss what makes their stories unique and powerful. What elements from their narratives might they use for their own work. Continue to share stories throughout the unit for inspiration and chance to learn more about the subjects’ cultures.

●      Distribute both rubrics (for digital and physical scrapbooks) and the project description guide, Appendices G, H and I

●      Present both types of formats to do the project. Go over the rubrics and project guide. Ask if any clarification is needed

●      Complete KWLH chart together as described above in strategies. Only do Know and Want to Know for now

●      Do think/pair/share to brainstorm how they want to present their project

●      One full class devoted to small group work trying out online sources for making movies and videos such as YouTube, iMovie, etc. Students are guided with at least one “student expert” in each group assuming many students are extremely well-versed in using Chromebook and other technology to record themselves.

●      Establish readiness to begin. Students who are ready can start at this point. Students needing more help can work with me or if it’s technology related be partnered with someone who can help troubleshoot

●      Students should map out the layout of their video or scrapbook and decide what to include in each page using graphic organizers provided

●      Continue working throughout the rest of the 2 weeks. Students are encouraged to support each other giving feedback and help if needed.

●      Teacher monitors 6-7 students per day to guide and support them making sure they are on track. Refocusing and redefining parts as needed.

Materials/Equipment:
Document camera, Chromebook, digital storytelling site/app such as Screencastify, physical scrapbook if students choose that option, copies of pictures, maps, souvenirs, etc. as available and appropriate, glue sticks, 12×12 paper, craft paper, stickers, markers as needed for scrapbooks
Assessment/Next Steps/Reteaching:
Assessment:

The assessment is the final project, scored using the rubric provided in Appendices G and H

Reteachings:

*Work with students who were developing or lower on their rubric for the final project. Conference with them to see if they understand what they missed in their projects. Provide a graphic organizer for them and support as they make a plan to resubmit (if they choose) to work on successfully completing the project

Next Steps:

*Do the L/H part of the KWLH chart where students discuss what they have learned about making a video and how they learned it.

*Share and celebrate final projects (2-3 per day as we transition back to our ELA curriculum)

Take Home Tasks:
Students will need to collect pictures, artifacts, memorabilia and either obtain a copy for physical

scrapbooks, or plan to photograph or record it for digital memory books.

Resources

Annotated Bibliography for Teachers

Adichic Ngozi, Chimamanda.” The Danger of a Single Story.” Ted Talk, uploaded by Scribbr, July.2009,

https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_ngozi_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story?language =en

Adichic Ngozi recounts her story growing up in Nigeria with educated parents and the assumptions and stereotypes she faced coming to study at University in America. Her story is a powerful reminder that when we only hear one story about a country, “type” of person, religion we fall into the trap of assuming we know what another person’s experiences have been.

Allen, Danielle.“Danielle Allen On Achieving Democracy’s Ideals.” Democracy Works, uploaded by Scribbr, 22 March. 2021, https://www.democracyworkspodcast.com/danielle-allen-on-achieving-democracys-ideals/

Allen’s segment on the “Democracy Works” podcasts focuses on our democracy in crisis– the only way out of it is to double down on democratic reforms while wrestling with our complicated past and admitting that the United States has never been a fully inclusive democracy. Useful take on democracy and the importance of its pursuit at a time when our country grapples with truth telling in our history and division amongst its people.

“Cinderella Books from Around the World: 9 Multicultural Stories.” Teaching Made Practical, 7 Feb. 2021, teachingmadepractical.com/cinderella-books-multicultural-stories/.                     Article with a variety of Cinderella books with brief synopsis and some basic ways to use the novels for a study.

Freeman, David, and Yvonne Freeman. “Culturally Relevant Books in the ELL Classroom.” Colorín Colorado, 18 May 2020, www.colorincolorado.org/article/culturally-relevant-books-ell-classroom.                                                          Article on this very useful website about cultural diversity in the classroom. This article includes a rubric for determining cultural relevance when choosing literature. Not all books read will be culturally relevant to all students, but this rubric is a good tool for checking in with students.

Ferlazzo, Larry, and Katie Hull-Sypnieski. Navigating the Common Core with English Language Learners: Practical Strategies to Develop Higher-Order Thinking Skills. Jossey-Bass, 2016.                    As the title suggests, this book has a variety of methods that address teaching the ELL students reading, writing and speaking. There are lesson plan ideas, unit ideas, etc. Good resource.

Fricker, Miranda. “11.3 Epistemic Injustice.”YouTube, uploaded by Scribbr,12 Dec. 2020,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gP4RzjI-qoQ.

A college professor delivers a lesson via YouTube explaining the work of Miranda Fricker for an excellent intro to Epistemic Injustice. He also uses examples from James Baldwin among others. Very enlightening and comprehensive with memorable examples.

Fricker, Miranda. Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing. Oxford University Press, 2007.                                                                                                                                             The oft quoted book by one of the foremost experts on Epistemic Injustice. An invaluable resource.

Glaser, Karina. “Children’s Books About the Immigrant Experience.” BOOK RIOT, 15 Nov. 2016, bookriot.com/childrens-books-about-the-immigrant-experience/.                                                       Not a research based-article, but rather a resource for finding books specifically geared towards teaching about the immigrant experience. Relatable for most of our ELs.

Guo, Winona, and Priya Vulchi. Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, & Identity. TarcherPerigee, 2019.                                                                                                      This book, written by two friends who traveled the country during a gap year, delivers this “road map for cultivating racial literacy”. Born from the realization they graduated high school without having any substantive conversation about racism in school they interviewed and wrote up the stories of people from all walks of life and how racism affects them daily. Many stories are too mature for 5th graders but several are not and can be used as an example of how to tell your own story.

Lamarque, Peter, and Stein Haugom Olsen. Truth, Fiction, and Literature: a Philosophical Perspective. Clarendon Press, 2002.

Miller, Lisa C., and Linda Rief. Make Me a Story: Teaching Writing through Digital Storytelling. Stenhouse Publishers, 2010.                                                                                                              This book had wonderful ideas and organizational tools for telling your story digitally. Unfortunately from a tech standpoint it is extremely outdated. What is useful are the ideas for how and when it is appropriate to tell a story or project via video.

O’Donnell, Aislinn. “Another Relationship to Failure: Reflections on Beckett and Education.” Journal of Philosophy of Education, vol. 48, no. 2, 2014, pp. 260–275., doi:10.1111/1467-9752.12064.

Schwartz, Kyle. I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything for Our Kids. Tantor Media Inc., 2017                                                                                                         An invaluable guide for teachers, parents and communities to understand the unique realities facing our students written by a 3rd grade teacher.

Staehr Fenner, Diane, et al. “The Five Pillars of Equitably Grading ELLs.” Colorín Colorado, 6 Oct. 2020, www.colorincolorado.org/blog/five-pillars-equitably-grading-ells.                                          The authors reached out to teachers of ELLs to ask the biggest obstacles they face teaching this population and any strategies they had that worked. Based on this research they developed the 5 Pillars of Equitably Grading ELLS and they are quite useful.

Svenja, “Why are Multicultural Children’s Books So Important?”  19 October, 2015,                           https://coloursofus.com/                                                                                                      Outstanding and detailed website with comprehensive lists of multicultural children’s books ranging from pre-school to young adult. There are blogs and lists of best books, including for transracial children, LGBTQA, multiracial, and other diverse books that are not so neatly defined.

390, et al. “6 Ways to Implement a Real Multicultural Education in the Classroom.” The Edvocate, 16 Aug. 2017, www.theedadvocate.org/6-ways-to-implement-a-real-multicultural-education-in-the-classroom/.       The author looks to define multiculturalism and its importance as well as how to actually have a truly multicultural classroom.

West, Steven. “Philosophize This Episode 130 Dewey and Lippmann on Democracy.”  23 May.2019. https://www.philosophizethis.org/podcast/dewey-lippman?rq=democracy

Interesting podcast discussing Dewey and Lippman’s take on democracy in the 20th century and the questions it raises.

Zill, Nicholas. “How Do the Children of Immigrant Parents Perform in School?” IFS Studies. 8 July. 2020.                                                                                                                                                   https://ifstudies.org/blog/how-do-the-children-of-immigrant-parents-perform-in-school                          A research analysis, Zill has done research on why most children of immigrant parents do far better in school than expected. The reasoning was interesting and mostly research based but it raises questions too, like how to support ELs who are not doing well, with minimal home support.

Reading List for Students

Guo, Winona, and Priya Vulchi. Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, & Identity. TarcherPerigee, 2019.

This book, written by two friends who traveled the country during a gap year, delivers this “road map for cultivating racial literacy”. Born from the realization they graduated high school without having any substantive conversation about racism in school they interviewed and wrote up the stories of people from all walks of life and how racism affects them daily. Many stories are too mature for 5th graders but several are not and can be used as an example of how to tell your own story. Appropriate stories will be shared with students via copies or document camera

https://www.pdesas.org/module/content/resources/4572/view.ashx Comparing Literary Elements of Fictional Text.                                                                                                                                 I happened upon this website when I was searching for a literary term and they use versions of Cinderella to teach this. Much of this supports my lesson/unit and they have excellent resources.

StoryWorks Magazine, Scholastic Inc., 2021-2022                                                                                                          We use this magazine throughout the year. There are frequent non-fiction articles about events and children around the Globe. Students will use this to learn about text features, other cultures and world events. The fiction included monthly often features a wide variety of cultures and ethnicities.

This chart represents just a small sample of other Read Alouds/Nonfiction to consider. For music and “travelogue” type resources I will use YouTube videos as appropriate. I chose a sample of books to represent all of the cultures, ethnicities and religions, in my classroom. 

Country/Region Title Author Brief Synopsis
Pennsylvania Philadelphia and the State of Pa: Cool Stuff Every Kid Should Know About Kate Boehme Jerome Fun facts, history, of Philadelphia and PA presented in an entertaining way.
Philadelphia Fever 1793 Laurie Halse Anderson Historical Fiction about a young girl in Philadelphia during the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793
Philadelphia Larry Gets Lost In Philadelphia John Skewes and Michael Mullin Larry the dog gets lost in Philly while on vacation and goes to all kinds of interesting places.
African American The Watsons Go To Birmingham 1963 Christopher Paul Curtis the story of a loving African-American family living in the town of Flint, Michigan, in 1963. When the oldest son (Byron) begins to get into a bit of trouble, the parents decide he should spend the summer and possibly the next school year with Grandma Sands in Birmingham, Alabama.
African American Brown Girl Dreaming Jacqueline Woodson Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement.
Brazil and more Where are You From? Yamile Saed

Mendez

About a brown-skinned girl who doesn’t always know how to answer this question. Use it as a launching pad for what is and is not okay when you have questions about someone’s differences.
Mexico Esperanza Rising

 

Pam Munoz Ryan Based on the life of the author’s grandmother, this is the story of young Esperanza who has to flee from her rich life on a Mexican ranch during the Great Depression.
Puerto Rico Call Me Maria

 

Judith Ortiz Cofer Call Me Maria tells the story of a young Puerto Rican girl living in a basement apartment in New York. With her mother still in Puerto Rico and her father being the super of their building, Maria tries to find her place in an unfamiliar culture.
Libya The Shadows of Ghadames

 

Joelle Stolz 12-year-old Malika yearns to travel like her merchant father. But in late 19th century Libya, that is not an option for a Muslim girl.
Morocco The Butter Man

 

Elizabeth Alalou

 

Nora’s Moroccan-born father prepares a couscous meal, he talks about his childhood in the High Atlas Mountains.
Algeria Sabbath Lion: A Jewish Folktale from Algeria  Howard Schwartz Yosef’s widowed mother gets news of a family inheritance in Egypt. The 10-year-old boy offers to travel there to fetch it. When the caravan leader refuses to stop during the Sabbath, Yosef stays behind in the desert.
 

Sudan

A Long Walk to Water (Sudan)  Linda Sue Park

 

tells the stories of two 11-year-old Sudanese children -alternating between their viewpoints – at different points in time.
Israel and Palestine Snow in Jerusalem

by Deborah Da Costa

Avi and Hamudi both live in Jerusalem, Avi in the Jewish Quarter and Hamudi in the Muslim Quarter. To each boy, the other’s neighborhood is an alien land. When one day they follow the stray cat they both care for, something wonderful happens
Iraq The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq

 

Jeanette Winter In the Koran, the first thing God said to Muhammad was ‘Read.’” When war comes to Iraq, librarian Alia Muhammad Baker takes matters into her own hands to protect the books from being destroyed.
Italy The Legend of Old Befana Tomie dePaola A favorite Italian Christmas story about an eccentric old woman and her never-ending search for the Baby King
Ireland The Hounds of the Morrigan Pat O’Shea It tells the story of Pidge and his sister Brigit, who must stop an ancient goddess from recovering her lost power.
Germany The Neverending Story Michael Ende Translated from German, this classic fantasy novel is about a boy, Bastian, an odd child who is neglected by his father after the death of his mother. Bastian finds a book called The Neverending Story in an antique bookshop.  Unable to resist, he steals the book and hides in his school’s attic, where he begins to read.
Russia The Night Journey (Russia) Kathryn Lasky 3-year-old Rachel is tasked with keeping her elderly, frail great-grandmother company, her reaction is exactly what you might expect. But during their time together Nana Sashie reveals a story the family has kept quiet for years…
Albania Northern Albanian Folk Tales, Myths and Legends

 

Arti Malaj A collection of favorite folk tales, myths and legends shared for generations in Albania.
Ukraine Ukrainian Folktales Elena N. Grand 27 folktales collected from the Ukraine
Asia Eyes That Kiss in the Corners Joanna Ho Loving and celebrating Asian shaped eyes
Vietnam Inside Out and Back Again

Thanhha Lai

Thanhha Lai During the Vietnam War, 10-year-old Hà flees the country with her mother and three older brothers. Her father has been missing in action for nine years. The family finds refuge in Alabama but also experiences hostility and rejection
India The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

 

Uma Krishnaswami, illustrated by Abigail Halpin

 

Eleven-year-old Dini goes on a delightful romp in India when her family decides to move there and she’s forced to leave her home in the United States.
India Boys Without Names When

by Kashmira Sheth

Gopal is forced into child labor; he struggles to keep hope alive and plan his escape.

Materials for Classroom Use

Use During Comparative Literature Unit

Title Author/Publisher Country/Region of Origin
Anything But the Basic Cinderella – (Caldecott winner) Marica Brown France/US
Adelita, a Mexican Cinderella Story   Tomie DePaola Mexico
Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella Robert D. San Souci The Caribbean
Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China Ai-Ling Louie China
The Rough-Face Girl, An Algonquin Tale   Rafe Martin Native American, Algonquin
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, An African Tale John Steptoe Zimbabwe
The Egyptian Cinderella Shirley Climo and Ruth Heller Egypt
The Korean Cinderella Shirley Climo and Ruth Heller Korea
The Golden Sandal: A Middle Eastern Cinderella Story Marica Brown The Middle East
The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece Anthony L. Manna

Soula Mitakidou

Greece
The Irish Cinderlad Shirley Climo Ireland

Appendix

Standards: The Core Curriculum of the School District of Philadelphia aligns with the PDE standards for literacy. These are the English and Language Arts Common Core Standards that I will address throughout this unit.

Informational Text

CC1.2.5.B

Cite textual evidence by quoting accurately from the text to explain what the text says explicitly and make inferences.

CC.1.2.5.A

Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.

CC.1.2.5.C

Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a text based on specific information in the text.

CC.1.2.5.E

Use text structure, in and among texts, to interpret information (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution).

CC.1.2.5.G

Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.

CC.1.2.5.H

Determine how an author supports particular points in a text through reasons and evidence.

Reading Literature

CC.1.3.5.B

Cite textual evidence by quoting accurately from the text to explain what the text says explicitly and make inferences.

CC.1.3.5.A

Determine a theme of a text from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

CC.1.3.5.F

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in grade-level reading and content, including interpretation of figurative language in context.

CC.1.3.5.E

Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.

C.C.1.3.5.G

Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).

CC.1.3.5.H

Compare and contrast texts in the same genre on their approaches to similar themes and topics as well as additional literary elements.

CC.1.3.5.K

Read and comprehend literary fiction on grade level, reading independently and proficiently

Speaking and Listening

CC.1.5.5.A Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

CC.1.5.5.B Summarize the main points of written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally

CC.1.5.5.C Summarize the points a speaker makes and explain how each claim is supported by reasons and evidence.

CC.1.5.5.D Report on a topic or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly with adequate volume, appropriate pacing, and clear pronunciation

CC.1.5.5.F Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.

CC.1.5.5.G Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English when speaking, based on Grade 5 level and content.

Writing

CC.1.4.5.A Write informative/ explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

CC.1.4.5.B Identify and introduce the topic clearly.

CC.1.4.5.C Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic; include illustrations and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension

CC.1.4.5.D Group related information logically linking ideas within and across categories of information using words, phrases, and clauses; provide a concluding statement or section; include formatting when useful to aid comprehension.

CC.1.4.5.F Demonstrate a grade appropriate command of the conventions of standard English grammar, usage, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling

CC.1.4.5.M Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events.

CC.1.4.5.S Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research, applying grade-level reading standards for literature and informational texts.

Materials- I created all of the materials for use with this unit

Beginning of year survey for all students, before starting unit

Appendix A

For use with the first part of unit: The Interview Project

Appendix B

Family History Questionnaire

Directions:

  • Interview at least 2 family members, and write down the answers to the questions. You can elaborate (ask for more clarification) on any questions–conversation is good!
  • If you are able to get more than one generation that is great (for example a parent and a grandparent). You can interview as many family members as you want as long as you do at least two
  • There are a lot of questions…take your time answering–be sure to listen to. You will have more than one day to do this, so don’t rush!
  • This will be used as part of your scrapbook of your life project
Question Response
What is your full name?
Who named you and does your name have any special meaning?
When and where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Where have you lived in your life? What was your favorite house/place you lived and why?
What are the most important lessons your parents taught you?
What did you do for fun as a child?
Do you speak more than one language? Which languages?
What jobs have you had?
Have you ever visited another country? If so, where?
Have you or your family ever lived in another country? If so, where?
If you could travel/visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
If you moved here from another country, how did you end up in Philadelphia?
What world event had the greatest impact on your family?
What was your favorite subject in school?
If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be?
What is your favorite book and why?
What is your favorite genre (type) of book and why?
What else would you like me to know about you?
What holidays (if any) did your family celebrate?
What is your favorite kind of music? What was your favorite song or music when you were growing up?

Appendix C

Hello, My Name Is…

Directions:

  • Interview your partner and write down the answers to the questions. You can elaborate (ask for more clarification) on any questions–conversation is good!
  • Switch roles and you answer the questions. Be prepared to introduce your partner and share something about them!
  • There are a lot of questions…take your time answering–be sure to listen to each other. We’ll do this over more than one day, so don’t rush!
  • This will be part of your scrapbook of your life! Have fun.
Question Response
What is your full name?
Who named you and does your name have any special meaning?
Who are the people in your family?
What are some fun things you like to do with your family?
What special holidays do you celebrate? Are any of them religious? Unique to your culture?
Would you rather play outside or play video games?
How did you feel about virtual learning? What was the best part? What was the worst part?
Do you speak more than one language? Do you speak more than one language at home? If so, what is it?
Have you ever lived somewhere other than Philadelphia? If so, where, and if you know, why did you move?
Have you ever visited another country? If so, where?
Have you or your family ever lived in another country? If so, where?
If you could travel/visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Would you rather have art or gym class?
Would you rather text your friends or get together in person?
What is your favorite subject in school?
If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be?
What is your favorite book and why?
What is your favorite genre (type) of book and why?
What else would you like me to know about you?
What is your favorite kind of music? Do you have a favorite song?

For use with second part of Unit–Comparative Literature: Cinderella

Appendix D

Title Author Country/Region of Origin
Anything But the Basic Cinderella – (Caldecott winner) Marica Brown France/US
Adelita, a Mexican Cinderella Story   Tomie DePaola Mexico
Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella Robert D. San Souci The Caribbean
Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China Ai-Ling Louie China
The Rough-Face Girl, An Algonquin Tale   Rafe Martin Native American, Algonquin
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, An African Tale John Steptoe Zimbabwe
The Egyptian Cinderella Shirley Climo and Ruth Heller Egypt
The Korean Cinderella Shirley Climo and Ruth Heller Korea
The Golden Sandal: A Middle Eastern Cinderella Story Marica Brown The Middle East
The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece Anthony L. Manna

Soula Mitakidou

Greece
The Irish Cinderlad Shirley Climo Ireland

Appendix E

Students will use these Venn Diagram charts for pairs of books as they are read throughout the unit

Compare and Contrast Chart

Name: ____________________________________Date: _____________ Homeroom: ______

 

Cinderella Stories

Version A_________________                 Both                        Version B__________________

Appendix F

Comparing Literary Elements in Cinderella

Graphic Organizer: Use this chart to help you keep track of the information from each of the Cinderella stories we read. You may use this chart during our assessments so it behooves you to keep up with it!

Title Characters Setting Point of View Conflict Short Summary Resolution
Anything But the Basic Cinderella – France/US
Adelita, a Mexican Cinderella Story  
Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella
Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China
The Rough-Face Girl, An Algonquin Tale  
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, An African Tale
The Egyptian Cinderella
The Korean Cinderella
The Golden Sandal: A Middle Eastern Cinderella Story
The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece
The Irish Cinderlad

For use with 3rd Part of Unit: The Story of My Life

Appendix G

Rubric for Digital Life Story

Rubric For Life Story Scrapbook

Appendix H

The Story of My Life Final Project Scrapbook Rubric

Name:          ___________________     Date:   __________________

Title of Project: ______________________________________________

Objective: You will create a scrapbook incorporating all elements of the project description guide, using written words, pictures, drawings and other items (as you choose) to tell the story of your life.    

 

  4 Exceeding 3 Achieving 2 Demonstrating 1 Needs Imp.
Title and Intro Title and Intro are unique, stands out, and fits the project Title and Intro are solid and fit the project Title and Intro are adequate to tell the story Title and/or intro missing
Pictures and Visuals -Pictures complement the written word beautifully and help tell the story. -Other visuals such as copies of maps or imp. Family memorabilia is included -Pictures and other visuals do a good job of supporting the story -Pictures and other visuals add something to the story but not many included -Few or no visuals included
Content -Demonstrates a thorough understanding of project and requirements including info about family history, customs, culture, and story of life so far

-10 or more pages including the title and intro

-Meets the requirements of the project and includes most required info

-Meets the 10 page requirement

-Meets some project requirements, with some info included.

-6-9 pages included

-Meets little of no project requirements

-Less than 5 pages included

Overall Appearance Extremely neat and carefully done.

-Materials used are appropriate and enhance the appearance

-Neat and well-done

-Most materials used are appropriate and enhance the appearance

-Some pages are nice while others feel unfinished and quickly done -Seems hastily thrown together
Style and Organization -Life story is presented logically with all important elements from project guide included in order.

-Extremely well organized.

-There is order to the project and organization is evident -Project is somewhat organized, but some choices are illogical -Little to no organization or style.

-Thrown together

Appendix I

The Story of my Life Final Project Descriptor

Objectives:

*You will create either a 90 second to 3-minute video that engages and shows who you are OR a physical scrapbook that tells the story of your life through words and pictures.

*Through your projects you will develop a deeper understanding of each other, your cultures, celebrations, and life story and with understanding comes acceptance

We will work on this unit at several points throughout the year, and have concentrated work time towards the due date (anticipated January 2021). Please keep this guide in your Resource Binder to refer back to.

What is it? You will create a visual story of your life to present to the class (or available to share with them if you are uncomfortable with that). You can do this one of two ways:

Scrapbook (physical)-you can either buy or bind your own scrapbook of at least 10 pages. Each page will represent an important part of who you are. We will be reading about and discussing this throughout the year. You will include pictures (copies are fine) or other family memorabilia you can attach on paper (with your parents’ permission). There will also be written parts you will include. If you love hands-on activities, and like to get crafty this format is for you!

Digital Life Story: We will brainstorm as a class ways you can tell your story digitally. This might include Screencastify, iMovie, YouTube and the like. Don’t worry if you’re not proficient in these–we will work together to learn it. You will also include pictures, and a written part, but may also include music, spoken word, etc. Each video should be approximately 90 seconds – 3 minutes. If you love technology or want to try something new, this is the format for you!

Both formats will include a title page and introduction and incorporate activities, lessons, reading, etc. throughout the year such as:

  • Interviews with your family members
  • The interview you gave your partners
  • Info on your family story (if knows) of how you came to live in America and/or Philadelphia. If your family has been in American as far back as anyone can remember you will write about where you live, how long your family has been there, did they ever live in another part of the city or country, etc.
  • Pictures of your family, places lived, cultural items, etc.
  • I will give you specific questions, to be answered as well as the rubric when we are starting our project portion of our yearlong unit on multiculturalism in the classroom sometime in January. I want to see how our work and discussions evolve and revise my criteria based on that.