As part of their social studies curriculum, the kindergartners of Erin Holtkamp’s class at Chestnut Street School celebrated diversity by exploring each other’s names and cultures in a two-part study.
During the “All About Me” unit, the class read “Chrysanthemum” by Kevin Henkes, a story about teasing, self-esteem and acceptance. Inspired by the title character’s unique name, the kindergartners created one-of-a-kind designer nameplates by writing their own names and drawing colorful pictures. Following, they were assigned to speak with their families about how their parents had chosen their names. Using Flipgrid, a video discussion platform, the young students shared facts about their names, including the history and cultural meaning behind them. They viewed different classmates’ video submissions and gave them compliments.
The second project, “My Life in a Bag,” had students learn about each other by asking them to present five items that represented their culture. Students shared artifacts from their bag that represented who they are and their cultural backgrounds. These included miniature flags of their native country, ethnic recipes, traditional clothing, family pictures and items connected to their favorite activities.
After the presenters shared their artifacts, Holtkamp posted the items on a bulletin board labeled “One Class, Many Cultures” as a way for the class to see that their classmates come from all different places, and to embrace and respect each other’s differences.