Students and staff at Portage Central Elementary were buzzing with excitement. Central’s first annual Multicultural Celebration took place in December as a way to understand and appreciate all the countries around the world.
Each grade-level represented a different continent. Teachers easily aligned their Indiana State Standards to the reading, research, writing, and presentation involved in their projects and papers. Art and music enjoyed being involved also. The art teacher implemented the creation of artifacts to represent the countries, including African masks, Chinese dragon puppets, penguins, etc. In music the students learned songs from many countries and performed for the entire school on the Thursday before holiday break.
All grades participated, including kindergarten, which focused on North America. The kindergarten students learned about neighborhoods and families, which aligns with their state standards. Students wrote reports describing their own families, with help from parents and teachers, and then created houses to hang with their reports. Many students included an actual picture of their own home to share.
First grade focused on Antarctica. The work in the hallway was very impressive, including displays of information on the Antarctica McMurdo Station, climate, transportation, and a variety of animals. The first graders had guidance to write their reports and create outstanding displays of penguins, whales, and seals. Their finished products were remarkable.
Australia was represented by second grade and the kids clearly enjoyed their trip “Down Under”. Their researched reports and art displays filled the corridor and were truly outstanding. The variety of research displayed included the Great Barrier Reef, Koala Bear facts, as well as interesting slang. For example, did you know that “chewie” in Australia means chewing gum and “fairy floss” refers to what we call cotton candy? Fun interesting facts lined the walls. Bulletin boards displayed boomerangs and amazing posters hung from the ceiling.
In third, fourth and fifth grades the students were prepared to share posters and reports on the countries that they researched. Other grade levels took turns visiting those classrooms. Aligning with their state standards, these three grades were able to provide a variety of information in a number of formats.
Traveling to third grade brought us to the continent of Europe. Many students were excited to learn about their own heritage from the European countries. A boy whose family originated in Macedonia was happy to share his personal experience when visiting relatives there. Students worked in partners to research their country and create their projects.
Africa was the focus of Central’s fourth grade students. The students’ research and projects were informative and very creative. African masks were set out with the display boards and students were excited to share the information they had found. In some of the classrooms large banners hung from the ceiling to divide the classroom into the different countries in Africa that they researched. One of the fourth grade students had actually visited in Africa and she wore a traditional dress that she got during her visit.
Fifth grade had the most eclectic group of presentations. Since the 13 colonies is an academic state standard for fifth grade, some of the students did research and projects on those colonies and on those states today. Other fifth graders focused on South and Central America. One group played traditional Mexican music and the group performed a tradition Mexican dance. All of the fifth grade students put a lot of work in their research and projects and did a great job presenting their information to the other classes that came to visit.
Overall, the first annual Central Elementary Multicultural Celebration was a huge success. The entire school participated and the teachers did an excellent job of combining the Indiana academic standards with an engaging and interactive cultural celebration. Congratulations to the students and staff for working so hard to celebrate our diversity!