At schools like Priest Elementary-Middle and Davison Elementary, classrooms each adopted a county for the district’s “Adopt a Country/ Region Program.” During the recent day-long, “Around the World in a Day” event at Davison, children displayed their knowledge of their adopted countries’ products, currency, customs and dress. The school, which runs a micro-society program year-long, instructed students to choose to operate businesses this year from other countries across the world. One classroom that studied Mexico made Mexican dolls and clothing. In the classroom that studied Italy, students sold bread and olive oil. Students and visiting guests on Friday walked through “customs,” received a passport and were guided by “airport security” before being taken to their countries of choice where they exchanged American currency to purchase products of the region. Judges are choosing the best projects that will be elevated to the district competition.
About DPS’ Adopt a Country/Region Program
Fostering a global perspective and teaching students how to look at the world with empathy and an open mind are crucial 21st Century skills that DPS students need to develop to succeed in the global market. Educating for global citizenship is not just about teaching geography; it is an opportunity to develop important skills and values. Understanding global citizenship teaches students to respect differences of opinion, overcome stereotypes, think critically and empathize with others – skills that will allow them to become well-rounded individuals. Learning about other cultures also provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on the cultural diversity that makes up America and to examine America’s place in the world.
The DPS Department of Multilingual-Multicultural Education (DMME) is promoting the recognition, understanding and appreciation of diversity through various planned activities, consistent with the district’s policy on Multilingual-Multicultural Education.
Acknowledging the importance of preparing students to become “citizens of the world,” the DMME initiated the first-ever districtwide year-long Adopt a Country/Region Program in September 2011. Teams of dedicated teachers from around the district worked with the department to develop the cultural heritage units, and finally monitor and ensure the integrity and educational value of the program. The district invited all schools to actively participate in this year-long project, and 46 accepted to participate.
The project required a committee of DPS lead educators to design standard-based, developmentally appropriate Cultural Heritage Units for each grade level (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12) to guide teachers to raise awareness among students on the importance of appreciating similarities and accepting differences through hands-on experiences and community involvement. Students learn about global citizenship by:
- Working together as a class or school to select a country/region
- Engaging in research and discussion about geographic, economic, environmental and cultural topics and becoming the people of that location
- Presenting what they learn to the community
Each principal designated a Multicultural Coordinator and established a Multicultural Committee, developed a Plan of Action, selected meeting dates and times, and coordinated/monitored multicultural activities.
Teachers were encouraged to review materials and select aspects to meet the needs, abilities and interests of their students. Each classroom adopted a country/region and decorated the main door, room, and/or hallway in accordance with their adopted country/region. The teacher provided heritage integration content instruction and activities and assisted in organizing the “Around the World in a Day” event from March to May, 2012, which is the culminating activity that takes place at the schools participating in the “Adopt a Country/ Region “ school-based program.
During the “Around the World in a Day” event, students displayed a number of aspects of the culture of their selected country. The events include showcases of food, art, traditional dance, and music, such as the adopted country’s national anthem, as well as traditional sports. Students present the information they learn about the selected country. In some classrooms, they invite individuals from the community who are natives from the country of their choice to speak to the class, or present traditional music and dance. Additionally, they create a multi-media virtual tour of the country using programs, such as PowerPoint, Prezi, or Vimeo.