Fifth graders at Adair County Elementary School hosted a parade in the school’s hallways Friday afternoon (Feb. 3, 2017) for the enjoyment of their fellow students and the enrichment of their own cross-cultural understanding. The project, led by social studies teachers Angie Smith and Tammy Shelton, featured hand-made floats representing different countries around the world.
“It was exciting for me because the students were so excited,” Smith says. “They did so well building the floats and learning about their countries. I was very proud of them.”
The project served three main purposes. The first was the incorporation of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) principles by way of designing and building the floats, which had to be framed with shoeboxes. The second was to introduce a foreign language to the students. Each student had to learn to say “hello” and “goodbye” in his or her country’s language, but many went much further in their study of the language. “They were quizzing each other with different words and trying to put sentences together,” Smith says. “When they were parading down the hallway they were greeting the other kids in their country’s language.”
The third purpose of the project was to learn about different countries’ beliefs, social customs, politics, art, and popular pastimes. Each float was required to have at least three demonstrations of the country’s culture, though some students greatly surpassed that number.
“They spent two whole class periods – more than two hours,” building their floats,” Smith says. “They were split into small groups so each student had to do a lot of the work, and they had to do everything at school, not take it home.”
The parade earned rave reviews from students participating, students watching along the sides of each hallway, and the teachers who helped make it all happen.
“It seemed like all the students really enjoyed it,” Shelton adds. “Once they got into it they wanted to keep learning more and more about their countries, so that’s always nice to see.”
By Wes Feese
Media Relations, Adair County Schools