Resources


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Materials:

  • computer access
  • research materials
  • paper, pencil

Goals:

  1. Students will access information from the Internet and take two-column notes.
  2. Using information accessed from the Internet, students will use the friendly letter format to write a letter to a friend comparing the Christmas customs of the United States to those of another country.

Resource Instructions

  Best taught grades 3-4. Days 1-2 Student prompt/Internet research/two-column note taking Day 3 Venn diagram comparing Australian customs and U.S. customs Day 4 Friendly letter rough draft Day 5 Friendly letter editing/revising/final copy Schedule time for oral reading or displaying of letters.

Classroom Component:

As part of a Christmas Customs Around the World unit, the student will be asked to research the Christmas customs of a country, other than the United States. Using the Internet, the student will locate information and take two-column notes about the Christmas customs of the chosen country. The student will then complete a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the Christmas customs of the chosen country and the United States. Then, he or she will write a friendly letter to someone comparing and contrasting the Christmas customs of the two countries.

PRE-ASSESSMENT INSTRUCTION

Students will need to have prior knowledge of the procedure for taking two-column notes, how to complete and interpret a Venn diagram, and the correct format for writing a friendly letter.

In teaching this unit, we cover the Christmas traditions of several major countries, including Germany, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, and Australia. Students fill out a passport form, which is stamped after each country is studied. They also locate each country on a map. We usually incorporate some type of craft activity for each country studied.

For some of the countries I have prepared information sheets that detail the Christmas customs of each. I model the technique of taking two-column notes on the overhead after reading the information sheets, having the students select the details to go on the overhead. This is an easy technique to introduce note-taking skills to students. When we are ready to learn about the Christmas customs of Australia, students use the Internet to access the information for their two-column notes.

Depending on the experience of the students, they may either conduct their own search on the Internet, or prior to the time spent on the Internet, the teacher may select and bookmark sites for students to use. Depending upon the needs of your students, this can be an independent Internet activity or pairs of students working together.

Some useful web site resources include:

 

The procedure for taking two-columns notes is as follows:

  1. Have students fold a sheet of binder paper in half, from top to bottom, to form two columns
  2. On the left side, the students will write "Christmas Customs of Australia"
  3. On the right side, the students will write details about the customs of Australia

Example:

Christmas Customs of Australia

  • The weather is hot
  • People go to the beach
  • They have picnics
  • People wear shorts
  • It is summer at Christmas

INSTRUCTIONS FOR ADMINISTRATION:

Present student prompt information to students. Read and discuss student prompt. Clarify any student questions about the prompt. Discuss student expectations and scoring guide.

Two student prompt handouts are included in this lesson. One is written for research for Christmas customs of Australia. The second handout doesn''t have the name of the country. If students are allowed to choose the country they want to research, they can write the name of the country on the student prompt sheet.

Handout #1 - Student Prompt

Christmas Customs Around the World

We have become world travelers learning about Christmas customs around the world. We have learned that we share some of the same Christmas customs of other countries. We have also learned that some countries have very different Christmas customs than ours.

  1. Your job is to research the Christmas customs of Australia by doing the following:
  2. Using the Internet, you will take two-column notes about the Christmas customs of Australia. You will need to include the main idea and three to five (3-5) supporting details about their Christmas customs.
  3. Using the two-column notes, you will complete a Venn diagram comparing Australia''s Christmas customs to the Christmas customs of the United States.
  4. Finally, you will write a friendly letter to a person of your choice comparing and contrasting the Christmas customs of Australia and the United States. Make sure to include at least three (3) of the comparisons that you made on the Venn diagram.
  5. Make sure you include the five parts of a friendly letter and use complete sentences, correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. When complete, turn in two column notes, Venn diagram, and final copy of letter.

Handout #2 - Student Prompt

Christmas Customs Around the World

We have become world travelers learning about Christmas customs around the world. We have learned that we share some of the same Christmas customs of other countries. We have also learned that some countries have very different Christmas customs than ours.

Your job is to research the Christmas customs of ______________by doing the following:

 

  1. Using the Internet, you will take two-column notes about the Christmas customs of _________________. You will need to include the main idea and three to five (3-5) supporting details about their Christmas customs.
  2. Using the two-column notes, you will complete a Venn diagram comparing the customs of the country you chose to the Christmas customs of the United States.
  3. Finally, you will write a friendly letter to a person of your choice comparing and contrasting the Christmas customs of Australia and the United States. Make sure to include at least three (3) of the comparisons that you made on the Venn diagram.
  4. Make sure you include the five parts of a friendly letter and use complete sentences, correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.

When complete, turn in two column notes, Venn diagram, and final copy of letter.

Assessment:

see rubric in assets

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