Our Cultural Heritage:

Students create a bilingual alphabet book of their home country with family assistance

Kari Cox, Monett High School, Monett R-1 School District, Monett, MO

Our Cultural Heritage:

Introduction

Our Cultural Heritage is a project designed for students and families to work, share, and learn together. This project is designed for students to practice various reading, writing, and speaking skills to create an alphabet book about their families’ home countries.  Using a digital online book creator, students speak and write in English, and then share their book with their families. Together families replicate the book’s pages by writing and speaking in their native language and then contributing that to the book. The result is a beautiful bilingual piece created together.  

Step-by-Step Plan

  • First, give a survey to the students to take home and fill out with their parents. The survey should consist of questions regarding languages used in the home. This survey will help with differentiation as needed for this project.  

 

  • Then, provide students with the book S is for Show Me A Missouri Alphabet by Judy Young (2015). It is an A-Z book on Missouri. Use this book to teach reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. I used it to teach summarizing with 5 Ws as a reading and writing skill along with formatting and text features. This book is a visual model for students to reference for their own book.  

 

  • Next, as a class brainstorm using an organizer to create a model alphabet book for the United States. To do this we continued to practice the 5 Ws to explain topics for each page. Then we used an online website, Book Creator (2022), and made several pages together as a class. The remainder of the book was divided up for independent practice. Students were responsible for constructing sentences and paragraphs as well as voice recordings to make the book. When it was completed, students shared the book with their families in English and verbally translated when needed for understanding.  

 

  • Students will then independently create an A-Z  book about their families’ home countries. To begin, students will brainstorm topics for each letter in the alphabet, seeking assistance from their families. Families and students will work together to explain in detail using the 5 Ws of their various topics. Next, students will establish a format for their book in regard to color, font, and placement of paragraphs and pictures. When students are ready, they will type their paragraphs in English and their native languages. After the writing component is complete students will record their paragraphs in the matching language. The result will be a bilingual book created with their families’ guidance and support. 

 

  • When the project was complete, we celebrated the students’ hard work by sharing their final products. We had a breakfast party that included a gift bag for each student. Everyone received two books of their choice; a T-shirt representing our school with the word ”hello” in multiple languages; and a copy of their digital book that I turned into a hardback keepsake. 


Timeline

Before Project Begins: 

  • Set a project deadline 
  • Survey students and families 
  • Order books 

During Project: 

  • Build background knowledge 
  • Practice making an A-Z book together using a writing organizer and Book Creator 
  • Brainstorm students’ country using an organizer and books  
  • Seek assistance and feedback from families  
  • Write and record books in English and L1 
  • Edit books with help from teacher and family members 

 After Project Ends: 

 

Budget

Adobe Photoshop School license $25.00
Book S is for Show Me A Missouri Alphabet book amazon x11 $100.00
T-Shirts Hello in different languages $200.00
Amazon Print Photos for student self-created books 300.00
Books about Countries $250.00
Unbelievable Pictures and Facts About Thailand
Unbelievable Pictures and Facts About Peru
Mexico For Kids: People, Places and Cultures - Children Explore The World
Ecuador (Pogo: All Around the World)
Unbelievable Pictures and Facts About Ecuador
Unbelievable Pictures and Facts About Myanmar
M is for Myanmar (Alphabetical World)
Thailand (Paperback)
If You Were Me and Lived in...Peru: A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around the World
Mexico Fun Facts Picture Book for Kids: An Educational Country City Travel Photography Photobook About History, Geography, Nature, Culture and more
A Kid's Guide to Puerto Rico
Unbelievable Pictures and Facts About Puerto Rico
Guatemala (Country Profiles)
Cultural Traditions in Honduras (Cultural Traditions in My World)
Unbelievable Pictures and Facts About Afghanistan
Unbelievable Pictures and Facts About El Salvador
El Salvador (Exploring World Cultures)
Unbelievable Pictures and Facts About Cuba
Let's Explore Cuba
Let's explore Peru, Kids!
Guatemala ABCs: A Book About the People and Places of Guatemala
Puerto Rico (A to Z)
Mexico ABCs: A Book About the People and Places of Mexico (Country ABCs
Student book choices: $425.00
Karen Language Phrasebook: Basics of Sgaw Dialect
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Serás (Spanish Edition)
Vivirás (Spanish Edition)
The Black Girls Left Standing
One of Us Is Lying
Wigetta en las Dinolimpiadas (4you2) (Spanish Edition)
Manual de combate de Minecraft
Romper el círculo (Latino neutro): It Ends With Us (Spanish Edition)
Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds: The First Official Stranger Things Novel
Last Night at the Telegraph Club
Nosotros en la luna (Spanish Edition)
Al final mueren los dos (Spanish Edition)
Lady Smoke (Ash Princess)
Ash Princess  Hacks for PUBG Players Advanced Strategies: An Unofficial Gamer's Guide: An Unofficial Gamer's Guide
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Mi Viaje Sin Ti: Lo Que Queríamos Ser Y No Fuimos (Spanish Edition)
Mirror
The Arrival
Home at Last
Rosalia - The Honduran American

What did it look like?

Sustainability

This project could be repeated with each group of new students to better connect and learn about each other and our families. The students and I enjoyed the project and discussed how we might modify the format to be used with other concepts we are learning in our class such as grammar rules, vocabulary words, history, and science concepts. We decided that creating books in English and applying their L1 language is very beneficial.  

Reflections

Our Cultural Heritage books turned out beautifully. The students loved the freedom to choose their topics, pictures, and formatting. Several students expressed that they learned new things about their families’ cultures while working with their parents. Others enjoyed hearing their peers speak in their native language. The digital books really allowed for more modality skills than a regular book. 

 

While working on the project I noticed that I should have set checkpoints along the way. For example, I should have allowed one or two days for students to establish their cover and format, then encouraged them to move on to the next step, and then finalize details at the end of the project. Eventually, I established a guide for the students to keep them focused. The only frustration I had with the project was that the printed books did not mirror the online layout and required extra formatting time. 

What did it look like?

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