FULTON – First graders at Lanigan Elementary School in the Fulton City School District were recently visited by international students from a variety of countries to help discover the similarities and differences between cultures.
International students from China, Japan, France, Italy and Brazil visited the school as part of the Greenheart of Cultural Exchange, a locally-run organization promoting cultural understanding, academic development, environmental consciousness and world peace.
“We worked very hard to tie this into our new learning standards. Students have learned about similar stories from different countries. In this unit, students learned about different cultures and compared/contrasted from their own,” said teacher Marie Mathes.
According to Mathes, students also had the chance to research a house or shelter from another country and make it.
“The students presented their research and project to the class as well as having them displayed for the school to see,” Mathes said. “This is a great family project and I heard great things from parents.”
“It was amazing to have students from other countries teach the first graders about their culture. Students loved to hear their language, see pictures of their towns/cities, eat tasty treats try chop sticks and say the alphabet in Italian. We are constantly teach map skills. Finding and locating each of these countries and comparing to where we live is a great learning opportunity,” Mathes said.
Mathes called the opportunity a chance for the first graders to learn something “real,” and noted on her way back to the classroom she heard one student say, ‘This was the best day ever,” while other students immediately checked books out of the library that pertained to specific countries.