Friday, February 1, 2013

Latin American Festival

Yesterday, in 5th grade, we held our annual Latin American Festival. 
Here's how this two-week, in-class-only project works:  The students are grouped by twos and choose a Latin American country to research.  They are to write essays about the country's religion, government, history, living conditions, climate, landforms, etc. and then prepare a tri-fold board with this information displayed.  Once the boards are ready, we invite the 3rd and 4th grade students to listen to the 5th graders' presentations about their countries.  Food samples are provided by each group as Latin American music plays in the background; it's like a fiesta! 
The students have to know their assigned country well because they pretend to be from that country.  They had to choose a name for themselves (they looked up popular names from their countries) and that's what everyone called them at the Latin American Festival.  I printed out cute nametags for the students that read, "Hola! Mi nombre es..." which I found HERE.
The students did a great job staying in character during their 3-minute spiel.  I overheard another teacher ask one of my students about a wooden statue that was on display at her table.  She replied, "What do you mean, 'Where did I get this?' I brought it from my home in Honduras.  I traveled a long way to visit you today and thought you might like to see some things I own."  Ha!  In reality, the girl's mom had gone on a mission trip to Honduras and brought the statue back as a souvenir:
Not a single adult helped the students with their boards and I love that you can tell that 5th graders created the displays.  FYI, we always do our projects in class.
 Costa Rica's display was so creative; they had a zip-lining frog:
The festival lasted from 9:30-11:00 a.m., with different classes rotating through.  When the festival ended, 5th grade enjoyed the leftovers--taco soup, plantains, empanadas, papas rellenas, black beans and rice, cakes, cookies, and fruity drinks.  Yum!
We had such a fun time!  One student brought in a fake parrot that stood on his shoulder.  I tried to get a picture with him, but kept getting photobombed by another child!
Goals of this project:
  • Students will research a country in Latin America
  • Students will become familiar with several different types of research materials
  • Students will take notes and write summaries of information that they find in their research
  • Students will produce something interesting, informative, and fun from their research
Here are a few of the students' essays:
That afternoon, I had my students take part in a prayer time (something we call a "Prayer Furnace") for the countries of Latin America.  I set the boards around the classroom, put the students in their groups, had them go to each board, read what was written under the "Religion" section, and pray aloud, specifically for the prayer needs that were listed.  We had music in the background and would rotate every few minutes.
I prayed with several groups and then just walked around and listened to my students pray.  I was so touched by their powerful words.  Some of them are spiritually mature beyond their years.

We ended the day with prayer as a class and then sang a couple of worship songs.  It was a wonderful end to a wonderful day.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love this idea. Would I be able to get a copy of your lesson plan and any handouts you used?
    Sandy Carey