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Cultural Celebration Held at Sanford Pride Elementary

by SPE Staff

In April, students at Sanford Pride Elementary School celebrated an appreciation and awareness of the different cultures in our school, community and nation. The students and staff have been working on integrated projects since the end of February. All projects are linked to curriculum topics.

The Kindergarten classrooms focused on Maine History. The students learned about the Maine state bird, flag, animals, and foods of Maine (lobster, maple syrup, potatoes, blueberries, whoopie pies…), and made lighthouses.

The students in Mrs. Suratt’s classroom learned about the Spanish and ASL alphabets to broaden their cultural horizons!

Mrs. Payeur’s first grade classroom teamed with our physical education teacher to learn about Cambodian Culture/Community Day. They learned games and traditions that are celebrated on Cambodian New Year. One of the students in Mrs. Payeur’s classroom is from Cambodia, and her family shared one of their favorite recipes for the students to try!

Ms. Grass and Mrs. Greve’s first grade classes studied the Guatemala tradition of telling your worries to your worry doll. According to the legend, children tell their worries to the doll and put it under the pillow. The doll has the wisdom to eliminate their worries. This experience is connected to the grade 1 social emotional learning topics.

The classrooms also collaborated with the Sanford Middle School Librarian, Ms. Williams, who regularly visits Guatemala. Ms. Williams brought in artifacts and spoke about the culture and traditions of Guatemala.

The students in Mrs. Guilfoyle and Mrs. Leigh’s classroom studied Maine Tribes – specifically the Wabanaki Tribe. The students focused on stories, flags and basket making.

Second graders made Wabanaki style talking sticks.
Wabanaki style baskets made by second grade students.

The students in Mrs. McGuiggin’s classroom studied Thailand. One of the students in Mrs. McGuiggin’s classroom, Taweesak S., has parents that are originally from Thailand. His family, and Ms. Bissell, SPE Ed Tech, who lived in Thailand, shared their experiences from Thailand. The students learned about the geography, culture, food, music, climate and wildlife. The students also compared and contrasted these parts of the Thai culture with our own here in Maine.

The students in third grade chose a country to research and created a presentation to display. This project supported the grade 3 Social Studies curriculum in the specific area of culture.

The students in grade 4 worked in small groups to research a cultural group currently living in Maine. Students focused on historical aspects of unity and diversity in each of the communities by describing various cultural traditions and contributions of Maine Native Americans and other recent immigrant groups in the community and state.

In Mr. Day’s 3/4 classroom, students chose a country and researched things that fit into the 5 senses. Students focused on – What can you see? What can you hear? What can you taste? What can your touch? What can you smell? The students presented their new learning in a presentation on the classroom Promethean Board.

The students from Ms. Maier’s classroom focused on STEM activities that supported different cultures they learned about at an earlier date.

In grades K-4 students learned about the health benefits of different traditional Mi’kmaq foods and plants including seeds, local berries, fish from the Atlantic Ocean, spruce bark, and dandelion leaves. Students used this information in a collaboration with Ms. Gaare, SPE Art Teacher.

Mrs. Taylor, Title One Math Interventionist, collaborated with classroom teachers and introduced students to math games from the various cultures studied.

In the resource rooms, students were supported with researching topics they chose.

Mrs. Sullivan, SPE Librarian, Mrs. Bemis & Mrs. Shelley, Title One Literacy Interventionists, collaborated and chose books from various cultures and created Multicultural Book Tasting in the library for all classrooms to enjoy.

Students in grades K and 1 worked on the Mik’maq culture in health class with Ms. Smye. Building on this information, the students created weavings based off of porcupine quill weavings made for everyday uses i.e baskets, boxes etc. They also created sunflower and pumpkin seed flowers to put on display. Students in grades 2-4 worked with Ms. Daniels, Math Coach, on geometry in art. Students learned about the Ghanaian culture in Africa by creating Kente cloth inspired weavings. These cloths used geometric shapes and patterns to represent status within their society. Mr. Benham, Gifted & Talented Teacher, also collaborated with Ms. Gaare by having students build pendulums to use for the art creations. Some students also used LittleBits to create an art machine, which were inspired by mandalas.

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