Goshen goes global

Published 5:37 pm Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Wednesday wasn’t just any school day at Goshen Elementary School. It was Cultural Diversity day with the fifth-grade students in the spotlight.

Sixteen teams of fifth-graders participated in the culminating event of the study of different countries and their cultures.

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Brandi DeSandro, Pike County Schools Indian teacher, said Cultural Diversity of Countries Day is held annually in February and follows Cultural Diversity of Tribes Day in December.

“The purpose of Cultural Diversity of Countries Day is to expose the students to the different cultures in a fun and educational event,” DeSandro said. “This is a classroom study project for the fifth-grade students. They are given a long list of countries and each student selects three countries that most interest them.”

The individual selections are an opportunity to place students in groups in which they have an interest, not with friends. A benefit of the project is that students get to know and work with other students who might not be in their circle of friends, DeSandro said.

“The students have to research their country to learn about its culture, what the people eat, the kind of clothes they wear and the things that make their country unique,” DeSandro said. “The purpose of the study is for students to learn about people who are different. If they understand more about other cultures, they are less likely to bully students who dress differently, talk differently and practice different customs.”

As the classroom study on cultures culminates, the different groups work together to make a presentation about their country for the student body at Goshen Elementary School.

“They are asked to find a food representative of their country, to dress in a costume native the country and develop a three-minute presentation about the country.

“This group activity is a good learning experience in that gives the students who have worked individually to work as group.”

DeSandro said in forming the groups she considers the interests and talents of the students.

“Some students are artistic while some enjoy doing research and others like to talk before groups,” she said. “I try to put students with different interests together because, on Cultural Diversity Day, the student learners become teachers.”

Each group is responsible for the entire presentation that includes visual and verbal information about its country, a food sample and a demonstration of native dress.

DeSandro said the fifth-grade students put a lot time, thought and effort into their Cultural Diversity Day presentations and the other students grades K-6 are exposed to other cultures in a fun and tasty way.

“It’s a learning experience for all of the students,” DeSandro said.