Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

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Lesson 2
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


Learners will identify elements of cultural differences found in picture books about children in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and minority groups in North America. They will also identify one difference they can celebrate in some way, such as the fun or expediency of doing a common task in a different way or seeing the beauty of a different style.


Three Forty-Five Minute Class Periods


The learner will:

  • list culturally specific vocabulary found in a picture book.
  • identify perceived positive or negative connotations of words.
  • contrast dominant culture / minority culture elements in a book.
  • celebrate one diverse custom or cultural characteristic.
  • deliver a presentation.

Service Experience:

Although this lesson contains a service project example, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
Learn more about the stages of service-learning.

None for this lesson.



Picture books on multicultural topics, such as:

  • An Amish Christmas, Richard Ammon

  • Chicken Sunday , Patricia Polacco

  • El Chino, Allen Say

  • Everybody Cooks Rice, Nora Dooley

  • The Farolitos of Christmas, Rudolfo Anaya

  • Grandfather's Journey, Allen Say

  • Heroes, Ken Mochizuki

  • How My Parents Learned to Eat , Ina Friedman

  • Jambo Means Hello: Swahili Alphabet Book or Moja Means One, Muriel Feelings

  • Knots on a Counting Rope, John Archanbault and Martin Bill, Jr.

  • Lord of the Dance: An African Retelling, Veronique Tadjo

  • Poster board and markers (optional)
  • Scoring Guide for Persuasive Presentation ( Attachment One )
Handout 1
Scoring Guide for Presentation

Instructional Procedure(s):

Day One:
Anticipatory Set:
Read the following quote from Nelson Mandela: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background or his religion. If [people] can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Talk briefly about the United States being a place where we often have the opportunity to meet people who are different from ourselves. Explain that the class will focus in the next few days on some of the ways we can learn to enjoy and celebrate those differences.

  • Arrange the class into groups of four. Give each group a book to read. Have each group together read their book aloud. Ask them to list any culturally specific words found in the texts as they read.

  • Tell the groups to prepare to present these words to the whole group. They can use the overhead, skits, the chalkboard or simply-prepared props to assist them. They should focus on any positive or negative connotations associated with these words as well as with their definitions.

  • Let each group take turns presenting their vocabulary words.

Day Two:
Anticipatory Set:
Read and discuss the following Russian proverb: “When you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes; when you leave, you judge him by his heart.” Include in the brief discussion the idea that you can enjoy looking at his clothes.

  • Define culture and help the learners analyze the predominant culture(s) of their community.

  • Return students to their groups with the same books as they had yesterday to discuss some of the differences they can find between our dominant culture and the culture represented in the story.

  • Have the learners choose something in their story that is unique to that culture. (e.g., eating with chopsticks, having a naming day for a baby later in life, wearing different clothing styles).

  • Tell teams to prepare an effective presentation that promotes understanding and respect for that cultural attribute or behavior. Students should plan their presentation as an advertisement for TV, radio or a magazine.

    • TV: Plan a skit.

    • Radio: Write and read a readers' theater style presentation.

    • Magazine: Make an advertisement on poster board.

  • Each presentation should include three reasons with relevant supporting evidence and should engage the audience.

(Teacher Note : Although humor is fine here, make sure that there is no making fun of or belittling another culture.)

Day Three:
Anticipatory Set:
Read and discuss the following quotation from Lyndon Baines Johnson: “If we are to live together in peace, we must come to know each other better.”

  • Take turns making persuasive presentations. The “magazine” ads should be explained in front of the class before hanging them up in the room.

  • For closure, meet in a community circle and discuss the concepts ethnocentrism and cultural diffusion.

ethnocentrism : the attitude that one's own culture is superior to any other culture

cultural diffusion : the spread of ideas from one culture to another


Learner presentations will be assessed using Scoring Guide for Persuasive Presentation ( Attachment One ).

Bibliographical References:

  • Ammon, Richard. An Amish Christmas. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1996. ISBN: 0689838506

  • Anaya, Rudolfo. The Farolitos of Christmas. New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 1995. ISBN: 0786800607

  • Archanbault, John and Martin Bill, Jr. Knots on a Counting Rope. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1987. ISBN: 0805005714

  • Dooley, Nora. Everybody Cooks Rice. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda, 1990. ISBN: 0876145918

  • Feelings, Muriel. Jambo Means Hello: Swahili Alphabet Book . New York: Dial Press, 1974. ISBN: 0140546529

  • Friedman, Ina. How My Parents Learned to Eat. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984. ISBN: 0395442354

  • Mochizuki, Ken. Heroes . Lee & Low Books, 1995. ISBN: 1880000164

  • Polacco, Patricia. Chicken Sunday. New York: Puffin, 1998. ISBN: 0698116151

  • Say, Allen. El Chino. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996. ISBN: 0395778751

  • Say, Allen. Grandfather's Journey. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993. ISBN: 0395570352

  • Tadjo, Veronique. Lord of the Dance: An African Retelling. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Publishers, 1989. ASIN: 0397323522

Lesson Developed By:

Elizabeth Broaddus
Monroe County Schools
University Elementary School
Bloomington, IN 47408


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Scoring Guide for Presentation


  • The final product should present one cultural attribute or behavior.

  • At least three illustrations should be given for valuing that attribute.

  • These reasons should be supported with evidence or examples from the text or real life.

  • The presentation should engage the audience.

The presentation engages the audience using three well-developed examples to illustrate the value of this particular cultural attribute or behavior.
This presentation presents at least three examples of the value of the cultural attribute or behavior. The examples are well supported, but the presentation is dry and not entertaining.
The presentation identifies a cultural attribute or behavior and provides less than three examples to support its value. Some of the support doesn't make sense or is weak.
This presentation does not illustrate the value of the cultural attribute or behavior, or it meets the criteria minimally. Only one example is given with little or no support. The presentation is dull and not engaging.


Philanthropy Framework:


Jana, Teacher – Jackson, MI10/31/2007 7:59:46 AM

My struggling at-risk readers thoroughly enjoyed the picture books and found this way of exploring various cultures much more enjoyable than reading informational text about the cultures. My students also enjoy art, so many of them enjoyed making posters - finding ways to creatively promote "acceptance."

Catherine, Teacher – Chesaning, MB10/31/2007 8:00:58 AM

(The positive aspect of using this lesson was) students are given a concrete means of exploring and celebrating diversity. Students begin to understand why diversity is so important.

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