Funding was recently announced for the Maple Road grade 3 project, Building Bridges: Connecting Children and Cultures. Teachers Debra Redding, Kristen Rosimini, Paul Gorski and PIR Jean Modig were awarded an NJEA Frederick L. Hipp grant for their multicultural project.
The project seeks to provide lessons in cultural diversity for a student population that is more than 95% Caucasian. It will be launched with an instructional unit on immigration in which classes will role play immigration scenarios. Next, interdisciplinary activities are planned to involve students in researching the products, practices and perspectives of their heritage country and an additional country. Students will have an opportunity to interact with visiting ambassadors from WPUNJ's culture club.
In addition, a subscription to iEARN will put classes in touch with children from other countries through podcasts and wikis. The unit will culminate in a culture day festival in which third grade students will host the Maple Road school community, performing international dances and songs as well as showing PowerPoint presentations and preparing foods for everyone to sample. Culture day recipes will be published in multicultural cookbooks that the third grade classes will sell. Proceeds will go to the Pennies for Peace Project initiated by Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea. In this way, students will not only be learning about international cultures, they will actually be contributing to a fund that establishes schools overseas. In addition to the grant funding for their project, the teachers involved will receive award plaques at an honorary luncheon held during the NJEA Convention in November.