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Teaching Digital Citizenship through Stories of Immigration and Diversity

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Keywords: critical thinking skills, diversity, digital citizenship, global citizens, technology
Subject(s): Foreign Language, Music, History, Writing, Journalism, Geography, Technology, Social Skills, Video, Social Studies, Photography, Art, Information Skills, Reading, Math, English/Language Arts
Grades K through 2
NETS-S Standard:
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
View Full Text of Standards
School: Francis Scott Key Elem School, Philadelphia, PA
Planned By: Andrea Yanez
Original Author: Andrea Yanez, Philadelphia
By the end of the second semester (mid June 2018), provide 70 K-2 students with direct instruction on topics related to cultural and linguistic diversity that will increase student (and school staff) knowledge of the ethnicities in our school, neighborhood, city, and country. By the end of school year 2017-2018, over 500 people including students, teachers, parents, and other school support staff will have participated, in some form, in the project.

Here is South Philadelphia, in the zip code zone that corresponds to Francis Scott Key Elementary School, we house a significant percentage of underrepresented minorities namely families that speak Nepali, Khmer (Cambodian), Chinese, and Spanish. We are immersed in diversity issues in our neighborhood. As an immigrant myself (from Chile and recently naturalized US citizen), I believe in additive bilingualism, that is, embracing the use of the home language as a resource to help individuals become successful multilingual members of society. By carrying out a cross-curricular Social Studies and Language Arts unit on Immigration, students will be have the opportunity to discuss and reflect on acknowledging our similarities and differences, how we depend on other countries, how they depend on us, and how we can work together towards a common goal, specifically how we can be global citizens and catalysts for positive change.

Through the study of literature, arts, traditions, beliefs, values, and behavior patterns, students will become familiar with perspectives of different countries, mainly Nepal, Cambodia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Chile. Students will be able to compare diverse cultural perspectives to their own and appreciate and celebrate differences and similarities between citizens of their families’ home country and the United States. Through electronic images, photographs, postcards, stories, instruments, artifacts, and bilingual dictionaries, and computer-assisted classroom chat sessions, we will discuss and reflect on similarities and differences among seasons in the hemispheres, school life, diet, and traditions, among other activities.

During the 2018 Spring semester (January to June 2018) and the 2018 Fall semester (September to December 2018), 4 Kindergarten teachers will carry out lessons ranging from the historical trends of immigration in the United States to the specific family stories of immigration of our student body in our classroom. Together teachers will conduct parent questionaires, collect data on family customs, and anecdotes about stories of family heritage. Teachers will gather the data, graph the information, and present it to our fellow grade-level partners, and the rest of the school. We will also research the countries that our community represents. By the end of 2017-2018, students will be able to identify the basic facts of students’ countries of origin (flag, location, capital, neighboring countries, main products, and language). We will also compile responses to a common event: how different cultures “celebrate” when children lose a tooth. By discussing different traditions about a common theme, we can acquire a deeper understanding of experiences that we share and that vary.

Below are some samples of festivals that are held around Philadelphia that will be part of this project:

As part of a cross-curricular instructional unit that supports additive bilingualism, we will use the resources we have readily available to us. We believe that students will benefit from oral reporting from family and community members, as they share individual stories about their immigration experiences. Listening to individual stories and viewing images related to images of family and school life in other countries, students will examine their own identity of family and school life, and reflect on how it compares to children their age in the US and other countries. Time, continuity, change students can reflect on ways of life of peoples in the past and how lifestyles have changed today. Using computer technology, students will learn of various technological resources that are available to them to learn more about their countries of origin, and realize how technology can help them communicate with people from remote parts of the world.

As a culminating project that will reflect our new understandings of immigration trends in Philadelphia, additive bilingualism, our heritage, who we are, where we live, where we come from, and how we interact together, we hold a school-wide International Festival. This Festival will display student-created artifacts and student-staffed booths that will showcase their projects that demonstrate their learning of different countries. Other activities include presentations from members of the community in partnership from our local community organization Lower Moyamesing (LOMO).


The instructional plan for this project will take place during Social Studies lessons during the 2018 Spring and Fall semesters (January to June), in 20 week-long sessions per semester, in addition to cross-curriculum lessons involving Math, Language Arts, Music, Art, Science, and Technology.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Further lesson on Diversity, Cultural Heritage, and Community through lesson in Social Studies, Art, Music, ELA, Math.
Follow-up Activities:
In addition to our culminating project (see lesson plan), we plan to hold a school-wide International Festival. This Festival will display student-created artifacts and student-staffed booths that will showcase their projects that demonstrate their learning of different countries. Future activities include presentations from members of the community in partnership from our local community organization Lower Moyamesing (LOMO), and other community organizations (SEMAAC, PHENND, Taylor Farms, Sunrise, Mifflin Square).


This project can effectively used by others thanks to the outline of this proposal. We have used the information on our application as the backbone of our Jan-Dec 2018 Social Studies Unit for Grades K-6. We have a 12 month calendar with 6 community events throughout the year, in addition to 15 week-long lesson plans, and regular assessments of our K-2 grade Social Studies Year Curriculum as seen on our weekly lesson plans and our Gradebook reports of student assessments and grades for Social Studies (Spring 2018 and Fall 2018) at our school.

We trust that our proposed project will be readily available for future classes to use since we will have the electronic files of all materials. The permanent library collection of “Teaching Diversity” we will have created. Students who participate in this project for the first time will be able to effectively model and explain the project to other classrooms in school in the future.
Materials: Printers, Mobile Labs, English/Language Arts
Other Items: 1 set of speakers, $20.00 each, total of $20.00
1 LCD projector + cables, $300.00 each, total of $300.00
1 Classroom document camera , $200.00 each, total of $200.00
1 year subscription to Enchanted Learning, $125.00 each, total of $125.00
1 year subscription to Brain Pop Jr, $160.00 each, total of $160.00
10 headsets with noise cancelling mic, $20.00 each, total of $200.00