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Buffalo Ridge kindergartners travel the world

Kindergartner Daxs represented France and delighted guests to his country with homemade crêpes (with a little help from his dad). Daxs’ favorite part of France is unquestionably the Eiffel Tower.

Article and photo by Elean Gersack

On Friday, December 6, a three-week journey into other lands and cultures came to a fun conclusion with a World Fair celebration in the kindergarten classrooms at Buffalo Ridge Elementary School.

As part of a social studies unit called World Cultures: Around the World in 20 Days, kindergartners learned about the languages, traditions, jobs, clothing, and foods from around the globe.

The idea of having a World Fair came to the minds of the three kindergarten teachers, Felicia Phelan, Elana Chagolla and Shannon Herzog while evaluating the state standards for kindergarten geography. With that end goal in mind, they worked backwards to create an interactive unit that would provide a solid platform for the kindergartners as they move up to first grade next year … and beyond.

Students studied countries in pairs. The journey started with a boarding pass and a flight made possible by technology teacher, Monica Harmon. Harmon lined up chairs to replicate the aisles of a plane and students took their assigned seats. A flight simulator on the big screen took the students across the world and as the flight arrived in each country, partners were dropped off to begin research.

Quickly differences were discovered. “I learned that when it snows here, it’s hot and sunny in Australia. When it is hot here, it’s cold there,” shared kindergartner Casey.

Through their exploration, students gathered artifacts, crafted poster board displays, and mailed postcard invitations to parents inviting them to the fair. “I liked learning about other places in the world, so I know about different places and people,” said kindergartner Adison.

At home, families supported the unit by helping their kindergartners with a native food and costume for the day of the fair and by engaging kids with discussions about their assigned country. Chagolla shared that one of her students who studied South Africa brought in a photo of Nelson Mandela shortly after his passing. “Wow, he really got this,” she thought.

On the day of the fair, the classrooms were bustling with excited kindergartners, worldly foods, and interesting facts. It certainly was a memorable way to celebrate this special unit.

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