Albert Einstein students explore world cultures

By Christina Cox

Last update: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Students in kindergarten to sixth grade at Albert Einstein Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences’ STEAM campus traveled around the world Wednesday, as they explored the food, games, clothing, history and traditions of six different countries.

The school’s first World Culture Day allowed students to learn about customs from across the globe and take ownership of a country and culture of their own.

“We focused each grade level on a different country,” said Scott Cusack, principal of the Albert Einstein Elementary School.  “Since we’re also a project-based learning school each grade had a big project they had to do.  It’s almost like we recreated a simplified version of Epcot… they created an exhibit for the countries they studied.”

Students draw mandalas on the ground as part of an Indian craft at the school’s school’s first World Culture Day on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Courtesy of Scott Cusack

These exhibits included a drawn Taj Mahal, a Western Wall out of boxes, the Pyramids at Giza out of small boxes and the Great Barrier Reef out of paper drawings.

The all-day event was born out of the school’s World Languages program which spends half its time learning the languages of Mandarin and Spanish and the other half of the time studying culture.

For the first World Culture Day, each grade levels created stations to teach other students about the cultures of China, Mexico, Australia, The Philippines, India and the Middle East which included Egypt and Israel.

“Each country has three stations that are food, craft and activity and they represent their country and act as tour guides to their peers,” said Alyssa Peretz, a fourth grade teacher who helped coordinate the event with the school’s World Language teachers.  “What’s most important is that they have that opportunity to teach because that always solidifies that knowledge that a student gains when they are learning.”

A Albert Einstein Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences’ Elementary School student adds a drawn fish to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef as part of the school’s first World Culture Day on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Courtesy of Scott Cusack

For China, student made paper lanterns, explained a writing activity on paper Pandas and taught others how to make Oreo cookie panda bears.

Students studying Mexico created paper mache flower, instructed others on how to make maracas and ponchos out of paper bags and shared quesadillas with their peers.

Students also played games like chess when visiting India and learned how to write their names in hieroglyphics in the Middle East.

Notes stick out of the student’s rendition of Jerusalem’s Western Wall as part of the Albert Einstein Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences’ Elementary School’s first World Culture Day on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Courtesy of Scott Cusack

The project took three months of planning and teaching to prepare for the schoolwide event during the students’ World Language classes.

Peretz said the World Culture Day allowed the students, who are from countries all over the world, to share their cultures with their peers.

“These are kids that are representative of countries all over the world themselves,” she said.  “The kids are also making these connections between what is familiar to them and what they learn in other cultures.”

An Albert Einstein Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences’ Elementary School student poses in his handmade Mexican poncho as part of the school’s first World Culture Day on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Courtesy of Scott Cusack

The school plans on leaving the crafts, activities and posters up at the school for the school’s Open House and World Showcase Thursday, to share the projects with the community as part of the final element of project based learning.

“The final step [to project based learning] is to have an audience or connect with the community and so that’s our connection,” Cusack said.  “That makes the project more valuable for kids; they put more ownership into it.”

ccox@signalscv.com
661-287-5575
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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Albert Einstein students explore world cultures

Albert Einstein Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences’ Elementary School students pose in front of a poster for Mexico as part of the school's first World Culture Day on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Courtesy of Scott Cusack

Students in kindergarten to sixth grade at Albert Einstein Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences’ STEAM campus traveled around the world Wednesday, as they explored the food, games, clothing, history and traditions of six different countries.

The school’s first World Culture Day allowed students to learn about customs from across the globe and take ownership of a country and culture of their own.

“We focused each grade level on a different country,” said Scott Cusack, principal of the Albert Einstein Elementary School.  “Since we’re also a project-based learning school each grade had a big project they had to do.  It’s almost like we recreated a simplified version of Epcot… they created an exhibit for the countries they studied.”

Students draw mandalas on the ground as part of an Indian craft at the school’s school’s first World Culture Day on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Courtesy of Scott Cusack

These exhibits included a drawn Taj Mahal, a Western Wall out of boxes, the Pyramids at Giza out of small boxes and the Great Barrier Reef out of paper drawings.

The all-day event was born out of the school’s World Languages program which spends half its time learning the languages of Mandarin and Spanish and the other half of the time studying culture.

For the first World Culture Day, each grade levels created stations to teach other students about the cultures of China, Mexico, Australia, The Philippines, India and the Middle East which included Egypt and Israel.

“Each country has three stations that are food, craft and activity and they represent their country and act as tour guides to their peers,” said Alyssa Peretz, a fourth grade teacher who helped coordinate the event with the school’s World Language teachers.  “What’s most important is that they have that opportunity to teach because that always solidifies that knowledge that a student gains when they are learning.”

A Albert Einstein Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences’ Elementary School student adds a drawn fish to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef as part of the school’s first World Culture Day on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Courtesy of Scott Cusack

For China, student made paper lanterns, explained a writing activity on paper Pandas and taught others how to make Oreo cookie panda bears.

Students studying Mexico created paper mache flower, instructed others on how to make maracas and ponchos out of paper bags and shared quesadillas with their peers.

Students also played games like chess when visiting India and learned how to write their names in hieroglyphics in the Middle East.

Notes stick out of the student’s rendition of Jerusalem’s Western Wall as part of the Albert Einstein Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences’ Elementary School’s first World Culture Day on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Courtesy of Scott Cusack

The project took three months of planning and teaching to prepare for the schoolwide event during the students’ World Language classes.

Peretz said the World Culture Day allowed the students, who are from countries all over the world, to share their cultures with their peers.

“These are kids that are representative of countries all over the world themselves,” she said.  “The kids are also making these connections between what is familiar to them and what they learn in other cultures.”

An Albert Einstein Academy of Letters, Arts and Sciences’ Elementary School student poses in his handmade Mexican poncho as part of the school’s first World Culture Day on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Courtesy of Scott Cusack

The school plans on leaving the crafts, activities and posters up at the school for the school’s Open House and World Showcase Thursday, to share the projects with the community as part of the final element of project based learning.

“The final step [to project based learning] is to have an audience or connect with the community and so that’s our connection,” Cusack said.  “That makes the project more valuable for kids; they put more ownership into it.”

ccox@signalscv.com
661-287-5575
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

About the author

Christina Cox

Christina Cox

Christina Cox is a multimedia journalist covering education, community and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in August 2016.

Christina Cox

Christina Cox

Christina Cox is a multimedia journalist covering education, community and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in August 2016.