Whether you are trying to plan these last few days before winter break or you are trying to find something to plan for the first few days you get back, this may be an easy option!
First, you will have to decide if your students can work in small groups or with a partner, or if that is too much for them this time of year. Personally, my students are at that point where trying to keep them quiet is worse for me than just finding an activity they can do together.
Next, you will need to find enough pieces of poster board, butcher paper, or chart paper so that each group can have one.
Then, give them the instructions:
(This is one I have used in emergency situations for a few years)
Then, make sure you give them a time limit for research. Some students could spend DAYS on the computer getting distracted. I have found that if I give them a very structured schedule of WHEN I expect each part to be done (also known as “chunking the assignment”), then I keep order a lot better during this cultural exploration. For my classes, I only give one day for research if they are working with a partner and one and a half class periods if working alone.
Next, I give them a piece of manila construction paper (smaller pieces of butcher paper or even copy paper would do too). On this, I make them sketch out where they will be putting each piece of information. I remind them to leave room for the title to be the biggest thing at the top or in the middle of the poster. We talk about how the graph and Venn Diagram will take up more space than other things AND that decorations make any poster more appealing.
Finally, I give them the poster and give them another deadline to have it complete. Usually, I give two class periods. They have done the research and made a plan at this point, so it should just be putting the information on the poster and decorating as needed.
Finally, it is time for the Gallery Walk! We hang the posters around the room or down a hallway in the school, whichever works best for your teaching context. Depending on how many posters we have, I give each student a piece of paper and have them fold it into sections (they can write on the front and back of the paper). They will walk around and read about other countries. I usually have them write down the name of the country, the most interesting fact they learned and one thing they noticed that country has in common with our country’s practices (getting in that “Connections” part).
This will generally fill up an entire 5 days of 45-50 minute classes or 2-3 blocks. It is a great strategy for students to research and share information without getting bored through a TON of presentations. You can use this any time of year and for ANY topic you want. You can shorten the project by reducing the number of things they have to find and include on the poster. You can level up or down by choosing the language the posters are created in and the type of information you require.
Hope this helps you plan out an easy week where students learn a LOT about culture and YOU get to just watch them learn and share.
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