Wednesday, 17 August 2011


During the summer term of 2010 the World Cup provided me with weeks of intercultural lessons.  However, it wasn't something that I could replicate in 2011.  This posed a problem with, among others, Year 2's scheme of work.

I decided to replace the World Cup with a similarly intercultural unit, about Guatemala.  I've mentioned it on Twitter a few times and thought I'd describe it in more detail here.

It lasted 6 weeks in total (45 minute lessons each time).  Here are the steps:

1.  We revised the 6 main colours (red, blue, yellow, green, black, white) and then the children completed a worksheet where they had to colour in the flags of the countries of Central America correctly. 

2.  We looked at a map of Central America and located each of the countries whose flags we had coloured.

3.  We looked at a map of the world and located Central America.

4.  We looked at some photographs of Guatemala, like this one and this one, and talked about what kind of country it is and what the weather is like.

5.  We looked at some photographs of Guatemalan fabrics and found out about traditional back-strap looms.  In particular, we noticed the shapes that are used traditionally in the woven fabrics - diamonds, triangles, zig-zags, stripes and squares.

6.  We made our own Guatemala bags, using this template, felt-tip pens and a lot of care and time.  Here is the one that I made and used as my model, to give you an idea:

This is the part of the unit that took the time!  Three lessons of very careful colouring followed by tricky cutting and sticking.

7.  I read "Silly Billy" by Anthony Browne to the class.  This beautifully illustrated book introduces the Guatemalan tradition of making worry dolls.

8.  I showed the class some real worry dolls (which are tiny) and then we made our own worry dolls.  You can download the instructions here if you want to have a go yourself.  Y2 were very taken with the idea behind worry dolls and were very proud of the dolls that they made.  We put them in their Guatemala bags and they took them home.  Some of them have since told me that they told their worries to their dolls and that it did help.  You can see the fruits of their labours on the school blog.

I was pleased with the outcome of this unit of work.  The children had furthered their knowledge of the Spanish-speaking world, as well as gaining specific intercultural knowledge of one country in particular, and we crossed the curriculum with the bags and the worry dolls.  It's definitely something I'll be repeating.

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