By Elvia Kelly, Fort Stewart Public AffairsDecember 15, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Diamond Elementary School second graders had the opportunity to travel around the world, Dec. 14. Their "Holidays around the World" adventure gave the students an opportunity to learn about seven countries -- Germany, England, Netherlands, Scotland, Mexico, Italy and Israel.
The students travelled by classroom rotation. They rotated from classroom to classroom, each time learning a country's culture and tradition. With their 'passports' in hand, each student received a stamp to the countries they visited. They also had 'plane tickets' and 'suitcases,' which was made of brown paper bags.
"We're teaching the students about traditions that different cultures celebrate in winter," said Vivien Harkrader, second grade teacher at Diamond. "We have seven second grade teachers, and we have the students going from one classroom to the next. Each classroom is a country. Each student has a suitcase, where they keep their souvenirs from every country. They also have passports, in which they will get a stamp from every country they visited."
The objectives for students to 'travel around the world' are to make personal connections between holiday traditions celebrated in their home to those around the world, compare and contrast holiday traditions from several different countries, identify countries and continents on a map, identify flags of the various countries, identify geographic and other features of locations and create souvenirs at each location.
"They have been learning about traditions and how they have been passed-down from generation to generation," Harkrader said. "They'll learn the traditions of that particular country in the classroom and, hopefully, make some personal connections."
After reaching their destination, the students were actively involved in the activities the teachers planned for the students. One such activity included learning German words when visiting the classroom that represented Germany. Also, the students were introduced to ornaments and objects from their respected countries.
"Cultural diversity is important for students to learn because we are a global society, especially being on a military post," Harkrader said. "We have cultures from everywhere. Soldiers are being stationed overseas and marrying host-nation spouses, therefore, having that blended culture. It's just really nice to have that appreciation for different cultures."
Concluding the first round of holiday travels from class to class, Harkrader had one final message for the community:
"I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season," she said. "Whether you're celebrating Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Christmas or any other holiday you are celebrating right now, I hope that you spend it with your Family. Enjoy your time and appreciate every one's culture."