Gilman welcomed parents of second graders for their Cultural Day of Discovery on Friday, May 13. The event began in the Stevens Room with a musical performance led by Lower School music teacher Amy Cyman. The boys sang “Hello to All the Children of the World,” which says “hello” in eight languages.
Students then moved to their classrooms to share their projects with the parents. The boys had been studying different cultures for their Cultural Discovery unit that encompassed themes of identity, ancestry, America’s indigenous people, explorers, slavery, immigration, and U.S. symbols. They used a range of sources, including stories, maps, diaries, artifacts, and informational texts to understand why various groups of people may have traveled to America or been forced to come here. JW J. in 2A said, “I liked learning that my coach came from Canada and that she loves hockey just like me!”
Through the lessons and activities, they developed their sense of inquiry and engaged in collaborative activities in their co-curricular classes like music, art, library, and design and woodworking.
The culminating project, entitled “Passport to the World,” gave students an opportunity to become ambassadors of the people and places they researched, allowing them to better understand each other, the makeup of America’s cultural landscape, and the world in which they live.
“Each student created a Cultural Discovery Box, showcasing his ability to interview, research, and record information about someone close to him — parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, caregivers, coaches, and family friends — who may have traveled within the United States, originated in a different country, or grown up with a story tied solely to Maryland,” said second grade teacher Karen Cooper. The boys wrote personal narratives that introduced facts about their special person’s origin and presented artifacts and symbols to represent them.
“I loved learning about my grandmother's teaching career,” said Rowan M. in 2B. “My favorite part was speaking to the parents and sharing her story with other people.”