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Around the World, a Multicultural Unit

Around the World, a Multicultural Unit

by Judy Cliver, Learn NC

The students will listen to stories from different cultures. They will participate in directed discussion, followed by a related art activity.

A lesson plan for Grades K–1 English Language Arts, Guidance and Social Studies

Learning outcomes

  • Students will begin to develop a tolerance and appreciation for people from other cultures.
  • Students will listen to folk tales or legends from other cultures.
  • Students will identify and discuss likenesses and differences.

Time required for lesson:Two hours



  • A Promise is a Promise by Robert Munsch and Michael Kusugak
  • Arrow to the Sun by Gerald McDermott
  • The Stone Cutter: A Japanese Folk Tale retold by Gerald McDermott
  • Bein’ With You This Way by W. Nikola-Lisa

Art Materials:

  • drawing paper
  • precut construction paper shapes in bright colors
  • glue
  • crayons and/or markers


1. Practice listening skills prior to this unit.

2. Teach rules for discussion: raising hands and taking turns.

3. Provide opportunities to use primary art materials.

4. Teach awareness of other countries.

5. Prepare cutout shapes: circles, rectangles, and triangles. These should bright primary colors, sized for nine × eleven drawing paper.


Session 1 (30 minutes)

1. Greet children and introduce unit.

2. “Today we are going to read a story that is told to the children of the Inuit Indian tribe by their parents and their grandparents. Listen carefully.”

3. Read the story, A Promise is a Promise.

4. Discuss, using these questions to begin:

  • How did the story make you feel?
  • What happened in the story?
  • Where does this story take place?
  • Did it remind you of a story your mother, father or grandmother or grandfather has told you?
  • Are we like the character in the story? Are we different?
  • What would you do if Allashua came to your school?

5. Conclude this session by asking the students to draw a picture of an imaginary monster. Once completed, display somewhere in the school.

Session 2 (30 minutes)

1. Greet students and review last session.

2. Read the Arrow to the Sun

3. Discuss the story using questions from first session as a guide.

4. Conclude this session by asking the students to use pre-cut shapes (circles, rectangles, and triangles) to design an “arrow to the sun.” As in the previous session, these may be collected and displayed. (I used some of these outside my office.)

Session 3 (30 minutes)

1. Greet students and briefly review previous sessions.

2. Read The Stonecutter.

3. Discuss the story as in Sessions 1 and 2.

4. Conclude this session by having the students draw a picture about the story.

Session 4 (30 minutes)

1. Greet students and briefly review previous sessions.

2. “Today our story is different. It is written in a book, but the words are a song.” Read Bein’ With You This Way.

3. Briefly discuss the story, making sure students note differences pointed out in the story. Ask, “Is it okay to be different?” Allow time for responses.

4. Introduce the “go-around” to students. (A designated object is passed around the circle and only the person holding that object may speak. Everyone else must listen.) Use these to prompts for the go-around discussion:

  • Pick out something that is alike about the all the people you see in our circle. (Allow all who want to respond to the first prompt to do so before going to the second one.)
  • Pick out something that is different about the people you see in our circle.

5. Conclude the session by processing the unit:

  • What did we learn in the unit?
  • What other cultures (kinds of people) did we learn about?
  • How were these people different from you? From each other?
  • How are we alike?
  • What do you think would happen if one of the people in our stories came to our school? Why do you think that would happen?

If appropriate, you may incorporate other cultural groups that are present.


1. Student responses in discussion exhibit understanding of the cultural differences in the stories. (See questions in Sessions 1 and 4 in the Activities.)

2. Student responses exhibit an understanding that while they may have many differences from people of another culture, they also have many similarities.

3. Student illustrations demonstrate that they students have listened to and understood the concepts presented in each session.

Related Lessons


This unit was designed following a teacher request for a guidance unit that would foster an appreciation for other cultures and meet the multicultural element in the curriculum.

At my school, there were a number of Mexican students and in some classes we had excellent discussions on preconceived feelings about Mexicans and how these feelings had changed now that they had Mexican friends at school.

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