Cultures, Critters, and Communities Curriculum Unit

Lesson 3: Diversity in the Classroom

North Carolina Essential Standards

K.C.1 Understand how individuals are similar and different.

1.C.1 Understand the diversity of people in the local community.  

1.G.2 Understand how humans and the environment interact within the local community.

2.C.1 Understand how various cultures influence communities.


Prerequisite Knowledge

  • Students will have prior knowledge of how to picture walk a story.
  • Students will understand what a venn diagram is and why we use one.
  • Students will know there are different languages spoken in South Africa.
  • Students will know where to locate South Africa on a map.


Students will be able to:

  • understand there are similarities and differences in the schools, language and culture in South Africa through visual displays of a South African classroom.
  • recognize diversity between themselves and others through visual displays of a South African classroom.
  • understand there is diversity in language through listening and observing a story book in isiXhosa.


  • During the lesson teacher will use questioning, observation and drawing a picture to see if the students are understanding what is being taught.



Utata kaJafta written in isiXhosa

Jafta’s Father written in English by Hugh Lewin

Online Resources:

Three videos of Grade one teachers reading books in isiXhosa:

Teacher teaching a phonics lesson in isiXhosa

Teacher teaching a reading lesson in isiXhosa


Powerpoint presentation of classrooms in South Africa

Chart paper/markers

Drawing paper/crayons


Prior Preparation

  • Pictures of classrooms in South Africa to show on the computer or pass around for each student to look at.


  1. Remind students that we have learned all about where South Africa is located and how our cultures compare.
  2. Explain that this lesson emphasizes diversity of people within a local community and, more specifically, within a classroom.
  3. Conduct a picture walk of the storybook Utata kaJafta written in isiXhosa. Teacher will remind the students this storybook is written in a different language and that the teacher does not know what the book says either.
  4. Teacher and students will look carefully at each picture in the book and will share what they believe the story is all about.
  5. Explain that the story might not be what we see the pictures are but that we can make assumptions.

Guided Practice

  1. After picture walking this story we will then read the book in English, Jafta’s Father, to see if we as a class had the same understanding of the book when it was written in isiXhosa.
  2. While completing this I would like for students to understand the differences they are noting not only in language but in the environment they are seeing.
  3. As teacher holds the book, students will picture walk (out loud) -Did we understand what the book was about when it was written in a different language? Why do you think we did or did not? Is it ok to be different, not like everybody else?
  4. Next, students will watch a video (1) of a grade one teacher in South Africa reading a book in isiXhosa. (Teacher may decide to show other two videos of grade one teachers reading in isiXhosa and Youtube reading lessons in isiXhosa as well to help students hear the language.)  Teacher will ask if students were able to understand what the teacher was reading by looking at the pictures while she read.
  5. Students will learn how to say hello to a single person in isiXhosa. “Molo” and how to respond when asked “How are you doing in isiXhosa.”
  6. Students will then look at pictures of several classrooms in the same school in South Africa and compare it to our classroom using a Venn Diagram. What do we both have? Ex. books, shapes on the wall, What is different? Ex. wooden floors, carpet Where do you think they sit for carpet time? Do you think they have brain breaks? How do you think they handle classroom management? Do they clip up or down like we do? We didn’t seen cubbies in the classroom where do you think they keep their supplies?
  7. Students will think about the cultural uniquenesses of South Africa and how the physical geography impacts the cultural geography.
  8. Is there anything wrong with their classroom being different than our classroom?
  9. Would you like to go visit a classroom in South Africa?
  10. Students will then take a piece of drawing paper and draw a depiction of what our classroom looks like to the students.


  1. Students and teacher will discuss the different types of classrooms we looked at and that we have in our school and in the school in South Africa.
  2. Students will turn and talk to their “knee buddy” about what we have learned today with language and differences/likenesses of another culture. We will then understand that just because there are differences in a culture ex.  language, the way we look, dress, how our classrooms are, how we treat other people, we are all still people that just live differently. Some of our features in culture that we see are visible and others are invisible.


  1. Students who are finished early will be allowed to move to the carpet and read/picture walk other stories written in different languages.