One of my teaching partners, M, and I decided to develop and implement a diversity project with our 5th and 6th grade students. For three weeks, the students learned about different parts of the world by studying specific cultures, languages, and traditions. On the last week we learned a little bit about Asia and Africa, and luckily I had two wonderful guest speakers who have each lived in those areas of the world. Our PC Director, J, was coming for a site visit, so he talked a little bit about his time as a PCV in Tanzania. And Curt lived in Taiwan for two years, so he was able to talk about some of their traditions. Plus the kids just wanted to listen to him speak Mandarin.

During this three week period we painted a world map on a large wall next to our school library. First we washed the wall, and then we painted 6 coats of primer. After that we projected the world map onto the wall and students from older classes traced the whole thing and color-coded each country. Then we started painting the countries and the ocean. We did up to three coats using acrylic paints. Then I painted the border, PC logo, Moldovan map, and finished it up by painting the title and its translation in several different languages. The students did a gerat job, and overall we had about 30 students help us out, some on several occasions. I don’t know how many times students came up to me, asked where Moldova was located on the map, and then ask me why I drew it so small. Younger kids, especially, were curious as to why Russia looked so much bigger than Moldova.

During the fourth week of the project the students presented in front of the world map on a specific country that they had researched. They did a great job. My favorite comment was from a 5th grade girl who presented on North Korea and said, “North Korea is the best country in the world. I hope to live there someday.” Hmmm…