Stage 1- Desired Results
Students will be able to independently use their learning to…
1. Demonstrate independence in reading complex texts, and writing and speaking about them.
2. Build a strong base of knowledge through content rich texts.
3. Obtain, synthesize, and report findings clearly and effectively in response to task and purpose.
4. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
5. Read, write, and speak grounded in evidence.
6. Use technology and digital media strategically and capably.
7. Come to understand other perspectives and cultures through reading, listening, and collaborations.
2.8 With the help of the school librarian, give examples of traditions or customs from other countries that can be found in America today.

2.9 With the help of the school librarian, identify and describe well-known sites, events, or landmarks in at least three different countries from which students’ families come and explain why they are important.

ELA Standards:
RL 2.1- Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

RI 2.10- By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 2-3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

W2.1- Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words, and provide a concluding section.

W2.8- Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

SL 2.2- Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

L2.2b- Demonstrate command of conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Essential Questions

Why do we have traditions and customs?

How should we show respect for other cultures?

How and why are original traditions and customs preserved?
Big Ideas
Traditions and Customs

Enduring Understandings

People have traditions or customs that are often influenced by their cultures and human needs.

People are more similar than different.

Cultural diversity needs to be accepted, respected, and appreciated.
Students will know…
  • Traditions and customs are often passed down through generations and are sometimes influenced by our cultures.
  • A custom is something that a family or group of people does repeatedly that has been passed down from our ancestors.
  • A tradition is something that a family or group of people does repeatedly.
  • Customs and traditions are often more similar than different across cultures.
  • Examples of traditions or customs from other countries that can be found in America today.
  • Some well-known sites, events, or landmarks in at least three different countries from which students' families come and explain why they are important.

Vocabulary: tradition, customs, culture, ancestors, generation, heritage, preserve, diversity, diverse, respect
Students will be skilled at …
  • Creating graphic organizers as a references and resource.
  • Distinguishing between customs and traditions.
  • Comparing similarities and differences in various traditions and cultures.
  • Identifying other students' families countries represented in their school and classroom on a map.
  • Answering focus questions to clarify meaning from text.
  • Determining importance of the key concepts from text to record specific information.
  • Identifying important details in text.
Stage 2- Assessment Evidence
Performance Task: Write a letter to persuade your family to adopt a new tradition. Explain the tradition or custom and why it is important.
  • Alternative: Write a letter to your school principal persuading him/her to adopt a new school tradition. Explain what the tradition or custom should be and why it is important.
  • Student Instructions: You have learned about many traditions or customs from around the world that we have adopted in America. As a class, we have shared our own personal experiences with some traditions or customs. Now it’s your chance to select a new tradition for your family. Choosing one of the traditions that you have learned about in this unit, you will write a persuasive (opinion) letter that describes the tradition and will help convince your family to adopt this new tradition. You have a very important job because this tradition could be passed on to future generations.
  • Goal: You will write a friendly letter to your family. Your letter should: state and describe the tradition you want to be adopted your opinion, and reasons that support your opinion include important content vocabulary from the unit to help you describe the tradition and tell the reasons why your family should adopt it provide a concluding statement that supports your opinion be accurate, interesting, and well written so that your family will consider making it a tradition
  • Audience: You will present your letter to your teacher and fellow classmates.


Summative: Students will research a country from where their ancestors came from. Students will create an informational text that might take the form of an "All About" book, magazine article, poster, and pamphlet.
  • Be aware some students may have difficulty identifying where their ancestors may have come from. Students may also have the choice to research a country of their interest.

Student Self-Assessment:
  • Answer the essential question of the unit, "How should I show respect for other cultures?"
  • Students could self-assess their performance task on rubric.
  • Students create a learning log entry detailing what they have learned about other cultures and their traditions and customs.
Stage 3- Learning Plan
Week One: Building background for understanding traditions or customs and begin word bank
How My Family Lives in America, by Susan Kuklin
Students learn about traditions and cultures by listening to and discussing an informational text, How My Family Lives in America, which describes the importance of choice and adaptation in cultural identity. It provides opportunities for students to examine their own families, what makes them the same, what makes them distinct, and how this uniqueness is celebrated. The targeted academic vocabulary is introduced and posted on an anchor chart. These words will be used as a reference and resource for future instructional lessons. Teacher and students identify the three locations identified in the book (Africa, Puerto Rico, China). As a class students, will discuss specifics of the location of where each tradition/custom originated from using map direction words. Students fill out the graphic organizer found below, or they can make the graphic organizer in their social studies notebook.

Week Two: Pieces of Tradition
Students will listen to The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco and A Birthday Basket for Tia from Unit 6, Week 3, page 434 and add to the the existing graphic organizer from week one. Students will locate Russia and Mexico on the graphic organizer. Students will compare the characters from both stories in their notebooks.

Week Three: Recalling Experiences
Teacher will ask the students what tradition they follow after their tooth falls out. Teacher will read Throw Your Tooth on the Roof by Selby Beeler highlighting particular sections from North America, South America, Australia, Africa, and Asia. The teacher will keep track of different tooth traditions on a chart and will also locate where the tradition or custom originated from on the world map. Students will identify the countries that have similar tooth traditions to that of the students in the classroom. Students will choose a tooth tradition that they find interesting and compare it to their own.
Use leveled readers from Unit 6 Week 3- Birthdays Around the World, Family Traditions and Celebrations, and Very Special Birthdays.

Week Four: Passing Down Traditions
Students will read Love you Forever by Robert Munsch, or another book about traditions (see suggested list) and discuss the different parts of the story recalling details of the tradition and how it will continue to the next generation. Students interview their parents to learn more about their family traditions (see template below). * For any adopted students or students living in foster homes, have them choose someone who is not related but has made a special contribution to their lives. Family traditions will be shared in class. Create a world map to indicate all of the places your students families have come from.

Week Five: Wishing Traditions
Students will share their understanding of the word wish, when they make wishes and what they do to make a wish. Their responses will be placed on an anchor chart.
Teacher will share certain pages from the picture book Wish Wishing Traditions Around the World by Rosanne Thong. These traditions will be added to a class anchor chart.
Students will identify the country from which the tradition takes place; name the continent and the direction we would have to travel to get there from home.

Week Six: Making Choices and Writing a Letter
Students choose one tradition that they would like their family to adopt, where it came from, and two reasons why they would like to their family to adopt it.Teacher will read I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff to understand how writing a letter can convince people and or have them change their mind. Students and teachers will look closely at particular letters within the books to identify characteristics of a persuasive letter.

Teacher and students will outline the steps in the process of persuasive writing to use as a guide.
Present your opinion
Provide two reasons to support your opinion
Closing statement (We should have a class pet because…)

Weeks Seven:Ten- Research
Students will identify a country from where their ancestors came from. Students will use non fiction text to complete the RAN chart (see below).
See below for the Final Presentation Poster. Students use a passport (see below) to "travel" to new places.

Primary Source Lesson

Close Reading Lesson (Text: Abuela's Weave):

Digital Thanksgiving Tradition
Diwali Traditions


Suggested Book List
How My Family Lives in America by Susan Kuklin
Coming to America: A Muslim Family's Story by Bernard Wolf
If America Were a Village: A Book About the People of the United States by David J. Smith and Shelagh Armstrong
In America (series: each book focuses on a specific ethnic group) by Lerner Publishing

Short Non-Fiction Texts: