How can we use the MCC with students?

The Multicultural Calendar is rich in cultural diversity as well as curriculum activities. Creative teachers will find many ways to use it with their students. Here are a few suggestions to help you begin. We welcome more ideas and would like to hear your success stories when you use it. Please share with us!

Meeting curriculum standards:

Identify the curriculum performance standards that are specific for your school system. These are samples.

Social Studies - Students will demonstrate a multicultural perspective and understanding of the history, diversity and commonality of the peoples of the world.

Reading - Students will demonstrate their ability to construct a personal reflection/response as well as construct, extend and examine meaning for a variety of texts.

Language Arts - Students will demonstrate an ability to write effectively for various audiences and purposes while using appropriate style and form.

Math - Students will be able to collect, organize and display data and will interpret information obtained from displays.

Fine Arts - Students will recognize art as a universal language that communicates through visual symbols. They will explore art, music and foods of different cultures and times.


Applying Dimensions of Learning:

  1. Positive attitudes and perceptions toward learning - Students look forward to opportunities for meeting online students from other countries.
  2. Acquiring and integrating knowledge - Students link prior knowledge of holidays with more personal and detailed acquired knowledge.
  3. Extending and refining knowledge - Students classify and compare holidays and customs.
  4. Meaningful use of knowledge - Students engage in investigation tasks such as asking "what if...?" questions for historical holidays.
  5. Productive habits of mind - Students exhibit a desire to be life-long learners, to continue to explore cultural diversity on their own.


Addressing Multiple Intelligences:

  1. Bodily Kinesthetic - Students engage in role playing, drama, sports and games associated with various festival or holiday celebrations.
  2. Intrapersonal - Students work independently on holiday research.
  3. Interpersonal - Students work in groups to research holidays.
  4. Naturalist - Students research agricultural festivals and holidays.
  5. Logical/Mathematical - Students organize and classify holidays, customs, dates and calendars.
  6. Spatial- Students draw pictures to express holiday celebrations.
  7. Linguistic - Students are the scribes for the holiday descriptions. They interview elders for customs and folklore.
  8. Musical - Students identify the music that accompanies holiday celebrations.


Inquiry-based learning:

Now that computers are appearing in schools along with cables and hubs that connect us to the Internet we have additional "tools" to use in our classrooms. In truth we have always had the best tool of all - a natural curiosity that drives us to ask questions. Questions are our best tools for learning. Encourage your students to ask questions...

The driving question

What do the students want to know? Building from what the students already know they will formulate their questions.

  1. Imagine that today is a holiday in your country. Are other students around the world in school today? Do they celebrate the same holiday? If they celebrate this holiday is it at the same time of year?
  2. Why are certain days designated as holidays?
  3. Do countries around the world have similar holidays?
  4. Do we celebrate in similar ways?
  5. Do most cultures have special music, dance or food for holidays?
  6. Why do some holidays have a bigger celebration than others?
  7. Are harvest holidays at the same time of year for everyone?
  8. Why do some holidays move to different dates each year?
  9. Do we have the same calendar around the world?
  10. Is it important to be aware of the holidays of other people and countries?
  11. What if there were no more holidays...?
  12. Suppose the reason for a national holiday didn't happen. Would history be different?

Activities for the Classroom

Hints for teachers:

  1. The easiest way to use the KIDLINK Multicultural Calendar is to announce the names of the holidays and read a description to the students on the days they occur. This requires some planning and effort but is very rewarding. It is also only a door to the full richness and potential of this valuable learning opportunity for students. An announcement of each holiday in your classroom is a great start; an announcement on the school's public address system each day a holiday occurs is excellent.
  2. Print a copy of at least one holiday description for each holiday in the month. Some months have many entries for the same holiday so choose the one you prefer. You should do this well in advance of the coming month. December is filled with beautiful holidays so you might want to start that one now!
Activities for students:
  1. Discuss the meaning of the word "holiday." Classify holidays into categories. What categories do you think you will find? Religious holidays and national holidays are two kinds. Can you think of more? Make a chart with these categories and as you see holidays in the MCC place them in the proper location on the chart.
  2. Make a list of your "roots" or make a "family tree" and identify the country of your ancestors.
  3. Talk to the oldest members of your family who live near you and ask them to describe special holidays they loved to celebrate as a child. Has this celebration changed over the years?
  4. Locate the countries that have holidays listed for a given month on a wall map. Place a flag or marker of some kind on the map. Toothpicks and colored paper work nicely and are not expensive.
  5. Find the time zones for that country. Here is a place to find this information: or here if your browser supports a Java applet: Compare the time in your country/area with the time zone of the country that is having a holiday. Chart the data for each holiday.
  6. Discuss seasons in the countries of the holidays. Are the countries have the same seasons that you are having? Are you in the same hemisphere?
  7. Look at the holiday or festival descriptions. Is there enough information to give you a good understanding about the special day? Do you want to learn more about this day? How can you find out? List your additional questions.
  8. Is there an e-mail address for the person who wrote the holiday description? Since KIDLINK kids leave KIDLINK after age 15 you might not be able to contact the same person who wrote the text. How can you find out more information about the holiday?
  9. Go to the RESPONSE archives in KIDLINK and search by country name to find other kids from the country which celebrates the holiday. Use a date within the current year to make sure you find kids who are still in KIDLINK. Chances are you will find someone from the country and you can ask them your additional questions about the holiday. Tell them about the MCC and ask them to add more holidays from their country if they are not already there.
  10. Use a WWW search engine and find lists of holidays around the world. If you see a holiday that is not in our MCC find a KIDLINK kid, using the RESPONSE archives, and ask them to write about that holiday in their country.
  11. Ask your school librarian help you find books about holidays and make them available for your and your classmates.
  12. Can holidays give us the full picture of a country or culture? Would someone learn a lot about the USA from a description of Halloween? Join a group in your class and research more information about a country that is celebrating a certain holiday.
  13. Holidays help build pride in one's country or culture. Research some famous people from the country that is celebrating a holiday this month. How did this person help build pride for his or her country?
  14. Compare celebrations for the same holiday across different countries such as Mardi Gras in the USA, Brasil, Peru and Germany. Search the MCC database by "holiday" to find the various countries where a holiday is celebrated. Build a chart to compare the celebrations.
  15. Look at the national holidays you see in the MCC. Do you see commonalities? What kinds of days are celebrated? Suppose the reason for a certain national holiday did not take place. How would that have changed history? Write a creative essay using this as a topic.
  16. Ask students in the country of the holiday to share recipes of foods that are served on the holiday. Add these to the KIDLINK Multicultural Recipe Book
  17. Draw pictures that illustrate holidays and send them to KIDLINK. They can be added to the MCC or the KIDLINK Gallery of Art.
  18. Build a display board of pictures and text from the MCC to highlight holidays for the month.
  19. Learn a few words in the language of the country which is celebrating the holiday. Write to students in that country and ask them to teach you some phrases.
  20. Arrange for a KIDLINK IRC and talk to kids from the country celebrating the holiday.
  21. Ask your online friends in the country to describe holiday games they might play on a special holiday. Arrange time with your gym teacher to teach your class the game.

Assessment Tools

  1. Performance-based task - Students perform a task and the teacher observes. A set of rubrics is established before hand so that students know exactly what is expected of them.

    Sample Task: Students go to the web pages for the KIDLINK MCC holidays and search for holidays that are celebrated in several countries such as Mother's Day or Father's Day. They are to make a chart showing the holiday name, countries that celebrate the holiday, the date and the way the holiday is celebrated. In addition to the chart the students write a paragraph expressing new insights from building their chart.

    Sample rubric: (students can/should help develop these)

    0 points
    No effort
    gave up
    1 point
    not complete
    2 points
    some help
    3 points
    Well developed
    no problems
    Found holiday entries
    in MCC database

    Listed holiday

    Listed country

    Listed date

    Wrote holiday description

    Composed original
    interpretation of the chart

  2. Real-world task - Students are assessed as they do a task in a real life situation: sending e-mail to a student in another country to ask about holidays.
  3. Portfolio - Samples of student work is collected. These can include text, pictures/art, sounds (recordings of oral presentations) as well as student made web pages and multiu-media presentations: copies of e-mail letters, interviews with elders about holidays, drawings of holiday scenes, etc.
  4. Journal - Students may be assigned specific topics each day or may write their own reflections during a project: students record MCC tasks, reflections, insights, etc.
  5. Written test - Students write essays in response to questions or complete other means of pencil and paper testing: students are tested on holiday facts, etc.
  6. Oral test - Student makes a presentation of their task to the class: Students give an oral report on a new holiday description they have found, share holiday celebrations in the family, etc.


Patricia A. Weeg
The Global Classroom
August 9, 1998