Culture of School

Grade Level: 3rd

Subject Area: Social Studies

Topic: Culture of School

MMSD Social Studies Standards Met:

·      Political Science and Citizenship: Exploring school’s culture and our place in it

·      Behavioral Science: Students will be exploring their class and school’s culture.  Students will compare and contrast the culture of their class, their school and home.

 School of Education Standards Met:

·      Standard 2: Understands the Social Context of Schooling: What are the accepted behaviors and practices of our class and school?

·      Standard 5: Explain and Justifies Education Choices: Allowing children to see that they have culture from their home but also are being exposed to a different culture, that of the school

·      Standard 6: Connects School and Community: Collaborating with other classrooms and using their research from their homes as a foundation to form questions and analyze their work.

·      Standard 7: Understands and Adapts to Multiple Forms of Communication: Large group discussion, pairs and one-on-one, vocal and written assessment

 NCSS Standards Met:

·      Culture: students are exploring the idea of culture, their own and others

·      Individuals, Groups and Institutions: The children are looking at the institution of school and its culture

·      Global connections: How is school different throughout the world?

Essential Questions:

·      What is school culture?

·      What is similar and dissimilar about school culture and your home culture?

·      Is classroom culture consistent throughout the school?

·      Do you think school culture is the same throughout the world?

 Materials Needed:

·      Chart paper and markers

·      Copies of class created questions

·      Children’s writing notebooks

·      Pencils


·      Students will recognize that school has a culture

·      Students will analyze different classes cultures

·      Students will be able to create a list of characteristics that make up culture

 Lesson Context:

Students have been studying characteristics of cultures.  They have been analyzing their culture through home interviews with their guardians and relating that to cultures studied in class.  The cultures studied in class have been dictated by the cultures of the children therefore some of the cultures they learned about are from their ethnic ancestors and some are not.  The children have analyzed culture in terms of; celebrations, history, food/farming, music, art/symbols, clothing, daily life, and language.  As the unit draws to a close the children are going to explore a culture familiar to all of them. School Culture.   

Lesson Opening:

Day 1

·      We’ve been looking at different cultures and exploring different features that make up a culture

·      Can we make a list of cultures we’ve explored?

o   Discussion and chart

·      Can we make up a list of features of culture we’ve explored?

   o   Discussion and chart

·      Do you think our school had a culture? Do you act, speak and so the same things at home as you do in school?

   o   Discussion

·      Do you think our classroom’s culture is different from another classroom in the same school?  Do you think our school’s culture is different than another school in our state? Another school in our country? Another school in a different country?

   o   Discussion


·      Since we’ve gotten very good at interviewing since we’ve interviewed our guardians for the last couple of weeks I thought we could interview some students in our school from other classrooms on their classes’ culture.

·      Just like we all asked the same questions to adults at our home we all need to ask the same questions to our school mates, so we need to come up with a list of questions we think will help us understand the culture of their classroom.

   o   Have the class think pair share with someone they are sitting next to as to questions they think would help them understand the other classes’ culture

   o   When the pairs are finished talking ask for volunteers’ questions

     §  Record on chart paper

·      Once the class has compiled a list and the group as a whole has agreed upon the questions the class needs to determine how they want to interview the classes.

   o    Suggest to the students that they interview classes as pairs of students so only two students per class (that way there won’t be too many bodies in one class and hopefully won’t take as much time to interview the classes)

   o   Have the students think of what grades they want to interview, have them be objective with guiding questions, do you think if we interview only other third grade classrooms we’ll get to see the whole school’s culture?

   o   Have the students decide how they want to interview, choosing one or two students per class, or the class as a whole, or the teacher?

Day 2:

·      In order to look at the school’s culture as a whole and be able to compare it to our classroom culture do you think we need to find out some information about our class’s culture?

·      So we are going to interview one another to gather information about our class’s culture before we interview other classes

·      I am going to assign you a partner to interview, I will give you a sheet with all the questions the class came up with yesterday

·      Ask a student to come up and do a short mock interview. Teacher will be the interviewer and point out how they don’t disagree with the answers, are respectful and take notes

·      Assign the children their partners and give them time to interview one another

·      Ask the children back for full group discussion

   o   What was hard about conducting the interview? What was interesting? What would you do differently? Should we change any questions…

·      Ask students to share out the answers they gave or received for each question

   o   Chart

   o   Discussion about similarities and differences

Day 3:

·      Assign pairs for classes, review large group respectful behaviors

   o   Ask each pair to meet and decide who wants to do what, if someone wants to ask all the questions and the other records, alternating questioning…

·      Have pairs go to the classes throughout the day as the other classes’ schedules provide

Day 4:

·      Have pairs meet and discuss their findings with one another, what was surprising, interesting, different…

·      Have the class meet full group and go through question by question the responses the groups received – chart-

   o   As the children are sharing allow and encourage children to note similarities and differences- chart these as well


·      Once all the responses have been shared bring back the question of a shared school culture

   o   Discuss what makes you think there is one, why isn’t there one, what aspects of culture were common throughout the classes which were not…

·      Have the children return to their seats and write about how school culture may be different or similar in countries outside the US.  Remind them we learned about many different countries as we explored different aspects of culture and they should try and use this information to form ideas.


·      Students will recognize that school has a culture

   o   Listen for share outs the first day as to why or why not school has a culture- can they recognize the don’t do the same things at home as in school?

   o   When students are coming up with questions do they relate to culture

   o   When students are answering the class created culture questions are they voicing similarities or differences from their home culture

·      Students will analyze different classes cultures

   o   Listen to the pairs as they talk about their findings

   o   Listen to students who are sharing out, are they noticing both similarities and differences

   o   What questions are the children creating? Are they using background knowledge- this class is different from my 2nd grade class…

·      Students will be able to create a list of characteristics that make up culture

   o   Listen as children share out first day while charting this information

   o   Are children using this list to create questions around these areas?

   o   In the children’s writing are they mentioning aspects