Grandma’s Gift Mini-Unit

The Mini-Unit Designer

Dora M. Torres, SAC/SW 

Springfield Public Schools, Western Massachusetts

Mini-Unit plan created: July 14, 2015

Introducing the Mini-Unit

I am School Adjustment Counselor/Social Worker.  I have to teach lessons about socialization skills including any social/personal/emotional problems the students confront on a daily basis that affect their learning and their social/ personal interactions with others.  Further, I teach students topics such as self-esteem, self-confidence, accepting differences, diversity, who am I in relationship to others, respect, etc.

Student goals: Students will be able to solve problems in a responsible manner using the strategies taught and will be able to appropriately interact with others, respecting their cultural backgrounds.  In this lesson, the students will explore the importance of their traditions and how they should continue preserving them.  Further, the students will have the opportunity to acknowledge how important they are, how not to forget where they come from and how to celebrate and embrace their culture, and of course, also to feel proud about themselves.

Possible questions to ask:

  • What do you know about yourself, your family, and where you come from?
  • Tell me something about your family traditions and teach me your language.
  • How we can work together to embrace your culture? 
  • How did leaving your country impact you, your parents, and the relationship between family members? 
  • Can you describe any feelings encouraging you to move on?
Learning Experience Design #1

Learning Experiences:

This unit plan is titled “Something Special About Me” and focuses on communication.  The students will learn more about each group member by recognizing that although people have different interests, they are alike in many ways.  Further, the students will learn about how effective communication can positively or negatively impact their interaction with others.

Description: The students in grades K-2 need to learn that most groups have something in common such as the same age and learning the same things as the other children in their grade level.  If they belong to the same sports team, then they share an interest in their sport.  In a computer or reading club, the members are all interested in computers and books.  At the same time, the individual members of these groups have their own interests and traits.  The students also will explore what traditions they have/celebrate and how it has influenced their life.  Each one of us is totally unique, even though we have things in common with the other people in our groups.

Learning Experience Design #2

Specialized Instrutional Support Personnel Connection:  This lesson will be connected to Social Studies, ELA, and Math because the students will be able to identify things they have in common such as respect and appreciation of differences and they will get to know themselves in order to better appreciate and understand others.  They can apply what they learn throughout their lives.

International Baccalaureate Connection:  The students need to respect and know themselves with their strengths and weaknesses in order to be able to understand where other people come from.  They need to be compassionate and have empathy about other’s needs.

Responsive Classroom: The students will learn how to take care of themselves and others, how to appreciate friendship and how to cooperate with one another.

Learning Enrichment Activity: The activities in this section will help children communicate who they are to others and learn the skills that are so important in forming friendships.  Further, they will have the opportunity to discuss their traditions.  The book, Grandma’s Gift, written and illustrated by Eric Velasquez will be discussed after a picture walk. (K-2)

Learning Experience Design #3

Learning Enrichment Activity: The activities in this section will help children communicate who they are to others and learn the skills that are so important in forming friendships.  Further, they will have the opportunity to discuss their traditions.  The book, Grandma’s Gift, written and illustrated by Eric Velasquez will be discussed after a picture walk. (K-2)

Grade K-2:

The book, What I Like About Me! (2005), will be read after a picture walk and discussed.  Questions:

  • What do you see in each picture?
  • How you relate yourself with each character?
  • What are the differences and similarities you found in these books?
  • What makes people special and unique?
  • Why are people are alike in many ways?
  • Why do people have different interests?
  • What is the message in these books?
  • How your families celebrate traditions?
  • What they do?
  • Who is involved in preparing the food?
  • How these lessons help you to get to know yourself?  Provide examples.

Grade K:

Have each student complete the sentence “I am special because...’’ and then color their drawing.   

Grades 1-2: 

(First session)

Ask the students to look around at the other group members, noticing ways they are different and ways they are alike.  

Provide the students a piece of paper to write down short sentences focusing on something special or unique about her/him. (They also should write down two or three of their physical traits at the bottom of the card to make it easier for the others to guess whose paper is being read.  The papers will be placed in a basket or shoebox. Have children take turns choosing a paper to read aloud.  As each paper is read, the others try to guess whose it is.  When someone guesses correctly, the “special person” talks more about what she/he has written.  The other children are given an opportunity to add to the conversation, relating their own experiences or interests to whatever the “special person” has focused on.  The person who guessed correctly is the next to choose a paper, and the activity continues until all the papers have been shared.

Learning Experience Design #4

The students will be involved in learning about the traditions in their families.They will discuss what kind of food, dance and music they experience especially during Christmas holidays.Their parents will be invited to the school to explain the traditional dishes they make for special occasions.The students can visit the local market to find out if they can find their food there.

The students will be engaged in creating a recipe book with their traditional food as well as a song book with the most important lyrical music of their countries.  These books will include the pasteles recipe and the Aguinaldo Puertorriqueno music of Puerto Rican musician Jose Gonzalez. 

The book will be translated into their languages.

The students in Grades K-2 will have construction paper and/or white paper to create a musical instrument of their choice without using scissors.  They will color the paper and make different designs.  After finishing, they will explain to their group how to use it.  Once everyone completes their paper instrument, we will play each instrument according to their sound.  It will be a recreation of their typical music and instruments they use.  They can also bring instruments from their culture to class.

There will be an activity in the school, Family/Teacher Night, where the parents will have the opportunity to share their cultures and the students will perform dances/music and exhibit their recipe and songbook.

Wrap Up:  Summarize the main idea of the unit.

Assessment:  Use the activities mentioned above to determine how the students know each other using graphs about music, dance, food, etc.

Vocabulary:  Communication, social communication, language, unique, self-acceptance, confidence, traditions, culture, instruments


Grade Level:  K-5

Domain: Personal/Social Development

ASCA Standard 7:  Students will acquire the attitudes, knowledge, and interpersonal skills to help them understand and respect self and others.

Massachusetts Benchmark:

PS2:  Learners will develop and demonstrate attitudes, behavior, and interpersonal skills to work with and relate with others.

PS4:  Learners will develop and demonstrate behavior, attitudes, and skills to manage cultural diversity in academic, workplace and social settings.