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Cultural Community Story Boxes Engagements

Some Suggested Engagements


CREATE Summer Institute 2012
María Acevedo

Possible Engagements with the Cultural Community Story Boxes

The following examples focus on sharing stories and exploring similarities and differences with books from several of the Story Boxes. Note that even though various elements of literacy are embedded in these engagements, the main purpose is to develop children’s understandings of culture and community.


Book: Clementina’s Cactus, by Ezra Jack Keats

Invite your students to record a collective story for this wordless book, emphasizing the setting. Explore multiple photos of cactus and flowers from the Sonoran desert, and record students’ narratives about times and places where they have seen different kinds of cactus.

Book: Roxaboxen, by Alice McLerran

Outdoor walk. Collect desert materials (black pebbles, white stones, pieces of pottery, desert glass, seeds, sticks, dead flowers, etc.). Encourage children to play with those materials. How can we play with these objects?

East Africa

Book: For You Are a Kenyan Child, by Kelly Cunnane

Discuss the first two pages of the book in which they portray the huts in the villages. Invite children to compare their own houses with those in the book. Children can also draw their house.

Book: New Shoes for Helen, by Ifeoma Onyefulu

Create a dramatic play center for selling shoes. Incorporate the ideas from the market in the book as well as the kinds of stores where your students usually buy their shoes, such as Walmart, Target or a thrift store.


Book: What Can You Do with a Rebozo?, by Carmen Tafolla

Read the book to the children while they interact with the rebozo. Does anybody in your family have a rebozo? How else can we use a rebozo? The story also emphasizes the idea of children playing with their parents’ clothing. Children can discuss how they play with their family members’ clothing. Collect adults’ clothing in order to encourage children to play with these materials as they share their stories.

Book: Playing La Lotería/El juego de la lotería, by René Colato-Laínez

Invite the children to play La Lotería. Discuss ideas and questions about the use of Spanish. Encourage children to share the board games that they enjoy playing at home and how they are similar and different to La Lotería. Bring a board game from a different country to expose the children to different languages, but also the common experience of play. E.g.Yute (Korea).


Book: Bee-Bim-Bop, by Linda Sue Park

Explore and discuss the illustrations of the book, especially those that represent the utensils used by the Korean family during dinner. Introduce plastic chopsticks for children and after modeling how to hold and use them, allow children to pretend that they are eating with chopsticks. You can utilize cotton balls as “rice”, and other food items from the kitchen area. Encourage children to share the kind of utensils they use and practices that they follow when they eat at home.

Book: Sori’s Harvest Full Moon, by Lee, Uk-Bae

a) Give pretend money to the students and create a big bus by lining up several chairs. Invite children to share stories about visiting relatives. How do they get to their relatives’ houses?

b) Mirror: What things do they like doing with their family and relatives? Invite children to create a body movement to explain what they do, while the rest of the students imitate the posture or action. Each student will have a turn.


Book: We Are Cousins/Somos primos

Place playhouses, toy people, and different kinds of puppets in the center of your circle mat/carpet. Invite the children to use these props to act out activities that their families do together. You might join the play and pretend to be a child, letting the children pretend to be the grownups.

Book: ¡Fiesta!

Share with your students several photos and/or magazine pictures of families and friends celebrating birthdays in different ways. Include pictures of families who do not celebrate birthdays, but spend time together in different ways. You can include pictures from your own childhood or that of your own children/neighbors and/or their cousins. Invite children to share stories about how they celebrate, drawing their cousins and the things they like doing together. Graph the favorite activities your students like doing together and discuss how those are similar and different from those in the book.

West Africa

Book: We Are Going on a Lion Hunt

Place different toy animals in your circle. Include African animals, animals that might be in Sonoran desert and domestic animals. Invite children to share the kinds of animals that they have seen in or around their homes. What kinds of animals have they hunted or chased? What animals can they catch?

Book: Deron Goes to Nursery School

Invite children to talk about their classroom daily routines. How are those similar to Deron’s nursery school? How are they different? Encourage children to create a pretend scenario in which Deron visits your classroom and school. What activities would they share with Deron? Students can also imagine they are visiting Deron’s classroom and school. What activities would they like Deron to share with them?

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