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Lesson Plan

My Family Traditions: A Class Book and a Potluck Lunch

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My Family Traditions: A Class Book and a Potluck Lunch

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Eleven 45- to 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Loraine Woodard

Loraine Woodard

Berkeley, California


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology






  • Computers with Internet access

  • Folders

  • Letter-sized paper

  • Art supplies

  • Bookbinding materials

  • Student journals (optional)

  • Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia by Carmen Lomas Garza (Children's Book Press, 2005)

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1. Obtain and familiarize yourself with Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia by Carmen Lomas Garza. The text of this book is written in both English and Spanish. Practice reading it aloud in one or both languages, as appropriate for your class. Make black and white copies of each of the pictures, enough so that each student gets at least one.

2. Think about family traditions versus national traditions and prepare to share some examples of each, using your own family and the text of Family Pictures as an example. Family tradition relates to customs and behaviors that are repeated in a particular family, perhaps over several generations. National tradition relates to the customs and behaviors of most people in a country that have lasted for many years. For example, making tamales is both part of Mexico's national tradition and it's also a family tradition for Carmen Lomas Garza. Trips to Reynosa, Mexico were part of Garza's family tradition, probably so they wouldn't forget about Mexican traditions.

3. Set a date, time, and place for a class potluck for families and students (this should be about two weeks from when you begin the lesson). Lunchtime in the classroom might work well. Although students will be writing their own letters of invitation, you may want to write a preliminary letter (in English and Spanish if necessary) for students to bring home at the end of Session 1. Students will be asked to share their favorite family dishes with each other and present the class book they create to their families. If no family members will be able to attend, perhaps they can still send some food with the students to share. Some students can be asked to bring eating utensils and drinks. Decide who else in the school (i.e., administrators or other teachers) should be invited.

4. If you do not have computers with Internet access for students to use in your classroom, reserve two 45-minute sessions in the computer lab (see Sessions 4 and 5). Bookmark CountryWatch.com, Country @ a Glance, and any other websites your students will use for research on the computers.

5. Make one copy for each student of the Quiz and Personal Reflection: Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia, Family Pictures Class Book: Requirements for Each Page, and the Family Pictures: Final Reflection.

6. Make three copies for each student of the Family Pictures Class Book: Peer Editing Rubric.

7. Before completing this lesson, students should be familiar with how to write a letter (see Session 8, Step 2). You may want to teach "Using Writing and Role-Play to Engage the Reluctant Reader" before teaching this lesson.

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