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It’s a Small World

Submitted by: Jessica Reynolds

Date: January 28, 2000

Grade Level(s): 3, 4


  • Arts/Computers in art

Duration: One week

Description: This lesson engages students in pattern recognition, use of primary colors, cutting skills, and computer skills using ClarisWorks, Hyperstudio, and Kids Pix.

Goals: Students will engage in an art activity that involves development of pattern skills and computer research skills.

Objective(s):  Students will be able to:

  1. develop pattern skills for creating a costume using cloth.
  2. reinforce how to use colorful and primary colors, particularly those colors pertaining to the Christmas season.
  3. develop drawing, patterning, design, coloring and cutting skills.
  4. coordinate with a lesson on the different ways that other cultures from various countries celebrate Christmas.
  5. define skills in computer use by researching the Internet and creating a presentation.


  • Kelly, Emily. Christmas Around the World
  • Dan Souci, Robert D. The Christmas Ark
  • Old cloth/sheets
  • Boy/girl patterns
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Glue
  • Glitter glue
  • Spanish moss or raffia
  • Oak Tag
  • Computer/Claris Works For Kids/Hyperstudio/Kid Pix


Enhancing the Lesson with the Internet and Computer:

1.  Before beginning the lesson for the day, review with students, using a Power Point presentation, the different web sites available and how to search on the Internet : Discovery Kids (http:/// and Google(  Briefly, as a group, go over specific rules that are necessary while working at the computer.

2.  Arrange students in groups of 4 around one computer. After conducting the review session have students (in groups) create a slide show presentation, using Kid Pix or Hyper Studio, focusing on a particular country.  They can research the Internet for further resources. In the slide show they must
include a title page, one for ethnic foods, family life, and traditional aspects for Christmas.

3.  They will be required to give a group report of their work on the slide while projecting it on a screen. They can print out their finding and post them on the designated map for that country.  This will help students to create a focus for their art designs. In addition they will present their artwork (costumes) to the class. The kids can even be encouraged to wear them!

Continuation of the Art Lesson:

Motivate students by reading the book entitled Christmas Around the World by Emily Kelly or The Christmas Ark by Robert D. San Souci.  Encourage students to share their family traditions.  Ask students, how many celebrate Christmas?  What kinds of foods do you eat?  Does your family have special songs that you sing?   What else do we do on Christmas? (wrap presents, go to church, mass, light candles, open gifts one day early, have family and friends over, sing, etc.)

Does anyone have family that lives in another country? How do they celebrate Christmas?  If not, in what ways do you think other countries celebrate Christmas? Have you ever read or learned about another countries traditions?

Each day prior to introducing students to a new country, locate its place on a globe or map.  With a flag pin, mark its location.  Have many different flags and maps around the classroom. Show different pictures and discuss traditions. Have several books about different countries available for students to study and read. Read a story from or about the country that you are featuring that day.  Study a traditional custom; prepare a special holiday food.

Small World Project:

After studying and reading about several cultures, the class will be focusing on the annual Christmas traditions that are celebrated around the world.
Countries studied include Germany, Sweden, Finland, Mexico, France, England and Hawaii. Each country will have its own week and its own art project.
This lesson will be a culminating art project of all the countries observed during the past weeks.  Students will choose a country for the small world project and will trace a pattern over a large piece of cloth (preferably and old bed sheet to wear as a costume) of either a girl or boy that will represent their country of choice.  They will be asked to decorate it according to the traditional aspects that were learned in class. Magazines and pictures will be provided so that students have a focus for their projects.  In addition, students will be asked to include the name of their country inscribed, neatly
on their figures.

**Please encourage parents to aid in supplying their children with cloth material and additional supplies to use for their costume.

Week One:

Do a complete demonstration before the children carry out with the next segment. First choose a country that best suits what you want to design. Then begin the lesson by tracing each pattern. This way students will get to see how each pattern is traced. Tracing will be done on pieces of oak tag or
white poster board paper; so all students have their own pattern. Once traced, repeat a second tracing onto the cloth and cut the costume out, and then begin your search for items of to decorate your costume with.

After drawing the desired shapes and designs, tell students they can begin coloring. Talk with them about what colors would look best. Ask them what it might look like.

Students will also be given the opportunity to use felt, glitter glue, raffia, and buttons, to use as trimmings for their projects. They will be given the option of drawing and using supplementary materials to decorate their figures.  All of the extra supplies will be located in the front of the
room in separate bins, marked by their names, where students have access to each item.  If they have chosen to use glitter glue they will be asked to take it to a separate table, lined with newspaper.  I will be there to assist them and ensure that they are using the right proportions of glue.

When children have completed drawing, cutting, and coloring their costumes, ask them to come to the front of the room and present their artwork with their group. Ask them to discuss a few of the things they learned about that country and why they decorated their costumes as they choose. Some of the
projects may require extra time to dry. If so, then the projects will be collected and placed on hangers to be hung to dry.  After they have completely dried, students will be able to wear their costumes to show all the different countries in their traditional Christmas attire.


  • Pairing students in groups to offer support and help to other individuals.
  • Making use of the computer and multimedia equipment to provide hands on learning.
  • Incorporate sound and images into the project, such as video taping each presentation.

Assessment:  Students’ performance will be evaluated based on the following:

  1. Willingness to participate in the activity.
  2. Enthusiasm
  3. Participation in group project
  4. Responsiveness to group discussion and presentations